theory

The Author at the End of the Gutenberg Galaxy

I just finished my talk at Former West, a contemporary art research, education, publishing, and exhibition project (2008–2014). Below are my slides. The talk was also recorded. Perhaps it will be made available later. Nothing I can influence.

Afterwards, there was a great discussion with Katja Mayer and Theo Röhle on "Rankings and Cartels. Self-Optimization in Quantified Knowledge Environments".

Cultures and Ethics of Sharing / Kulturen und Ethiken des Teilens

We are very happy and proud to announce the publication of our new book: Cultures and Ethics of Sharing / Kulturen und Ethiken des Teilens, edited jointly by Wolfgang Sützl, Felix Stalder, Ronald Maier, Theo Hug. It is a bilingual (English/German) collection of papers on empirical and theoretical aspects of sharing, both on-line and off-line. Some papers develop quite optimistic perspectives, but others show also how activities of sharing can be captured by very problematic interests. They all manage to highlight the richness of sharing in social setting and the wide-ranging questions a focus sharing brings to the fore.

Thanks a lot to all contributors to this unusual, because truly multi-disciplinary effort. We would also like to thank Innsbruck University Press for making available the book in full as free download (2mb).

From the Introduction

This is a volume of essays about sharing. Few people could have predicted that practices of sharing would gain such prominence in contemporary society. It is, arguably, one of the most unexpected developments of the early 21st century. Surprising, but not inexplicable. Over the last decade, numerous developments have taken place that created conditions under which new practices could flourish and the roles of sociability and sharing are being re-examined. For example, the very idea of man and woman as homo economicus, that is creatures that will naturally gravitate towards the pursuit of narrow self-interest and, thus, the need of society to organize itself as to make productive use of this supposed essential characteristic, has been called into question with renewed vigor.

Who's afraid of the (re)mix? Autorschaft ohne Urheberschaft (archithese)

Die Vorstellung, dass Kulturen, sowohl als ganzes wie auch ihre einzelnen Manifestationen, aus Mischungen, Wandlungen, Verschiebungen, Bearbeitungen und Neuformierungen unterschiedlichster Elemente bestehen, bereitet uns Unbehagen. Das Aufkommen einer „Remix Kultur“, in der das Neue nie einfach nur neu ist, sondern immer unter explizitem Einbezug unterschiedlichster Elemente des Alten artikuliert wird, wird von vielen als Niedergang der (abendländischen) Kultur empfunden. Besonders sichtbar wird dies in der Auseinandersetzungen um das Urheberrecht, die deutlich an Schärfe zugenommen haben. In der ZEIT vom 10. Mai, 2012 sahen Autoren eine der „zentralen Errungenschaften der bürgerlichen Freiheit“ bedroht, kurz darauf bezeichnen Musikschaffende die Schweiz als „Urheberrechts-Guantánamo in Europa“, weil die relativ liberale Gesetzgebung sie ihrer fundamentalen Rechte beraube.

Was steckt hinter diesen schrillen Tönen? Nicht zuletzt eine zunehmend problematische Konzeption von Autorschaft als Urheberschaft. Diese soll im folgenden beleuchtet und mit einer zeitgemässeren Konzeption von Autorschaft kontrastiert werden.

Networks Between Control and Autonomy

Here's my talk at LiWoli- Art Meets Radical Openness..

Abstract: Everyday experiences of networked society oscillate between processes of intensified control (Facebook, data retention, profiling) and new niches of autonomy (Wikileaks, Anonymous, commons-based peer production). Where does this contradictoriness of the networks come from? What can we do to expand the niches of autonomy without facilitating the processes of control?

Recording of the live-broadcast from Stadtwerkstatt, Linz (AT) on 25.5.2012, duration: 48:55

The Fight over Transparency (Open 22)

Taking WikiLeaks as an illustrative example, 'Open' 22 investigates how transparency and secrecy relate to one another, to the public and to publicity in our computerized visual cultures.

Open 22 examines transparency as an ideology, the ideal of the free flow of information versus the fight over access to information and the intrinsic connection between publicity and secrecy. Does transparency only work in a liberating way? Can it not equally have a concealing or controlling effect? Aren’t certain forms of transparency actually the manifestation of the banality of the contemporary spectacle, which revolves around pure display and the production of affects? What role do the media play in this?

My contribution The Fight over Transparency. From a Hierarchical to a Horizontal Organization, and investigation of transparency as a mode of power.

Autonomía y control en la era de la post-privacidad

Una forma de definir la modernidad occidental, el periodo que estamos justo dejando, es por su particular estructura de control y autonomía. Ésta emergió como resultado de dos desarrollos históricos –uno que llevó a que burocracias grandes y jerarquizadas se establecieran como forma dominante de organización, otro que llevó a que el ciudadano (burgués, masculino) se convirtiera en el principal sujeto político. La privacidad jugó un papel clave en el mantenimiento del equilibrio entre ambos. Hoy en día, este acuerdo se está diluyendo. En el proceso, la privacidad pierde (algo de) sus funciones sociales. La post-privacidad, entonces, apunta a la transformación de cómo la gente crea su autonomía y de cómo el control impregna sus vidas.

