Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_sicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_s
Conversation Map (Sack, Warren), 1997Agonistics: A Language Game (Sack, Warren), 2004

icon: previous page

source, copyleft, network society, information economy. Each of these essays presents a contemporary history and its advocates, which are germane, but it is not the goal of «Public Sphere_s» to provide a comprehensive, critical overview of the philosophies and histories of the public. It is more empirical. It does use the lens of changing notions of the public domain to look at many different artists, whose work might not normally or primarily be viewed as ‹public art.› It also highlights artists whose work does deliberately engage historical, expanded, new, and threatened notions of the public across many different spheres: aesthetic, legal, economic, government, communications, community activism, and personal identity.

To return to Wodiczko on Mouffe, «Her recognition of antagonisms and the need for agonism in a democratic process radically questions the prominent liberal philosopher Jürgen Habermas for his popular legalistic and rationalistic position on democracy which seeks to resolve disagreements in a blind drive for consensus.» [8] What are the new tools and methodologies for both enabling and mapping such



Software artist and media theorist Warren Sack refers to the new «spaces» of conversation enabled by the Internet as «very large-scale conversations» (VLSC) and argues that «VLSC poses a fundamental challenge to all existing social science methodologies because it constitutes a different scale of conversational interaction, a scale that has not been previously addressed by social science.» [9] Two of his projects specifically address this new space, «Conversation Map» (2001) and «Agonistics: A Language Game» (2004). «Conversation Map,» as its name implies, is a way of mapping—and hence understanding better—the type of very large-scale conversations that happen on the Internet, such as in Usenet groups. The software program has four components.

• A network map connects message authors who respond to and/or quote one another. This is a visual overview of the connectedness of the group—a social network map. • A list of themes is extracted through analysis of the messages’ content. • «Conversation Map» performs automatic thesaurus computation on the themes to create a semantic network map of

icon: next page