Institute of Network Cultures
The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) analyzes and shapes the terrain of network cultures through events, publications, and online dialogue. Our projects evolve around urgent publishing, alternative revenue models, critical design and making, digital counter culture and much more.
The INC was founded in 2004 by Geert Lovink, following his appointment within the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. A key focus is the establishment of sustainable research networks. Emerging critical topics are identified and shaped in a practical sense. Interdisciplinary in character, the INC brings together researchers, artists, activists, programmers, designers, and students and teachers.
The field of network cultures revolves around the interaction between new forms of media, and the users of such new forms. With a strong focus on the transdisciplinary nature of new media and its DIY and open source components, the INC gives equal attention to the artistic, political and technical aspects of the internet and other emergent media. As such, the INC’s area of research extends to design, activism, art, philosophy, political theory, and urban studies and is not confined to the internet alone. Indeed, the INC maintains that the internet can only be understood at the conjuncture of these various fields and lines of inquiry. ‘Network cultures’ is seen as a strategic instrument to diagnose political and aesthetic developments in user-driven communication. Network cultures rapidly assemble, and can just as quickly disappear, creating a sense of spontaneity, transience, even uncertainty. Yet these forms are here to stay. However self-evident it is, collaboration is a foundation of network cultures.
The aim of the INC is to create sustainable research networks around emerging topics in which a critical contribution can be made. The formation of a small group of international people, both inside and outside of the academy, may result in a larger online discussion. Together with the researchers and a group of students, interns and volunteers, an event is organized to gather key questions and thinkers. Many of these events, such as a conference, seminar or workshop, culminate in a publication. Formats of publication may include a printed reader, a book, video interviews, wikis, blogs and special online magazine issues, along with conference documentation (photos, video files and podcasts). The publication functions as an important vehicle for the sustainability of the research network.
All INC publications, including the blog postings, are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0)
These days images form part and parcel of every message when surfing, searching and interacting. On dedicated platforms like YouTube and Pinterest images are gathered, annotated and shared. Images are more than just illustration: they have retained an autonomous status, digitalization notwithstanding. Online video has to observe its own rules with respect to editing, light, framing, use of sound, and so on. How has this been changed under the influence of digitalization and the ubiquity of digital cameras? What relationship should visual education have to this? And the key question: is the image taking over from the written word? Alongside the technical, economic and social aspects of the network, its aesthetic component is becoming increasingly important. To understand this better we need to engage in an open, critical dialogue with visual artists, designers and film-makers at all levels of the network culture.
The publishing world is perhaps one of the last big media organizations to be making the transition to the digital domain. So it is now going through a sea-change moment in which new relationships will emerge between writer, publisher, designer and distributor. Many of its older mechanisms may soon no longer work, but in their place new possibilities will arise with regard to formats, reading experiences, social reading, do-it-yourself, business models, and so on. Is the book business – like other media industries – headed towards a model in which content is cut up into parts? What about e-readers and reading online, on your phone?
Revenue models in the arts/MoneyLab
More and more young professionals are entering the market and it is getting harder to find a solid job. Remuneration for web design and app development is falling all the time, while content itself has been more or less written off and is made available for free. A freelancer’s life is an insecure one. In a moribund economy, finding new income sources is a matter of urgency. IT is getting ever more important, but outsourcing continues to expand. Online funding of the creative sector is still in its infancy and badly needs more research and development. What will future YouTube earnings models look like? Will crowdfunding and Bitcoins supply enough ‘supplementary income’? And where will the basic income come from?
Political action and social involvement are no longer isolated, underground activities, or limited to a small group of activists. People are experimenting with new media and digital technologies everywhere and all the time. Post-2000 a new relationship has arisen between politics and aesthetics, and the technical knowledge needed to effectively deploy new media has spread quickly. Today, ‘compassion fatigue’ and nihilism are the greatest problems; where do we draw the line between ‘clicktivism’ and real involvement? Is going offline the only option? How can social movements organize themselves, beyond social media? We are in the middle of a quest to find the right balance between virtuality and the street, between networks and squares, as public spaces used to be called in the old days. What do the newest tactics look like to today’s social mix of artists, programmers, researchers and designers?
Design is more than just the optimization of business processes and information streams. For INC, design is above all an aesthetic expression that asks questions. Design is a skill and an applied art that is essential to anyone building systems for the media and information industries. Without a solid knowledge of visual language, and a critical attitude towards form and functionality, designers end up lviomply copying standard protocols: the filling in of empty templates. A world without aesthetic practice is a bleak and barren environment, dominated by a pure functionality in which the spirits of both the maker and the user are absent. In design education it is essential that links are forged between functional informatics and interaction design, not just for students but for everyone who goes online. How do we break out of this ‘urge to optimize’?
