“Pre-enacting necessarily” – T.P.
Dr. Janneke Adema’s affirmative proposal of ‘post-publishing’ works to carry along the desired and leaves behind the undesired aspects associated with the currently dominant modes of publishing in the humanities. Hers is a speculative project, in the imaginative sense of the word. The early Ursula K Le Guin novel, “Very Far Away from Anywhere Else” (1976), which is often considered a young adult novel, as the narrator’s voice is a direct account from a young adult; our protagonist. He tells another character how, as a child, he invented a country, which meant he had to know its flora and fauna, landscape and cities, economic and geopolitical structures, and parameters within which the inhabitants of the country could come to give shape to their lives.
“It started out as a kingdom when I was twelve, but by the time I was fifteen or sixteen it had become a kind of free socialistic set-up, and so I had to work out all the history of how they got from autocracy to socialism, and also their relationships to other nations” (Le Guin 48).
This, our narrator finds out, is just what the Brontë kids did for years; write stories and poems about countries they had made up – maps and wars and adventures and all. That’s how they learned to write.
This exercise of one of Science Fiction of course, which Donna Haraway ties to other double terms under the acronym of SF: Speculative Fabulation (or Feminism), String Figures, So far etc.; methodologies of flexibility able to connect disjunctive elements into modes of shared operation. The undergirding (social) function of science fiction (of imaging utopia’s, playfully othering the present, utilizing the mode of narrative to connect dinjunct points) is that it is a form of creative critique. An affirmative proposal and work of SF untie the bind of dialectical oppositions, bound to oscillate back and forth. Applying this notion to Adema’s project, neither the object of the physically published book nor the subject of the single author (two points identified by Adema that post-publishing would not seek to reinstate) are not to be the defining engines of the manner by which post-publishing is to develop according to.
I believe the printed work, the writerly craft, the author’s contained signification, the limits imposed by a finished work, and so on have their place and function as clarifying methods and genres of form. A story needs its parameters – a limitation in order to position itself. Can we do away with that? Yes, sure we can. In art school I learned to love the frame of the paper or the viewfinder, and which allowed me to relearn to love how contemporary art has unbound itself from this square. Good destruction requires love. A drawing in the sand is as well a drawing. However, academic interdisciplinary publishing is not the same as art. Moreover, the questions which post-publishing is to pose are not identifiable as object and subject problem. These points seem insufficiently key, as they are only circumstantial modes which sometimes serve to some degree and have only faultily been given inflated importance for backward institutions, adhering to archaic structures. Not sure if concerning with them is very useful.
Proposing a change, especially when under the rubric of ‘post’, applies specifically to that which it traveled through. It doesn’t seek to flip the script (like a modernism that instantiates by negating) but writes a script and then tries to implement it. The mode of publishing that specifically Dr. Adema is gearing toward, is that of research publication that requires collaboration and whose information could benefit from being organized dynamically. Especially “new materialist” and interdisciplinary fields of research in the humanities require such collaboration. Therefore different modalities need to figure out how to be translatable and understandable for each other. Basically; the humanities want to be able to consider methodologies beyond its norms of close reading, referencing and compositing prose. It doesn’t seem so far-out to imagine researchers benefiting from collaborative and dynamic publishing platforms that are unbothered by arbitrary structuring logics. Academic publishing seems a very problematic field. As a young researcher with only little experience publishing, the monsters I imagine are its politics of inequality, bureaucracies and financial absurdities, its time-lag, paywalls, inaccessibility, wrong conventions. I don’t know many details and continue to be surprised by the level of inefficiency and disappointment people seem to experience by its way. Dr. Janneke Adema’s project is very welcome. I would like to know about Dr. Adema’s ideas regarding the financial and life-sustaining models of post-publishing.
I heard Sadie Plant through the grape-vine talking about pre-enactment. Not re-enactment: an opening up of an already happened. But this is pre-enactment, speaking from the future, living by the rules, because you must/can now.
To end on Deleuze in “What is the creative act?” (1987) “A creator is not someone who works for pleasure. A creator only does what he or she absolutely needs to do.”
Thinking about necessary preenactment◜
- Gilles Deleuze, “What is the Creative Act?” , in Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and Interviews 1975-1995 / Gilles Deleuze, ed. David Lapoujade, trans. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina. New York: Semiotext(e), 2007.
- Ursula Le Guin, “Very Far Away from Anywhere Else”, New York: Atheneum Books, 1976