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'The Inhumanist Manifesto', Media Theory, Vol. 1, No.1, 2017.

The Uberfication of the University (Open access Forerunners series version available here; as of April 4 2017 an interactive Manifold series version is available here.)

Públicos Fantasma - La Naturaleza Política Del Libro - La Red (Mexico: Taller de Ediciones Económicas, 2016) - new book, co-authored with Andrew Murphie, Janneke Adema and Alessandro Ludovico. 

'Posthumanities: The Dark Side of "The Dark Side of the Digital"' (with Janneke Adema), in Janneke Adema and Gary Hall, eds, Disrupting the Humanities: Towards Posthumanities, Journal of Electronic PublishingVol. 9, No.2, Winter, 2016.

Open Access

Most of Gary's work is freely available to read and download either here in Media Gifts or in Coventry University's online repository CURVE here 

performative project Janneke Adema has put together, based on our ‘The Political Nature of the Book: On Artists’ Books and Radical Open Access’ article for New Formations, Number 78, Summer, 2013. 

'What Does Academia.edu's Success Mean for Open Access: The Data-Driven World of Search Engines and Social Networking', Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, no.5, 2015.

Radical Open Access network

Tuesday
Jun272017

Three new OHP books from: Brian Massumi; Steven Connor; and Érik Bordeleau, Toni Pape, Ronald Rose-Antoinette and Adam Szymanski

We are pleased to announce the release this month of two new titles in Open Humanities Press’ Immediations series:

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Brian Massumi's The Principle of Unrest explores the contemporary implications of an activist philosophy, pivoting on the issue of movement. Movement is understood not simply in spatial terms but as qualitative transformation: becoming, emergence, event.

Available for free download at:

http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/the-principle-of-unrest/

 

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Nocturnal Fabulations/Fabulations nocturnes by Érik Bordeleau, Toni Pape, Ronald Rose-Antoinette and Adam Szymanski with an Introduction by Erin Manning.

This collective, bi-lingual project is animated by a shared curiosity in the pragmatics of fabulation and its speculative gesture of bringing forth a people to come. In an encounter with Apichatpong’s cinematic dreamscape, the concepts of ecology, vitality and opacity emerge to articulate an ethos of fabulation that deframes experience, recomposes subjectivity and unfixes time.Available for free download at:

English: http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/nocturnal-fabulations/

 French: http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/fabulations-nocturnes/

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We are also pleased to announce the latest book in the Technographies series:

Steven Connor's Dream Machines

Dream Machines is a history of imaginary machines and the ways in which machines come to be imagined. It considers seven different kinds of speculative, projected or impossible machines: machines for teleportation, dream-production, sexual pleasure and medical treatment and cure, along with ‘influencing machines’, invisibility machines and perpetual motion machines.

“This is an engaging and imaginative exploration of various forms of writing, thinking, and fantasizing about dream machines, an endlessly fertile topic probed here from just about every possible angle … a major intervention into current understandings of technology, literature, and identity.” 

Matthew Rubery – Queen Mary University of London

“… a deeply original contribution to the history and philosophy of technology and the cultural history of the imagination …”Laura Salisbury – University of Exeter

Available for free download at:

http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/dream-machines/

With our best wishes,

Sigi, David, Gary

 

Friday
May262017

Ten Ways To Affirmatively Disrupt Platform Capitalism And The Sharing Economy Of Uber and Airbnb ♯4: Establish A Collaborative Data Sharing Community

(This is part of a series of posts in which I provide ten proposals as to how to affirmatively disrupt  platform capitalism and the corporate sharing economy of Uber, Airbnb et al. Together these posts constitute the draft of a text provisionally titled Data Commonism vs Übercapitalism designed to follow on from my recently published short book, The Uberfication of the University. If the latter provides a dystopian sense of what is lying in store for many us over the course of the next few years, Data Commonism vs Übercapitalism is more optimistic in that it shows what we can do about it. 

The first text in this series, Data Commonism: Introduction is here.

The Uberfication of the University is available from Minnesota University Press here. An open access version is available here.)
 

 

We Don’t Have To Live Like This: How To Affirmatively Disrupt the Disrupters 

♯4: Establish A Collaborative Data Sharing Community

As I pointed out in my previous post on how we can affirmatively disrupt the platform capitalists of the sharing and gig economies, the main problem with Jaron Lanier’s idea for a universal micropayment system is that it maintains us in the position of being ubercapitalist microentrepreneurs--not just of ourselves but of our data too. We can propose an alternative to Lanier’s universal micropayment system, however, in the form of an organisation, union, or consortium that is more capable of countering the power of both the state and übercapitalism, and thus protecting our information and data, than we are as isolated individuals. The idea would be to begin to address the problem of scale by signing over our data to this organisation where it can be captured, controlled, and managed on our behalf. 