Internet platforms like Google, Wikipedia, and online university modules such as MOOCs are increasingly determining what we mean by ‘knowledge’. In education, digital databases are replacing not only the old-fashioned library but also the teacher’s role as the dispenser of knowledge to the student. If something isn’t on Google then it might as well not exist. What does this mean for a student’s view on the world? Who gets to decide what is important and what is not? It is vital to know what websites like Wikipedia and search engines like Google look like on the inside, and to understand how they work, while the process of knowledge production is being increasingly left to software algorithms. What are the real-world politics behind these algorithms, editing bots and online courses?
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam)
The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) is part the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS, HvA in Dutch), faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries. Within this faculty the INC is part of the knowledge centre. The responsibilities of the INC include the provision of internships, lectures and BA thesis supervision.
Back in 2004, Geert Lovink’s appointment was one of 300 ‘lector’ positions across national applied universities assigned to formulate the research agenda for Dutch vocational education.
Who is who
The Institute of Network Cultures works with a small team (3-4 staff) members) from the office in Amsterdam. Researchers and interns from the Netherlands and abroad join on project basis, adding value, expertise, and new perspectives. Together they form the widespread collaboration network of the INC.
Geert Lovink is a Dutch media theorist, internet critic and author of Uncanny Networks (2002), Dark Fiber (2002), My First Recession (2003), Zero Comments (2007), Networks Without a Cause (2012), Social Media Abyss (2016) and Sad by Design (2019). In 2003 he received his PhD from the University of Melbourne, followed by a postdoc position at the University of Queensland. In 2004 he founded the Institute of Network Cultures at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. From 2004-2012 he was associated professor in the new media program of Mediastudies, University of Amsterdam. In 2005-2006 he was a fellow at the Insitute of Advanced Study in Berlin. From 2007-2017 he taught at the European Graduate School (Saas-Fee/Malta) where he supervised five PhD students. Email: geert[at]xs4all[dot]nl.
Inte Gloerich is a PhD researcher and project coordinator the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She holds an MA in New Media and Digital Culture from the University of Amsterdam. Her work involves the politics, artistic imaginations, and (counter)cultures around digital technology, digital economy, and online identity. She co-edited the INC publications MoneyLab Reader 2 and State Machines. In September 2020 she started her HvA-funded PhD researcher while also teaching at Mediastudies (UvA). Email: inte[at]networkcultures[dot]org.
Sepp Eckenhaussen joined the Institute of Network Cultures in 2020 as an editor, researcher and producer. He is responsible for the (digital) publishing programs, research development, and production. He holds an rMA in Art Studies from the University of Amsterdam. In 2019, Sepp’s first book, Scenes of Independence: Cultural Ruptures in Zagreb (1991-2019), was published by the INC. Sepp combines his work at the INC with the position of co-director at Platform BK. Email: sepp[at]networkcultures[dot]org.
Chloë Arkenbout joined INC in October 2020 as a researcher, editor and producer. She holds a BA in Media & Culture from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and worked as a freelance copywriter, journalist and communications & PR professional for several years after that. She was specialized in the cultural and social sector, where she worked for clients such as Amsterdam Art Weekend, 113 Zelfmoordpreventie, Amsterdam Dance Event, COC Nederland and Museumnacht Amsterdam. In 2020 she completed a pre-master in Philosophy. Alongside her role at the ICN, she is doing a MA in New Media & Digital Culture at UvA, where she is researching the moral responsibility of cultural platforms for social justice issues, in relation to call out culture. Email: chloe[at]networkcultures.org.
Evelien van Nieuwenhoven started in November 2020 as a researcher at the INC and teaches in the Creative Business program of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Her research revolves around the realms of truth and meaningfulness, and how these relate to each other as domains of reality in socio-technical debates in (Dutch) society and higher education. She is particularly interested in the way narrative and national discourses influence debates on data protection and privacy. She holds an rMA in Dutch literature and culture and previously worked at the Open Universiteit on the effects of climate narratives and implementation of story and discourse analysis in climate change education. Email: evelien[at]networkcultures.org.
Lisa Marsman joined the Institute of Network Cultures in 2021. During her studies of Communication and Multimedia Design at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) she missed something pretty important; defining the truth about design problems through research. In addition assisting the INC team with administrational and productional tasks, as Research Assistant Lisa tries to understand why people make certain decisions on the web. To which extent is the designer responsible for this behavior? Which role is to be fulfilled in the future of design? How can we keep digital culture digital?
