felix's blog

Celebrating 25 Years of "Information Age" trilogy. A round table

A semi-virtual roundtable to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Manuel Castells' The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Castells, Professor of Sociology at the UOC, gave the opening lecture.

My contribution starts at 01:49:50. In it, I draw parallels between our current systemic blockages preventing necessary (ecological) transformations and those of the late Soviet Union blocking the adaption to informationalism. This argument is worked out more fully here.
My review of the trilogy from 1998 is here.


03.06. Round table "The Network Society Today: (Revisiting) the Information Age Trilogy" (online)

The Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), the UOC's research institute specializing in the study of the internet and the effects of interactions between digital technologies and human activity, is celebrating 20 years since its founding.

The event to mark this will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Manuel Castells' The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Castells, Professor of Sociology at the UOC and the current Spanish Minister for Universities, was formerly director of the IN3 and will take part in the event.

The key part of the event will be a talk by Castells himself: “The Network Society in the age of pandemics”.

There will then be a round table discussion moderated by philosopher and member of the UOC's Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Marina Garcés. The members of the panel will analyse Castells' work and the implications for today. The panel will include Diana Roig Sanz, ERC grant holder and ICREA Research Professor at the IN3; John Thompson, Professor of Sociology and Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge; Fernando Calderón, Professor at Argentina's Universidad Nacional San Martín (UNSAM) and Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO); Ida Susser, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center; Felix Stalder, Professor of Digital Culture at Zurich University of the Arts, and Hana Jalloul, lecturer of International Relations at Univeristy Carlos III (Madrid).

Mind Map zu Digitalität und Stadt

Die Student:innen des Studiengangs "Kultur der Metropole" der HafenCity Universität in Hamburg hatten mich zu einem Gastvortrag zur Digitalisierung und Stadt eingeladen. Während des Vortrags haben sie gemeinsam diese Mindmap erstellt. Ein sehr schönes Verfahren des gemeinsamen Notierens.

Lokale Kopie als PDF

13.05. "The digital city as laboratory for the more-than-human society." University of Posnan (online)

Najbliższe spotkanie: Prof. Felix Stalder "The digital city as laboratory for the more-than-human society."

Spotkanie odbędzie się 13 maja 2021 o godzinie 18:00 na MS Teams (kliknij TUTAJ, aby przejść do seminarium)

This talk starts from three assumptions. First, digital media have contributed to social diversity and polarization by leading people into ever more self-enclosed worlds, some of which are constructive, while others are destructive. Commercial social media have amplified the destructive ones for their own interests. Second, digitization and the informational economy are a driver of the “great acceleration” pushing the earth system beyond the relatively steady-state during which human civilization has so far existed. Third, digital infrastructures are necessary to manage the sharply increased complexity of the “post-industrial” society. From this, a major challenge emerges: how to use new digital infrastructures to bring people together, establish new forms of participation in the res publica, that is, the things that are shared by and affect, everyone. This is a daunting task because the institutions of the res publica cannot simply extend participation by citizens, as important as this is, but they need to account for the massively extended range of actors – technical as well as biological and even geological – that make up the dynamic system in which we live. I will look at the city-scale for practical examples of new social institutions.

11.05. Digital Unconscious. Book Launch (online)

Tuesday, 11. Mai, 19.00 @ Depot Vienna -- online (Zoom Link)
Digital Unconscious
Book Launch

Franco Berardi "Bifo", philopher, activist, Bologna
Cécilia Calheiros, writer, Paris
Steve Kurz, Critical Art Ensemble, USA
Katja Mayer, sociologist, University Vienna
hosted by Felix Stalder and Konrad Becker (eds.), World Information Institute, Vienna

In hyper-normal hybrids the boundaries between man and machine have dissolved. Inside their nervous systems lies a strange but fascinating theme: the digital unconscious.

Which forces act through algorithmic processes?
What secrets be found in the shadowy realm of technology, welded to human nervous systems?
How can the complexity of these relationships be described and what forms of access can cultural approaches offer?

