The Waag Society and the symbiotic synecdoche

As a follow-up to the previous post on news sources, I’d like to comment perhaps on physical manifestations of the same concepts. Specifically, I would like to refer to the news as provided by people with a similar agenda as ours – the Waag society. While the form of media they provide is not directly what we wish to study – which is to say that what we wish to study isn’t necessarily particularly extant at the moment – their quarterly magazine represents an interesting fusion between a media instance of the news and research into society.

First, we require background. The Waag society primarily – as far as I can tell – focuses on performing projects that bring forward social unity and promote social progress. For instance, as a collaboration with the India festival in Amsterdam, the society put together an event, concurrent with a companion event in Delhi, which enabled participants to explore the city as a parallel of India: the theme was that of constantly shifting urbanization. Their goal was to allow participants to explore more of both the city and society of Amsterdam, and to bring the two together into a more unified whole.

Thus, the physical manifestation of their research and activities, their magazine, represents a form of news and media which seeks to promote and sustain the Waag Society. Their goal and their magazine are thus somewhat symbiotic: the magazine exists to sustain the goal by raising and maintaining awareness of the orgainzation, and the goal exists to provide the magazine with content. This setup is somewhat unlike most other forms of media, and thus represents a very interesting fusion of the topics we seek to study whil we are in Amsterdam.

0 Responses to “The Waag Society and the symbiotic synecdoche”


  1. 1 JB

    “Symbiotic synecdoche” is reminiscent of (get ready) “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm”: the director William Greaves was trying to get at the psychological aspects that glued societies together in his amazing and eponymous quasi-documentary. The sym/bio in your synecdoche recalls this. Greaves imports the “psycho” into “symbiotaxiplasm,” a term used by Arthur Bentley; perhaps you wish to follow up on the Bentley. Greaves discusses some of this in the special features of the Criterion Collection’s version. http://www.criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=360

    Missing in this evolving neologism is a specification of media as its shape. Thus far.

    Good work.

  2. 2 JB

    You might consider the research project in terms of a writing an article for this journal: http://vectors.usc.edu.

    This would be a pragmatic answer to the question of what sort of research question emerges from your group’s focus on news and mediated information acquisition in A’dam. Write a question that opens onto the article format. Every critical paper/article/book has a thesis: your question would be what the thesis answers.

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