The theoretical backbone to the Devonshire Manuscript project demonstrated by Raymond Siemens is the meditation on the process of knowledge creation and conveyance, specifically in relation to the social and power: who is creating the knowledge and legitimizing it? These questions invite us to consider the history of the institution. The separation of the “mad” and the “civilized” under the clinical institution in the eighteenth-century that Foucault pointed to, created the power division of the institution as the sole entity that holds truth and ability to cure, and those who were dependent on the institution.
The lectures by Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Siemens, in addition to the past readings suggest a trend of the digital age that is exposing and balancing the power relation between the institution and the mass. As entities outside of traditional institutions (independent corporations, organizations, etc.) began to forge ways of distributing and effectively creating knowledge that drew from the network of the mass, traditional institutions are now faced with adapting to the new configuration, and in tern self-critically assess its history of knowledge creation, which, as Fitzpatrick and Siemens suggest through the origin of journal review, originates in a non-institutional, person-to-person review of text in the royal society.
As a member of an institution that holds influence in a global scale, I am encouraged to think about these power dynamics and how it relates to the institution’s current branding in the global arena. Creating partnerships that result in economic and/or cultural capital in regions, its strategies range from self proclaiming agenda to assess its presence as a cultural cannon, to direct goal for fundraising and building global membership. I am working on the former strategy, which, if done sensitively, perhaps could manifest in results that are sincere revision of the power dynamic problematized above. I am learning the mechanism of the digital that allows us to put a check in the traditional institutional structure, and bring forth a new type of knowledge making.