Transparency & Power

My talk at the "Eindruck der Dunkelheit" conference in Berlin, Jan 25/26.2014.

In the talk, I focussed on different types of power and how they relate to transparency. Put simply, transprancy (visibility + accountability) is great to put a check on "institutional power", but not very helpful to regulate "network power. On the contrary, it helps to increase such power. The discussion, which starts after 30 min, mainly dealt with questions of regulation and what to do to counter "network power".

Urheberrecht - Wenn das Recht kunstfeindlich wird

Kurzer Beitrag zu Problemen des Urheberrecht im Kunstsystem (Kunstbulletin, 1/2.2014)

Das Gros der Kunstschaffenden konnte es sich lange leisten, sich nur am Rande mit dem Urheberrecht zu beschäftigen. Dennoch, das Thema ist auch im Kunstbereich virulent, wenn auch vielleicht subtiler als anderswo. Drei Probleme stechen hervor: (Selbst-)Zensur, die Behinderung etablierter Kulturinstitutionen und Kunstschaffende als Propaganda­figuren.

Der ganze Beitrag online auf oder hier als PDF.

My new book, Digital Solidarity, is out now.

Update Sept.2014: Dieses Essay liegt nun auch in deutscher Übersetzung vor. Dank an die Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

Update Oct.2014: This essay is now also available as an epub. Thanks a lot to PJ :)

This extended essay, Digital Solidarity, responds to the wave of new forms of networked organisation emerging from and colliding with the global economic crisis of 2008. Across the globe, voluntary association, participatory decision-making and the sharing of resources, all widely adopted online, are being translated into new forms of social space.

This movement operates in the breach between accelerating technical innovation, on the one hand, and the crises of institutions which organise, or increasingly restrain society on the other. Through an inventory of social forms – commons, assemblies, swarms and weak networks – the essay outlines how far we have already left McLuhan’s ‘Gutenberg Galaxy’ behind. In his cautiously optimistic account, Stalder reminds us that the struggles over where we will arrive are only just beginning.

The War of Data against Communication

Talk at the Embros Theater, Athens, 30.09.2013

Spooky light and noisy sound, which fits the place and the theme of the talk. Check out as well Konrad Becker's talk, same event.

Who is afraid of the remix? Art practice after copyright (lecture)

Lecture (86 min, including discussion) @ hexagram, concordia university, montreal, 5.11.2013

Thanks to Thomas Kneubühler for the excellent organization! What a pleasure!

The Curious Retreat of Art (open!)

While the current historical situation demands urgently a redefinition of authorship, the art world offers very little in terms of critique or alternative practice.

Much of the 20th century’s avant-garde art can be read as a revolt against the bourgeois conception of the artist as an exceptional individual who creates art through a mysterious process of introspection into his – mainly his – particularly sensitive soul. The introduction of mass-produced materials into artworks, of randomness, the exploration of the subconscious and, after WWII, the turn towards machinic and algorithmic processes, all served to decentre the process of making art away from the artist’s inner world and his or her complete control. In the 1960s, literary theory caught up and famously declared the death of the authoritative, omniscient author. The matter seemed to have been laid to rest by Foucault’s famous “murmur of indifference:” ‘What matter who’s speaking?’”

All of this has been debated to death and the issues have mostly been settled, but, now that the battles over the conception of authorship and associated constructions of rights and modes of ownership have moved from the field of cultural theory to the centre of society, the art world – in which “contemporary art” plays a minor supporting role – has fallen curiously silent. Not only that, the deeply neoliberal makeover of the last two decades have actually moved it into the opposite direction. Authorship and individuality are being asserted more strongly than ever. This is not due solely to the power of market forces with their predictable need for stars and commodities.

