Obscure Convergence

Wednesday evening I presented a [slightly] modified, extended presentation of my presentation to the Ars Electronica conference from several years ago; it’s halfway between a meditation on technological change (and the ways that ‘change’ itself doesn’t always change from one change to another) and a call to arms. The tl;dr summary simply calls for technologists and theologians to cooperate toward exploring the possibilities of open-access, open-media publication in the religious sphere. Technologists get to experiment with low-cost ventures in a convenient sandbox of users and consumers with particular interests and a demonstrably strong ‘market’ for publications sympathetic to ‘religious’ interests; the theologically-active participants get to amplify the availability and quality of their communications channels, perhaps learning a lesson or two from what Aaron’s activism might have demonstrated to them. And at the end, my notes trail off from formal presentation to hortatory freestyling.

The pitch of the piece veers imperfectly from technological audiences to theological audiences (the core audience that’s literate in both spheres being uncomfortably small). As such, I alternate oversimplifications and under-explanations from side to side — if I were going on Newsnight or The Colbert Show to expound this topic, I’d try to even it out and do a better job clarifying the various dimensions of it. Feel free to correct me in comments, if you want.

But in response to popular one request, I’m posting the PDFs of my speaking text and the presentation slides below the fold. I haven’t compared my text to Bloch’s God’s Plagiarist to make absolutely certain I cited every case in which I relied on his specific wording — so you should know that most of what I know about Migne I learned from Bloch, and his is the True Source on all that section, no pretence of personal originality there. And some copyrighted images may have fallen into the slide show, though I tried to stick with Wikimedia or obvious fair use of other sources. So, disclaimers having been made, you can find the PDFs of my slides and talk below.

Austria:CLTA Talk Transcript

Eight-meg image-laden presentation slides (sorry)

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One Response to Obscure Convergence

  1. Derek Olsen says:

    Excellent–thank you!

    I think you’re absolutely right about both the task and the best intermediate step: clean XML. I’ve been doing cleaning up some texts into decent html for conversion to eBooks but I’ve decided that XML is superior. In particular, the amount of work put into TEI XML makes an enormous amount of sense (and provides ready-made methods for documenting line/page breaks as needed!). That’s where I’m heading.

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