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The Distance Plan #5

What is the relation between charisma and information? How fast can a well-turned phrase move? How does it age? In this issue of The Distance Plan we consider how, occasionally, facts or argumentative claims float free from their point of origin to become hyper-portable and cross-disciplinary. We call these memorable, animated phrases “charismatic facts” and suggest they can be found at the intersection of flair and research, savvy and data, linguistic craft and political utility. Though charismatic facts may remain lightly tethered to, and therefore validated by, their authorial or institutional home, they are at the same time un-ordinary in ...

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Dynamics of Critical Internet Culture

This study examines the dynamics of critical Internet culture after the medium opened to a broader audience in the mid 1990s. It is Geert Lovink’s PhD thesis, submitted late 2002, written in between his two books on the same topic: Dark Fiber (2002) and My First Recession (2003). The core of the research consists of four case studies of non-profit networks: the Amsterdam community provider, The Digital City (DDS); the early years of the nettime mailinglist community; a history of the European new media arts network Syndicate; and an analysis of the streaming media network Xchange. The research describes the search for sustainable community ...

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The Dark Side of Google

In The Dark Side of Google Italian writers’ collective Ippolita provides a thorough, fresh analysis of what is behind the universe of Google and the metadata industry. In recent years Google has established itself as a major point of Internet access. We have progressively adapted to its sober, reassuring interface and its advertisements (discretely off to the side, yet always present). We have adopted its services and the habit of using it to the degree that ‘googling’ has become a form of behavior: ‘If you don’t know what it is, Google it!’ Google shows mastery in taking advantage of our need for simplicity. ...

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The List Serves: Population Control and Power

Inspired by taxonomist Jack Goody’s theorizing of ‘ancient lists’ as ‘intellectual technologies’, this book analyzes listing practices in modern and contemporary formations of power, and how they operate in the installation and securing of the milieus of circulation that characterize Michel Foucault’s conception of governmentality. Propelling the list’s role in the delimitation and policing of risky and threatening elements from out of history and into a contemporary analysis of power, this work demonstrates how assemblages of computer, statistical, and list technologies first deployed by the Nazi regime continue to resonate significantly in the segmenting and constitution of a critical classification ...

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On Editorialization: Structuring Space and Authority in the Digital Age

In On Editorialization: Structuring Space and Authority in the Digital Age Marcello Vitali-Rosati examines how authority changes in the digital era. Authority seems to have vanished in the age of the web, since the spatial relationships that authority depends on are thought to have levelled out: there are no limits or boundaries, no hierarchies or organized structures anymore. Vitali-Rosati claims the opposite to be the case: digital space is well-structured and material and has specific forms of authority. Editorialization is one key process that organizes this space and thus brings into being digital authority. Investigating this process of editorialization, Vitali-Rosati reveals how ...

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Playful Mapping in the Digital Age

From Mah-Jong, to the introduction of Prussian war-games, through to the emergence of location-based play: maps and play share a long and diverse history. This monograph shows how mapping and playing unfold in the digital age, when the relations between these apparently separate tropes are increasingly woven together. Fluid networks of interaction have encouraged a proliferation of hybrid forms of mapping and playing and a rich plethora of contemporary case-studies, ranging from fieldwork, golf, activism and automotive navigation, to pervasive and desktop-based games evidences this trend. Examining these cases shows how mapping and playing can form productive synergies, but also ...

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Online Courtship: Interpersonal Interactions Across Borders

Computer mediated interpersonal interactions are defining our daily lives as we know it. Studying this phenomenon with various methodologies, across different cultures and traditions is a crucial component in understanding social ties. This book brings together articles that approach online dating from a range of cultural and critical perspectives. The research decodes the level of engagement and manner of approaching online dating in various countries such as France, India, China, Turkey, Cuba, USA and Portugal. Mapping the history of dating and courtship shows the evolution of these practices even before the introduction of the online medium and traces parallels and differences ...

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Geoblocking and Global Video Culture

How do global audiences use streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix and iPlayer? How does the experience of digital video change according to location? What strategies do people use to access out-of-region content? What are the commercial and governmental motivations behind geoblocking?

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The Gray Zones of Creativity and Capital

What is the correlation among the creative industries, creative industry policies, new media paradigms and capitalism as colonial relations of dominance? What is the role of these industries in the prioritization of the interests of capital at the expense of those of society and how can these paradigms be criticized in the context of the actual, neoliberal, flexible regime of reproduction of capital? To what measure is this regime ‘flexible’ and to what measure it is just an extension of rigid, feudal and racial logics that underline (post)modern representational discourses? To what measure do the concepts of creativity, transparency, openness ...

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The Facebook Aquarium: The Resistible Rise of Anarcho-Capitalism

In their new work research collective Ippolita provides a critical investigation of the inner workings of Facebook as a model for all commercial social networks. Facebook is an extraordinary platform that can generate large profit from the daily activities of its users. Facebook may appear to be a form of free entertainment and self-promotion but in reality its users are working for the development of a new type of market where they trade relationships. As users of social media we have willingly submitted to a vast social, economic and cultural experiment. By critically examining the theories of Californian right-libertarians, Ippolita show ...

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Internet on the Outstation: The Digital Divide and Remote Aboriginal Communities

Internet on the Outstation provides a new take on the digital divide. Why do whole communities choose to go without the internet when the infrastructure for access is in place? Through an in-depth exploration of the digital practices occurring in Aboriginal households in remote central Australia, the authors address both the dynamics of internet adoption and the benefits that flow from its use. The book challenges us to think beyond the standard explanations for the digital divide, arguing that digital exclusion is not just another symptom of social exclusion. At its heart, Internet on the Outstation is a compelling examination ...

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The New Aesthetic and Art: Constellations of the Postdigital

The New Aesthetic and Art: Constellations of the Postdigital is an interdisciplinary analysis focusing on new digital phenomena at the intersections of theory and contemporary art. Asserting the unique character of New Aesthetic objects, Contreras-Koterbay and Mirocha trace the origins of the New Aesthetic in visual arts, design, and software, find its presence resonating in various kinds of digital imagery, and track its agency in everyday effects of the intertwined physical world and the digital realm. Contreras-Koterbay and Mirocha bring to light an original perspective that identifies an autonomous quality in common digital objects and examples of art that are ...

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