US forces in Iraq were part of a firefight in the city of Fallujah on Thursday. At least six Iraqis were killed. It was not known precisely what role the American troops were playing in the situation. Even though President Obama declared the end of combat missions, the history of the Iraq War is still being written. And it is being written, every day, on Wikipedia. The Iraq War entry on that site is massive, thousands of edits over the years. Still, the only thing most people see is the most recent version. James Bridle is a writer, editor, and publisher in London. He gathered together all the Wikipedia material related to the war from 2004 to 2009 and made a 12 volume set of hard bound books. We talk to James Bridle about war, the memory of the internet, and how to make an accurate accounting on a site that’s always changing. Also in this show, we talk to Anders Wright about Halo Reach.
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The internet has been around long enough now that it has a proper history, and it has started to produce media and artefacts that live in and comment on that history. James will be talking about his work with writing, books and wikipedia that hopes to explain and illuminate this temporal depth.
James Bridle is a publisher, writer and artist based in London, UK. He founded the print-on-demand classics press Bookkake and the e-book-only imprint Artists’ eBooks, and created Bkkeepr, a tool for tracking reading and sharing bookmarks, and Quietube, an accidental anti-censorship proxy for the Middle East. He makes things with words, books and the internet, and writes about what he does at booktwo.org.
Between The Alexandrian War of 48 BCE and the Muslim conquest of 642 CE, the Library of Alexandria, containing a million scrolls and tens of thousands of individual works was completely destroyed, its contents scattered and lost. An appreciable percentage of all human knowledge to that point in history was erased. Yet in his novella “The Congress”, Jorge Luis Borges wrote that “every few centuries, it’s necessary to burn the Library of Alexandria”.
In his session James will ask if, as we build ourselves new structures of knowledge and certainty, as we design our future, should we be concerned with the value of our ruins?
With a background in both computing and traditional publishing James Bridle attempts to bridge the gaps between technology and literature. He runs Bookkake, a small independent publisher and writes about books and the publishing industry at booktwo.org. In 2009 he helped launch Enhanced Editions, the first e-reading application with integrated audiobooks.
James will discuss the architecture of datacenters, the subjectivity of Google Street View, and the pixelation of everything, in an attempt to calibrate our new position in the world.