Is one place where such a consortium can potentially begin to be generated around open access? The open access movement argues for access to academic research to be made available online to scholars and the general public free of charge, without anyone having to pay subscriptions to either read or (in its purest forms) publish this research.  In many definitions of open access it also means users are free to print, reproduce, and distribute copies of this research, and that it is being made available free of most licensing and copyright restrictions, thus enabling users to make derivative works from it too.  Accordingly, the open access movement contains a large number of people who possess significant experience and expertise when it comes to dealing with issues of open data, open knowledge, and free and open source software. Many have already done extensive work on making the exchange of bibliographic information between repositories, e-journals, and research infrastructures interoperable. What is more, some of those associated with open access have recently begun to explore how different projects and organisations can cooperate. Examples include the Open Access Publishing Cooperative Study that is ‘bringing together libraries, journals, societies, presses, funders’ and others to ‘explore the feasibility of a cooperative alternative in scholarly publishing’, as well as the Radical Open Access Collective with which I am associated.  (At the time of this writing, the radical Open Access collective includes The BABEL Working Group, Culture Machine, CLACSO, Discover Society, Ephemera, Goldsmiths Press, Journal of Peer Production, Journal of Radical Librarianship, Limn,  Mattering Press, MayFly Books, Minor Compositions,  MediaCommons Press, MLA Commons, Meson Press, Open Book Publishers, Open Humanities Press, Open Knowledge Foundation, Photomediations Machine, Punctum Books, Scalar, Spheres, and tripleC. That the open access movement has emerged in large part out of the publicly-funded, non-profit university system is testament to the fact that this is one sphere in society where the for-profit values and practices of neoliberalism are still being wrestled with.) 

The reason I am using the word "cooperate" here is with a view to working collaboratively with those, such as Neal Gorenflo, Jannele Orsi, and Trebor Scholz, who are championing ideas of platform cooperativism and open cooperatives.  Strictly speaking, however, there is an important difference between cooperation and collaboration as these two terms are usually defined.  In cooperation the project is something you help someone with: something they are working on, but which they are ultimately responsible for and that they own and can sell individually. In collaboration, meanwhile, a collective owns the project jointly. Collaboration is therefore actually the better term for what I have in mind: it is certainly closer to my understanding of the Commons.  However, I do think we need to work collaboratively. So in that spirit I am still going to use cooperativism from time to time in the rest of discussion of how we can affirmatively disrupt the sharing economy, if that make sense. 

Can a collection of open access initiatives begin to form such a collaborative consortium where our information and data can be protected and cared for on our behalf? Or no matter how many open access projects and organisations it brings together, is there a danger such a consortium will be too small to collect data on a large enough scale to be able to affirmatively disrupt to any significant degree the system whereby corporate global entities such as Uber and Airbnb are intensifying the process of dismantling social democracy?

Thursday
Apr202017

Document Practices Symposium, University of Leeds, May 5

Sunday
Apr092017

Interactive Version Of The Uberfication Of The University Now Available In Minnesota's Manifold Series

An open access, interactive version of The Uberfication Of The University is now available as part of the University of Minnesota Press’s new publishing platform for interactive scholarly monographs, Manifold: http://staging.manifoldapp.org/.
 

Funded through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Manifold is a collaboration between University of Minnesota Press, the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and Cast Iron Coding.

Minnesota began work on the Manifold project two years ago, aiming to create a responsive platform for interactive books that would help university presses share long-form monographs through an appealing and elegant interface. On the Manifold site, there are a selection of projects from the University of Minnesota Press that may be read, annotated, highlighted, and shared through social media. Each project has a homepage that presents an overview of the text, provides a quick link to the text, aggregates recent activity, showcases the evolution of the project, and shares resources—images, videos, files, PDFs, image collections—that have been added to the text. Images that were part of the print version will appear in-line; resources that have been added for the Manifold edition will appear to the left of the text. Texts are responsive and may be read on any device, though the mobile versions are not yet fully featured. 

Though the current beta version only includes Minnesota publications, the platform is being designed so that any press or interested scholar can install Manifold, customize the platform with specific colors and logos, and publish work through the administrative dashboard. Manifold is capable of ingesting a variety of formats—ePub, HTML, Google Docs, Markdown, Microsoft Word—immediately transforming them into interactive web publications.
 

Manifold is an open-source project. The code is available on Github. For a longer introduction to the project, please read 'Building Manifold', by Project Co-PIs Doug Armato and Matthew K. Gold. To learn more about the technology behind the platform, please read 'A Technical Introduction to Manifold' by Manifold Lead Developer Zach Davis.

(For the full version of the above text, please read 'Manifold Beta Now Available'.)

