Net News

Milo & CPAC, Professor Politics, and Momastery

Public Seminar -

In this week's episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate CPAC’s decision to disinvite Milo Yiannopoulos, legislation to require political balance in university faculties, and Christian blogger Momastery’s announcement of her lesbian engagement.

Lawrence English – Approaching Nothing

Neural -

CD – Baskaru

The chimes of a bell ring out six times and after a pause resume more mighty and continuous. In the background you hear chirps, then in other gentle sequences are the sound of birds and muffled noises from a nearby road, before the crows come – very close to the powered microphones – with their loud and ungainly screeches. Then the constant vibration of an engine. We don’t know exactly what to distinguish. – At last human voices and whispers. The Australian Lawrence English is a field-recording specialist and a theorist of “the perception of the political” as well as a curator for various arts events and the founder of Room40, a renowned experimental label. Approaching Nothing comes from Baskaru, however, a French record label also dealing with experimental electronic music and sound art. The project explores places that were already covered by the auditory exploits of another composer, Luc Ferrari, who recorded Presque Rien No. 1 in 1967 in Vela Luka, an island of Korcula. While listening to the more than thirty minutes of auditory sequences the immediate feeling that comes to us is that of a continuous recording, perhaps with just some cuts, an acoustic psychogeographic drift. The documentary vocation is obvious, especially in the citation of a seminal field recordings approach, or phonographic, although the use of field recordings is also a reference to the Cagean concept that “music is all around us.” The many audio puzzles following the inspiration of the moment and a rather bland traveling rhythm still manages to hook the listener’s attention, instilling a healthy curiosity in the unfolding of the action and on the very multifaceted nature of the areas passed through.


Lawrence English – Approaching Nothing
Approaching Nothing by Lawrence English


Sarah Cook – Information

Neural -

The MIT Press / Whitechapel, ISBN-13: 978-0262529341, English, 240 pages, 2016, UK
What is the main difference between a curator and an editor? Apparently it’s mostly attached to the mediums they use (the white box vs. the white page), and, as such, related to the organisation of knowledge in these respective spaces. Sarah Cook is not only a curator, she has also extensively researched and practiced curatorship in a digital dimension. In this book she applies “curatorship attitudes” to the editing process in the selection and organisation of an anthology of texts. The five sections are organised around the lifecycle of information and are meant to be “a survey of art beyond information theory”. Included are texts from or about artists and/or artistic forms, including pioneering practices from the 1960s through to the present. They are drawn from an eclectic mix of formats ranging from press releases to interviews, including curators’ and artists’ statements. It’s a very rich and consistent selection, where concepts like signals and signifiers, together with quantity and quality of information, are approached through specific lenses, making for a more compelling engagement than is usually found in theory volumes. All these focuses, while well linked together, are also expanded in the book’s introduction, with quotes and works not necessarily included in the texts. This is perfectly legitimate, as Cook affirms that “information is not the thing, but rather the process of its manifestation”.


Trump’s Macho Populism

Public Seminar -

Donald Trump's treatment of women is a matter of politics, not just style: rooted in populist and fascist ideas that exalt male power and promote misogyny. In the inaugural debate between candidates for the United States presidency, Donald Trump could not resist using bullying tactics and voicing his obsession with women’s looks. ...


Public Seminar -

Totalitarianism, a concept deep-seated in the tragedies of the two World Wars, is one of the most misused and contested terms in the political lexicon. As is known, in very general terms totalitarianism refers to a type of regime that is extreme in its repudiation of freedom and liberties. Conceived out of the similarities supposedly shared by Nazism and Soviet Communism ...

Tap My Head, Mike My Brain: Experiencing Digital Culture

Jussi Parikka -

March 7th, Tuesday, we will be launching our new books with Tony Sampson in London. Tony’s wonderful study The Assemblage Brain and my Digital Contagions (2nd, revised edition with a new preface by Sean Cubitt that can also be read for free online) will form the context for our short talks under the broad rubric of “experiencing digital culture”.

A short description below and to book tickets (free) see Eventbrite. Kings College London and their Arts & Humanities Research Institute are hosting the event.

We’ve worked with Tony since our joint edited book The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn and Other Anomalies from the Dark Side of Digital Culture, which I still feel is a timely book with a pretty impressive cadre of writers such as Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey (on evil media!), Steve Goodman, Luciana Parisi, Susanna Paasonen, Greg Elmer, Alex Galloway, Eugene Thacker and many others. Ever since, I’ve always gotten a lot out from following Tony’s work, and same applies to his new book.

I also wrote the blurb for The Assemblage Brain and can warmly recommend it:

‘Tap my head and mike my brain’; Tony Sampson’s new book might silently echo Pynchon’s famous lines, but this is also an original, inspiring, and theoretically savvy take on the culture of the affective brain, from sciences to business, cybernetics to political power. Warmly recommended.


Experiencing Digital Culture

Jussi Parikka and Tony D. Sampson’s work has threaded its way through the digital cultures field by means of a series of radical interventions, drawing on such concepts as anomalies, accidents, assemblages, contagions, events, nonrepresentation, affect and neuroculture, in order to critically rethink how the power of the digital age is experienced and embodied.

In this discussion the two theorists follow some of these fibrous conceptual strands as they intersect and overlap with each other in two recent publications: the new revised edition of Parikka’s landmark Digital Contagions: A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses (Peter Lang, 2016) and Sampson’s new book, The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016).

The discussion will be followed by a joint book launch and drinks, which will be generously provided by University of Minnesota Press in the Somerset Café.

Peter Lang have kindly offered a 30 % discount flyer for the event for those interested in ordering Digital Contagions.


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