Current INC interns
Marijn Bril is a Rotterdam-based designer who recently graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy and did a pre-masters program Media Studies/Digital Cultures at Maastricht University.
Agnieszka Wodzińska is a recent graduate of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she completed an MA in Contemporary Art History. Prior to their studies, Agnieszka worked as an editor of educational content and a creative writer in Glasgow, Scotland. Agnieszka’s current research interests include queer theory, counter-archiving practices and environmental art.
Maurice Dharampal is an RMA Media Studies student at the University of Amsterdam. Being educated in New Media, his interests include a humanities approach towards digital subcultures such as online conspiracism, memetics, censorship and digital equity. His aim is to translate insights from new media research into insights that stimulate public debate.
Paul Bille is a graphic designer, thinking about what it means to be a cloud-based graphic designer. His practice so far is defined by building websites and visual identities for and with artists, friends, and himself. He is also a F/LOSS enthusiast and amateur-webmaster and interested in the gap between surface and underlying structure and how this takes shape in the design of digital (ad-)networks, platforms and online identities.
The Technological Zombie is the research blog of Donatella Della Ratta, a writer, performer, and curator specializing in digital media and networked technologies, with a focus on the Arab world. Donatella Della Ratta is the author of Shooting a Revolution (Pluto Press, 2018) and the INC Longform Teaching into the Void. In 2017, together with INC and Roma Tre, she organized the conference Fear and Loathing of the Online Self. She teaches Media and Communications at John Cabot University, Rome and tweets avidly at @donatelladr.
Spectres of Control is the collaborative blog of Anna-Verena Nosthoff and Felix Maschewski. Anna-Verena Nosthoff is a philosopher and a political theorist, teaching at the Institute of political sciences at the University of Vienna and at FU Berlin. She was a research fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the networked societies and published on critical theory, the aesthetics of resistance, digital politics, algorithmic governmentality and (neo-)cybernetic governance, in journals such as Behemoth, Thesis Eleven, Cultural Politics, Culture, Theory & Critique, and Leviathan. As an essayist, she regularly writes for Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Die Republik, Philosophie Magazin, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and other publications. Her book Die Gesellschaft der Wearables, co-authored with Felix Maschewski, was published by Nicolai Publishing & Intelligence (Berlin, 2019). Felix Maschewski is a member of the PhD-net ‘Das Wissen der Literatur’ (HU Berlin/ Princeton University), currently teaching at FU Berlin. He is also a research associate at Institut für Wirtschaftsgestaltung (Berlin). Apart from articles in Behemoth, Leviathan, Thesis Eleven and Jahrbuch Technikphilosophie, he regularly writes essays for Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Die Republik, Philosophie Magazin, Wirtschaftswoche, Internazionale and Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
Good Neighbours As invited research fellows, researcher Dr. Natalie Dixon (South Africa) and interactive artist Klasien van de Zandschulp (NL) combine their two worlds of art practice and media theory to analyse contemporary network culture. For Good Neighbours, their joint focus is on intimate forms of neighbourhood surveillance; mobilised by their deeply felt reaction to instances of othering and exclusion witnessed in South Africa and the Netherlands. While these countries share a problematic history, they also share similar practices of mobile communication and ideals of neighbourliness. As an artist-theorist team, van de Zandschulp and Dixon will be developing critical theory on WhatsApp and the intimate networks of community surveillance enabled through this platform.
No Fun – Jess Henderson is a writer, researcher, theorist, and author of Offline Matters: The Less-Digital Guide to Creative Work (BIS Publishers, Amsterdam, 2020). The book exposes the true techno-determinist state of creative work today, resulting from three years of intensive research conducted as an insider precariat of the creative industries. Jess is currently based in Zürich, undertaking the first transdisciplinary study of the burnout. Follow more of her work here.
Living Industry – Maisa Imamović is an Amsterdam-based writer, designer, and web-developer. She graduated from Gerrit Rietveld’s Architectural Design department in 2018. She also pursued the Full-Stack Web Development certificate at BSSA. Her main research interest is the island of boredom, and the impossibility to be bored. It’s about restlessness and constant search for distraction. She studies trends, cliches, and conditions of honesty experienced by many. For her design practise she creates situations of doing nothing/cutting productivity to zero. Since her web-development journey, she has been observant how programming languages program lifestyles through user experience. She was recently published in Kajet and Simulacrum. INC published her longforms “How to Nothing” and “Club-wise”.
