Objects, knowledge, individuals emerge from circulation. They are produced by movement, by directional flow. It’s simple to state this and discuss it in conceptual terms – it’s much more difficult to embody it in historical practice. How might we do that better? If it is inevitable that knowledge is produced by (or at least necessarily transforms via) circulation, then a paper (a work-in-progress) needs to circulate in order to come to life. Many of us are afraid of others associating our names with unpolished, unfinished, error-filled, inchoate writing; we’re afraid that others will take our ideas (take them where?) before we mark our ownership (do we own ideas?) with publication (what constitutes “publication” now, given the explosion of available media with which to develop and share ideas? Does this count as a publication?).
So what are thinking, what are we afraid of, what are we assuming when we demand restricted access, accessibility only to those who will be physically present to discuss the work in the juicy flesh with us, for our own work-in-progress – and isn’t all written work always, on some level, always in-progress, always frozen in a moment of becoming, and in the process of changing?