Publishing as a conversation
One of the most transformational aspects of Diffusion as a platform for publishing-on-demand is our ability not only to commission and publish new writing and ideas, but to enable other people to participate by creating their own eBooks and StoryCubes through the Generator and have them included alongside commissioned authors; publishing as a conversation rather than a privileged monologue.
We have been interested since the late 1990s in utilising network technologies to create alternatives to the traditional ‘centre to the margins’ nature of the media; the broadcast and publishing model sustained since the 19th century and only beginning to be seriously challenged in the late 20th Century through the rise of the internet and its distributed network structure. We have been exploring how, through concepts like ‘public authoring’ and ‘cultures of listening’, we can create new ways for people to participate more widely in the creation of the cultures and societies they live in – such as in our Urban Tapestries project and Social Tapestries research programme, as well as our current Anarchaeology projects (with Render in Canada & ICE in Australia).
A key feature of future series of Diffusion commissions will be this conversational aspect – where we will be inviting the public to participate in the series by using the Diffusion Generator to create eBooks & StoryCubes of their own – the best and most relevant of which we will include in the series alongside the authors we commission directly. This will be different to the kinds of conversation that happen through blogging and commenting – creating an eBook or StoryCube is a much more considered affair, requiring time and reflection to create what is, after all, a publication that exists not only on the web but as a physical entity too.
The first of these ‘conversation series’ will be Transformations – we will be announcing the initial commissions in April and publishing the outcomes later in the year, inviting contributions from the public once the first 3 or 4 are available. Watch this space.