8
Feb
2013

Picturing the Body: Anthony Luvera Artist Talk

Photographer Anthony Luvera presents his photographic work and long term project with homeless and ex-homeless people in London and Belfast, and discusses issues of collaboration and authorship.

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7
Dec
2012

Men meets Machine - Eva Weinmayr

It is the technological advances of the analog printing press that construct our contemporary idea of books as fixed objects. Here,  immutability is a key factor allowing for mass and consistent reproduction. But now, with digital printing technologies, mass production and mutability live hand in hand. The values and attributes that define books are much more malleable than we wish to face and we must be diligent of where knowledge is being generated. It is undeniable that books are an incredible technology that will most likely never be abandoned, but that doesn’t mean they will remain the same. They have never remained the same.

Bio

Eva Weinmayr is a German artist, writer and editor based in London. In her work she focusses on bordercrossings between mainstream and independent media, digital and print media, cultural piracy, the fluidity of authorship, translation processes, collaborative strategies and open culture. Since 2009, she has been co-founder and director of AND Publishing in London.

She has exhibited at Contemporary Art Museum St Louis, Whitechapel Gallery London, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, Zacheta National Art Gallery Warsaw, FormContent, Matt’s Gallery and The Showroom in London. She has been teaching at Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths College, London College of Communication, The Ruskin in Oxford and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Her published books include (pause) 21 scenes concerning the silence of Art in Ruins (Occasional Papers, London) Water Found on Mars (Hatje Cantz, Stuttgart) and Suitcase Body is Missing Woman (Book Works, London)

7
Dec
2012

Silence, Delirium, Lies: An Uncoded Response to Social Media - Caroline Bassett

One way to respond to the monopoly of commercial social media is to stop communicating. Resist terminal integration into expanding communicative circuits reaching far beyond the screen. Switch off, turn away, mis-speak, refuse to play – or become silent. Don’t make the kind of social noise that generates the exploitable signals.

To suggest that a critical response to social media’s voracious demands for more material might be developed around calls to produce less of it, doesn’t seem to be acceptable at all. Even amongst many of those wary of the commoditized modes of communication social media enables, proposing tactics that might frustrate communication – to refuse to network, to un-compute – provokes suspicion and unease. This unease perhaps arises because of justifiable concerns to defend freedom (and freedom of speech). But this presumes the consequences of continuously expanding social media monopolies (with their seductive appeal: speech for free/free speech/more speech/more freedom) will be positive; that the network effect is automatically good for everybody as well as good for the network’s functioning.    I would rather start with growth and with the assertion that to fail to contribute to the volume or density (and volume becomes capacity alarmingly fast) of the social environment is heretical in a world in which growth is deified and in which technological growth is aligned with progress.

Having no problems with such heresy, in this talk I investigate ways in which various form of communicational revolt – silence, delirium, lies, all of which involve forms of refusal – might constitute an appropriate response to social media monopoly. It is partly because the demand for less – which at its most extreme becomes a demand for silence, but which is not restricted to that – is thoroughly unacceptable that it is also intriguing.  In the context of a seminar on Open Media, I also want to argue that this approach, appearing to produce a kind of closure, may open new possibilities: not least for forms of sonic solidarity.

Bio

Caroline Bassett is Reader in Digital Media and researches and teaches in the Department of Media and Film at the University of Sussex. Her research explores cultural impacts of digital media focusing on gender, narrative, mobile media and public space. She is currently completing a monograph exploring cultural hostility to computerisation and undertaking two funded projects: the first exploring science fiction and innovation and the second, digital economies in relation to cultures and communities.

7
Dec
2012

Online/Offline-How Digital Media Facilitates and Encourages the Generative Experience-Matt Johnston

A generation of digital natives walk with their heads down, staring at illuminated devices, connected to a digital life and removed from the physical world around them. Or at least this is what we are led to believe, instead the physical, and generative has never been so important and treasure as it is today. The personal or shared ‘real-world’ experience is at the heart of two open classes run at Coventry University (#picbod and #phonar) and a global community project run by Matt Johnston – The Photobook Club. This presentation looks at how digital choices can not only enrich the online community but also facilitate the offline experience.

Bio

Matt Johnston is a photographer and educator based in London. His photographic practice has seen him work with Channel 4, Ocean Media group and various architectural magazines and companies. Alongside this commercial work Matt is a respected voice in the photobook community having set up the popular Photobook Club website and events which promote discussion around the physical photobook, there are now 6 branches of the Photobook Club from New York to Lisbon. In 2012, in partnership with Ken Schles, Matt published a highly commended digital edition of Schles seminal photobook ‘Invisible City’ which along with displays the original book as well as extended features and commentary from Schles and other practitioners. During his time at Coventry University Matt has been instrumental in creation and delivery of the open classes #picbod and #phonar, working to ensure the best possible learning experience for attending and remote students.

