felix's blog

Book Out: Digital Condition (Polity Press)

I'm very happy my new book (a translation of Kultur der Digitalität) has just been published by Polity Press.

In the book I argue that referentiality, communality, and algorithmicity have become the characteristic cultural forms of the digital condition because more and more people – in more and more segments of life and by means of increasingly complex technologies – are actively (voluntarily and/or compulsorily) participating in the negotiation of social meaning. They are thus reacting to the demands of a chaotic, overwhelming sphere of information and thereby contributing to its greater expansion. It is the ubiquity of these cultural forms that makes it possible to speak of the digital condition in the singular.

The goals pursued in these cultural forms, however, are as diverse, contradictory, and conflicted as society itself. It would therefore be equally false to assume uniformity or an absence of alternatives in the unfolding of social and political developments. On the contrary, the idea of a lack of alternatives is an ideological assertion that is itself part of a specific political agenda. Indeed, advanced democracies are faced with a profound choice, to continue their long slide towards post-democratic authoritarianism or reinvent democracy for the digital condition.

You can get it from the publisher (UK, US), from Amazon (UK, US), or you local bookseller (UK, US).

The great cover image is by the Dutch artist Bernaut Smilde, from the series Nimbus, Probe #6, 2010.

Updates

OPEN SCORES. How to program the Commons

21 September – 12 October 2019
panke.gallery, Berlin
Open Scores

This exhibition brings together 16 practices through which artists articulate their own forms of (digital) commons. From online archives, to digital tools/infrastructure and educational formats, the projects envision a (post-)digital culture in which notions of collaboration, free access to knowledge, sustainable use of shared resources and data privacy are central.

For the exhibition, artists have developed a SCORE relating to their practice. A SCORE can have different meanings: It can be a general instruction, a working instruction, a performance instruction or an operating instruction. In any case, it is meant to lead to a realization of an intended action and as such is an interface between a human actor and an object/material/machine. And a SCORE can also be linked to a technical HOWTO document, in that it contains information on how to perform a specific task.

25.09. Elia Academy Keynote (Stuttgart)

More details to come as I prepare my keynote :)

https://www.elia-artschools.org/events/elia-academy/programme

21.09. Open Score (Opening), Berlin

Sat. 21 September 2019, Opening, 19:00

20:00 TEMPLATES, Music Performance, Johannes Kreidler
21:00 Let’s make a salad. Homage to Alison Knowles
22:00 DJ Gigsta
23:30 DJ ROLUX-FOX

Acces and location: https://www.panke.gallery

The Deepest of Black. AI as Social Power

This is my contribution to the catalogue for the exhibition "Entangled Realities – Living with Artificial Intelligence" showing at HEK, Basel 09.05.2019 - 11.08.2019.

In day-to-day life, most technologies are black boxes to me.1 I don’t really know how they work, yet I have a reliable sense of the relationship between the input, say pressing a button, and the output, the elevator arriving. What happens in between, whether simple local circuitry or a far-away data centre is involved, I don’t know and I don’t care. Treating complex systems as black boxes is a way of reducing complexity and this is often a very sensible thing to do. However, not all black boxes are equally black, and the depth of the blackness matters quite significantly, not the least in terms of the power relations produced through the technology. The application of artificial intelligence has a tendency to produce particularly dark shades of black. In order to find ways to deal with these applications so that they do not undermine democracy, it is important to differentiate between technical and social shades to avoid that these applications contribute further to an already high concentration of power in the hands of a few technology firms. Art, with unique ability to create new aesthetics, languages and imaginations, can play an important role in this battle.

Jenna Sutela, nimiia cétiï, 2018Jenna Sutela, nimiia cétiï, 2018

10.07. Solidarität im Postdemokratischen und im Digitalen (Wien)

Diskussion im Rahmen der Ausstellung Change Was Our Only Chance

Solidarität im Postdemokratischen und im Digitalen mit

- Barbara Prainsack, Politologin, Leiterin der Forschungsgruppe Zeitgenössische Solidaritätsstudien, Universität Wien

- Oliver Marchart, Politologe, Professur für Politische Theorie, Universität Wien

- Felix Stalder, Professor für Digitale Kultur und Theorien der Vernetzung, Hochschule der Künste Zürich

Kurzvorstellung Installation Change Was Our Only Chance in Anwesenheit von Time’s Up

Moderation: Elisabeth Falkensteiner

Eine utopische Zukunft verlangt eine kritische Gegenwart, in welcher die Dringlichkeit einer ökologischen, ökonomischen wie politisch-sozialen Veränderung ernst genommen wird. Das Rahmenprogramm will anregen über mögliche Alternativen und Strategien nachzudenken: Welche politischen Systeme können als emanzipatorische Modelle gedacht werden, sind postdemokratische Theorien Grundlagen für politische Prozesse auch in der digitalen Entwicklung? Welche Rolle spielt die Digitalisierung auch für Demokratisierungsprozesse?

