review Nettitudes – net art politics

Posted: April 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm  |  By: margreet  |  Tags: , , , ,

By: By jussi.parikka at 27/04/2011 - 06:30

Jussi Parikka's blog

Amsterdam based journalist and critic Josephine Bosma’s just published book Nettitudes. Let’s Talk Net Art (2011) tackles the themes of, aesthetics, politics and network culture practices in a great way. Bosma, herself very much an insider to the net art scene since its emergence in the early 1990s, is able to both give insights to the emergence of this specific way of addressing the internet cultures as a catalyzer for art, as well as critical commentary. In other words, it is not only a celebration of the phenomena but involves good analytical comments.

Bosma discusses both the wider art theory implications of the field of “net art” and the difficulties it has had with its critics (either from the too established ones in art institutions or art history, or the ones too easily taking the forms of technological art to techno-determinist and capitalist directions). From such discussions she is continues to address the wider “technology” question in terms of theoretical positions: how to think “materially”, which for her comes from such directions as Massumi , Deleuze, Simondon and the emphasis on material change, becoming and movement – hence, immanently already “political”. Sounds like “new materialism.”

A very good intro is also the categorization she offers: the five levels of code, flow, screen, matter and context, which illuminate her particular approach that has to do with the practices of net art intimately tied to the network culture. In other words, it’s not the technology which is the determining factor but the wider social field in which they are articulated. This is what she calls “net cultures” of a heterogeneous mix of significant contexts: “various academic communities, news sites, financial trading, gaming communities, hacker groups, online shops, web logs (blogs), software and hardware developers, social network sites, dating sites, porn producers and porn audiences, media activists, institutional and independent cultural platforms and anything else happening that could be disseminated via the Net.” (25). Needless to say, that is a lot.

In the projects and approaches introduced, Nettitudes is able to carve out the specific aesthetic-political attitudes that net art brings forth. It has been a testing ground for practice and theory involving the various new roles, or subject positions, emerging in network culture relating to creative (“fun”) work, active audiences, “trans-subjectivities” (Brian Holmes’ term), gender and more; it has tackled with politics of institutions and organizations in its need to also rethink the existing art and cultural ones; bodies that the various projects touch upon are hybrids and as such already border-crossings, as with Critical Art Ensemble's bioartpolitics, or Michael Mandiberg selling his identity as part of his e-commerce project. Besides as a framework to think about cognitive capitalism, or global brand capitalism mocked by performances of Yes Men, such art projects working through the net as a context were ideal to think of cultural identities and boundaries – of access and lack of it in relation to South-America, Africa, Asia and so forth, and the intensive, imaginative ideas coming from such directions.

There is a lot of writing about these fields which overlap with for instance “software art”, but still Bosma’s book feels fresh. I was left thinking again of such notions as “speculative software”  (I/O/D) as something that feels inspiring and has a funny ring when thought in the context of later speculative realist philosophies. Such critique is involvement as execution – epistemology becoming effective, involved, as computers are: “Computers are embodied culture, hardwired epistemology” (Simon Pope and Matthew Fuller).

More info on Josephine Bosma’s book Nettitudes here.

Nettitudes is published by the Institute of Network Cultures and NAi Publishers.
Amsterdam/Rotterdam, 2011.


Review MyCreativity reader by Megan Yarrow

Posted: June 22, 2009 at 9:18 am  |  By: margreet  |  Tags: , ,

Cultural Studies: My Creativity Reader: A Critique of Creative Industries
My favourite piece in My Creativity Reader: A Critique of Creative Industries -a collection of essays edited by Geert Lovink and Ned Rossiter- is Annelys De Vet's Creativity is not About Industry:

I have nothing smart to say about the creative industry. This might be because I'm in the middle of it myself, not being able to see it clearly anymore. But most of all creativity can't be compared with industrial principals.
It's not about production, it's about reflection.
It's not about security, but about experiments.
It's not about output, but about input.
It's not about graphs, but about people.
It's not about similarities, but about differences.
It's not about majorities, but about minorities.
It's not about the private domain, but about the public domain.
It's not about financial space, but about cultural space.
Creativity has nothing to do with the economy, or with bureaucracy. It's about cultural value, trust, autonomous positions and undefined spaces.

For the whole review go to the Media/Culture website.

Brainless Text Culture and Mickey Mouse Science

Posted: June 21, 2009 at 6:49 pm  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , , ,

INC's research intern Dennis Deicke wrote his second book review, of
Stefan Weber's Das Google-Copy-Paste-Syndrome: Wie Netzplagiate Ausbildung und Wissen gefährden. Heise Verlag, Hannover: 2009.

The Google-Copy-Paste-Syndrome: How Web-Plagiarism endangers Education and Knowledge, written by Stefan Weber, deals with the influence of the ever-increasing internet use on the prevalent culture of knowledge. Austrian media scholar Weber states that the soaring spread of the new media results in a „text culture without brains.“ Stefan Weber decided to become a plagiarism-scientist after he discovered that a theologian from Tübingen has written off 90 sites of his own dissertation. Since that he has collected 14 folders with over 60 cases of plagiarism which build the base of his work. Internet enhances plagiarism in schools, journalism, the arts and especially at universities. Weber criticizes current media and cultural studies programs which ignore the augmented emergence of plagiarism due to an exaggerated optimism towards new media, thereby enhancing the problem by spreading their infinitely technophile theories.
The review can be found here.
Or visit the Society of the Query website for more search engine theory book reviews:

Search Engine Theory Book Reviews

Posted: June 17, 2009 at 9:13 am  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , , ,

As the INC is preparing for a conference on search engines, titled The Society of the Query, research intern Dennis Deicke is delving deep into search engine theory. His book reviews can be read on the preliminary conference site Dennis has published his first review, which covers David Gugerli's Suchmaschinen, Die Welt als Datenbank. The review can be read here.