What is it? It’s a frequently updated webpage, presenting the viewpoints of the author, based on software available on the World Wide Web, that doesn’t require a webmaster (that is, an informatics specialist). The publishing ‘unit’ is the post, that is, the text that gets published at once, in one gesture. Click.
Blogs also have one very distinctive characteristic: each new addition is placed on the top (as opposed to the bottom in traditional page editing) and the chronology of the blog is inverted. The information is presented in an inverse order of production: the most recent information is shown first, at the top of the page, immediately after accesing it.
In my opinion, this chronology gives a feeling of contemporaneity to the processes of writing and reading. And that makes it very important in terms of creative process. The blog seems to accompany much better the development of rehearsals than other documentation. The relevance is with what’s being done at the moment, the ties to its history, though still present and accesible, are more loose.
It is argued that an intensive usage of links is also characteristic of blogs. The first noticeable blog boom is related by some authors (A. Piscitelli) to the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. In the following weeks, while information through traditional media (TV, newspapers, official releases) was scarce and very controlled, and there was much confusion and thirst for information, many individuals (academicians, people personally connected to the tragedy, journalists, government employees in their free time, etc) started sharing the information they had by publishing in blogs. This lead to grouping in terms of linking and referring to each other. In order to complete and share information from different sources, blogs would refer to other trusted blogs (in their links section, blogrolls) and to specific articles or posts (for instance by placing links in the posts themselves). The attempt to make the attack inteligible and tolerable spawned a very specific dynamic of networking that some people see now as characteristic of blogs in general. The service providers (wordpress, blogspot, etc) have included in their systems the services of trackbacks/pings (a notice authors receive when their websites are linked from somewhere else, in order to give the possibility to reciprocate and to understand better the flow of readers; eventually the service providers can even automatize the linking between different blogs once a first connection is established).
One final aspect to note is that the public (beyond authorized authors and editors) also have the possibility to publish comments on the posts. Most usually any reader can write a note in response to a post, that is then added at the end of the post, extending what’s normally called a new thread (for instance, where comments responding to a post start being responded to also with new comments both from authors and other readers).
Nowadays there are, apparently, over 8,5 million blogs online. They are free, easy to create, easy to ‘pimp’ (to customize), and very easy to update. They can have very different functions and life spans.

Practicalities condition the work, of course, and with this writing I haven’t really managed to escape that. I have to hand in this dissertation before a certain date (which I’ve already missed by long), and some of my fantasies and ambitions have to be abandoned. I don’t have the time anymore to produce this dissertation blog in its full proper form, through the practice and discipline of daily posting. Which brings me back to the idea that I had already mentioned earlier in this blog of a fake blog, which is also a sort of instance of the blog as an art piece.
How real is this blog?
How much does it need to be?
What is the chronology of this blog?
Does this form need to be trustworthy for the reader to engage with the writing?
I’ve also had to abandon other of my original ideas, such as the interviews which I never managed to prepare and execute. On the other hand, it just highlights the open ended nature of the blog, and its potential to keep expanding. Beyond the deadline (today we’re already far beyond the deadline), the blog can keep growing and absorving new pieces of writing. The interviews, the images, the statistics, the comparative analyses, maybe they will all appear in the coming months or years…

I thought that the blog I made during my trip to Japan deserved a special note. For me it was something like the first complete experience of blogging, very enriching, communicative and encouraging. I’ve already mentioned it in other parts of this blog, but pabro.wordpress.com had a couple of important features: first of all, the fact that I managed to post at least some writing every single day. Then, the fact that different kinds of contents appeared, and the blog became also a space for side projects to my trip. Alongside the log of my activities and reflections in Tokyo, I started pages about specific areas of interest: graphic design images, japanese words, satellite pictures of the neighbourhoods I was staying in, pictures of the people I met and worked with, and a couple of small videos I made while being there.
That blog became an essential space for reflecting and bridging my work there with previous experiences and studies. As I engaged with teaching a workshop and rehearsing with a group of 13 Japanese dancers I hadn’t met before, writing on the blog became the space that allowed me to reflect on what I was doing and understand to what it was connected in my background. I started realising which had been the most influential experiences at the SNDO, quite surprisingly in some cases. It also became an important parallel rehearsal space, since my working schedule with the dancers was quite limited. The blog made up for the lack of rehearsal time, since it allowed me to have a certain continuity of the work at least on the level of thought. And though the dancers in Japan didn’t participate in it, they were reading it and reacting. And as said somewhere else in this blog, the public aspect of it affected the writing and the thinking.
Finally, the circumstances around that blog I was talking about, are related to being alone in a foreign place: I was in Japan, a guest in someone else’s house, in a city whose language I couldn’t even guess at (since the alphabets are so different, it wasn’t easy to even learn and remember signs), surrounded by people that mostly couldn’t speak in english (or even less in spanish). So somehow the blog back then also had to make up, I think, for a certain lack in communication. I guess if I had been somewhere less alone and more in conversation, it wouldn’t have been so easy to write so much. In any case, it was an important experience and a good trigger for the following blog. And actually the next one, smallerinamsterdam.wordpress.com, turned out to be quite useful also. In that process I also felt that I could really make use of the blog.

