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Post-artifact books and publishing


the book worth considering consists only of relationships. Relationships between ideas and recipients. Between writer and reader. Between readers and other readers

The book of the past reveals its individual experience uniquely. The book of the future reveals our collective experience uniquely.

The pre-artifact system is where the book or story or article is made. It’s a system full of (and fueled by) whiskey, self-doubt, confusion, debauchery and a general sense of hopelessness. Traditionally, it’s been a system of isolation, involving very few people.

The artifactthe book — too, is a system. Traditionally, an island unto itself. Immutable. A system self-contained. One requiring great efforts to extend beyond the binding. When finished, it becomes a souvenir of a private journey.

Finally, the post-artifact system. This is the space in which we engage the artifact. Again, traditionally a relatively static space. Isolated. Friends can gather to discuss the artifact. Localized classes can be constructed in universities around the artifact.

digital removes isolation. Removes it from the pre-, artifact, and post- systems. The corollaries: an increase in connectivity. Mutability of artifact. Continuous engagement with readers.

digital marginalia — layered atop the artifact, adding to the artifact, and redefining ‘complete.’

We can continuously develop a text in realtime

Time itself becomes an active ingredient in authorship

Wikipedia is a fully realized example of how digital drastically affects authorship.

The digital artifact, therefore, is a scaffolding between the pre- and post- artifact systems.

Reading is, if nothing else, telepathy.

We give form to our private telepathy through marginalia — marks, highlights, notes in the margins.

the post-artifact system. A system of unlocking. A system concerned with engagement. Sharing. Marginalia. Ownership. Community. And, of course, reading.

Digital marginalia is a collective conversation, cumulative stratum.

Two things are necessary for true innovation and engagement to happen in this space:

  1. A well defined and open protocol. It is to this which all software and tools built to engage the post-artifact space can connect.
  2. The ability to construct canvas independent hooks beyond the reading space.