I am very happy to share news about my book Spate: A Navigational Theory of Networks. Published by The Institute of Network Cultures (INC). The book is free for download; a print copy can also be ordered online.
Spate: a Navigational Theory of Networks is a critical and theoretical reflection on networked communication, developed with repurposed tweets (@poemita) posted between 2010 and 2014. The original tweets, which were written as critical commentary about online communication and information exchange, have been rewritten from different points of view to develop five chapters. The five chapters function as an anti-story about multiple perceptions within a decentralized network.
I want to thank the Geert Lovink, Miriam Rasch, Leonieke van Dipten, and Léna Robin at The Institute of Network Cultures for supporting the realization of Spate.
Graphic by Ben Jackson and Chris Ritter as credited on Buzzfeed
The chart above was posted on Buzzfeed back in October of 2012. It was linked to an article titled “Why Remix Culture Needs New Copyright Laws.” The article revisits many of the issues that are still prevalent in 2013 in terms of remix. One would expect major changes at this stage of media production, especially with social media, but the chart reminds independent media producers that there is much work that needs to be done.
Calit2 has made available the panel discussion for the exhibition I curated, Three Junctures of Remix. Artists part of the panel include, in order of appearance, Giselle Beiguelman, Elisa Kreisinger, Mark Amerika, and Arcangel Constanini. The discussion ends with a 10 minute performance by Constanini with his own musical object named Phonotube.
‘Depletion Design’ suggests that ideas of exhaustion cut across cultural, environmentalist, and political idioms and offers ways to explore the emergence of new material assemblages. Soenke Zehle and Carolin Wiedemann discuss Depletion Design with Marie-Luise Angerer, Jennifer Gabrys and David M. Berry, inviting tm13 participants into a collaborative reflection on the necessity to understand human beings as one species among others – constituted by interactions of media, organisms, weather patterns, ecosystems, thought patterns, cities, discourses, fashions, populations, brains, markets, dance nights and bacterial exchanges (Angerer); on the material leftovers of electronics as provocations to think through and rework practices of material politics that may be less exploitative within our natural-cultural relationships (Gabrys); and on lines of flight from and through the computational – about expanding them into new ways of living beyond current limitations and towards new means of judgment and politics (Berry).
Depletion Design: A Glossary of Network Ecologies
Ed. Carolin Wiedemann & Soenke Zehle
Theory on Demand#8
Amsterdam: INC, 2012
We, or so we are told, are running out of time, of time to develop alternatives to a new politics of emergency, as constant crisis has exhausted the means of a politics of representation too slow for the state of exception, too ignorant of the distribution of political agency, too focused on the governability of financial architectures. But new forms of individual and collective agency already emerge, as we learn to live, love, work within the horizon of depletion, to ask what it means to sustain ourselves, each other, again. Of these and other knowledges so created, there can no longer be an encyclopedia; a glossary, perhaps.
Contributors: Marie-Luise Angerer (Cyborg), Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi (Exhaustion, Soul Work), David M. Berry (On Terminality), Zach Blas (Queer Darkness), Drew S. Burk (Grey Ecology), Gabriella Coleman (Anonymous), Heidi Rae Cooley (Ecologies of Practice), Sebastian Deterding (Playful Technologies, Persuasive Design), Jennifer Gabrys (Natural History, Salvage), Johannes Grenzfurthner & Frank A. Schneider (Hackerspace), Eric Kluitenberg (Sustainable Immobility), Boyan Manchev (Disorganisation, Persistence), Lev Manovich (Software), Sonia Matos (Wicked Problems), Timothy Morton (Ecology without Nature), Jason W. Moore (Crisis), Anna Munster (Digital Embodiment), Eduardo Navas (Remix[ing] Re/Appropriations), Brett Neilson (Fracking), Sebastian Olma (Biopolitics, Creative Industries, Vitalism), Luciana Parisi (Algorithmic Architecture), Jussi Parikka (Dust Matter), Judith Revel (Common), Ned Rossiter (Dirt Research), Sean Smith (Information Bomb), Hito Steyerl (Spam of the Earth)
The RE/Mixed Media Festival, now in it’s 3rd year, is an annual celebration of collaborative art-making and creative appropriation. It’s the artists’ contribution to the ongoing conversation about remixing, mashups, copyright law, fair use, and the freedom of artists to access their culture in order to add to and build upon it.
The festival – which this year will take place at the Brooklyn Lyceum – a 3-floor 10,000 sq. ft. venue on the border of the Park Slope and Gowanus neighborhoods of Brooklyn – will feature performances, panel discussions, live musical collaborations, hip-hop, sampling, film & video, DIY, food and drink, DJs, technology, interactive installations, painting, sculpture, software, hacking, and much more!
“The Ethics of Modular Complexity in Sustainability” was published in the CSPA Quarterly, Spring 2010 Issue. My text is available online according to a Creative Commons License adopted by the CSPA Journal. The content may be copied, distributed, and displayed as long as proper credit is given to the CSPA and the individual author(s), and as long as these contents are used by others for noncommercial purposes only. Any derivative works that result from these contents must also be shared alike.
