Tuesday, March 28, 2006

kirkyan timesuits for books 1

This idea of the "kirkyan" (http://blog.rebang.com/?p=786) got me thinking about the "timesuit" metaphor Grant Morrison uses in Invisibles. Timesuits are what we wear in 4-dimensional (?) spacetime to experience the physical universe -- our bodies. Without them, we would exist in an eternal or timeless state.

This is dearly related to all this spime talk. Spimes are mostly temporal. Their histories are more important than their material. Kirkyans sound like spimes that sort of blossom forward in time. These are the spimes that are conscious of their own timesuits.

This matter sort of trumps debates over the future of the "book". Physicality means less and less, and more and more -- material objects become more dear to us when their they're singular -- that Benjamin "aura" of the unique art object. But in a spime world where books can be quick fabbed in print and recycled, or downloaded to whatever kind of re-usable screen reader you like and updated as you read with the comments of other readers, e-mail to the author, corrections and expansions, etc., the line between the "we've got to protect traditional printed media" camp and the "I don't care about paper -- I want books e-mailed to my brain" camp just sort of fizzles out.

If books are kirkyans, you can have both -- and something more: you can have a hybrid book that changes itself over time based on the experiences of all the other copies of itself out there, and all the responses to those other copies. It's information that blossoms forward in time to become better, more accurate perhaps, more current perhaps, and always growing in scope (but not necessarily authority).

A kirkyan book becomes a community of responses to the information that drives the book toward always new (even if not better) content. This means that books become aware of the changes in their own material manifestations (or timesuits). Ranganathan might've said: every book, its book. See also: NetLibrary. The lines are already getting blurry. Paper is just a means, and it's a really sluggish way to, um, git-r-done.


Listening to: Sterolab.
Watching: Steamboy.
Surfing: UBUWEB.

1 comment:

csven said...

That's a nice example. I've seen people online try to wrap their head around this, but this is the first I've seen where someone grasps that a big issue here is Time.