network critical

you want to be liked I like you & your dissertation linked below

 

Figure 8.6 Sondra Perry, It’s in the Game (2017), screenshot of video demo

 

from Megan Philipa Driscoll’s Art on the Internet and the Digital Public Sphere, 1994 – 2003

© Copyright by
Megan Philipa Driscoll
2018

(shared on Nettime by Cornelia Sollfrank 25.06.2018)

 

abstract

This dissertation narrates the development of internet art, a diverse set of practices united
by their interrogation of the technological, social, and/or political bases of computer networks.
Covering the period from 1994, when “internet art” began to coalesce around the rise of the
World Wide Web, to 2003, when both internet art and internet culture writ large began to
respond to the rise of social media and “web 2.0” technologies, the dissertation homes in on a
select number of net art projects that variously engaged or challenged this period’s most
persistent claim: that the internet is a new, digital public sphere. By studying how these artworks
critiqued this claim, the dissertation uncovers three major models through which net art has
asserted the publicness of computer networks—as an interpersonal network that connects or
unites strangers into groups; as a virtual space akin to physical spaces of public gathering,
discourse, and visibility; and as a unique platform for public speech, a new mass media
potentially accessible to all.

Claims for the public status of computer networks rest on their ability to circulate
information and facilitate discussion and debate. This definition of publicness is rooted in the
concept of the classical public sphere as theorized by Jürgen Habermas. The dissertation will
thus review Habermas’s model of the classical public sphere as well as its most significant
critiques in order to interrogate the terms of a digital public sphere. The dissertation will also
engage Michael Warner’s work on the formation of publics, counterpublics, and the mass-
cultural public sphere; Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge’s analysis of shared experience as the
foundation of the formation of public spheres and the role of mass media in this process; Henri
Lefebvre’s articulation of the social production of space; and Gilles Deleuze and Alexander
Galloway’s respective analyses of the role of network logics in contemporary systems of control.

The dissertation begins with a chapter overview of the emergence of computer
networking during the second half of the twentieth century and the different ways in which
artists experimented with it to explore new modes of communication, collaboration, and
exchange. With the appearance of the web in the mid-1990s, and with growing art institutional
interest in its novelty, these experiments crystallized into what we now know as internet art,
bringing with it challenging questions regarding the viability of the internet as an unprecedented
digital public sphere.

The second chapter turns to this emergent field of net art and how some artists tried to
define the terms of a new public sphere as an interpersonal network that allows people who are
not in physical or temporal proximity with each other to form publics. The chapter explores
Douglas Davis’s The World’s First Collaborative Sentence (1994) and Heath Bunting’s Project
X (1996), two works that use the strategy of accumulation to make visible the collective presence
of internet users, either as a reading public formed through the circulation of discourse or as a
public united by the articulation of its members’ shared experience. The third chapter introduces
practices that challenge the presumed universality of the digital public sphere by foregrounding
gender and race issues, which are often obscured in dominant discourses regarding computer
networks. The chapter focuses on Cornelia Sollfrank’s Female Extension (1997) and Mendi +
Keith Obadike’s Black.Net.Art Actions (2001 – 2003), demonstrating how these works help to
define the counterpublics of the digital public sphere by circulating marginalized discourses on
the web in opposition to the mainstream.

The fourth chapter examines the spatialization of computer networks and how the
internet’s communication platforms have become conceptually analogous to ancient forums or
seventeenth-century coffee shops. Through analyses of Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen’s Listening
Post (2001) and Natalie Bookchin and Jacqueline Stevens’s agoraXchange (2003), the chapter
attends to both utopian and skeptical views regarding the viability of the internet as a (virtual)
space of public gathering and discourse. Chapter five further interrogates the idea that the
internet is a theater of visibility, where actions are public because they cannot be private. The
first artwork in this chapter, RSG’s Carnivore (2001), critically addresses computer networks as
a surveillance technology and part of a system of social control. The second work, Eva and
Franco Mattes’s Life Sharing (2000 – 2003), explores what happens when internet users embrace
this condition of (hyper)visibility, freely sharing not only their personal information but also
their intellectual property, thereby eliding spatial and juridical notions of public domain.