Mittwoch 10 Juli, 2019 19:00 – 22:00

Angewandte Innovation Lab
Franz-Josefs-Kai 3, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Offizielle Ankündigung

From inter-subjectivity to multi-subjectivity: knowledge claims and the digital condition

Beautiful and open accessAbstract: One of the consequences of digitization is a deepening crisis of epistemology, caused by the proliferation of social, biological and machinic actors that overwhelm established methods of generating and organizing knowledge. Machine-driven analysis of large data sets is introducing a new way of doing science. In this, it is answering to this crisis while, at the same time, deepening it. Continuing to claim ‘scientific objectivity’ is becoming ever more impossible and in practice is likely to serve as a way to abdicate responsibility for the actual research and its consequences. Rather, we should seek to highlight the positionality and partiality of any claim, also and in particular in data science, thus rendering more obvious the need to combine competing claims into an understanding of the world that is not so much inter- but rather multi-subjective.

Keywords: epistemology, digitality, data science, reproducibility crisis, multi-subjectivity

One of the consequences of digitization is a deepening crisis of epistemology, caused by the proliferation of social, biological and machinic actors that overwhelm established methods of generating and organizing knowledge (Stalder 2018). And, since there is a close relationship between epistemology and politics, between ways of knowing and ways of managing the world, we are also in a deep political crisis. This manifest itself not the least in a populist rejection of ‘science’ and ‘facts’ (Manjoo 2008). This crisis of the established – let’s call it modern-liberal – epistemic-political order has created a space for the establishment of a new one, which doesn’t yet have a name, even if its outlines are already visible.

28.06. Was ist Digitalität? (München)

Ich werde die Keynote als Einführung in die Begriffe Digitalisierung (Prozess) und Digitalität (Bedingung) halten.

Was ist Digitalität? Philosophische und pädagogische Perspektiven

LMU München, 28. und 29. Juni 2019

Oettingenstraße 67, Hörsaal B001

Organisiert von

Prof. Dr. Uta Hauck-Thum (Grundschulpädagogik und -didaktik)
Prof. Dr. Dieter Frey (Center for Leadership and People Management)
Dr. Jörg Noller (Lehrstuhl I für Philosophie)

Der Begriff der Digitalität ist erst in jüngster Zeit ins Zentrum der Kultur- und Geisteswissenschaft gerückt. Er entspricht nicht dem Verständnis von Digitalisierung im Sinne der Entwicklung von Technologien, der Erfassung und Speicherung von Daten und der Automatisierung von Abläufen. Vielmehr reflektiert Digitalität auf kulturelle und gesellschaftliche Realitäten und Lebensformen, die mit der Digitalisierung einhergehen und diese im Wechselspiel wiederum ermöglichen. Ziel der Tagung ist es, das Phänomen der Digitalität näher zu bestimmen und den Blick auf kulturelle, didaktische und soziologische Aspekte des Lebens in einer digitalisierten Welt zu richten. Folgende Fragen stehen dabei im Zentrum:

* In welchem Verhältnis stehen die Phänomene „Digitalisierung“ und „Digitalität“?
* Wie verändern sich Lehr- und Lernprozesse im Kontext von Digitalisierung und Digitalität?
* Welche Herausforderungen, Chancen und Probleme ergeben sich aus der Digitalität für die Zukunft der Gesellschaft und der Universitäten?
* Wie lässt sich die Kultur der Digitalität gezielt gestalten und vermitteln?

Übersicht und Programm

25.06. Technopolitics in Urban Regeneration (Lisbon)

I will give a keynote called "Three dimensions of the digital city." Three dimensions are people, things, and nature. And all three of them are being internally and externally re-organized to deal with the growth of complexity. And a key component of the material infrastructure on which this is happening is digital technology.

About the conference
In the twenty-first century, urbanization and ecosystems deterioration are affecting cities and their peripheries making them the nexus of mankind’s challenges and opportunities. Conventional top-down master planning and municipality policymaking are not delivering the systemic changes needed to improve urban space living conditions for city citizens.

International Conference and Summer School’2019 Technopolitics in Urban Regeneration: Co-creating Public Spaces will tackle several questions with an argument that cities are a melting pot of new forms of sociability and collective action founded on an association between humans and digital technologies.

The full programm is here.

14.06. Call to Europe (Brussels)

I will take part in Session 1. Full Program (PDF)

SESSION 1 – TIME FOR A FAIR DIGITAL FUTURE (Call to Europe format)

We should stop treating the development, deployment and use of digital technology as something that is beyond our control. The systematic surveillance, the massive monopolies and increasing inequality are by no means an inevitable feature of the online environment. Instead of accepting this, and trying to adapt to it, we should actively shape the digital transition and change its direction.

To do so, we need to take a cold hard look at the private interests that drive much of today’s technological development. How can we put a stop to the business model that treats humans as tools, a mere source of data to be extracted? How can we support alternatives, and ensure that essential public values and interests buttress the online environment? How can we expand the digital commons and steer demand towards more privacy-friendly services? Digital technology has tremendous potential to increase human flourishing, and to support our citizens and democracies, but we need to take conscious decisions to bring about that future. This Call to Europe session aims to find elements for a European approach to the digital transition, in an interactive discussion between politicians, academics and civil society.

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