Social change does not simply result from resistance to the existing set of conditions but from adapting and transforming the technical apparatus itself. Walter Benjamin in his essay ‘The Author as Producer’, written in 1934, recommends that the ‘cultural producer’ intervene in the production process in the manner of an engineer. The term ‘engineer’ is to be taken broadly to refer to technical and cultural activity, through the application of knowledge for the management, control and use of power. To act as an engineer in this sense, is to use power productively to bring about change and for public utility. This collection of essays and examples of contemporary cultural practices asks if this general line of thinking retains relevance for cultural production at this point in time – when activities of production, consumption and circulation operate through complex global networks served by information technologies.
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