I decided to not use this blog as a workspace that will later on be used as the source for a more conventional (linear) piece of writing, but to use this blog as the dissertation itself: the form, a collection of independent and interlinked reflections around the same subject. Every post adresses some level of the same issue, focusing on different aspects of it with different degrees of elaboration. It seems interesting to approach my subject through its own form: a non linear collection of connected thoughts, transversed by references and movements in different directions.

I noticed that throughout the writing I very often describe the blog as a space for/of/in which… Maybe it means my thinking is very space oriented. It is the most comfortable metaphor for it. It makes me feel that it can be a container for events, people, exchange, creation, information, disinformation… The idea of space makes me think that it allows for the possiblity of coexistance. Somehow it feels very social.

I was thinking that it might be necessary to make some notes on the form and on the way some things are written, in order to facilitate the reading. Of course in spite of choosing for the blog form, and for writing non-linearly, this piece of writing responds to a demand from an educational institution, and it is meant to be some sort of production of knowledge.
the writing / the text: everything that gets posted on the blog I am calling writing or text. It includes written text, but also pictures, videos, sounds, links and attachments. Anything placed on the blog in their different formats and methods of access. It’s curious how the graphic metaphor has remained so important for the digital media in spite of all technological evolutions (see post: ‘May 24, 2009 – Topology’ with references to the lecture ‘E-Government in the Society of Information’). Maybe it’s more appropriate to say that it’s an important metaphor for all thinking processes.
space: just like a couple of sentences ago, many times I’m describing blogs in spatial terms. For me the blog functions pretty much as a space. Please forgive the redundance of the expressions.

I was thinking about the links and the linking as another interesting aspect to look at. My father says that they are one of the defining characteristics of blogs (check also the post ‘June 23, 2009 – Definition and data’). And though I don’t agree (I think they are a defining characteristic of HTML and the World Wide Web, and that blogs make use of them because they are part of the WWW), I think they are still a very important tool. The possibility to connect very easily separate pieces of writing loosens up the structure of the writing and the reading, facilitating less linear circulations through the text and thus a less linear writing.
And, in my opinion, the fact that the links are unidirectional only makes it more interesting, cutting out (or at least blurring) the idea that there has to be a hub or center to the text. The paths of the linked information follow a logic of the local, departing from the detail of very specific points of interest. There isn’t a need to follow a master flow chart, a macro-structure like in a more traditional idea of a website. Without a ‘back’ button (like all internet browsers have – so, a tool external to the blog/website), the linked paths can be dead ends, circular, or recursive.
I think that makes it a pitty to have to hand in this writing in hard copies – I think it’s worth to read it on-line. Please check https://sndodissertationmetablog.wordpress.com/
It’s interesting to think that when Tim Berners Lee (credited for inventing the WWW) named the web spaces pages, he also tied them strongly to a traditional editorial paradigm. Webpages became a sort of transposition of the print to a digital format. The hypertext (the link, the possibility to click a word and be instantly transported to a new text) opened up then a new logic of circulation. And later on, the inverted chronology of blogs brought in a different sense of time to the Internet text, inviting to regular visits and a follow up of the content. It could be said that these dynamics in the relation between the blog (and its author), its audience and other media (specially other blogs) are specific to blogs and their circuit.