Saturday, March 1, 2014

Digression Tautology

The reference comes from an overly zealous grad student who read a little Derrida and decides she was an expert. Expert enough to try and embarrass a guest speaker all the while attempting to make herself feel superior but ending up sounding intellectually smug. Thankfully there were those in the audience who had also read Derrida and didn't take it as whole gospel fact nor beyond reproach. The question was concerning an augmented reality 'talk' that that uses augmented reality (AR) as part of the presentation. She enquired if the 'talk' was not just a digression tautology in reference to the performance of the subject he was researching. It seems fine arts folks have glombed on to the Philosopher as the official Artists spokesperson for philosophical debate. Not a bad choice but there are a few tenants I would question. What was more annoying than the grad students incessant need to reference her Philosophy 501 reading list and the overt need to inform us that unless we knew what 'digressive tautology' is we just don't cut it. We don't even belong in the room. The funny thing was, the room is filled with scholars! Many, as I have mentioned were well versed and willing to make the argument against her thinly veiled attack on us the audience. In the context of augmented reality the question of digression is a legitimate one particularly if you are interested in the philosophical question surrounding the virtual. The "redundancy" inferred by the notion of tautology in AR, seems naive (to be kind). The virtual still exists even if it is ephemeral or intangible. It is also making clear what may not be evident. For that matter most advertising would be a tautology if we are to believe the makers of products. Sure, I too was once an overly enthusiastic grad student who wanted people to know I could play hard ball. I just didn't kick the senior players in the privates on the way to the batter's box.