軟體研究:我們也許會(從彼此身上)需要什麼

在 Matthew Fuller 教授於鹿特丹推動第一屆的軟體研究研討會之後,UCLA 的 Lev Manovich 教授成立了 Center for Software Studies 推動了第二次的工作坊:Softwhere ’08

在第二屆軟體研究工作坊之後,Jeremy Douglass 博士後研究員收到了 Benjamin Bratton 的 email,標題寫著:SS: What We May Want (from Each Other)「軟體研究:我們也許會(從彼此身上)需要什麼」

Software names less a discrete thing than a indiscrete convergence. It is a convergence between genealogies of language and genealogies of technology (leaving information theory and Kittlerian media studies aside for the moment, though their no-show at SS was amazing).
軟體命名了較不是一個獨立的事物,而是指向了一個相互連結的輻輳與匯流。它是語言的系譜學與科技的系譜學兩者之間的匯流(暫時不談資訊理論與 Kittler 式的媒體研究,雖然他們在軟體研究中沒有出現讓人驚訝)。

In the history of languages, software is unique in that it performs machinically and mechanically in ways that other languages cannot. Software executes. I can put software “in a box" and that box will do things in the wild world. If I put Russian or Spanish in the box, it would not do anything mechanically. Software is language becoming machine-technology.
在語言的歷史中,軟體是獨特的;因為它以機械與機器的方式運作,其他的語言沒有辦法如此。軟體能夠執行。我可以將軟體「放在一個盒子裡面」,然後這個盒子就會在大千世界中運作。如果我把俄文或西班牙文放在盒子中,它將不會有任何機械式的反應。軟體是一種變成機器科技的語言。

Conversely, in the history of technology, software is unique in that its instrumentality is configured linguistically. Software is written. I can write software to operate a machine to cause it to do things. I could write instructions on the side of a hammer (if I was Jonathan Borofsky) but I cannot write a hammer, nor does what I write on the hammer effect its hammeringness. Software is technology becoming inscription-language.
相反地來說,在科技史中,軟體也是獨特的;它的「指揮特性」(instrumentality)是藉由語言的方式所設定。軟體是被寫作出來的。我可以寫軟體來操作一台機器,讓它可以作事。我可以在一把榔頭旁邊寫使用說明(如果我是 Jonathan Borofsky 的話),但我沒有辦法寫出一個榔頭,我所寫在榔頭旁邊的說明也沒有辦法影響榔頭的榔頭特性。軟體是一個成為銘刻語言的科技。

The vectors of this convergence were on display during our day two planning session. More or less clear positions were outlined by socio-culturalists and technologists. Each saw the concerns of the the latter as enveloped by their own.
這個匯流的這兩個向度,在我們第二天的規劃設計議程中顯示了出來。多多少少那些清晰的命題被社會文化人與科技人提出。每個人都看到了他們自己封裝起來、後者所關注的重點。

BUT –and here’s the kicker– it was the socio-culturalists who were more invested in defining software as a wordly technology (building bridges, governments, identities, etc.) and it was the technologists who were more invested in defining software as autonomous linguistic frame or substance (code rhetorics, assembly politics, generative grammars, etc.)
然而,也是社會文化人更投注資源在定義軟體,把它視為字的科技(wordly technology),(建構橋樑、政府、認同,等等),以及科技人更有興趣把軟體定義為自動的語言框架或內容(例如程式碼修辭學、組合政治、衍生文法等等)。

The surprised me. Should it have? Do you agree with this observation?
這讓我感到驚奇。應該是這樣嗎?你同意這樣的觀察嗎?

Is it that Humanists have technology envy, tired of the virtuality of words, and Technologists have culture envy, tired of being instrumentalized as specialized mechanics? Is Software Studies the place where we trade goods, blend our cultural capitals, and leverage a new, shared bargain?
是否人文主義者具有科技欽羨的情結,厭惡文字的虛擬性,而且科技人具有文化欽羨情結,厭倦了操作化與特化的機械性關係?軟體研究是否座落在一個尷尬的地方,在此我們交易財貨、混同我們的文化資本,並且槓桿出一種新的、共享的有利生意?

If so, what does it mean that SS to date involves this transposition and transprogramming of interests, and that the wish of one discipline is to be play as the other? To me, it seems like a very good sign, and good reason to get Latour at the next meeting!
如果是這樣的話,軟體研究迄今牽涉這種利益的跨界定位與跨界程式(transposition and transprogramming of interests)究竟代表著什麼意義?這種一個學科想要被當做另外一個學科來扮演、遊戲的願望,又代表著什麼意義?對我來說,這看起來是一個非常棒的意涵,以及把 Latour 抓來下次會議很棒的理由!

我分享著他們開啟一個新的跨領域與跨學科的興奮。這個領域的誕生不是憑空出現的,也歷經了十年多的演變、前衛藝術家的嘗試實驗、運動份子的打破疆界、理論學者的對話與參與。我對於這群人與他們的論述感到如數家珍,彷彿在自己家中一樣自在,但是卻對一個無法從這種自由氣氛中獲得能量的在地僵硬學術環境感到失望

目前這些經驗都還只是一連串改變的開始而已。更有意思的整合與經驗的對話,還在深切地發酵中。除了跟美感對話之外,與社會經驗、自由軟體、身體象徵領域的交會,區域性的文化議題,都將是軟體研究會從包含你我在內的「我們」中所需要的新能量與新想像。加油!

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