On 8th and 9th of July 2010 I attended the conference "Regulationstheorie in der Krise" (Regulation theory in the era of crisis) jointly organised by the University of Vienna and the Renner Institute (political academy of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, SPOE). The title transports a double meaning, it refers to the crisis of regulation theory as well as to what has regulation theory to say about the current crisis? I do not claim to be an expert in economics and I am also a newbie to the regulation approach. However, I found this conference very interesting and thought provoking, so I try a summary in English.
This article is a theoretical inquiry about the death of the Brazilian citizen Jean Charles de Menezes, shot in London at Stockwell tube station on 22 July 2005 by unknown specialist firearms’ officers. The previous day some stations of the Tube were struck by failed bombing attacks. The police were chasing four suspects. Some hours after the murder, de Menezes was discovered to be innocent and not involved in the terrorist act.
Section 8 of this article include a short addendum "False Positives".
This text is a methodological outline linking categories of the Technopolitics research project with the PhD research project on "Moves in Media Art - Paradigm changes in art and technology". While mainly sketching out a work program for the coming months, the notion of "creative norms" is proposed here for the first time in an English text. It therefore would be nice to get some feedback on this.
The point of the technopolitics project is not so much to carry out an original historical analysis of industrial capitalism, but instead, to test and modify the existing theories and then use them for engaged cultural critique. That requires a lot of reading and evaluating of ideas. To get through the existing literature without getting lost along the way, we’ll periodically have to reformulate what we're talking about. Each reformulation will add something, subtract something, forget something; but the essence is to keep on working cooperatively. To that end I want to propose ten postulates. They revisit what has already been written in the programmatic text on technopolitics, but with a different emphasis, mainly in terms of geography, culture and the cumulative nature of historical sequences. They're not set in stone, just some departure points, and it may be that a magical eleventh postulate is needed. Here they are:
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.
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.