The sixth chapter addresses the notion of computer networks as a new mass medium of
public speech, a platform for publicity that is also a site of struggle to exert influence on the
public sphere. Homing in on the work of net art collective ®TMark, the chapter follows how the
collective uses parody to challenge institutions that seem complicit in the commercialization of
ivthe network and the suppression of individuals’ access to the network’s platforms for public
speech. In the seventh chapter, the dissertation turns to artists’ responses to a legal challenge that
threatened their speech rights on the network, a set of actions known today as Toywar (1999 –
2000). The chapter also contends with how etoy, a collective of artists involved in the litigation,
took up corporate branding as artistic practice to reframe internet communication platforms as
tools of mass publicity in a mass-cultural public sphere.

The final chapter concludes with a reflection on the changes in the forms of net art and its
place in the field of contemporary art that followed the first phase of net art, the central focus of
the dissertation. While acknowledging the transformation of the online environment brought on
by social media and other “web 2.0” technologies, the chapter argues that the question of
whether computer networks can function as a digital public sphere remains an open and
contested one. The dissertation as a whole thus provides an historical account and critical
analysis of internet art that encompasses not only its technological evolution but also its
confrontation with the claims of publicness upon which our understanding of computer
networks, and the art made on and about them, are founded.

 

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Puerto Rico’s Sol or Puertopia (if it didn’t translate as eternal boy): a new society founded by believers in virtual currency

proposed site for crypto-utopian city-within-a-city:

and:

Read “Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico” by Nellie Bowles 2/2/2018

 

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neoliberalism = monism. liberalism = dualism.

…doing a keyword search for ‘neoliberal’ books, I am once more struck by the repetition of the two primary angles of approach to the neoliberal episteme. The first claims to have Foucault as inspiration, particularly in light of his genealogical work from the 1970s–so long ago, but not long either. It analyzes neoliberalism as thought collective (Mirowski & co.) or goes from symptoms to diagnosis; but both serve to critique from the angle of abjection: there is no affirmation but counter-affirmation. The work done does not get as far as affirmation. It finds sufficient a Nietzschean critique–genealogy–that identifies the enemy, analyzes its strategies, its behaviours, its break-out moments. But neither does it destroy, nor, from the ensuing destruction, does it create something new. The second angle of approach sets out forthrightly to serve resistance to neoliberalism, to give it weapons. Once again, that a putative we, we of the left, need to combat neoliberalism, must struggle and seek to overcome it, is taken for granted. The object of affirmative action is effective reaction. And so I ask myself what is the motor, can we get at the generative condition, engage the creative moment of neoliberalism, rather than go from abjection and reaction?

Foucault I think does this. He is objective, not normative or prescriptive. But in being so, he can also be seen as not taking sides, at least, as not taking the right left side. His analysis of power without a concept of power (see here) produces and does not simply reproduce or react, is productive inasmuch as power, like desire for Deleuze and Guattari, connects–or like the media, for McCluhan, in which we swim, invisible to us as water to fish. Foucault, I think, affirms power in this new modality, of its proliferation, its generative and creative capability, one without capacity, one purely expressive–or, more properly, virtual. Foucault does not repeat or repudiate a power that is connective, participatory and performative. He attends to a networked power, the powers of networked subjects, of which the network is greater than any one, the power one to the nth power, assembly or multitude, or, naturally, society–and because greater than any one, without subject, without concept.

I would hazard that the generative condition for neoliberalism is already given in liberalism to be the free will. Except that of the two forms, of the two epistemic arrangements, liberalism articulates a dualism, while neoliberalism articulates a monism centring on the market. The dualism articulated in liberalism owes its existence to the coexistence in it of freedom of the will with the equality and reciprocity of those who will, whose will will be free.

There is a religious conviction behind this formulation. Siedentop makes it his theme in Inventing the Individual (2017), where he calls neoliberalism a liberal heresy. This conviction entails the creation of a private sphere, not the household, or family or marketable lifestyle, but the conscience, the moral status of the individual. The monism of neoliberalism does away with the individual as a separate sphere, a sphere separate to society in even its moral claims and tenets, usages and principles. The individual becomes, as Foucault shows, a node in the network, or a communicating vector of sociability: the garrulous performance of everyday corpocratic existence.

What is suggested is not simply to see Foucault as the first theorist of the neoliberal struggle, because he is so both for and against, but a return to an individualism individuating society, standing against every enforced morality as contradiction in terms. Individual conscience is flattened through its universal appropriation to economic freedom–is not thereby made religious because the free practice of religion is itself moralised away. This explains what Siedentop refers to happening in Europe as a ‘civil war’, since the religious antecedence of a moral intuition both of the individual’s freedom as well as of the reciprocity, free association and equality of individuals, is disavowed.

