Monday
Apr152019

We Started Building a Progressive Ecosystem for the Arts and Humanities – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next! 

This is the abstract of my talk for Critical Issues in Open Access and Scholarly Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, May 24, 2019, organized by Goldsmiths in collaboration with Research England and Jisc. More details about this even are provided below.

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Over the last 20 years I’ve been involved in developing more than 15 grassroots, scholar-led open access projects. This talk discusses the politics underpinning these initiatives along with some of their unforeseen consequences. Among the projects featured are:

- Culture Machine (http://culturemachine.net), a journal of critical and cultural theory that started in the UK in 1999 and is shortly due to relaunch out of Mexico

- Open Humanities Press (www.openhumanitiespress.org), an international collective that currently publishes 21 OA journals, over 40 OA books distributed across 8 book series, as well as libre OA experiments such as Liquid Books and Living Books About Life

- Radical Open Access Collective (http://radicaloa.disruptivemedia.org.uk), a community of non-profit presses, journals and other entities that was formed in 2015 and now consists of over 60 members.


Monday
Apr082019

Posthumanities Publishing

This is an 'authors-cut' version of the abstract Janneke Adema and I have put together for our forthcoming presentation at the Institute of Network Cultures' 'Urgent Publishing: New Strategies for Publishing in Post-Truth Times', Making Public conference Arnhem, 15-16 May. Janneke and I are speaking with Lídia Pereira and Axel Andersson on the 'The Carrier Bag Theory of Non-Fiction' session. 

  

This plural-voiced presentation will focus on what publishing does rather than what publishing is. It will intervene in the debate over publishing in the post-truth era by shifting the focus away from a hegemonic, modular, object-centered understanding of modularity, toward a more relational model of posthumanities publishing. Here research, reading, writing and the published text (not to mention software, the market and the commons) are understood as emerging from the intra-actions of a heterogeneous constellation of both human and nonhuman actors, many of which are ignored by existing theories of media. Drawing boundaries – whether it involves conceptualising information containers via the figure of the net, leaf or carrier bag – is still recognised as unavoidable from such a posthumanistic perspective. For us, then, it is a matter of drawing the boundaries differently, in a manner that does not impose on such relational intra-actions a version of capitalism’s old, closed, pre-digital logic. The latter emphasizes the finished object that is made rather than the process of making, as under existing IP law only the discrete finished object, be it a book, zine or platform, can be turned into a marketable commodity (not the idea or creative process itself).

This collaborative presentation will proceed to discuss processual posthumanities publishing experiments that have emphasised different forms of relationality – forms that do not revolve primarily around the published text-as-object, or indeed the individual human author-as-subject. In discussing these experiments it will show strategising publishing in terms of urgent and non-urgent, fast and slow can be unhelpful: the art of critique requires its own pace. It is not even certain publishing in our post-truth, postdigital era still means ‘making public’.

 

Monday
Mar182019

Anti-Bourgeois Theory

This is the abstract for my forthcoming keynote lecture at Technology, Science, and Culture: A Global Vision Universidad de las Américas (UDLAP), Puebla, Mexico, 6 September 2019.

In his celebrated 2009 memoir Returning to Reims, the Parisian intellectual and theorist Didier Eribon travels home for the first time in thirty years following the death of his father. There he tries to account for the change in politics of his working class family over the period he has been away: from supporting the Communist Party to voting for the National Front. (With the notable exception of the 2018 election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, it’s a shift toward the populist nationalism of the far right that’s visible in many countries today: UK, Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece, Hungary, US, Brazil.) But Eribon also discusses the transition he himself has undergone as a result of having escaped his working class culture and environment through education, and how this has left him unsure whom it is he is actually writing for. He may be addressing the question of what it means to grow up poor and gay, however he is aware few working class people are ever likely to read his book.

At the same time, Eribon emphasizes that his non-conforming identity has left him with a sense of just how important it is to display a ‘lack of respect for the rules’ of bourgeois liberal humanist ‘decorum that reign in university circles’, and that insist ‘people follow established norms regarding “intellectual debate” when what is at stake clearly has to do with political struggle’. Together with his friend Édouard Louis and partner Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, Eribon wants to ‘rethink’ the antihumanist theoretical tradition of Foucault, Deleuze, Cixous et al. to produce a theory ‘in which something is at stake’: a theory that speaks about ‘class, exploitation, violence, repression, domination, intersectionality’, and yet has the potential to generate the same kind of power and excitement as ‘a Kendrick Lamar concert’.

In this keynote talk I likewise want to reinvent what it means to theorise by showing a certain lack of respect for the rules of bourgeois decorum the university hardly ever questions. I want do so, however, by also breaking with those bourgeois liberal humanist conventions of intellectual debate that – for all his emphasis on rebelling ‘in and through’ the technologies of knowledge production – continue to govern the antihumanist theoretical tradition Eribon and his collaborators are associated with. Included in these conventions are normative ideas of the human subject, the proprietorial author, the codex print book, critical reflection, linear thought, the long-form argument, self-expression, originality, creativity, fixity and copyright. I will argue that even the current landfill of theoretical literature on matter and the material, the posthuman and the Anthropocene, is merely a form of bourgeois liberal humanism that is padded with nonhuman stuffing – technologies, objects, animals, insects, plants, fungi, compost, microbes, stones, geological formations – to make it appear different. Can we not do better than this?


