Archive for August, 2007
S writes – “Master weavers did pick up this technology…true, it was more for furnishing products, especially when markets opened out….but I again come back to narayanpet, where master weavers have framelooms, and are making sareees on it. It does have a clear product identity (unlike a more universal fursnishing fabric), but I think what matters is the existence of a market niche or demand which drives entrepreneurs to exploit the potential (of higher productivity) in frameloom technology. But if we go back in time to consider its introduction, then it was definitely an agenda of modernization and not market demand.”
Okay – so here I am a (not seasoned and quite ruptured and awkward) consumer of saris.. a consumer of fabric…
asking if the apparel shapes me or I shape the apparel?
if I wear a sari – where must I loose weight? if I wear jeans where must I loose weight?
Did the loom make the sari or the sari make the loom?
what kinds of looms allowed what kinds of saris (we know that as they exist looms are structured around the sari concept so it is difficult to adjust them to work with fabric for other garments etc)
how did the loom shape fashion and convention
and how does our distance from the loom in the market “freeze” notions of sari as tradition – even while it is a living shifting fashion/style practice in everyday life -
as also does bollywood and tollywood (and the fashion industry internal to India) shape the notion of the correct or chic way to wear a sari …
What I write below may make absolutely no sense – but I have to insert this in the conversation – will elaborate later:
I am designing and producing saris on an online 3d social and technologically mediated environment (called secondlife) where people buy and sell clothes etc. – I have several stalls and shops and a studio there where I make these saris and sell. However different consumers respond differently to my way of designing saris (using handloom textures bought mostly from Dastkar Andhra). Some of them have museumized the notion of sari as traditional indian wear in a very particular way – and they have developed “traditions” of what it means to design and create a sari in secondlife – so they have begun to lay down the rules on what layers a sari must contain (and yet each of the sari sellers on secondlife makes them differently – some have bollywood style transparent flowy “fabric” others have pleats attached and so on) so when I adapt and shift the notion it is to experiment with how I can shift the fashion of sari wearing in that environment through providing a slightly different product – but also because of how I use the technologies that help produce these “saris” – such as digital imaging software, digital cameras and the actual building in secondlife after the raw “fabric” has been created offline and imported in….
of course there is the whole other aspect of the sari consumer on secondlife who is part of the Gor…and I dont what practices of sari designing that privileges…
Depending on who the consumer is and their prior experience with saris on secondlife I get different kinds of responses about how a “real” sari should be designed on secondlife and what sorts of practices secondlifers are used to and have come to expect in a sari.
Thus my virtual “loom” (a combination of a situated social panopticon and the digital technologies used to construct the product) shapes my particular style of sari (shall we call it “rad Zabibha pEta cheera”?;-)) – and also my offline practice and experience with sari wearing shapes the way I visualize saris – but some of the people setting the precedent for the “Tradition” of sari making may have actually never worn a sari in their life…
which version of sari is tradition and which authentic – and why
so to get back to the master weavers and niche markets – markets are formed in interaction with what the weaver can produce – that was when loom was the only technology that produced the cloth for the sari….
with Radhika:) [seriously - that IS another Radhika - one is my Avi and the other is another Radhika's avi - I finally found her - she's the (more technologically capable one) they've all be confusing me with:)]
producer and consumer
who’s producing who (what?)
who’s consuming who (what?)
which object stares back?
Who took Pedagogy out and put Technology in to replace it?
At least with a reporter – there are what seem to be guidelines established through years of practice (by reporters and related administrators) and rule-making around news-making and reporting. When a reporter meets us f2f for a story or is going to be amidst us in a public venue we are aware that we will likely be “reported” on.
But what of the daily blogger – what are the warning signs for someone who is going to be written about in a blog? What are power dynamics at play – when a high ranking academic blogs vs when a graduate student blogs – what social capital permits the blogging of certain events (bloggers are hardly ever about stating multiple perspectives – they state their own and those of their friends – just as I do – not that reporters are objective necessarily either but there are other checks and balances…)
I have so many recent events happening around me and that I have been a part of that I want to report on and comment on on my blog – but hesitate because I feel that my view on some of these events will not be taken too kindly …
This is not an issue of marginalization and empowerment – it is an issue of judgement and viewership.
Specific situated audience communities interacting with Writers produce “texts” – but where the blog goes – we cant always map the route.
but I may blog the reports eventually anyway.
Had a very productive conversation with N about the Machinima she and her group produced – will have something to write about that with quotes from her after a few more meetings and conversations with her.
There is a very interesting discussion going on on the AIR-L list that I am trying not to get drawn into replying to posts on. Too much stuff to do here with Grad step week and all (and last week the Digital Mirror and New Faculty presentation as well as prep for Grad step week took up most of my time).
This post is mostly a public note to myself (yes Public – if it is on a blog it is public and however stupid my public comment may have been or is – yes it can be traced back to my “real” self – even if I use a psuedonym – it can… how many times do we rehearse these arguments on lists anyway?)
Performativity and everyday negotiation of online existence as a not so “new” thing is a point (among others) that gets missed in some discussions of “privacy” and the internet as “public space” arguments – but more later. Just as digital literacy and digital divide discourses are still stuck in early generations of Internet user paradigms even as they use buzz words such as “web 2.0″
Nuances are so easily disappeared in the focus on static in looking at online existence/texts as if (implicitly) they were either just speech on the one hand or written text (as defined by print paradigms) on the other while viewing online engagement as unproblematically “disembodied”…