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What is distributed authorship?

Distributed authorship = authorship being part of an interactive system
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Art is about telling stories, either repeating stories or finding new stories. new insights, new ways of expressing the world and telling us about it. What is happening with new media? Telematics systems? Of this cybernetic relationship we have with each other and the world of dynamic systems is that authorship becomes distributed. Authorship is no longer simply in the hands of one artist, but part of an interactive system. Roland Barth is a French philosopher, who made a really important observation 20 or 30 years ago, in which he said that the reader of a text is actually the author of a text. Because in reading a text, you recreate that text, whatever that text is.
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Now, I think that this very much is the case with the systems that we employ, except that we now distribute the authorship across many, many players, many, many authors within networks. This is one of the first works that I introduced into the field, La Plissure du Texte, which was precisely to create a universal fairytale, a worldwide fairytale, in which the characters in the fairytale were online in a distributed network, and they generated the fairytale story one-by-one interactively from the point of view of the characters that they represented the wicked witch, the magician, and so on and so forth.
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So the story, the narrative, was generated not simply by a number of individuals, but by individuals themselves adopting certain kinds of characteristics, the new way of creating narratives. Now this is one of the things that we examine, but of course equally, we examine other issues in the narrative. Point of view and various kinds of construction, but that essentially is what the narrative is dealing with, distributed authorship.

Of this cybernetic relationship we have with each other and the world of dynamic systems is that authorship becomes distributed. Authorship is no longer simply in the hands of one artist, but part of an interactive system. We now distribute the authorship across many, many players, many, many authors within networks.

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Taoism and Western Culture

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