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7
Dec
2012

From Flame Wars to Frame Wars: The Structure of Conflict in Networks - Nate Tkacz

The warm and fuzzy rhetoric of network cultures – words like collaboration, participation and open communities – have always been made possible through an act of analytic metonymy. Once an open community has been established, to take an example, deviations are all too often depicted as one-off exceptions, as problematic individuals bent on destroying the common spaces and creations of the well meaning many. The figure of the troll and its modus operandi of ‘flaming’ are exemplary in this regard. The act of naming someone a troll, not only reaffirms the general ‘good faith’ of the rest of the community, but also transforms antagonism into a mere character flaw. In this presentation, I suggest the notion of the frame, read primarily through Bateson and Goffman, can be translated into online spaces in order to make visible the structural conditions that underpin forms of online antagonism. Drawing from “article deletion” discussions in Wikipedia, I show how the ascription of negative subjectivities – trolls, vandals, fundamentalists etc. – is the result of a prior ‘frame politics’. I conclude by detailing what is at stake in a frame war and by showing the tactics and strategies of those engaged in one.

Bio

Nathaniel Tkacz is an assistant professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick. His research lies at the intersection of network theory, software studies and politics. He is co-editor (with Geert Lovink) of Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader (2011).

3
Apr
2012

Just Gaming with the Posthuman: Toy Story, Remediation and Electracy - Stefan Herbrechter

The economy of gaming, like probably any economy, functions according to the principles of “general” and “restricted economy”. On the one hand, there is the phantasm (or the promise) of “free (or radical) play” – difference unleashed. On the other, there are the reality principles, the “structures” or “rules” without which no game would actually be playable. This aporia – highlighted in Derrida’s work ever since “Structure, Sign, and Play…” – sets out the playground so to speak of what is thinkable, not just within “game studies”, but it certainly seems to inform the foundational debate between “ludologists” and “narratologists”. This paper, however, does not wish to revisit what has by now probably become a stalemate, but, instead, returns to some “earlier” theoretical questions about the relationship between play, reality and simulation. It will attempt to reconceptualise and recontextualise the debate about the ethics, politics and aesthetics of (digital) games in the light of two related developments which I would call digitalization and posthumanization. What role do (digital) games play in the transition from an “analog” mediascape to a global(ised) digital and simulational “network”? What effects of remediation can be seen at work in this transition – an aspect that seems to me to have been somewhat neglected in the ludology/narratology debate? What kind of “posthumanist” subjectivities and “reading” practices are thinkable under these conditions, now that “our” more than five-hundred-year-old forms of “literacy” might be giving way to what Gregory Ulmer refers to as “electracy”?

Bio

Stefan Herbrechter is Reader in Cultural Theory (Department of Media, School of Art and Design, Coventry University, UK). He studied English and French at Heidelberg University, and English literature and Critical & Cultural Theory at Cardiff University. He is series editor of Critical Posthumanism (Rodopi) and author and editor of a number of books on a variety of aspects in English and comparative literature, critical & cultural theory, continental philosophy, cultural and media studies. He is also a translator of cultural theory/philosophy from French into English (Derrida, Cixous, Stiegler).

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3
Apr
2012

Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property - Cornelia Sollfrank

The irresolvable paradox of intellectual property has a long history, however due to the technological, economic, legal and cultural developments that have taken place since the mid-1990s, it has taken centre stage within the ‘information society.’ Whilst the notion of property helps to borrow legitimacy from the quasi-natural right to material property, its enforcement increasingly conflicts with another central category of the knowledge economy: creativity. Where creation and innovation rely on access to and the use of protected works, proprietary rights stifle new creation and innovation. Therefore, particularly art practices that are based on the use and re-working of pre-produced and copyrighted material bring into effect the paradoxes of intellectual property. Sollfrank explores and performs these paradoxes in her practice-led research, using the famous Warhol Flowers as an exemplary case.

Bio

Cornelia Sollfrank is a postmedia conceptual artist and researcher and writer. After her training in Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (1987-1994), she started to explore the worldwide communication networks by transferring artistic strategies of the classical avant-gardes into the digital medium. Against the backdrop of gender-specific and institution-critical approaches, Sollfrank has continued the anti-modernist challenging of authorship, authenticity and originality in the digital environment and considers appropriation to be a central strategy of digital cultural production. This also led to her research in the field of copyright and art. In 2011 Sollfrank completed her practice-led interdisciplinary research at Dundee University, Scotland, and published her PhD thesis with the title Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property.

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1
Feb
2012

#blackout: the viral counterpublicity of online protest – Dr Tessa Houghton

Dr Houghton is Assistant Professor in Media and Communication in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. Her co-edited book Nexus: New Intersections in Internet Research (Peter Lang, 2011) brings together collaborative research from the alumni of the 2009 Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Programme, and she is currently co-editing a volume on flows of online control and resistance. Her research interests include public sphere theory, online activism, digital politics and rights, and the digital divides.

