Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Photoshopping Phoucault

Why is the French poststructuralist philosopher Michel Foucault such an appealing figure to Photoshop? Why are there so many digitally altered images of him on the World Wide Web? You don't see the same phenomenon with Habermas when you do a Google image search. Is it his bald head? Is it his dour reflections on authority, subjectivity, governmentality, and the way that knowledge and authorship function as part of an intellectual police state? Even one of my UCI colleagues, Peter Krapp, can't resist posting some images of Foucault in the lolcats genre! (Here is the Wikipedia defininition of what an lolcats image is, if you have a life and so consequently don't know what an "lolcat" is.)

Given Foucault's writings on the subject of the archive, it's interesting to see this week's e-mail notice about the founding of a digital library devoted to his work, although the URL now only leads to a work in progress.

Le Centre Michel Foucault, en collaboration avec l’Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC), s’apprête à ouvrir un site Internet multilingue (français, anglais, espagnol, arabe et chinois) consacré au penseur français. Appelé Michel Foucault Archives (www.michel-foucault-archives.org), il mettra à disposition des internautes une chronologie détaillée, des dossiers d’archives inédites, une iconothèque, un index complet de l’œuvre de Michel Foucault, une bibliographie de ses publications en français et les inventaires des archives disponibles à l’IMEC ou ailleurs. En outre, le site voudrait informer en temps et en heure de tous les événements suscités par la pensée foucaldienne aussi bien en France qu’à l’étranger : colloques, journées de travail, expositions, publications, etc.

Let's wish them well and hope that they don't encounter the problems that the Derrida archive has generated among the warring factions.

Update: Because the world really needs more lolcats, I feel compelled to point out the fact that L.A.'s own Machine Project is threatening to actually teach classes on LOLcode. Machine Project is also doing some cool collaborations with local mad scientists at the Institute for Figuring, so find parking downtown and check it out.

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