tcrg July 9: Set (Mackenzie)

by lukevanryn

This week we read Adrian Mackenzie’s chapter “Set” from the recent collection Inventive Methods (Lury and Wakeford, eds.). This collection aims to contribute tools to investigate “the happening of the social world — its ongoingness, relationality, contingency and sensuousness” (Lury and Wakeford, “Introduction”, p. 2).

Mackenzie discusses the Getting Things Done productivity system in relation to broader questions of the way that sets mediate everyday life. These sets vary in complexity from playlists to Pubmed. GTD, according to Mackenzie, addresses the proliferation of tasks both from outside (from one’s peers, boss, pets) and from the inside (desires, tastes, projects) by ensuring that sets remain closed, and open only at defined junctures (223-4).

If the database, with all its tables, schemas and queries, attempts to construct open-ended processes of set-based relations, it might be that the personal productivity system, with all its lists and folders, attempts to seal out of the productive self the currents and shocks of rapidly transforming patterns of mobility, communication, production and governance generated by database-driven processes. (225)

We meet as usual in the Pierre Gorman Room, 1888 at 5pm.

[PDF] Mackenzie, A. (2012). Set. In C. Lury & N. Wakeford (Eds.), Inventive Methods: the happening of the social (pp. 219-231). New York: Routledge.