This is the Spanish translation, by Christel Penella de Silva, of "Autonomy and Control in the Era of Post-Privacy". Read the whole translation at Christel's blog tintank.es.

Nachahmung, Transformation und Autorfunktion

Dieser Text ist publiziert in: Kroeger, Odin, Günther Friesinger, Paul Lohberger, Eberhard Ortland und Thomas Ballhausen, Hg. Geistiges Eigentum und Originalität: Zur Politik der Wissens- und Kulturproduktion. Wien: Turia + Kant, 2011, s. 19-32.

Abstract: Employing concepts developed by Gabriel Tarde and Bruno Latour, this article investigates at how a new function of the author is being defined in digital media. What is found to emerge is a practical alternative to the dichotomy between notions of possessive individualism (underlying copyright law) and simplified notions of the death of the author. Here, authorship functions less as a means to establish rigid ownership and control, but serves more as a dynamic system of accountability and reputation building capable of structuring open, collaborative processes.

Einleitung

Vor nunmehr 40 Jahren verkündete Roland Barthes den „Tod des Autors“ (vgl. Barthes, 1969/2000). Was zu diesem Zeitpunkt eine notwendige Abkehr einer durch den Anglo-Amerikanischen „new criticism“ bereits überholten aber in Frankreich immer noch bestimmenden Form der Autor-zentrierten Literaturkritik war, ist bald zu einem Cliché und damit zu einer Sackgasse verkommen. Vor die Wahl gestellt zwischen einer konventionellen Ausprägung der Autorschaft – Cartesianisches Ego übersetzt in bürgerliche Subjektivität untermauert durch das Urheberrecht – und einer diffundierten Autorschaft – aufgegangen im „Murmeln des Diskurses“ wie es Michel Foucault ausdrückte (vgl. 1972/1991) – erfreute sich die erstere in der Praxis einer hartnäckigen Beliebtheit. Dazu trugen auch die Kulturindustrie und der Kunstmarkt bei, deren ideologischen Kern eine übersteigerte Autorschaft ausmacht, die sie aus nachvollziehbarem Eigeninteresse bis heute mit großem Nachdruck propagieren. Die theoretische Dekonstruktion hingegen ging zum einem kaum über die Feststellung der Dezentrierung, Verteilung oder Zerstreuung der Autorschaft hinaus. Zum anderen wurde Praxis des kulturellen Schaffen, die Werke und damit Autoren hervorbringt, lange Zeit nur an den Rändern verändert. Collage, Assemblage und Appropriation als künstlerische Methoden wurden jeweils schnell assimiliert. Explizit anti-autorielle Praktiken blieben politisch und kulturell marginal (vgl. Cramer, 2008), und oftmals verhaftet im widersprüchlichen romantischen Gedanken, wonach das Zurücktreten des Schöpfers zur Steigerung der Erhabenheit des Werkes (und damit, indirekt aber umso wirksamer, des symbolischen Kapitals des Autors) führe.

Commons: A rough definition

Last week, I spent a few days at a small but intense workshop where we were looking at a the political dimensions of various forms of commons. The discussions were open and far ranging. I tried to distill some of these into a definition of commons that tries to take its various dimensions into considerations and separates structural from political issues. Far from perfect....

COMMONS, A DEFINITION

A commons is a resource held as joint property by a community. Thus, it is distinct from private property (held by natural or legal persons) or public property (held by the state). Typical for commons is that the management of the resource is oriented towards use-value for its members, rather than towards exchange-value within society at large. The separation between producers and consumers is minimized. Thus, commons are also distinct from other forms of collective ownership (such as co-operatives) that produce for the market.

All commons are social institutions, they depend on a community to create and maintain it. A resource that is freely available to all but not managed in a meaningful way by a self-aware community (e.g., the fish in the open sea) are not a commons. Like in all communities, questions of membership (boundaries) and internal decision-making are subject to ongoing, more or less conflictual, negotiations.

It is these questions that define the political quality of the commons, which can serve as defensive mechanism against market encroachment (e.g., in the case of indigenous commons), as a project of exclusion (e.g., in far-right conceptions of the body national) or as the basis of open cooperation (e.g., in the case of Free and Open Source Software).

Stephen Wright, Digging in the Epistemic Commons

This is an older text, from 2005, but it's still one of the best on the issue of the paradoxical relationship between the attempts to privatize knowledge and its inherent tendency to be social, because it's based on a shared language.

The gentrye are all round, on each side they are found,
Theire wisdom’s so profound, to cheat us of our ground
Stand up now, Diggers all.

The Diggers’ Song, Gerrard Winstanley & Leon Rosselson

Using the ideas of Gabriel Tarde, Ludwig Wittgenstein and George Herbert Mead, writer and critic Stephan Wright reflects on the question of how, in a capitalist knowledge economy, to prevent intellectual property from being commodified and knowledge from becoming increasingly privatized.

Source: http://www.skor.nl/article-3090-en.html

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