SESSION 2: 13.30 – 15.30. Friday, March 26
In novels like Sentimental Education and Bouvard and Pécuchet, and in his comic inventory of clichés and repeated ideas, Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues, the great 19th century French writer Gustave Flaubert made fun of 18th and 19th century attempts to catalogue, classify, list, and record all of scientific and historical knowledge. To what extent is Wikipedia an unaware continuation of the “Enlightenment” projects that Flaubert so brilliantly mocked? What alternative kinds of repositories of knowledge, science, and history - especially ones based in the potentials of contemporary “New Media” and “New Technology” - would consciously take into account Flaubert’s correct critique and meet with his approval? I will also consider the question of how the structure of the database as technological artefact will be upgraded by the New Computer Science to a relationship of pattern, similarity, or resonance to the experience that the user can have in a media-software environment or “game” that gathers its information from the to-be-extended more dynamic Database Structure 2.0.