The journal is the print publication for The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, a non-profit that supports artists and organizations in the process of becoming ecologically and economically sustainable while maintaining artistic excellence.
Editor statement for Spring 2010 issue:
In this issue, we’re working against the stereotypes of the form, and attempting to broaden its term. As always, we’re exploring our chosen theme across disciplines and were delighted to include sculpture, visual art, theater, public art, and media art in the following pages. Instead of asking for work based on waste materials, we asked for work built from objects that already exist.
Abstract: “Remix: The Ethics of Modular Complexity in Sustainability” evaluates sustainability in networked culture. It considers how the flow of information in terms of immaterial production and its relation to knowledge play a role in a fourth economic layer supported by the growing ubiquity of globalization. It revisits and expands, yet again, on my interest in Jacques Attali’s concepts of noise and music to propose a critical position fully embedded in pervasive connectivity.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This text was written as a testing ground for my growing interest in the concepts of volume and module, as explored in vodule.com. Consequently, this text uses the term modular complexity, but does not define it. I consider this text as part of my process to develop a precise definition of modular complexity in social and cultural terms. The interests that inform this text are also relevant to my current research on Remix and Cultural Analytics. Future writings will make clear the interrelation of all these ongoing projects.
This online version contains minor edits made in order to clarify the argument.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, sustainability can be read with a double meaning: to be self-supportive while socially conscious. This is because specialized fields (and individuals who work in these fields) need to be aware of their interconnectivity if they are to subsist in global culture. Sustainability is relevant in the arts and media according to the interrelation of material and intellectual production, given that such relation supports specialized fields. Sustainability, when linked to social consciousness, modifies how the recycling of material becomes relevant in culture at large. One could promote a philosophy of sustainability, which embodies critical awareness of the politics of intellectual and material property with real consequences in daily life. This is relevant in all areas of culture, even when one may produce strictly in the realm of aesthetics, and other specialized spaces that appear distanced from politics and economy.
The double signification of sustainability also shares principles of recycling with Remix as a form of discourse. This is because Remix expands across culture from music to ecology: from immaterial pleasure to material responsibility. The act of remixing has become common due to the rise of information exchange dependent on cut/copy and paste, which is an act of sampling data in all forms. It enables individuals to apply the attitude of recombining in the realms of aesthetics and material reality, albeit with different results. To be able to critically understand how such attitude functions in the symbolic and the material is the very challenge of sustainability.
Janneke Adema has taken the time to analyze selected texts available on Remix Theory. She connects my theories of Remix to the future of the book. Adema also discusses the theories of Lev Manovich in terms of Remixability.
In the first part of New Visions for the Book, I described how the concept of the book is being used as a strategic power tool to argue for a certain knowledge system. I tried to show how within this discourse certain essentialist notions—such as authorship, stability, and authority—still hold a lot of prestige and are hard to discard. In the subsequent parts of New Visions for the Book I therefore want to take a few expeditions outside the world of the scholarly book to look at the way other disciplines and other media have struggled with or have come to terms with the above mentioned notions. I want to start with looking at the concept of remix, engaged with mostly in music and art theory but increasingly a concept applied to describe and analyse culture at large. Here I want to focus on two thinkers who have extensively theorized remix: Eduardo Navas and Lev Manovich. After taking an in depth look at Navas work on remix first, I will explore Manovich’s thoughts on the subject in the next post, contrasting it with Navas’s ideas. Finally, I will explore what the consequences of their thoughts and their analysis of remix are for the scholarly book, the knowledge order it stands for and the concepts it reifies.
Welcome to definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009. First up – What is open source hardware? These are projects in which the creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and “board” files to recreate the hardware – they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source software like Linux, but this hardware centric.
Each year we do a guide to all open source hardware and this year there are over 125 unique projects/kits in 19 categories, up from about 60 in 2008, more than doubling the projects out there! – it’s incredible! Many are familiar with Arduino (shipping over 100,000 units, estimated) but there are many other projects just as exciting and filled with amazing communities – we think we’ve captured nearly all of them in this list. Some of these projects and kits are available from MAKE others from the makers themselves or other hardware manufacturers – but since it’s open source hardware you can make any of these yourself, start a business, everything is available, that’s the point.
This year, I am asking for your help – the Open source hardware page on Wikipedia is missing more projects that it actually has total at the moment. If any readers out there want to help out, review all the projects we’ve listed and please add them to the Wikipedia page so it’s a more complete resource. Also, many projects on the Wikipedia page are not “Open source hardware” but that will likely be debated, at the least – all of the projects in this guide are considered open source hardware by those who actually does open source hardware it seems.
Jeremy Douglass (left) and Lev Manovich (far right) demonstrate how to analyze data on the Hyper Wall at Calit2.
The Cultural Analytics seminar took place at Calit2 on December 16 and 17 of 2009. The event brought together researchers and students from Bergen University and University of California San Diego. The two day event consisted of research presentations and demos of software tools.
