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Tag Archives: protocols

“Seriality for All”: The Role of Protocols and Standards in Critical Theory

20-Sep-11

Tomorrow the world. ‘Whoever sets the standard has the power’. Strangely enough, this view has few disciples. If we talk about power, and dare to think that we can take over and be in charge, we rarely take Voltaire’s advice to focus all our attention on victory and instead indulge ourselves in self-criticism over how time and again we fail. Mention the word power and we will almost intuitively think of the political class and our revulsion for this profession. We prefer to believe media-savvy opinion makers control the political agenda. It is tempting to think that content, and not form, determines our lives. Those of us who publicly discuss protocols are easily dismissed as cynical techno-determinists or boring bureaucrats. The standard height of a computer table is 72 cm. But who gets bothered about that? Isn’t the quality of the work that comes out of the computer on that very table which counts? An easy-on-the-eye font for a novel is nice enough, but what really counts is the writer’s gift to entertain us.

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