The Oxford Protocol : Modules


Protocols are often depicted as conservative—as a means of maintaining order by invoking convention and reasserting rules.   But as a formal language of and for connection, protocols can be more fully engaged as enabling constraints; they enable one connection by disabling others.  In its earliest form, for example, a “protocol” was a short document attached by red wax to a larger document; the protocol smoothed the progress of the principal communication by specifying the particular procedures to be observed by all parties. Smoothing, however, is only one effect; protocols can also be dynamic and disruptive, operating virally when transported from one environment into another.  Protocols that travel can be understood as design agents, creating new connectivities while disrupting established ones.  Used in that manner, they can generate a syntax for movement from one conceptual architecture to another.  If the environment at issue, for example, is our current configuration of knowledge—disciplinarity—then the migration of protocols can promote de-disciplinarity—a movement “from” familiar shapes (disciplines)  and arrangements (specialization) into new alignments of newly knowable spaces.

Oxford Group, January 2014: Academy Turned Inside Out | Apotheosis | Core Technology | The Dedisciplinary Environment | Explanatory/Descriptive? | Fiction | Good Explanation | Mediation | Platform | Polemic | Portal | Problems | Protocol | Protocol (II) | Search*/Know* | Sciences/Humanities | Stuckness | Threshold Effects | Topology | Touchstones