PUBLICity is an experiment for through which, in a kind of Zamizdat publishing style, a journal (Left Curve – May issue 29/2005 – http://www.leftcurve.org/) can bring varied examples of writing to attention so as to publicize aspects of global public life. The idea was to supplement our efforts with attention to things that may or may not have registered notice previously in the usual academic forums. Somewhat circular in intention and execution then, the Zamizdat style papers over the cracks in an uneven but dynamic global public sphere – this is an effort to pick up on what has been missed, to learn lessons from events that have not yet been covered, to renew our curiosity by exploring the gaps and venturing over new terrains. What may seem an eclectic kaleidoscope of pieces – diverse, short, writerly, interventions and reports – is meant to bring examples of planetary publicity into focus where perhaps social science has often been rather more parochial, or unable to comment with a rapid enough response. The section bypasses the usual referee process of the journal so as to comment on contingency now, rather than in the year or more structured by the necessary delays and relays of scholarly publishing. We are interested to tamper with the ways knowledge production might lag behind a thinking on the move that trawls through the detritus of urban life for evidence, rumours, trinkets and news that we will then take seriously and consider as the luminous and revealing produce of our times.
Unilaterally, the section editor sought a diversity of writing in terms of content, location, orientation and intention – always aiming to make more visible, and to think more creatively, through issues and concerns that might otherwise be missed, might be buried in the conventions or reportage, or be passed over without murmur. I’d like to think the kaleidoscopic here is a viewfinder for the souvenirs of global public culture. A prism house of language (giving publicity/mainstreaming news). Our contributions are from a wide range of places, angles and come in varied styles. The choice of topics and authors is not neutral, indeed the selections are structured by personal choice and evaluation (rather than by dictatorship of the secretariat), and though some effort was made to mix known authors with unfamiliar topics, or to juxtapose pieces in implicit dialogues of content and tone, any unity of format remains accidental. How should you read this section? Perhaps we could imagine that the articles are meant to work through curious correspondences as a kind of planetary arcades project (still awaiting its Benjamin) through which the readerly flaneur may browse. The section will morph and mutate as it grows, feedback is welcome.
Suggestions for topics to be covered from potential authors should, in the first instance, be sent to John Hutnyk at John.Hutnyk@gold.ac.uk by Nov 1st, 2006. Usual length will be approx 1000 words. In the section published in the current issue individual authors are identified, where appropriate, by name, city and email address to encourage correspondence.