Performance of code – Nancy Mauro-Flude‘s research explores how we articulate the resonances and dissonances between performing arts and computer science, usually within the context of the contemporary art. She has devised, curated and developed numerous experimental cross-disciplinary artworks, durational events, and pedagogical programmes that examine how networked systems, embodiment and emergent technologies manifest in contemporary culture, including, Waag Society: institute for art, science and technology, Museum of New and Old Art (MONA), Transmediale, What the Hack, Contemporary Art Tasmania, FILE, International Symposium on Electronic Art and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. She has also given numerous workshops and master classes in hardware, software art and performance, planetary computing, creative hacking, networked art forms, counter-surveillance, commandline programming for artists, augmented reality, and UNIX/Linux worldwide. She is an advocate of Free and Open Source Software and is a supporter of, and contributor to, initiatives that promote and reinforce rights in the networked domain. Nancy was awarded an MA in Media Design, Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, University of Applied Sciences (2007) and a PhD, University of Tasmania (2014). In 2015 she was appointed professor of art and technology, Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. sister0.tv | miss-hack.org
Welcome To The Entreprecariat – Silvio Lorusso is a Rotterdam-based artist, designer, and researcher. His current research focuses on the relationship between entrepreneurship and precarity, i.e. entreprecariat. His work was shown at Transmediale (Berlin, Germany), NRW- Forum (Düsseldorf, Germany), Impakt (Utrecht, Netherlands), Sight & Sound (Montreal, Canada), Adhocracy (Athens, Greece), Biennale Architettura (Venezia, Italy). He holds a Ph.D. in Design Sciences from the School of Doctorate Studies – Iuav University of Venice. He is an affiliated researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures of Amsterdam. His writing has appeared in Prismo, Printed Web 3, Metropolis M, Progetto Grafico, Digicult, Diid, and Doppiozero. His work has been featured in, among others, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and Wired. Since 2013, he manages the Post-Digital Publishing Archive (p-dpa.net). Currently, he works as a mentor at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’ PublishingLab. Silvio can be reached at s [at] silviolorusso [dot] com.
Proof of Work – Max Dovey assists with the MoneyLab project. He describes himself as 28.3% man, 14.1% artist and 8.4% successful. He holds a BA Hons in Fine Art: Time Based Media and a MA (MDes) in Media Design from Piet Zwart Institute. His performances confront how computers, software and data affect the human condition. Specifically he is interested in how the meritocracy of neo-liberal ideology is embedded in technology and digital culture. His research is in liveness and real-time computation in performance and theatre. He works as a producer and creative technologist for live events and theatre in both The Netherlands and U.K. Email: max [at] networkcultures [dot] org.
INC has collaborated with:
Lily Antflick, research intern for the project the Unbound Book and Theory on Demand series.
Srividya Balasubramanian, research intern for the project Society of the Query, as a part of the Bachelor of Social Sciences in Communications and New Media from the National University of Singapore.
Matthew Beros intern assisting with the Hybrid Publishing Lab project, next to completing a Masters degree in Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University.
Juliana Brunello, research intern for the project Wikipeda, as part of the Bachelor of Arts degree from the Universitaet Siegen (DE) in Social Sciences with emphasis in Media Studies.
Marije Brom, research intern on the Society of the Query project and the MyCreativity project.
Tim Brouwer, worked as an intern for the MoneyLab project in 2018.
Marta Burugorri, intern involved in the Video Vortex project (2013-2014).
Tommaso Campagna started as a research and publishing intern for the Making Public project, next to completing a Research Master in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. In 2019/2020 he trained the digital publishing interns, produced digital publications, worked on the INC website and the tactical visual cultures project.
Bella Calabretta, research intern for the Institute of Network Culture, working on INC publications.
Francesca Coluzzi worked as a research intern at INC from September 2012 – January 2013, conducting interviews and blogging for the Oor of Ink project.
Morgan Currie, researcher for the project Economies of the Commons and the Unbound Book.
Vicentiu Dinga, research intern at INC for Society of the Query #2 and the MoneyLab project (2013-2014).
Dennis Deicke, research intern for the project Society of the Query as part of his study of Communication and Cultural Management at the Zeppelin University (DE).
Leonieke van Dipten, worked as a project lead at INC, involved in the INC publications and the Art of Criticism.
Barbara Dubbeldam was research assistant at the Institute of Network Cultures and involved in production, INC publications, and the Making Public project.
Marije van Eck, wrote her BA-thesis, an analysis of the phenomenon of user generated content on YouTube, in order to complete the New Media and Digital Culture program at Utrecht University (NL).
Andrew Erlanger, research intern from February – April 2013, working on the Unlike Us #3 conference on social media.
Cecilia Guida, art critic, theorist and art historian, who once was a Ph.D. candidate at the IULM University of Milan (IT) where she conducted a research on the social and political functions of art practice in the networked society. As an INC intern he was involved in the Video Vortex project.
