Whether it originates from statistical tabulation or remote sensors, whether it flows in real time or out of recombinant databases, whether it serves the needs of private individuals, globe-spanning corporations or government agencies, information visualization is the operative technology of the networked age, a language of vision for the control society. Infoviz proliferates on the screens of factory workstations, financial trading floors, military commands and surveillance watchspots, everywhere that decisive movements are subject to managerial scrutiny.
This text argues that the erosion of privacy is not a by-product of information and communication technologies, but a systemic property of informational capitalism. The foundational myths of the information society motivate and legitimise the building of control systems applying probabilistic techniques to control future risks. At the root of this configuration are antagonistic labour relationships which have determined the path of technological development since the Industrial Revolution. Those tendencies have reached a culmination in the recent neo-liberal crisis. The digital commons offers itself as an incomplete and tentative remedy.
In 2007 the conservative English historian Niall Ferguson and co-author Moritz Schularick wrote an article entitled 'Chimerica' and the Global Asset Market Boom, in International Finance, 10:3. A new text by Hung Ho-Fung gives a lot more depth to their analysis.
This text is a first draft, trying to identify key topics for an inquiry into the new organisation of labour. It starts with a historic analysis and then explores the notion of Post-Fordism.Specific sections are devoted to cognitive capitalism, the creative industries, informational capitalism and the split between manual and mental labour. It ends with a modest proposal for an alternative path of development.
It is not often that left-wing politics is associated with attributes such as humour and wit. Stevphen Shukaitis' book Imaginal Machines (2009) is not only abundant with it but shows that certain strands of imaginative revolutionary politics in the 20th century were also endowed with those precious qualities. This journey through the radical imagination of the left, written in a compelling and entertaining style, is definitely worth a read for everybody interested in radical and antagonistic politics.
The most influential discourse on media art up to and around 1995 uncritically based itself on techno-science and the techno-imaginary which it creates. It offers a technologically deterministic interpretation of the relationship between societies and social change. This discourse was successful in institution building and is still very influential today, even though its foundations can shown to be problematic. This is the essence of my 2005 MA thesis on "Technological Determinism in Media Art" which I republish here due to difficulties with my old site.
This excellent book by Harry Braverman revolves around the main thesis, that labour in the 20th century has become 'degraded'. The combined effects of mechanization, scientific management and other control techniques allowed management to wrest control from workers and enforce, under ever changing circumstances, alienating practices onto workers across all industries, including office and service jobs.
Following on to Brian's listserv post, I would like to add a few more points on periodisation. Although Kondratieff cycles or long waves do play a role here, the intention is not an in-depth discussion of the long wave theory. The intention is rather to create a foundation for a narrative that describes the second half of the 20th century as an interplay of economic, political, technological and cultural forces, seeking out turning points that allow to identify specific characteristics of techno-economic changes as an explanatory framework for specific cultural or artistic phenomena, such as participatory media and / or media art and technology practices.
Warum das Umfeld von Social-Web-Applikationen eine Nutzung abseits von Spaß und Selbstinszenierung unterbindet.
Mit 20.000 Mitgliedern innerhalb einer Woche war die Gründung der Facebook-Gruppe Freiheit im MQ Anfang Juni – bescheiden ausgedrückt – ein Erfolg. Kein Wunder, ging es doch darum, die Gemütlichkeit und Offenheit des Wiener Museumsquartiers gegen die Wächter der MQ-Direktion zu verteidigen. Kein Konsum selbst mitgebrachter alkoholischer Getränke – wenn das kein Anlass ist auf die digitalen Barrikaden zu steigen?