Tuesday
Feb212017

Ten Ways To Affirmatively Disrupt Platform Capitalism And The Sharing Economy Of Uber And Airbnb ♯3: Become a Microdatapreneur

(This is part of a series of posts in which I provide ten proposals as to how to affirmatively disrupt  platform capitalism and the corporate sharing economy of Uber, Airbnb et al. Together these posts constitute the draft of a text provisionally titled Data Commonism vs Übercapitalism designed to follow on from my recently published short book, The Uberfication of the University. If the latter provides a dystopian sense of what is lying in store for many us over the course of the next few years, Data Commonism vs Übercapitalism is more optimistic in that it shows what we can do about it. 

The first text in this series, Data Commonism: Introduction is here.

The Uberfication of the University is available from Minnesota University Press here. An open access version is available here.)

 

We Don’t Have To Live Like This: How To Affirmatively Disrupt the Disrupters 

♯3: Become a Microdatapreneur

A still further way we can endeavor to affirmatively disrupt the platform capitalists of the sharing economy is by working toward the kind of “universal micropayment system” Jaron Lanier envisages in Who Owns The Future: “If observation of you yields data that makes it easier for… a political campaign to target voters with its message, then you ought to be owed money for the use of that valuable data.” In this system we would be paid for the data we generate if it turns out to be valuable. Our relationship with the platforms of the for-profit sharing economy would thus take the form of a “two-way” financial transaction in which we all “benefit, concretely, with real money,” rather than just a few San Francisco-based entrepreneurs and investors. 

Interestingly, we do now have the means to apply a licence to specify how our data is to be protected and controlled and whether it can be shared. Project-if.com, for example, allows individuals to license their data: that produced using the Oyster travel card in London, say. As was made clear at the 2015 Big Bang Data exhibition at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, Project-if.com “let people decide whether their data is shared or not, who can access it, and what they can do with it... The prototype works on a blockchain, a transparent and secure data recording system.” 

Such an approach has the potential to be disruptive of the for-profit sharing economy since it would allow us, if we so wish, to withhold our user data--data on which platform capitalist companies depend for their successful operation. One problem with Lanier’s idea, however, is that of scale. A universal micropayment system may result in some degree of financial redistribution. But while it provides a means of reuniting data with those users who produce it--in contrast to platform capitalist companies which work hard to keep the two apart--there is not really all that much we can do with our own small amounts of data. How much leverage would we have when it comes to negotiating a price for it, bearing in mind most of us will have to rely on these companies to determine for us the extent to which our data--including that we generate in our homes by using the Google Home voice assistant, or Amazon’s Echo, with its virtual PA Alexa--has actually contributed to a political campaign aimed at targeting voters, to stay with Lanier’s example?

Any money we succeed in obtaining in this fashion is likely to be relatively minor--along the lines of the royalty payment musicians receive from streaming services such as Spotify (between $0.006 and $0.0084 per play). Lanier’s universal micropayment idea therefore seems another approach that will do little to fundamentally alter the overall system of ubercapitalism

(The same can be said of the musician Imogen Heap’s idea to change the music industry by using blockchain technology to ensure artists get paid. It is interesting how often blockchain technology is used to try to find a way for users to pay for everything in the form of micropayments. )

And what if the price we are offered is not acceptable? In reality, how much power are we likely to have to retain ownership and control of our data more broadly, compared to that of large, aggressive, for-profit corporations such as Google, Amazon, and Uber: especially if these corporations hold the view that, in the words of Carl Bildt, chair of the Commission on Internet Governance thinktank, “Barriers against the free flow of data are, in effect, barriers against trade.” As Dymtri Kleiner reminds us, “their business model depends fundamentally on surveillance and behavioural control.” So isn’t any attempt to adopt a protectionist stance with regard to our own data likely to be perceived as a direct attack on these companies on our part? (Either that or we’ll find ourselves identified as a potential threat by the national security surveillance systems of the NSA, GCHQ, et al.)

Moreover, for Clare Birchall, it is not at all “clear that data belongs to us in the first place in order for it then to be given or taken”--or monetized, in this case. Instead, “we are within a dynamic sharing assemblage: always already sharing data with human or non-human agents.” Birchall introduces the term “shareveillance” to describe the “condition of consuming shared data and producing data to be shared in ways that shape” what she refers to as an “an ascendant shareveillant subjectivity.” This is a “subject who is at once surveillant (veiller ‘to watch’ is from the Latin vigilare, from vigil, ‘watchful’) and surveilled. To phrase it with a slightly different emphasis: the subject of shareveillance is one who simultaneously works with data and on whom the data works.”

The main problem I have with Lanier’s idea for a universal micropayment system, though, is that it maintains us in the position of being ubercapitalist microentrepreneurs--not just of ourselves but of our data too.