</pasted> Wir sind die Zukunft der Musik

Sieht so Remix Radio aus? Andreas Brick hat sein Radion feature "</pasted> Wir sind die Zukunft der Musik" in eine Website umgewandelt, die nicht nur das gesamte Material enthält, sondern auch die jeweiligen Interviews in voller Länge, in Themenbereiche unterteilt und zugänglich gemacht. Die Interviews sind mit: Der Musikpartisane, Dirk von Gehlen,Karl Nikolaus Peifer, Mashpussy, Mashup Germany, Moritz Eggert, Mouse on Mars, und mir.

Sehr schön gemacht!

Als Modell wohl nicht flächendeckend anwendbar, weil in diesem Fall sehr aufwändig gemacht. Die Richtung stimmt aber sicher und befreit nicht zuletzt auch die Journalisten vom Zwang der Formatvorgabe durch den Sender.

Im Verhältnis zum Aufwand der Recherche, die für einen solchen Beitrag ja betrieben wird, ist der extra-Aufwand die Interviews leicht zu bearbeiten als Hintergrundmaterial online zu stellen, recht überschaubar. Nur, wer soll das bezahlen? Womit wir gleich beim Thema sind.

Talk in Athens, 30.09. 20:30 @ EMBROS

Lectures and Performance / Oμιλίες και Performance
(In english)
Δευτέρα, 30 Σεπτεμβρίου, 8:30 μ.μ.
@ Free Self-managed Theater EMBROS/ Ελεύθερο Αυτοδιαχειριζόμενο Θέατρο ΕΜΠΡΟΣ

Ο πόλεμος των δεδομένων (data) ενάντια στην επικοινωνία
- Felix Stalder

Η "επανάσταση του Διαδικτύου" συνίσταται ουσιαστικά από δύο επαναστάσεις. Η πρώτη ήταν η επανάσταση της επικοινωνίας, η οποία προώθησε οριζόντια τη συνεργασία και την αποκέντρωση. Υπό το πρίσμα αυτό, ήταν κατά κάποιον τρόπο αναρχίζουσα. Η δεύτερη φάση, στην οποία ζούμε σήμερα, είναι η επανάσταση των δεδομένων (data), η οποία προωθεί ένα νέο καταναλωτισμό, τον κεντρικό έλεγχο πάνω σε big data και δημιουργεί νέες μορφές εξουσίας/ισχύος που βασίζονται στη δυνατότητα πρόβλεψης και διαμόρφωσης περιβαλλόντων. Από πολιτική άποψη, πρόκειται για μια αντεπανάσταση.

Interview on the Internet after Snowden

[Das Interview gibt es auch in Deutsch]

Uschi Reiter: With the Snowden affair the Internet as space for surveillance has reached a wider public. This incident and the excitement it caused hasn’t brought about any major withdrawal from the social network Facebook, for example. What impact does this knowledge of control have on the way we culturally act and communicate on the net?

Felix Stalder: As long as there is no real alternative to the ever expanding parts of the Internet, that act as surveillance spaces, the current discussion about the way we should act on the net will remain quite limited. Cryptoparties and such are more symbolic acts. As long as the infrastructure of surveillance is optimised, creating individualised private spheres later will remain a highly complex matter. So it will always be a minority activity.

On the other hand, what we can see already is a shift in general assumptions. Extensive surveillance is considered normal, defending yourself against it naive. In the case of legal actions taken against Google’s data mining, Google justified itself recently by saying that Gmail users can’t expect that their e-mails and private information will not read and analysed (“a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties”).

Uschi Reiter: Encrypting e-mails and anonymisation services such as Tor is more of practise of geeks. Do you think this practise will spread?

Das Paradox der "sozialen Medien"

Clemens Apprich gab der Springerin (Nr.3/2013) ein schönes Interview zu den "Netzkulturen der 1990er Jahren". Zentrales Thema ist die Hybridisierung von online und offline, und die lokale Spezifität, die sich daraus ergibt. Anlass dazu war die Publikation des Buches "Vergessene Zukunft. Radikale Netzkulturen in Europa", welches wir gemeinsam letztes Jahr herausgeben haben. Das Interview ist leider nicht online, deshalb hier nur als scan (PDF, 1.5 MB).

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