Autonomedia publishing: "Digital Unconscious - Nervous Systems and Uncanny Predictions!" S.M. Amadae, Franco Berardi Bifo, Cecilia Calheiros, Ewen Chardronnet, Critical Art Ensemble, Erik Davis, Graham Harwood, Eva Illiouz, Lydia H.Liu, Katja Mayer, El Iblis Shah, Felix Stalder, Michael Taussig, Peter Lamborn Wilson. ISBN: 978157027


29.04. Das Digitale Bild (Keynote) Uni München (online)

Es freut mich sehr, an der Konferenz "Das digitale Bild – Die soziale Dimension, politische Perspektiven und ökonomische Zwänge" (28-30.04) eine Keynotezu halten. Die Konferenz wird im Rahmen des DFG-Schwerpunktprogramm: „Das digitale Bild“ ausgerichtet.

Composite Images. On the transformation of visual truth claims.

Forensic Architecture and the Invisible Institute, still from Six Durations of a Split Second: The Killing of Harith Augustus (2019).


It has been a peculiarity of Western modernity – the cultural constellation that extended, roughly, from the mid 15th to the mid 20th century – to assume that images represent the world as it is, in an objective, optical sense and that which can be seen is what counts. Contemporary digital technologies of image-making are, on the surface, extending this claim by creating ever more ‘realistically’ detailed images (HD, UltraHD, 4K, 8K, Gigapixel etc), yet, more importantly, they are fundamentally undermining it, by moving from the representation of an external reality to the generative production of images. At the same time, what constitutes reality is becoming ever more complex and distributed, eroding the value of representational images to make sense of it. With that, we need a new way of understanding images, as composites rather than indexes, and the role they play in the production of truth claims.

23,04. The digital condition and reconstitution of the public(s), Keynote, Lisbon (online)

I'm very happy to give a keynote lecture at the ​​Art, Museums and Digital Cultures Conference, organized by MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon. The conference date is 22-23 April 2021, my talk is on the second day, 10:00 AM

The digital condition and reconstitution of the public(s)

The digital condition has eroded many of the categories that have structured modernity. In this talk, I want to focus on two of them which are directly relevant to museums and other memory organizations, defining institutions of modern culture. One is the distinction between "public" and "private", the other is between "professional" and "amateur". These categories are no longer useful to structure the relations between these institutions and the wider environment in which they are embedded. Contemporary cultural production is defined by ubiquitous patterns of referentiality, communality, and algorithmicity. They transform the public into publics and give rise to "mass creativity" that threatens to bypass existing memory institutions.

22.04. Nehmen und Geben, IFK Wien (Hybrid)

Abstract meines Beitrags:

"Geben lässt sich nicht ohne Nehmen denken. Gerade in komplexen
Problemlagen ist es die Freiheit der Aneignung, die erlaubt etwas
Generisches (für alle bereits Bestehendes) für einen spezifischen
Kontext relevant zu machen, sei das in Form eines Remixes, oder einer

Zur Tagung:

„Open source, file-sharing, crowdfunding, peer production“ – die Welt der digitalen Kommunikation ist voller Wirtschaftspraktiken, die dem Geben und Schenken näher sind als dem Marktkauf. Zwar ist die Gabe durch Marcel Mauss’ „Essai sur le don“ in den Kanon der Kulturethnologie aufgestiegen, aber in der Wirtschaftswissenschaft gilt das Schenken eher als Fossil eines vorökonomischen Zeitalters.

Im Horizont der Digitalisierung wird eine Wirtschaftswissenschaft notwendig, die, um mögliche Entwicklungen einer global vernetzten Kooperationsgesellschaft zu reflektieren, neben dem Paradigma der jeweils abgeschlossenen Tauschhandlungen zwischen beliebigen Personen auch das Paradigma der endlos unabgeschlossenen Gabe zwischen miteinander verbundenen Personen gelten lässt. Die Tagung versammelt AutorInnen, deren Forschungen die sozialen Phänomene des reziproken Gebens und des ostentativen Schenkens beschreiben und verständlich machen. Sie thematisieren die sozialwissenschaftliche Wiederaufnahme des „Gabenparadigmas“ (Frank Adloff), sein Wirken in Organisationen und Gemeinwesen, seine Ausprägung in der Logik des Rechts und in den Narrativen der Literatur und seine Erscheinungsform in Kulturen, in denen die Versorgung mittels Markttransaktionen eine geringere Rolle spielte. Ihren gemeinsamen Bezugspunkt finden diese Studien in Beiträgen, die ausgewählte Fälle von Geben und Schenken in digitalen Netzwerken vorstellen.

KONZEPTION: Michael Hutter(Berlin) und Birger P. Priddat (Witten)

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