In this talk, given as part of the Open Media series and the Creative Activism Class at Coventry University, she discusses the web blackout that took place on 18/01/12. On this day numerous websites, including Wikipedia and Google, ‘blacked out’ in protest against the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ (SOPA) currently being heavily lobbied for within the US political context. This massive online protest will have been many netizens’ first encounter with the #blackout form; however, it is borrowed from previous ‘digital rights’ campaigns in other locations. In 2009, ‘the lights went out’ all over the New Zealand internet as NZ and international netizens participated in the ‘NZ internet blackout’, a ‘performative hacktivist’ campaign (Samuel 2004) that catalysed viral online protest against the threatened domestic implementation of ‘3-strikes’ or graduated response-style anti-filesharing legislation. Despite the eventual passing of the legislation (albeit in much-modified form), the blackout garnered extensive global participation, illustrating the latent counterhegemonic power inherent in hacktivist campaigns.

This presentation interprets the blackout through a critical discourse analysis and a public sphere theoretical framework built upon the radical or agonistic tradition. It shows that socially-mediated counterpublicity can generate successful counterhegemonic projects and even bring about legislative change, and in doing so, makes the argument that our understanding of what the modern public sphere is should allow for more unruly forms of democratically legitimate communication.


Find out about the Digital Media BA (Hons) Degree at Coventry University
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12
Jan
2012

Open Art, or What could Open Art mean? - Round table discussion

Open Art, or What could Open Art mean? - Round table discussion with Elly Clarke (Coventry University), Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins (Independent artists) and James Wallbank (Access Space Sheffield).

Elly Clarke (Artist/Curator)

Elly Clarke is an artist, photographer and curator/founder of Clarke Gallery in Berlin, but which is currently mobile, or one, could say homeless! She is interested in the impact of mobility (of people, information and things) upon sense of self, both when alone and as part of a community. She produced internationally recognized documentary projects such as Moscow to Beijing (exhibited in Helsinki, Moscow, Milton Keynes, London & New York) and the Broadway House Photo Project. Next up atMeter Room will be THE MOBlLlTY PROJECT, a traveling show that launched this summer at Galerie SUVl LEHTINEN in Berlin and will find its way to Coventry in January. Her first travelling exhibition,WUNDERKAMMER, is also currently on show at TROVE in Birmingham.

Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins (Independent artists)

Penny Whitehead and Daniel Simpkins are two artists/organisers working collaboratively since 2006 across a number of experimental disciplines, communicative channels and media. They are currently based at Static Gallery where over the last year they have been developing an ongoing series of projects around free and self-initiated education. They approach their art practice as a means of political agency through which to interrogate and re-imagine the systems, spaces, institutions and situations of contemporary urban life.

James Wallbank (Access Space Sheffield)

For more than a decade James has developed and led action research exploring the impacts of creative digital engagement on personal, community and economic development. He works to shape ethical relationships with technology which are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Currently he is CEO of Access Space Network, an organisation which provides the UK’s longest running free, open media lab. He works locally and internationally to seed similar creative digital communities. James has worked on projects with Oxford E-Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University’s Culture, Communications and Computing Research Institute (C3RI), Sheffield University’s Interdisciplinary Research in Socio-Digital Worlds (IRiS) Centre and “Imagination” at Lancaster University. He has authored several influential documents, including “Lowtech Manifesto” (1999), “Grow Your Own Media Lab” (2008) and “The Zero Dollar Laptop” (2010) which have spawned transnational networks of practice. James works with diverse groups, including young people, adults in danger of social and economic exclusion, people with disabilities, artists, designers, asylum seekers, professionals and technical experts. He is a frequent presenter at research conferences, universities and digital media festivals and delivers technical training for enterprises and community organisations. He has an MA in Art & Design and is a self-taught LPIC1 Engineer.

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10
Jan
2012

Peer-production of culture: Independent film making in the Wreckamovie community - Isis Hjörth

It is often claimed that networked media, and in particular the internet, has democratized the production of information and culture. The  online encyclopedia Wikipedia is repeatedly used to exemplify how new open models of production, notably peer-production, are radically changing the the way we think about content producers and consumers. In this talk, I will critically examine definitions of peer-productions suggested in scholarly literature. The examination will draw on a range of published empirical research on peer-production providing evidence suggesting that the openness of peer-production is not unlimited. On the basis of this, I will present preliminary findings from my study of independent film making in the Wreckamovie.com community. More specifically, by discussing the trajectory of the crowfunding struggles of a feature length Wreckamovie production, I will question the ideas of peer-productions as being non-proprietary, and existing in an open non-market driven sphere independent from traditional cultural industries.
Bio
Isis Amelie Hjorth is an AHRC funded doctoral student at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. In her PhD research, she examines the emergence of cultural peer-production in the domain of independent film making. Questioning some of the utopian visions of the transformative powers of peer-production dominating discourses in new media research, she seeks to contribute towards a more nuanced understanding of distributed forms of cultural production. Alongside her studies, Isis is engaged in an NESTA/AHRC/Arts Council UK funded research project investigating the consequences of the uptake of digital tools for theatrical production. A firm believer in interdisciplinarity, Isis holds a MSc in Technology and Learning (University of Oxford), as well as a BA and MA in Rhetoric from her native Copenhagen. Before embarking on the route towards an academic career, she worked in the media sector as a journalist at a Danish TV production company, and made a debut as a playwright.
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