Thursday
Mar142019

Experimental Publishing I – Critique, Intervention, and Speculation: a symposium

Experimental Publishing I – Critique, Intervention, and Speculation

A half-day symposium with talks by Rebekka Kiesewetter and Eva Weinmayr (AND Publishing/Valand Academy)

                                                   


11 April 2019, 1-5pm

Centre for Postdigital Cultures
Teaching Room
3rd Floor Lanchester Library
Coventry University
Registration (free): 
https://www.post-publishing.org/2019/03/10/experimental-publishing-i-critique-intervention-and-speculation/

In 2019 and 2020, the Centre for Postdigital Cultures (CPC) will be hosting a series of symposia exploring contemporary approaches to experimental publishing. Over the course of the series, we will ask questions about the role and nature of experimentation in publishing, about ways in which experimental publishing has been formulated and performed in the past, and ways in which it shapes our publishing imaginaries at present. This series aims to conceptualise and map what experimental publishing is or can be and to explore what lies behind our aims and motivations to experiment through publishing. As such, it forms the first activity within the CPC’s new Post-Publishing programme, an initiative committed to exploring iterative and processual forms of publishing and their role in reconceptualising publishing as an integral part of the research and writing process, i.e. as that which inherently shapes it.

Speakers 

Rebekka Kiesewetter holds a Lic. phil. I (MA) in art history, economics and modern history from the University of Zurich. Her works in critical theory, practice and making as critique focus on the intersections of experimental publishing, architecture, arts, artistic research, and the humanities.

Eva Weinmayr is an artist, educator, researcher and writer based in London and Gothenburg investigating the border crossings between contemporary art, radical education, and institutional analysis by experimenting with modes of intersectional feminist knowledge practices. She currently conducts a PhD on micro-politics of publishing at Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg and runs together with artist Rosalie Schweiker AND Publishing, a feminist publishing practice based in London.



Concept

Experimental publishing can be positioned as an intervention, a mode of critique, and a tool of speculation. It is a way of thinking about writing and publishing today that has at its centre a commitment to questioning and breaking down distinctions between practice and theory, criticality and creativity, and between the scholarly and the artistic.

In this series of events we propose to explore contemporary approaches to experimental publishing as:

  • an ongoing critique of our current publishing systems and practices, deconstructing existing hegemonies and questioning the fixtures in publishing to which we have grown accustomed—from the book as a stable object to single authorship and copyright.
  • an affirmative practice which offers means to re-perform our existing writerly, research, and publishing institutions and practices through publishing experiments.
  • a speculative practice that makes possible an exploration of different futures for writing and research, and the emergence of new, potentially more inclusive forms, genres, and spaces of publishing, open to ambivalence and failure.

This take on experimentation can be understood as a heterogeneous, unpredictable, and uncontained process, one that leaves the critical potentiality of the book as a medium open to new intellectual, political, and economic contingencies.

For further information, please contact Janneke Adema (ab5796@coventry.ac.uk) or Kaja Marczewska (ac8966@coventry.ac.uk). 


Thursday
Mar072019

MEDIA:ART:WRITE:NOW - new book series from Open Humanities Press

Media art is a space in which the human sensorium can recognise itself as fundamentally entangled with technology. It is also a filter through which urgent socio-political issues can be engaged, mediated and transformed.

 

Open Humanities Press's MEDIA : ART : WRITE : NOW series mobilises the medium of writing as a mode of critical enquiry and aesthetic expression. Its books capture the most original developments in technology-based arts and other forms of creative media: AI and computational arts, gaming, digital and post-digital productions, soft and wet media, interactive and participative arts, open platforms, photography, photomedia and, last but not least, amateur media practice. They convey the urgency of the project via their style, length and mode of engagement. In both length and tone, they sit somewhere between an extended essay and a monograph.

The goal of the series is to recalibrate how we see, hear and feel in the contemporary mediated environment – and to intervene in it, right here right now. It is also to challenge the unified ‘we’ of aesthetic and political experience.

To contribute to the series, please contact Joanna Zylinska, Goldsmiths, University of London <j.zylinska@gold.ac.uk>.

Advisory Board

Morehshin Allahyari, artist, activist, educator, US
Mark Amerika, University of Boulder, Colorado, US
Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr, SymbioticA, University of Western Australia, Australia
Kristoffer Gansing, Transmediale, Germany
Kenneth Goldsmith, University of Pennsylvania, US
Asbjørn Grønstad, Bergen University, Norway
Greg Hainge, University of Queensland, Australia
Eduardo Kac, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, US
Ryszard Kluszczyński, University of Łódź, Poland
Esther Leslie, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
Benjamin Mayer-Foulkes, 17: Institute of Critical Theory, Mexico
Gabriel Menotti, Espírito Santo Federal University, Vitória, Brasil
Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University, US
Kate Mondloch, University of Orgeon, US
Bo Reimer, Malmo University, Sweden
Katrina Sluis, The Photographers’ Gallery, London / London South Bank University, UK
Cornelia Sollfrank, artist, Germany
Hito Steyerl, artist, Germany

 

Image credit: Walter Van Der Mäntzche, Des perturbations sont à prévoir / Disturbances are expected, 2013.