Meson Press

PublisherMeson Press2015
In 1985, the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard curated a groundbreaking exhibition called Les Immatériaux at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The exhibition showed how telecommunication technologies were beginning to impact every aspect of life. At the same time, it was a material demonstration of what Lyotard called the post-modern condition. This book features a previously unpublished report by Jean-François Lyotard on the conception of Les Immatériaux and its relation to postmodernity. Reviewing the historical significance of the exhibition, his text is accompanied by twelve contemporary meditations. The philosophers, art historians, and artists analyse this important moment in the history of media and theory, and reflect on the new material conditions brought ...
PublisherMeson Press2015
Augmented Intelligence and Its Traumas What does thinking mean in the age of Artificial Intelligence? How is big-scale computation transforming the way our brains function? This collection discusses these pressing questions by looking beyond instrumental rationality. Exploring recent developments as well as examples from the history of cybernetics, the book uncovers the positive role played by errors and traumas in the construction of our contemporary technological minds. With texts by Benjamin Bratton, Orit Halpern, Adrian Lahoud, Jon Lindblom, Catherine Malabou, Reza Negarestani, Luciana Parisi, Matteo Pasquinelli, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Michael Wheeler, Charles Wolfe, and Ben Woodard.
PublisherMeson Press2019
Archives have become a nexus in the wake of the digital turn. This book sets out to show how expanded archival practices can challenge contemporary conceptions and inform the redistribution of power and resources. Calling for the necessity to reimagine the potentials of archives in practice, the three contributions ask: Can archives fulfill their paradoxical potential as utopian sites in which the analog and the digital, the past and future, and remembrance and forgetting commingle?
PublisherMeson Press2019
In the wake of the so-called digital revolution numerous attempts have been made to rethink and redesign what scholarly publications can or should be. Beyond the Flow examines the technologies as well as narratives driving this unfolding transformation. However, facing challenges such as the serial crisis, knowledge burying or sudoku research the discourses and practices of scholarly publishing today are mainly shaped by confusion, heterogeneity and uncertainty. By critically interrogating the current state of digital publishing in academia the book asks for how a sustainable post-digital publishing ecology can be imagined.
PublisherMeson Press2019
Today, communication unfolds merely between two or more conscious entities but often includes an invisible third party. Inspired by this drastic shift, this volume uncovers new meanings of what it means “to communicate.”
PublisherMeson Press2015
The early days when digital games were new, harmless and niche are long gone. Today’s games can simulate battlefields, predict disaster, and crash markets. We are faced with a diversity of play and the ubiquity of games, making them not only a popular medium, but the leading medium of contemporary society. Based on the keynote lectures held at DiGRA2015, Diversity of Play provides a critical view on the current state of digital games from theoretical, artistic, and practical perspectives. With an interview with Karen Palmer and essays by Astrid Ensslin, Mathias Fuchs, Tanya Krzywinska, and Markus Rautzenberg, Diversity of Play explores the uncanny in games, the ...
PublisherMeson Press2017
The way we conceive the human today is particularly affected by the shifts in media technology during the 20th century. Affect emerges as the new liminal concept that renders the body compatible in novel ways with the technology and politics of media. By ways of a relational reorganization the organic end technological life is condensed in a new, intense way to an ecology of affects.
PublisherMeson Press2018
Contemporary power manifests in the algorithmic. And yet this power seems incomprehensible: understood as code, it becomes apolitical; understood as a totality, it becomes overwhelming. This book takes an alternate approach, using it to unravel the operations of Uber and Palantir, Airbnb and Amazon Alexa. Moving off the whiteboard and into the world, the algorithmic must negotiate with frictions—the ‘merely’ technical routines of distributing data and running tasks coming together into broader social forces that shape subjectivities, steer bodies, and calibrate relationships. Driven by the imperatives of capital, the algorithmic exhausts subjects and spaces, a double move seeking to both ...
This book is addressed to everyone who is struggling and experimenting today, to everyone who is a true contemporary of what Stengers dares to call “the intrusion of Gaia,” this “nature” that has left behind its traditional role and now has the power to question us all. In Catastrophic Times is neither a book of prophecy nor a survival guide. Here, Stengers reminds us that it falls to us to experiment with the apparatuses that make us capable of surviving without sinking into barbarism, to create what nourishes trust where panicked impotence threatens.
PublisherMeson Press2017
Computer simulations are omnipresent media in today’s knowledge production. For scientific endeavors such as the detection of gravitational waves and the exploration of subatomic worlds, simulations are essential; however, the epistemic status of computer simulations is rather controversial as they are neither just theory nor just experiment. Therefore, computer simulations have challenged well-established insights and common scientific practices as well as our very understanding of knowledge. This volume contributes to the ongoing discussion on the epistemic position of computer simulations in a variety of physical disciplines, such as quantum optics, quantum mechanics, and computational physics. Originating from an interdisciplinary event, it ...
PublisherMeson Press2017
How to intervene? Interventions are in vogue in digital cultures as forms of critique or political actions into public spheres. By engaging in social, political, and economic contexts, interventions attempt to interrupt and change situations—often with artistic means. This volume maps methods of interventions under the specific conditions of the digital. How are interventions shaped by these conditions? And how can they contribute to altering them? In essays and interviews, this book interrogates modes of intervening in and through art, infrastructures, techno-ecological environments, bio-technology, and political protests to highlight their potentials as well as their ambivalences.
