Disciplinary Sculpture

Via information aesthetics,
I came across this

on "email
  An enclosure houses a block of biodegradable foam subject to
sprays of water triggered by a stream of discourse–emails sent to bots in this
case.  As I understand it, the email-analyzing algorithm activates the bots
that patrol each side of the container; under certain conditions, the bots let
loose with the water and the block of foam dissolves.

"At the end of the show, the remaining foam, if any, is a
finished sculpture."

A what-if: Say we turn this model toward disciplinarity, devise a set
of bots and systematic squirts, then channel everything reflective of a
discipline (pick your discipline, why not?):  journal articles, listservs,
syllabi, student work, weblogs and textbooks. Anything that passes as
information, anything indicative of the field, noetic and technic
After 30 days, what would the sculpture look like?  After 30 years? (We
might imagine twenty foam blocks, each assigned a discursive stream.)

Now, do you mind if I change lanes to the

despondency thread
from yesterday?  I subscribe in digest, so I don’t know where this thread
is going today.  I’m sure it’s going.  And I won’t try to offer any
summary or critique here.  I only want to point a finger at it because I’ve
been thinking a lot about disciplinarity lately, about what it means to identify
oneself with a particular disciplinary formation–to say I’m a compositionists
or a rhetorician or a comp-rhetor.  What other ways to put it
Flexing with despondency or resplendence, whole disciplines are really difficult
to characterize.  And yet, the meta-disciplinary hum is fairly regular,
ongoing.  Where am I headed with this?  Well, the "email erosion" got
me thinking (more than I was already) about the ways we have of talking about
disciplinarity–of anecdotal accounts of encounters with ill-informed
contrarians and others unaware of the work we busy ourselves with OR of
typically broader inferences drawn from conference programs (thinking of CGB’s
fallacies of scale), textbooks, journals, publishers and their book-types,
graduate programs and other histories (such and such event(s) led to Y or
coincided with n).  What else?

If we had yet another way of perceiving disciplinarity, such as this exhibit,
what might it tell us?  What shape, this disciplinary sculpture?  And
would anyone admire it?  Or would the green foam wholly erode (too much
water pressure), leaving behind an empty glass enclosure?  Sure, we’d still
have the bots. And another block of foam? 



: "a physical installation that represents level of activity (of
family members or museum visitors, measured by a pulse-meter in form of a ring
or a bracelet) by water running down blocks of salt."  We could use one of
these at the Palmer House in ’06.