james Moss

august 19th

What`s the difference between research and re-search? This may seem a somewhat trivial rumination even anal question given the contemporay cultural tendency to adopt dominant `foreign` influences, but there is a difference, I think, and it has its basis in the great deconstruction of ideologies that permeates post-industrial society and is manifested in the current `red dwarf` stage of late capitalism, the triumph of the corporate world. The changing profile of the university over the past decade offers an interesting example of this phenomena in which the shift from publicly funded institution to a lean, fine-tuned corporation has proceeded hand in glove with the wholesale incorporation of electronic information systems. There are distinct correalations between the emergence of desk-top global information systems and the corporatization of the historically structured individual, autonomous and benevolent state. The utterence `re -search` is a symptom of this paradigm: re -search is a generic term for the corporatizing of research. In the Australian context re-search is not simply the adoption of an Americanism, it is a neologism that stands for a new academic ideal based on the corporate model. While it could be argued that any association between corporatization and the electronic revolution is purely causal, it could equally be argued that what is apparent in the above suggested correalation is not conspiracy theory based as such, but refers more to emergent notions of unification theory that ultimately seek to constitute a theory of everything. In these days of late capitalism economic theories constitute `theories of everything`, based upon the commom denominator of the market, and in the same sense electronic information systems provide us with access to theories of everything: Neitzsche’s exhortation to want to experience everything that has ever happened takes on a whole new dimension of possibility in the digital domain. Within the corporatized, electronically wired academy the prospect for the Neitzschean academic is sublime. On the one hand the university has literally become a universal entity outside of traditional strictures relating to types of knowledge and methodolgies of research complimented by new technologies of inscription and mnemonics, while, on the other hand, academics may be left to rage in a dystopian cyberscape in which the mirage of a unified field of knowledge melts into `the lone and level sands` of corporatly crafted homogeneity. Don`t get me wrong, I love my word processor, the above are just some of the things I think about research and electronic writing.
James Moss teaches in the History and Theory of Art Department at the University of South Australia
dna_image dna_image dna_image dna_image dna_image