Calendars:Networked Media Calendar/Networked Media Calendar/30-01-2019 -Event 2

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


Recap: What has been done and what you need to do?

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

Present your annotated reader at the beginning of the next session.

Ideas so far:

Group A)

1) Transparent layer over original

2) Colour coded

3) Augment and overlap texts

4) Website = overlap using opacity

5) Readability (ability to easily change focus and mode of reading)

Group B)

1) Audience = regard audience as a network

2) Interactive platform

3) Differentiate contributors

4) Allow space for comments & recommendation

5) Possibilities discussed= using spaces, using full-stop as a button

6) It differs from the pad = there is an option to follow (or not) the annotations

7) HTML printable – with or without annotations

Annotated reader – the texts

I have re-worked the page from the last session to give a guide to annotation.

1) Make time to make your annotations during the next week (before the 30th)

2) Work alone or form a group of 2 or 3

3) Agree on which texts you will annotate

4) You choose the form your annotation will take. The idea is that we use the next two sessions do develop a form of annotation that is useful for you.

It may comprise the following

(a) interesting and relevant links

(b) comment and analysis

(c) Close reading, following leads provided by the text

(c) musings and speculation

(d) visuals

(e) comparative criticism i.e: the different positions of Hall and Hebdige are discussed; Marx vis a vis Turner &c.

(f) other...

5) Deadline: upload onto pad by this methods session (30-01-2019) . Where we will come together to discuss the annotations you have made, so do not come empty handed


Key words: ideology, hegemony and technological determinism

I have made some questions and comments on the texts you are annotating, I hope these help you get into the texts

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

M&E begin by stating:

"The ideas of the ruling class are in very epoch the ruling ideas" (p.39)


What is the division of labour?

What is the role of the division of labour in Marx & Engel’s argument?

And specifically, how does the division of labour serve the ideas of the ruling class? (p.40)

What, for Marx & Engels , challenges the conception of history that the ruling class hold?

And specifically, what opposes the (idealist) notion that history is directed by the sway of ideas? (p.41-42)

Who are the “manufacturers of history” and what is their role?

(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."

What does Gramsci mean by the subaltern class?

What challenges the “hegemony” of the ruling class?

(p. 43-44): Gramsci outlines a dialectic (or development). Outline this in your own words (p. 44-45) Gramsci discusses how the concept of ideology has developed

Unpack Gramsci’s claim: “material forces are the content and ideologies are the form”.

What does Gramsci mean by this?

In the section Ideological Material, Gramci discusses how the concept of ideology is maintained “Everything which influences or is able to influence public opinion, directly or indirectly, belongs to it: libraries, schools, associations and clubs of various kinds, even architecture and the layout and names of streets.”

Here Gramsci identified ideology as a material practice.

Can you identify contemporary agents of "hegemony" – in the architecture of networks, city architecture, signs and graphic output, for instance.

Other reading which will help contextualise Marx & Gramsci in relation to “ideology” and “hegemony” see : Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory by Raymond Williams (p130 in KeyWorks) You will find it here:

Encoding, Decoding, Stuart Hall (1975)

In which Hall notes:

"Certain codes may, of course, be so widely distributed in a specific language community or culture, and be learned at so early an age, that they appear not to be constructed - the effect of an articulation between sign 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 profoundly naturalized. The operation of naturalized codes reveals not the transparencv and, naturalness, of language but the depth, the habituation, 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."

In Hall's text we see a combination of contemporaneous media and communications theories with Marx & Gramsci’s approach to "ideology" and "hegemony". Hall talks about the production of discourse within a circuit of communication. Hall proposes a cycle of “distribution/consumption, reproduction” This relates to Claude Shannon’s communication model which relies on the “sender” and “receiver” relation. See this classic film explaining this principle in a beautiful graphic narrative:

Hall's text also incorporates the notion of “noise”.

In what ways can “distortions” or “misunderstandings” be productive in challenging the forces of “ideology” and “Hegenomony” ? (KeyWorks 165-166)

Note the importance of “lack of equivalence” and “Asymmetry” to aspect between the two sides of Hall’s system. What are the implications in relation to “hegemony”?

Sub Culture, the Meaning of Style, Dick Hebdige (1979) [read introduction and chapter one]

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])."

How does Hebdige build on Gramsci’s argument and make it contemporaneous (he relates it to youth cultural movements and Punk)?

Is Hebdige’s analysis at all helpful or relevant to you?

How does Hebdige interpret Hall’s communication model?

“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)