PublisherMeson Press2015
“Technologists only change the world in various ways in generalized indifference; the point is to think the world and interpret the changes in its unfathomability, to perceive and experience the difference binding being to the nothing.” Anticipating the age of planetary technology Kostas Axelos, a Greek-French philosopher, approaches the technological question in this book, first published in 1966, by connecting the thought of Karl Marx and Martin Heidegger. Marx famously declared that philosophers had only interpreted the world, but the point was to change it. Heidegger on his part stressed that our modern malaise was due to the forgetting of being, ...
PublisherMeson Press2015
The philosophy of Gilbert Simondon has reinvigorated contemporary thinking about biological and technological beings. In this book, Jean-Hugues Barthélémy takes up Simondon’s thought and shows how life and technology are connected by a transversal theme: individuation. In the first essay, Barthélémy delivers a contemporary interpretation of Simondon’s concept of ontogenesis against the backdrop of biology and cybernetics. In the second essay, he extends his reflections to propose a non-anthropological understanding of technology, and so sets up a confrontation with the work of Martin Heidegger. (Note: “Aspects of a Philosophy of the Living” is licensed CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0)  
PublisherMeson Press2019
In today’s society of humans and machines, automation, animation, and ecosystems are terms of concern. Categories of life and technology have become mixed in governmental policies and drive economic exploitation and the pathologies of everyday life. This book both curiously and critically advances the term that underlies these new developments: machine.
PublisherMeson Press2019
Markets abound in media. This volume explores the neoliberal histories of the faith in computation prevalent in markets today, confronts the asymmetries and abstractions that characterize money as a medium of markets, and gathers elements for a politically and historically informed media theory of markets, attuned to contemporary phenomena such as cryptocurrencies and high-frequency trading.
PublisherMeson Press2018
Making available massive amounts of data that are generated, distributed, and modeled, digital media provide us with the possibility of abundant information and knowledge. This possibility has been attracting various scenarios in which technology either eliminates non-knowledge or plants it deep within contemporary cultures through the universal power and opacity of algorithms. This volume comprises contributions from media studies, literary studies, sociology, ethnography, anthropology, and philosophy to discuss non-knowledge as an important concept for understanding contemporary digital cultures.
PublisherMeson Press2018
Algorithmic identity politics reinstate old forms of social segregation—in a digital world, identity politics is pattern discrimination. It is by recognizing patterns in input data that Artificial Intelligence algorithms create bias and practice racial exclusions thereby inscribing power relations into media. How can we filter information out of data without reinserting racist, sexist, and classist beliefs?
PublisherMeson Press2019
In a world undergoing constant media-driven change, the infrastructures, materialities, and temporalities of remains have become urgent. This book engages with the remains and remainders of media cultures through the lens both of theater and performance studies and of media archaeology. By taking “remain” as a verb, noun, state, and process of becoming, the authors explore the epistemological, social, and political implications.
PublisherMeson Press2014
Gamification marks a major change to everyday life. It describes the permeation of economic, political, and social contexts by game-elements such as awards, rule structures, and interfaces that are inspired by video games. Sometimes the term is reduced to the implementation of points, badges, and leaderboards as incentives and motivations to be productive. Sometimes it is envisioned as a universal remedy to deeply transform society toward more humane and playful ends. Despite its use by corporations to manage brand communities and personnel, however, gamification is more than just a marketing buzzword. States are beginning to use it as a new ...
PublisherMeson Press2017
This book explores the future of critique in view of our planetary condition. How are we to intervene in contemporary constellations of finance capitalism, climate change and neoliberalism? Think we must! To get to the symptoms, the book’s 38 terms ranging from affect and affirmation to world and work provide the reader with a critical toolbox to be continued. Negativity, judgment and opposition as modes of critique have run out of steam. Critique as an attitude and a manner of enquiry has not.
PublisherMeson Press2015
Born on the pages of science fiction comics in the 1920s and 30s, the cyborg lives in popular imagination. As hero of the cyberpunk epic, in its brief but intense history, the cyborg has followed and anticipated the rapport and conflict between man and machine. In the post-Fordist era of digital networked media the cyborg unfolds itself in the dissemination of multiple bodies: on the Internet, in the shift of individual identity, in the new collective aggregation connected by software. It bridges virtuality and concreteness, possibility and necessity. The cyborg thus becomes a field of social conflict, one of the ...
PublisherMeson Press2015
Be it in the case of opening a website, sending an email, or high-frequency trading, bits and bytes of information have to cross numerous nodes at which micro-decisions are made. These decisions concern the most efficient path through the network, the processing speed, or the priority of incoming data packets. Despite their multifaceted nature, micro-decisions are a dimension of control and surveillance in the twenty-first century that has received little critical attention. They represent the smallest unit and the technical precondition of a contemporary network politics – and of our potential opposition to it. The current debates regarding net neutrality and ...
PublisherMeson Press2015
Is software dead? Services like Google, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud, or Social Media apps are all-pervasive in our digital media landscape. This marks the (re)emergence of the service paradigm that challenges traditional business and license models as well as modes of media creation and use. The short essays in this edited collection discuss how services shift the notion of software, the cultural technique of programming, conditions of labor as well as the ecology and politics of data and how they influence dispositifs of knowledge.

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