Friday, November 2, 2007

i'm an impressionable bricoleur (*blush*)

i used to think that if you were going to do anything, you had to do it right. so i used to not do anything. cause you can't do everything right all the time. or even most of the time(?). i used to think you had to do the whole thing if you were going to do anything. i used to do everything in that sense because it was possible in my mind. obsessive thoughts about how to do everything right all the time and the whole thing all at once. but does anyone do everything all the time? i profane of fakery. faking "it." faking that you have it all together when you have nothing but fear. the people that do this all the time make me nervous. they make me think that somehow, some way, grasping for every/any-thing is a reasonable pursuit. i think it might rub off. onto me. into me. of course, the best advice is to always "be yourself." i think being oneself is possibly the most liberating thing there is. but it takes work. work like that of those "faking it." except in the reverse, the work it takes is to open oneself up. to criticism, praise, ambivalence. it's exhausting. to be oneself. more than not being? hard to say. they both take performance. but Turkle makes me wonder. about our relationships with ourselves as mediated by objects-to-think-with (in her case, this object is the computer). it is interesting (and of course not new) to think about the world around us as mediating our understandings ourselves. and others. and the objects themselves. while i don't completely buy Turkle's vision of our intimate relationship with computers (because it gets into AI and social-psychological explanations that focus too much on the individual and not on the tripartite or networked relationship human-computer-human, that is, relationships between people that are mediated by technology), i do like her notion that she borrows from Levi-Strauss about the bricoleur. the bricoleur takes extant information and re-situates/constitutes it to make the world intelligible. thus we have bricolage - the process by which problem are solved or knowledge is constructed/acquired not from top-down design but by arranging and rearranging a set of well-known materials. we are all bricoleurs. we all negotiate our surroundings that separate, alone and bare, would be less intelligible. we would be less intelligible but for the bricks we cobble together about ourselves. whether they are weak and crumbling or strong and Inca-like. maybe that is the point. as bricoleurs of our selves we cobble together what we have. what we are given. and what we are refused.

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