Having written these for a while, I think I’ve finally got an inkling of what they
are do & how to describe them!
tl:dr version, I want to share things in a form that accommodates things outside of well-crafted shorter essays, “proper” blog posts, or posts of links. It’s more like Tumblr, only with a more “Domain of One’s Own” approach.1
I look forward to reading other peoples’ occasional round-ups, whether they’re weekly like at Hack Library School or the automated Web Excursions that Brett Terpstra does in addition to his periodic Recaps. So I’d like to do something similar, to help lower any access barriers to knowledge & just to share things that delight or inspire me.
Having a weekly schedule’s a good way for me to counteract my “keep tinkering until I finally feel comfortable sharing something” tendencies. As much as composition and other instructors tout the importance of metacognition2 or self-reflection, I might as well aim to include some of it into what passes for my weekly routine.
With “assemblage,” I’m implying that the format will vary according to how I’m feeling & what’s goin’ on with me each week. Sometimes I’ll annotate a reading or two, sometimes I’ll just have pull quotes, and maybe sometimes there will be photos or tips of things I find. Approaching the post as a combine or assemblage lets me get to closer to a Fluxus headspace.3 Plus, I really like assemblage thinking: it’s an approach in critical theory I find compelling since it allows for analyzing how complex effects emerge despite intentions.4 It emphasizes a sort of humility that I feel produces the best types of analysis.5 An assemblage is also a nice metaphor for a research notebook like some digital humanities people produce.6
Audrey Watters ends that keynote by referencing the same “Sous les pavés, la plage”/”Underneath the cobblestones, the beach” May ‘68 refrain that I enjoy so much. She says “It’s so punk rock — the idea that if we dig under the infrastructure of society, we’ll find something beautiful. The idea that in our hands, this infrastructure — quite frankly — becomes a weapon.” I’d prefer to think of those cobblestones as potential interventions than primarily as weapons, but the sentiment is largely the same. ↩
You know, thinkin’ ‘bout thinkin’. ↩
I’ll probably re-read Hannah Higgins’ Fluxus Experience in the next few months, at which point I’ll have a better way to put into words why I think it’s a fruitful way to think about process, experience, incompleteness, intersubjectivity, DIY, questioning links between objects and subject positions, etc. These things strike me as important both to critical librarianship and my plain ‘ol preferred ways of being in the world in general. That link has a preview of the book, with her first chapter, “Information and Experience.” ↩
In Hannah Higgin’s Fluxus Experience, she quotes Martin Heidegger on epistemological humility as adopting “a rigorously experimental attitude, always provisional, always questioning, always alert to the fact that the being of beings is such that beings continually offer themselves to a multiplicity of interpretations.” (p. 55) ↩
To pick two DH folks off the top of my head, Miriam Posner or Scott Weingart both have extensive blogs that help show their thinking in public as it evolves. For the idea of open notebooks more specifically, W. Caleb McDaniel and Carl Boettiger have each written about their own approaches. ↩