I think I better start off by warning people that this stammered address is hardly going to be fluid. By the time I reach even this point of the address, we'll have discovered why it is that I fear speaking in public and in fact would avoid it as if it were a mediatised, pseudo-historical event, or, would avoid it, in order not to induce within myself some inkling of belonging to all the other spokespersons and publicists. That is why the current conditions of its reception barely audible and coming through via the slickness of consensus-inducing computer technology - seems like the only way to agree to delivering this address. Either that, or it should be spoken into the microphone only to be replayed backwards; the strange rhythms of a butchered and flayed voice-box... a tongue frozen to the roof of the mouth, a contorting gap drawing attention to the possibility of another word other than the one that comes; in short, a mouthhole that, in buying and delaying time, already demands a re-think and a re-write. But this is already a theme. A stammered word, half-begun and half-finished... it seems to me that such a wavering between absence and presence, the breathlessness of a disjunctive pause, is more than indicative of the topic of this address...

What we have here is a public speaker with a stammer who consequently is no public speaker. But I think that this, rather than being a kind of self-conscious appeal for a sympathetic hearing, alludes to what I have been asked to record here today. That I, a stammerer, have been asked to address this meeting by others here, is a strong pointer to what motivates the post-media attitude. For starters, it suggests that post-media operators are hardly very conscious of maximising the PR potential and cronyism of such a gathering. Why choose a stammerer whose words may very well be garbled and whose syntax may very well be so disjointed as to be unintelligible? This, to me, not only suggests the importance of music for the post-media scene, an openness to non-verbal forms of communication and the all-important and much overlooked struggle for the means of expression, but it also indicates that what is considered of prime importance to the post-media operators is the activity that goes on in places other than in this room and at this console; that a stammered address points us to consulting and engaging with the post-media magazines, journals, record labels, web-sites etc. But, whatsmore, we've also got a situation here where we are perhaps being made to feel uncomfortable. Often I've been in an audience and I've heard the nervous tones and wavering voice of another speaker and I think we feel embarrassed by this because we are conditioned into expecting speech and speeches that are flawless, rehearsed and professional, and which function kind-of-like adverts for the speaker. Such a seamlessness brings to mind the chrome-plated newscasters and constrained texts of a structurally subdued journalism. A lecture, a talk, an address, becomes a means of visibility that feeds into fees and the trade in ideas. A valorised coherence rather than a pre-articulation. The post-media attitude is, for me, somewhat contrary to this and, I feel, politicised because of it. What we have in the magazines, journals, labels and web-sites is a kind of febrile communication that legitimises itself; generates its own self-confidence and works laterally rather than vertically. In many ways post-media operations aspire to invisibility in that, as with the web-site programmer, they dissolve behind a fledgling community or subsist beneath their obsession. A hazardous poise.

When we hear the wavering voice of the speaker, or the stammerer stuttering, we are perhaps embarrassed because we also sense the falsity of the situation, its constructedness... chairs in rows, tables, jugs of water; we are also alive to the sensation of an audience as being judgmental, critical or defensive about what a person is saying. The nervousness is our reminder of a 'gap' that is being established just at the point when it was supposedly being breached by 'bringing' an audience-in-common together. There's a competitive indifference rather than a play of difference. So, if we are post-media, we are post-media in the sense that we are trying to close the gap set up by mediation, the gap that draws people apart, the gap into which, it seems, everyone, in the rush to be recognised, seems to want to fill. But by doing this in this way, by going-in individually, the gap doesn't close, it just gets wider. We are maybe dealing here with a post-media opposition to opportunism as this latter can be seen initially as a commitment to career meeting the lack of an aim-inhibited identification with others. The growth of communication and knowledge as economic resources, the acculturation of capitalism, means that there are increasing openings for which more people compete to gain admittance. The rise of the cultural sector as a money-spinner for capitalism means that opportunism is on the increase. The opportunism is such that by causing a grasping after opportunities it establishes a self-centredess, a self-strictured and specialised focus that seems not to admit of the presence of any others except those who are similarly opportunist and those who can be used as vehicles to assuage the opportunism. A kind of phalanx of media-cadre. An example of this can be the seen in the political dimension of an interview where the interviewer can gain kudos from the interviewee and visaversa. Where often a kind of pillaging can go on or a kind of indirect communication that looks beyond the interview situation towards the reception of what is said. The interview can be a situation that functions like a blackhole: two people communicating to others who aren't present: mythical others... like an audience. The post-media attitude obviously wants to establish a gap between itself and the opportunist pit-fall!. The post-media way of doing things can be seen as establishing a direct and communal communication, one that is accessible and closer to a practice whose effects, not unfolding in an immediately forgettable mediatised instant, reach fruition over periods that resuscitate an awareness of the passage of time. Foucault perhaps hits this on the head when he says: "Refer the discourse not to the thought, to the mind, or subject which might give rise to it, but to the practical field in which it is deployed". Practice and action, are, for the post-media operators, not mutually exclusive terms. Ease of involvement becomes the watchword here.

