Miriam Rasch

At the end of the 20th century, hacking was bleeding edge. When the ideas, practices and pranks of this experimental niche of technophiles attracted the attention of a handful of activists in Italy, they understood that information and communication were what would give shape and voice to social, political, and cultural processes in the near future. +KAOS is a cut and paste of interviews, like a documentary film transposed on paper. It describes the peculiar relationship between hacktivism and activism, in Italy and beyond, highlighting the importance of maintaining digital infrastructures. While this may not sound as glamorous as sneaking into ...
Over 130 million images with the hashtag ‘selfie’ have been uploaded to the social media platform Instagram. In The Allure of the Selfie: Instagram and the New Self-Portrait, Brooke Wendt examines the significant hold that the ‘selfie’, or the digital self-portrait, has over self and society. Media theorist Vilém Flusser observed that society could become programmed to snap pictures for the sole benefit of cameras, as though under a ‘magical spell’, if photographs continued to be undecoded. Wendt examines this magical spell by analyzing users’ self-portraits on Instagram, one of the most popular contemporary platforms for image production. Marshall McLuhan’s reframing of ...
Creative Networks explores the dawn of the Internet culture in the age of network society from the perspective of Eastern Europe. From a theoretical angle the networks are introduced and interpreted as complex socio-technical systems. The author analyzes the development of these networked self-organized formations starting off with ‘virtual communities’ of ‘creative networks’, which emerged during the early phase of the Internet, up to the phenomena of today’s online ‘social networks’. Along with the translocal case studies of Nettime, Syndicate, Faces and Xchange networks (as well as with the other important facets of the 1990s network culture in Europe), the ...
Privacy, copyright, classified documents and state secrets, but also spontaneous network phenomena like flash mobs and hashtag revolutions, reveal one thing – we lost control over the digital world. We experience a digital tailspin, or as Michael Seemann calls it in this essay: a loss of control or Kontrollverlust. Data we never knew existed is finding paths that were not intended and reveals information that we would never have thought of on our own.  Traditional institutions and concepts of freedom are threatened by this digital tailspin. But that doesn’t mean we are lost. A new game emerges, where a different set of rules ...
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?
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 ...
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron’s The Californian Ideology, originally published in 1995 by Mute magazine and the nettime mailinglist, is the iconic text of the first wave of Net criticism. The internet might have fundamentally changed in the last two decades, but their demolition of the neoliberal orthodoxies of Silicon Valley remains shocking and provocative. They question the cult of the dot-com entrepreneur, challenging the theory of technological determinism and refuting the myths of American history. Denounced as the work of ‘looney lefties’ by Silicon Valley’s boosters when it first appeared, The Californian Ideology has since been vindicated by the ...
MoneyLab is part of a global movement that demands the democratization of the design of our financial futures. Audacity is essential in times of crisis. And so we must engage constructively with hackers, entrepreneurs, and other creators who take up the call for economic alternatives. One first step is a map of the present: What works and what doesn’t? What is worth pursuing and what must be left aside? Which histories bear on the present moment? And what are the limits of our economic imagination? The MoneyLab Reader brings developments in crowdfunding, currency design, technologies of payment, and other economic ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
The Personal Portable Library in its most simple form is a hard drive or USB stick containing a large collection of e-books, curated, archived and indexed by an individual user. The flourishing of the offline digital library is a response to the fact that truly private sharing of knowledge in the online realm is increasingly made impossible. While P2P sharing sites and online libraries with downloadable e-books are precarious, people are led to an atavistic and reversalist workaround. The radical tactics of the offline: abandoning the online for more secure offline transfer. Taking inspiration from ancient libraries as copying centers ...
What happens to our everyday language in the digital sphere? How does ‘the post-digital condition’ change the world in which we think about ourselves and talk to one another? In Shadowbook: Writing Through the Digital 2014-2018, Miriam Rasch investigates these questions in five experimental essays and one exposition. From the way the smartphone molds the language of desire and friendship to the possibilities of writing a ‘spreadsheet novel’ – Shadowbook is a testimony to post-digital writing by way of writing. It salutes both the beauty of the web and what hides in the shadows. Even in the bright and shiny ...
Looking up something online is one of the most common applications of the web. Whether with a laptop or smartphone, we search the web from wherever we are, at any given moment. ‘Googling’ has become so entwined in our daily routines that we rarely question it. However, search engines such as Google or Bing determine what part of the web we get to see, shaping our knowledge and perceptions of the world. But there is a world beyond Google – geographically, culturally, and technologically. The Society of the Query network was founded in 2009 to delve into the larger societal and ...
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. ...
The Ends of the Internet is an investigation into all the reasons why the Internet, which has been with us for over thirty years, is now on the verge of disappearing. Originally conceived as a space of freedom, the Internet has become the world’s largest panopticon and freedom of expression is subject to surveillance and supervision on an unprecedented scale. The utopian theories of collective intelligence have been undermined by a growing tendency towards commercial exploitation. A small group of companies profit from the majority of online activities. Even the robustness of the Internet itself is now at stake, with ...
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 ...
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 ...
Video is everywhere, like a space in which we move, an ocean we can dive into. But video is no longer the video we once knew. To address this techno-social shift, Andreas Treske sketches the outlines for a philosophical and practical understanding of online video, offering up a theory for the YouTube generation. Video is examined up close and as a societal phenomenon. The images of a video constantly refer to other images, to the user and to the world outside. There is a ‘thickening of the image’. Videos also exist in relation to each other. On YouTube each video is ...
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 ...
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 ...
Transcoding the Digital: How Metaphors Matter in New Media by Marianne van den Boomen is a material-semiotic inquiry into the constitutive role of metaphors in our daily encounters with computers and networks. While interface concepts such as desktop and windows are easily recognized as metaphors, this research shows how in fact all digital sign-tool-objects – ranging from icons and email to Facebook friends, from hyperlink and tweet to Pirate Bay – are digital-material metaphors. They frame and organize how we access the black boxes of software and machinery, which in turn organize and reconfigure society. The same holds for discourse metaphors ...
The Unlike Us Reader offers a critical examination of social media, bringing together theoretical essays, personal discussions, and artistic manifestos. How can we understand the social media we use everyday, or consciously choose not to use? We know very well that monopolies control social media, but what are the alternatives? While Facebook continues to increase its user population and combines loose privacy restrictions with control over data, many researchers, programmers, and activists turn towards designing a decentralized future. Through understanding the big networks from within, be it by philosophy or art, new perspectives emerge. Unlike Us is a research network of ...

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