Calendars:Networked Media Calendar/Networked Media Calendar/16-01-2019 -Event 2

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XPUB1: 11:00 - 18:00 RW&RM Steve in the small project space

Outcome; a series of annotations; an annotated reader; the WttF annotated reader.

Task: develop a method of annotation.

Here is our sandpit:

Key words: ideology, hegemony and technological determinism

Texts under discussion over the next two sessions:

The Ruling Class and the Ruling ideas, Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels (1845)

In which they state:

"The ideas of the ruling class are in very epoch the ruling ideas"

(i) History of the Subaltern Classes; (ii) The Concept of 'Ideology'; (iii) Cultural Themes: Ideological Material, Antonio Gramsci (1929-35)

In which Gramsci offers:

"How the concept of Ideology passed from meaning 'science of ideas' and 'analysis of the origin of ideas' to meaning a specific 'system of ideas' needs to be examined historically. In purely logical terms the process is easy to grasp and understand."

Encoding, Decoding, Stuart Hall (1975)

In which Hall notes:

"Certain codes may, of course, be so widely distributed in a specific language comrnunity or culture, and be learned at so early an age, that they appear not to be constructed - the effect of an articulation between srgn and referent - but to be 'naturally' given. Simple visual signs appear to have achieved a 'near-universality' in this sense: though evidence remains that even apparently 'natural' visual codes are culture- specific. However, this does not mean that no codes have intervened; rather, that the codes have been profolundly naturalized. The operation of naturalized codes reveals not the transpatencv and ,naturalness, of language but the depth, the habituatior, and the near-universality of the codes in use. They produce apparently 'natural, recognitions. This has the (ideological) effect of concealing the practices of coding which are present."

Sub Culture, the Meaning of Style, Dick Hebdige (1979)

Here Hebdige riffs on Hall:

"The term hegemony refers to a situation in which a provisional alliance of certain social groups can exert ‘total social authority’ over other subordinate groups, not simply by coercion or by the direct imposition of ruling ideas, but by ‘winning and shaping consent so that the power of the dominant classes appears both legitimate and natural’ (Hall, 1977). Hegemony can only be maintained so long as the dominant classes ‘succeed in framing all competing definitions within their range’ (Hall, 1977), so that subordinate groups are, if not controlled; then at least contained within an ideological space which does not seem at all ‘ideological’: which appears instead to be permanent and ‘natural’, to lie outside history, to be beyond particular interests (see Social Trends, no. 6, 1975 [aka: Encoding, Decoding])."

“The medium is the message.” In Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Marshall McLuhan (1964).

In which MCLuhan posits the following influential notion:

"In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology."

[...] and a little later in the text:

"The instance of the electric light may prove illuminating in this connection. The electric light is pure information. It is a medium without a message, as it were, unless it is used to spell out some verbal ad or name. This fact, characteristic of all media, means that the "content" of any medium is always another medium. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph."

The California Ideology, Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron (1995)

In which Barbrook and Cameron state:

"Crucially, influenced by the theories of Marshall McLuhan, these [hippie] technophiliacs thought that the convergence of media, computing and telecommunications would inevitably create the electronic agora - a virtual place where everyone would be able to express their opinions without fear of censorship."

Interview with Fred Turner (author of The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties (2013); From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (2006))

In which Turner states:

"And how was it that people who had been leaders in what I thought was an anti-war counter- culture should be promoting computers now?

To answer these questions, I started tracing the networks of writers and thinkers associated with Wired magazine back in time. I quickly began to see that many of them had in fact come together at one of the signal publications of the 1960s, the Whole Earth Catalog, which Stewart Brand had founded to serve the back-to-the-land commune movement of the time. From Counter- culture to Cyberculture thus became the story of Stewart Brand and his network and the ways they came to couch the arrival of digital media in terms set by the counterculture."

Download this, it has a lot of key texts (most of the above):

Previous texts:


Chantal Mouffe, Art & Democracy

Brian Larkin, The Politics And Poetics of Infrastructure

Sarah Friend, Decentralization and Its Discontents (documentation of talk during Radical Networks, Berlin)