Larissa Hildebrandt, produced the Unlike Us #3 conference in Amsterdam.
Minke Kampman, research intern as part of writing her thesis for MA New Media at the University of Amsterdam (NL). She was involved in the WinterCamp project.
Marleen Kerssemakers was a project manager at the INC, focused on grant applications.
René König, PhD researcher and INC intern from September 2012 – January 2013, working on the Society of the Query project on search engines.
Silvio Lorusso, design theorist, PhD in Design Sciences at IUAV University of Venice, investigating the intersections between publishing and digital technology from the perspective of art and design. Silvio designed and maintained the INC website for many years, worked as a designer at the INC PublishingLab and was part of both RAAK projects (Hybrid Publishing Toolkit and Making Public).
Inga Luchs, research intern working on INC publications as part of preparation for a MA in Culture, Arts and Media.
Eleni Maragkou pursued a research master’s in Media Studies at University of Amsterdam and holds a BA in Media and Communications of the University of Athens. She was previously a staff writer at popaganda.gr. and worked as an intern at INC in 2020.
Gráinne Maxwell research Intern as part of her MA programme Cultural History of Modern Europe at Utrecht University.
Kelly Mostert was a project coordinator at the Institute for Network Cultures, and was currently responsible for coordinating the ‘Making Public’ project on innovations in digital publishing.
Miriam Rasch started working with the Institute of Network Cultures in June 2012 and left in October 2020. She worked as a researcher on projects around hybrid publishing, art criticism, social media and web search, and was lecturer in the HvA minor in Philosophy. She holds a masters degree in Literary Studies (2002) and Philosophy (2005). She edited many INC publications. In 2017 her essay collection Zwemmen in de oceaan: Berichten uit een postdigitale wereld was published by De Bezige Bij; in 2018 Shadowbook: Writing Through the Digital 2014-2018 was released in the INC Deep Pockets series, followed by Fricties, ethiek in tijden van dataisme in 2020. She writes book reviews and essays for different websites and magazines. She was member of the Ethical Board of AUAS and still is of the editorial boards of De Nieuwe Garde, The Low Countries, and Eurozine.
Rachel Somers Miles, worked at INC from April 2010 – April 2011 on the Culture Vortex and Video vortex program and was editor of the VVII Reader.
Carlos García Moreno-Torres, worked at INC as an intern involved in the Video Vortex project from September 2010 to April 2011.
Vera van de Nieuwenhof was a project assistant at the INC and was involved in event organisation and communication.
Sabine Niederer, worked at INC from September 2004 – January 2012 as the managing director of the Institute of Network Cultures.
Shirley Niemans, worked at INC as a producer and researcher, involved in many projects, September 2006 – August 2008.
Sebastian Olma prepared a book publication on the conditions of creative production in the age of manufactured serendipity and creative industries within the MyCreativity project.
Michelle Oosthuyzen, is working at the INC as intern and researcher, Februari 2012 – April 2012.
Stijn Peeters, research intern from February – April 2013, working on the Unlike Us #3 conference on social media.
Frederiek Pennink was an intern for the Society of the Query #2 conference, 2013.
Valeria Pugliese was a research intern for the Making Public project, for which she redesigned the Digital Publishing toolkit. She studied Communication and Design for Publishing at ISIA Urbino in Italy.
Margreet Riphagen, started at the INC in 2008 as a project manager and was coordinator of the PublishingLab. Is now working as Track Program Coordinator of the Digital Society School, also part of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.
Kimberley Spreeuwenberg was project coordinator of the Digital Publishing Toolkit research project and now teaches at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.
Donato Spinelli was a research and publishing intern and worked on Urgent Publishing and Our Commons.
Marc Stumpel, worked at INC as a producer and researcher, involved in Unlike Us, September 2011 – April 2012.
Leila Ueberschlag worked at the INC as an intern for the organization of MoneyLab #3 in 2016.
Rosie Underwood was a Publishing Intern for the Institute of Network Culture.
Patricia de Vries was project coordinator at the Institute of Network Cultures from 2013-2020, in particularly responsible for building up the MoneyLab network. During her time at INC she did her PhD research, published by INC as Algorithmic Anxiety in Contemporary Art.
Matthijs Weijers was a research intern on the Digital Publishing Toolkit project, as part of his final thesis for the HvA direction Media, Marketing and Publishing (MIC).
Serena Westra started as an intern involved with the Critical Point of View event (2008) and worked in different functions for the INC up till 2013.
Jess van Zyl (NZ) was an intern assisting with the Hybrid Publishing project, and later worked as researcher with the PublishingLab.