Although we have thus far discussed P2P file-sharing in terms of its most representative instances, that is, the exchange of materials drawn from popular culture, other artefact classes are also swapped, from pornography to ‘serious’ publications. Sometimes genre-specific events can bring into focus larger issues arising from cultural commodification, public domain contraction, and resultant counter actions and movements. For example, recently American digital activist Aaron Swartz allegedly downloaded a massive number of papers from the JSTOR academic database. Subsequently the United States Government brought unprecedented charges against him, claiming that he planned to release the material through P2P networks. This case demonstrates how even the spectre of unsubstantiated file-sharing can trigger disordering responses across informational domains (academia, publishing, policing, justice), some of which which might be more rooted in emotions (anger, fear, revenge, spite, etc.) than in pragmatic circumspection.
Technopolitics is a praxis oriented research project initiated by Brian Holmes and Armin Medosch. It is a self-educational project which works out a theoretic framework and vocabulary that makes complex and difficult concepts accessible to cultural producers and activists such as themselves. Technopolitics@codedcultures consists of two parts, a presentation of technopolitical issues with short talks and audivisual support materials, and a second part with a panel of respondents and open discussion with the audience.
Recently I and Claire Pentecost went on an artistic research trip in Argentina with local collaborators. What we call a "Continental Drift." This was a perceptual encounter with the productive processes of a country subject to intense neoliberal restructuring. Hopefully next year we will do more collaborative research in a public seminar context in Buenos Aires, both to define Argentina's position as a hi-tech agro-exporter within Neoliberal Informationalism, and to contribute in some small way to the political breakdown of that hegemony, which is being actively sought by many on the official Argentine left. In the meantime you can read the one post I wrote in English during the experience:
This text is written in preparation for two upcoming talks and highlights a few aspects of my PhD thesis-in-progress "Automation, Cybernation and the Art of New Tendencies (1961-1973)". New Tendencies were one of the first postwar movements in art to focus on visual research as a way of redefining the role of art in society.
Coordinated opposition had defanged the final version of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and will continue attacking other supra-national digital enclosures such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Hence powerful copyright advocates including the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) have concurrently operated outside such treaty frameworks to pressure individual governments in an ‘especially aggressive’ way to force ISPs to police copyright infringements (Bridy 2010: 2). To date Britain, France, South Korea, and Taiwan, have incorporated various forms of graduated response into their domestic copyright enforcement systems (ibid.). Furthermore, other countries are exploring ‘private ordering’ options to enforce online copyright (Bridy 2010: 11-15; Toner 2011). These range from ‘cooperative relationships’ between major content distributors and broadband providers in which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) suspend repeat infringers’ accounts (in the United States), to ISPs being the ‘sole arbiter of the customer’s innocence or guilt’ terminating accounts without court orders (in Ireland). In Australia, the ISP iiNet after winning a precedent-setting law suit brought against it by an alliance of mainly US content owners proposed a graduated response model in which an ‘independent body’ meeting ‘community standards’ mediates the interests of all parties
Here is the outline of an autonomous technopolitics course which I plan to co-teach next fall with a Chicago collective. The focus is on US conditions but it's meant to have use-value for everyone involved, whether close or afar. Significant comments will result in changes to the outline. Selected readings and a full bibliography will eventually be added.
Public Presentation and Discussion, 8 pm CET, Saturday March 5, 2011: The financial crisis of 2008 and the resulting fiscal crisis now unfolding throughout the developed world should have finally made it clear to all that neoliberalism as a political ideology is finished. But neoliberal recipes prevail in the official sphere of politics while several other crises loom, from an ecological crisis to an energy and food crisis to a crisis of education and the political systems. Meanwhile, no clear unifying political agenda is visible on the horizon. Is it not possible to begin searching for a concerted response by all those groups who want a different way of life?
This continues the series of "Three nettime posts on the Egyptian Uprising." Felix launched this debate by suggesting that the fall of Mubarak was the end of the process of eliminating outmoded central-planning and dictatorial state-forms that started in 1989. I proposed it was beginning of the breakdown of a 30-year attempt to stabilize the new conditions of globalization. The discussion then shifted onto technopolitical ground in the posts below, as I tried to describe the paradigm of neoliberal informationalism and Felix sorted out what he would and would not accept in that description. This pushed me to finally accept (in a slightly modified form) the idea that the current crisis is a regulation crisis of informationalism. Great debate!