But returning to the stammer. What has occurred to me as an explanation for this shitty stammer is that it is expressive of a gap between thought and language. There is an operation that occurs between my thinking of a word and my utterance of it. This gap can often be unconscious, it can surprise me so to speak... I can stammer at the most inopportune of moments. There are also certain words that I always stutter on such as nnnnnnnniine (no I won't say it). What can be drawn from this partial explanation of the stammer is that, for a stammerer, language is not something that is reified or second nature, it is something I am acutely aware of and being aware of it has made me sensitive to varying contexts and atmospheres. But for our purposes today, the stammer has made me reflect upon language: a personal relationship to it, a 'situated' relationship to it, how other people use it, how language can be institutional, how it can construct its own motives and adopt more fitting ones, how it is conjoined to emotional factors and how it can be 'blocked' and function approximately and in generalisms. Similarly, we can, in a post-media context, substitute the word 'language' for the word 'media' and conjecture how those engaged in post-media activity are, perhaps unconsciously, carrying out reflections on, and an auto-critique of, the media. For post-media operators the media is not taken for granted but is silhouetted by similar factors as those that a stammerer may see around language. I think it is here as well that we can put the mokers on the underground versus mainstream split... to use the analogy of the stammer... I am both a fluent speaker and a stammerer... these are the differing conditions of my language and, extending this to the post-media context, it becomes possible to say that a zine producer is dealing with media but deploying it to a different end: at times shoddy and overly idiosyncratic, obsessive and poignant, resolutely small scale and anti-institutional, but above all revelatory of its means of construction and production... and, importantly, always tending elsewhere, towards groups and collaborations, towards beginnings. As with the stammerer there is an added element of reflection that enters into the equation and one of the first outcomes of this reflection is to see that the media functions not in terms of meaning... creating meaning, pushing meaning... but in terms of marketing... but what is worse is it presents marketing as entertainment and what is worse is it presents a distracted entertainment and what is worse is that it presents a distracted entertainment that admonishes and abolishes thought and reflection. From the shittiest cable station to The Wire magazine the media deals in individualities rather than movements and collectivities... and the post-media operators, in contrast, are dealing in scenes (to varying degrees of cliquishness) that in some cases are actually dealing with, and are part of, a historic and continuing sense of community (such as can be seen from working class and communist literature). Meaning in such contexts is generated between people and is deployed outwards rather than inwards (what I mean by inwards is that it is opportunist in the sense that the meaning generated in academic and some media circles, being caught structurally in the trap of book production, relates to individual authors and that this is unconsciously reflected in the writing itself - I think, instead, of communist literature, where huge reams of research are presented anonymously as if they function as 'gifts' to a wider movement. This is important, in any post-media context, for it is suggestive that creativity has a purpose other than being caught in some mirror-stage where an author is entranced by his or her own reflection. Pierre Bordieu has called such a process "narcissistic complacency". Postmedia practice, then, is more engaged in the construction of counter-meaning and is a persistent challenge to those meanings that circulate more widely but which reinforce, to put it bluntly, capitalism: individualism, opportunity, success, exposure, buying and selling. Ideas that circulate within the media are often so decontextualised and bounded by established forms and ideological mechanics that they loose social-relevance. They can't be hooked-up and set to work. For a stammerer, fluency of language is so much taken for granted that the problems and challenges of language that, say, I encounter, become a means of making my own experiences into an irrelevancy.

Irrelevancy? Maybe I should go to speech-therapy and get a job as a journalist? To be opportunist I could answer this rhetorical question by saying "a little yes and a little no", but really what is at issue with post-media operators is making what is irrelevant, displaced and inappropriate in a media context, into something that for many people is more provoking, situated, linked-up and potentiated than what is already widely available. Why does one thing merit exposure and another thing not? The most seemingly free as the most disarmingly censored? The media can be fluent and stammered, it can be primal in the extreme (tabloid) and sophisticatedly seductive, it can be clever and ironic, but most of all it seems to be opaque. Post-media is about dissatisfaction and suspicion about what is made available and I mean suspicion in the sense of its being critical and wary of motive rather than being debilitatingly mistrusting. Information comes in the guise of an objectivity underpinned by 'hidden constraints'. If the media is dispassionately motivated then post-media can be a site of transparent passion and aim-inhibited reflexes. It is this transparency that makes it attractive as a site of engagement. It has nothing to hide and has the strength to carry forward and explore its convictions. If, as a stammerer, I have agreed to speak to more people than I have ever spoken to before it is really in order to demonstrate some of the things I have spoken about. To be a 'live' example of them, to show a lack of fear that has been communicated to me by other post-media operators, to expose myself, to risk being misunderstood, to demonstrate what passion is capable of achieving. Maybe, above all else, it is to show that anybody can do it if they disentangle themselves from the overriding prohibitions and fears of what others may think, because afterall, it is only by breaching the gaps that society can become transparent enough to encourage our actions to aim for its weakest points where, at present, its only cohesiveness, the last remnant of its passivity-inducing arsenal, lies in the fear a person may have of another. Pierre Bordieu sums this up when, in talking of political journalism he remarks how it shows us "a world full of incomprehensible and unsettling dangers from which we must withdraw for our own protection". Post media operations seem to me to be about risk.. they are horizontal, dispersed and all-inclusive and, in being so, are open to what may come to 'affect' it. In this way I think it is activity that is socialised and polyphonic, that can imagine what it wants to imagine rather than have its fantasies made-up for it like a be-spoke suit. It could imagine revolution if it wanted to.

I can say in concluding that my stammer has predisposed me to post-media operations. At its best, a lack of willingness to speak means that the whole area of possession of the means of expression is, for me, still an issue. As with other post-media operators, expression is not taken for granted and it still appears to me to be necessary to encourage a growth of expression. One that is unguarded and not subject to such structural constraints as circulation figures, mythical audience categorisation and the circularity of exclusives. Whereas the media, acting like a filter, wants to maintain a quality-control, a party line, that is obedient to the communicative and aesthetic demands of capitalism, post-media operators are aware that it is no longer necessary to spectate upon the expressions of cultural celebrities, but, becoming aware that such celebrities are often haphazardly chosen from the networks of opportunism and cronyism, that they are legitimated by the media for a reason, it falls to the post-media operators to illustrate through their practice, that others, can, and should have, a confidence in their own autonomous activity. A growth in expression undermines the ideologies of consent. It always remains a matter of looking elsewhere.

Howard Slater Break/Flow