Part One of Hyper Wall Demonstration during Cultural Analytics Seminar at Calit2, San Diego, December 16-17, 2009. Introduction to principles of Cultural Analytics.
I will not spend much time in this entry defining Cultural Analytics. This subject has been well covered by excellent blogs such as Open Reflections. For this reason, at the end of this entry I include a number of links to resources that focus on Cultural Analytics. Instead, I will briefly share what I believe Cultural Analytics offers to researchers in the humanities.
Part Two of Hyper Wall Demonstration during Cultural Analytics Seminar at Calit2, San Diego, December 16-17, 2009. Analysis of Vertov’s motion in scenes from Man with a Movie Camera.
This emerging field can be defined as a hybrid practice that utilizes tools of quantitative analysis often found in the hard sciences for the enhancing of qualitative analysis in the humanities. The official definition of the term follows:
Cultural analytics refers to a range of quantitive and analytical methodologies drawn from the natural and social sciences for the study of aesthetics, cultural artifacts and cultural change. The methods include data visualization techniques, the statistical analysis of large data sets, the use of image processing software to extract data from still and moving video, and so forth. Despite its use of empirical methodologies, the goals of cultural analytics generally align with those of the humanities.
One thing that separates the humanities from the hard sciences is the emphasis of qualitative over quantitative analysis. In very general terms qualitative analysis is often used to evaluate the how and why of particular case studies, while quantitative analysis focuses on patterns and trends, that may not always be concerned with social or political implications.
Part Three of Hyper Wall Demonstration during Cultural Analytics Seminar at Calit2, San Diego, December 16-17, 2009. Jeremy Douglass analyzes comic books.
What Cultural Analytics is doing, in my view, is bringing together qualitative and quantitative analysis for the interests of the humanities. In a way Cultural Analytics could be seen as a bridge between specialized fields that in the past have not always communicated well.
Consequently, when new ground is being explored, questions of purpose are bound to emerge, which is exactly what happened during seminar conversations. As the videos that accompany this brief entry will demonstrate, the real challenge is for researchers in the humanities to engage not only with Cultural Analytics tools and envision how such tools can enhance their practice, but to actually embrace new philosophical approaches that blur the lines between the hard sciences and the humanities.
Part Four of Hyper Wall Demonstration during Cultural Analytics Seminar at Calit2, San Diego, December 16-17, 2009. Cicero Da Silva explains his collaborative project, Macro.
To be specific on the possibilities that Cultural Analytics offers to the humanities, I will cite two demonstrations by Lev Manovich and Jeremy Douglass.
Lev Manovich at one point presented Hamlet by William Shakespeare in its entirety on Calit2’s Hyper Wall, which consists of several screens that enable users to navigate data at a very high resolution.
When seeing the entire text at once, one is likely to realize that this methodology is more like mapping. To this effect, soon after, we were shown a version of the text in which Manovich had isolated the repetition of certain words throughout the literary work.
This approach could be used by a literature scholar to study certain linguistic strategies, such as sentence structure, by an author. Let’s take this a step further and say that it has been agreed that a contemporary author is influenced by a canonical writer. How this supposed influence takes effect can be evaluated by studying certain patterns of sentences from both authors by isolating parts of literary texts for direct comparison. One could then evaluate if the supposed influence is formal, conceptual or both: perhaps the contemporary author might make ideological references that are clearly linked to the canonical author, but which are not necessarily influenced at a formal level; or it could be the other way around, or both. In this case, quantitative and qualitative analysis are combined to evaluate a case study. In other words, pattern comparison is used to understand the similarities and differences between two or more works of literature.
To this effect, Jeremy Douglass’s presentation of a comic book is important. He explained how by seeing an entire publication of a comic book story one can study how certain patterns in the narrative come to define the aesthetics for the reader.
While the reader may be able to experience the story in time, by actually reading it, the visualization of the comic book in grid-like fashion–as a structural map–allows the researcher to apply analysis of patterns and trends that may be more common in flows of networks to an actual narrative. Again, in this case we find quantitative and qualitative analysis complementing each other.
As noted at the end of the article “Culture is Data” (also provided below) from Open Reflections, it appears that Manovich is at times understood to argue that one should privilege quantitative over qualitative analysis. This proposition implies an either or mentality by certain researchers that needs to be reevaluated. Janneke Adema explains his answer better than I ever could:
But, on the other hand, won’t we loose a sense of meaning if we analyze culture like a thing? Manovich argues that this is of course a complementary method, we should not throw away our other ways of establishing meaning. It is a way of expanding them. And it is also an important expansion, for how is one going to ask about the meaning of large datasets? We need to combine the traditionally [sic]humanities approach of interpretation with digital techniques to find out more. And again, meaning is not the only thing to look at. It is also about creating an experience. Patterns are the new real of our society.
The most important thing to understand when evaluating the videos available with this entry is that one need not have a hyper wall to do research with Cultural Analytics methodologies; many of the tools can run on a personal computer. It’s more about adopting an attitude and willingness to do research by way of combining quantitative and qualitative analysis. At the moment I am evaluating the implementation of Cultural Analytics in my research on Remix.