 

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for Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain edited by Marc Garrett, Ruth Catlow and Sam Skinner

A new proto-blockchain artwork by Prof Chris Speed and the Design Informatics Department at Edinburgh University will be embedded throughout the book (using machine/app readable matrix barcode for print version) enabling readers to ‘like’ different parts of the book, sub-linked to a financial trading algorithm, and build their own financial portfolio, creating a playfully interactive and direct experience of blockchain technology

— from PR blurb at Oxford University Press

The project has also benefitted from a grant for the The Cultural Capital Exchange (HEFCE and ACE) programme to develop the project and content, and an additional grant from Arts Council England, which will support launch events at FACT, Furtherfield and LSE, London

— from PR blurb at Oxford University Press >> see also the article citing the HEFCE “From social rights to the market: neoliberalism and the knowledge economy” by John Holmwood here

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what is the blockchain? (or the death of the other, any other; and the death of ethics)

With the advent of the blockchain, we will not need to trust each other in the traditional sense, because trust is built into the system itself. … and the system is bigger than both of us.

enter the new episteme

(on loading this image, I saved it inadvertently to the Deligny file … the grapher of autistic networks)

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neoliberal thought collective is “primarily held together by philosophical commitments”

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the legitimation of network representations as being the science of human survival – Olivier Auber

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Simulation Theory

link here to the mistaken idea that something called consciousness is able to be simulated. … If a cut up were done of multiple universe theory and simulation theory together, then there might be something in it. Because to simulate the emerging universe demands the addition of another universe, plus another to simulate that, in a cascade of simulations; the mistake comes about through the Cartesian error of the anthropological exception (alluded to in the Guardian article). Human consciousness cannot be extricated from nature in any part but all of consciousness requires all of nature or cosmos, chaos, or chaosmosis.

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stop the signing of the TPPA

The government doesn’t understand the TPPA just like you. The Prime Minister is not your representative, he is your friend and equal. A likeable guy. I pay him to be your friend, a likeable guy. You pay him too. He’s a nice guy. Tim Groser doesn’t need to know what’s in the TPPA. Smarter guys than him, experts from overseas, have put this deal together and as a country we’d be stupid not to sign it. I knew Tim as a kid. He was a likeable kid. I wonder what his mother would say. But as a country we are not signing it. Representatives New Zealanders have elected are signing it on Thursday. Have New Zealanders elected these representatives and have they elected them to sign the TPPA? Is the signing representative of a consensus? These are academic questions. If you object to something your government is doing, there are channels to get your voice heard. Just as if you object to something your neighbour is doing you can complain to the council, which is obliged to, I feel like repeating that, obliged to respond. The Right Honourable John Key does not respond to any individual complaint because he is not answerable to anyone. He is not Robert Muldoon: he is not his own man. He is a man who belongs to the memory of a likeable kid, like Tim Groser, who as an adult and as the Prime Minister of New Zealand has put in place strategies to ensure his ongoing likeability. He is a bully about this. He will not be remembered. He will be liked. We’d be stupid not to. Why wouldn’t we sign? Why wouldn’t we like him? He is like us, likeable, just richer. And the Prime Minister. Elected. Part of the government. Representative. Signing on our behalf. Signing on behalf of our better selves.

What I feel like doing at this juncture is nothing. Inaction. Not industrial action, striking. But nothing. Not declaring, not striking, not acting, not accusing, shaming, judging, educating, but stopping what I am doing, whether I am driving the bus, tending the aged, signing the deal, any deal, selling the house, writing the paper, reading the paper, writing the article, talking, walking, teaching, arresting, selling, buying… stopping.

Who is protecting your job if you stop too?

On this day, stop your car. By all means take your keys. Turn off your computer. Walk away from your desk. Stop believing in social media as a tool for social activism. Turn off your phone. Leave your phone alone. Everything that ties you to this world of action is also a link in the chain binding you to the actions of your elected representatives. Who will sign. Who think it is better to act. Stupid not to. Stop.

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“The idea that therapeutic help can come from an app, in general, has been met with some skepticism” e-therapy for social media dependency

 

“social media [is] part of the person” – from herewhere we catch a fleeting glimpse of something glistening flesh-wet below the wire.

– Sebastião Salgado

network critical

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