Matthew Fuller: How To Be a Geek: Essays on the Culture of Software (2017)

29 June 2017, dusan

“Computer software and its structures, devices and processes are woven into our everyday life. Their significance is not just technical: the algorithms, programming languages, abstractions and metadata that millions of people rely on every day have far-reaching implications for the way we understand the underlying dynamics of contemporary societies.

In this innovative new book, software studies theorist Matthew Fuller examines how the introduction and expansion of computational systems into areas ranging from urban planning and state surveillance to games and voting systems are transforming our understanding of politics, culture and aesthetics in the twenty-first century. Combining historical insight and a deep understanding of the technology powering modern software systems with a powerful critical perspective, this book opens up new ways of understanding the fundamental infrastructures of contemporary life, economies, entertainment and warfare.

In so doing Fuller shows that everyone must learn ‘how to be a geek’, as the seemingly opaque processes and structures of modern computer and software technology have a significance that no-one can afford to ignore. This powerful and engaging book will be of interest to everyone interested in a critical understanding of the political and cultural ramifications of digital media and computing in the modern world.”

Publisher Polity, 2017
ISBN 9781509517152, 1509517154
x+233 pages



Helen Pritchard, Eric Snodgrass, Magda Tyźlik-Carver (eds.): Executing Practices (2017)

5 February 2017, dusan

“This collection brings together artists, curators, programmers, theorists and heavy internet browsers whose practices make critical intervention into the broad concept of execution. It draws attention to their political strategies, asking: who and what is involved with those practices, and for whom or what are these practices performed, and how? From the contestable politics of emoji modifier mechanisms and micro-temporalities of computational processes to genomic exploitation and the curating of digital content, the chapters account for gendered, racialised, spatial, violent, erotic, artistic and other embedded forms of execution. Together they highlight a range of ways in which execution emerges and how it participates within networked forms of liveliness.”

Contributors: Roel Roscam Abbing, Geoff Cox, Olle Esvik, Jennifer Gabrys, Franciso Gallardo, David Gauthier, Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter, Brian House, Yuk Hui, Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard, Peggy Pierrot, Andy Prior, Helen Pritchard, Audrey Samson, Kasper Hedegård Shiølin, Susan Schuppli, Femke Snelting, Eric Snodgrass, Winnie Soon, Magda Tyżlik-Carver.

Publisher Autonomedia, New York, 2017
Data Browser series, 6
Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported License
ISBN 9781570273216
279 pages


PDF, PDF (24 MB, updated on 2017-4-10)

David Link: Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts (2016)

24 November 2016, dusan

“Unearthing the cumulus of transient technologies that underlie the fabric of contemporary society

As historical processes increasingly become steeped in technology, it becomes more and more necessary for a discipline to emerge that is capable of comprehending these materialities beyond their shelf life to better understand the fields they inundate such as science, art, and warfare. This effort is further compromised by the inherent complexity and complete arbitrariness of technical languages – especially when they are algorithmic – along with the rapid pace in which they become obsolete, unintelligible, or simply forgotten. The Turing Machine plays a central role in the Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts, wherein the gradual developments of the individual components encompassed by this complex technology are placed within the context of engineering sciences and the history of inventions. This genealogy also traces the origin of the computer in disciplines such as mathematics, meta-mathematics, combinatorics, cryptology, philosophy, and physics. The investigations reveal that the history of apparatuses that process signs is in no way limited, as one might think, to the second half of the 20th century, rather it is possible that they existed at all times and in all cultures.”

Publisher Univocal Publishing, Minneapolis, 2016
ISBN 9781937561048, 1937561046
207 pages


PDF (18 MB)

Matteo Pasquinelli (ed.): Gli algoritmi del capitale. Accelerazionismo, macchine della conoscenza e autonomia del comune (2014) [Italian]

15 March 2016, dusan

“L’immaginario politico e l’idea di futuro sembrano oggi cancellati dall’imperativo dell’austerity. Ma quale sarebbe il vero passaggio rivoluzionario, si chiedevano un tempo Deleuze e Guattari: ritirarsi dal mercato globale o, al contrario, andare ancora più lontano, “accelerare il processo”? L’economia è in crisi, ma la tecnologia continua a evolvere sotto i nostri occhi: i social network sono sempre più pervasivi, la logistica delle merci sempre più veloce e digitalizzata, servizi segreti e finanza usano algoritmi sempre più sofisticati per analizzare e prevedere i comportamenti di massa. E se l’impasse politica fosse legata all’incapacità di comprendere le nuove astrazioni del capitale e del lavoro, gli algoritmi che controllano le relazioni sociali tanto quanto il tempo collettivo congelato dalla finanza in futures e derivati? Un nuovo nomos tecnologico sembra prendere forma a livello planetario, dove i poteri tradizionali degli Stati nazione si intrecciano con le grandi corporation della rete. Un ex direttore della Cia lo ha riassunto in modo cinico ma efficace: “Uccidiamo persone sulla base dei metadati”. Rispondendo al recente Manifesto accelerazionista e rilanciando la tesi del capitalismo cognitivo, gli autori del presente libro sostengono che lo sviluppo tecnologico possa essere ridisegnato in senso rivoluzionario, che l’astrazione più estrema dell’intelligenza debba diventare arma politica e che il futuro sia da riconquistare come terreno visionario.”

Contributors: Alex Williams & Nick Srnicek, Antonio Negri, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Matteo Pasquinelli, Nick Dyer-Witheford, Mercedes Bunz, Stefano Harney, Tiziana Terranova, Carlo Vercellone, and Christian Marazzi.

Publisher Ombrecorte, Verona, 2014
ISBN 9788897522829
187 pages

Reviews: Andrea Fumagalli (Il manifesto, 2014), Valerio Mattioli (Prismo, 2015), Elettra Stimilli (Alfabeta2, 2015).



Computational Culture, 5: Rhetoric and Computation (2016)

19 January 2016, dusan

“How can machines be rhetorical? The readers of Computational Culture need not be convinced that computation drives the digital and networked spaces in which we interact, argue and communicate: word processing programs, videogames, banking and commerce systems, social networking sites, and smartphone apps that track our data (both with and without our knowledge) are all evidence that computation in code shapes nearly every space we inhabit. Computation in code affects and effects our lives. Computational machines affect us through their programming and design, as well the discourse they can generate, via text, image, sound, and so on. By writing computer code and software, programmers and designers construct machines that make arguments and judgments and address audiences both machinic and human. In this sense, even the most mundane computational technologies can be seen as rhetorical –from the grocery store check-out scanner to the high school graphing calculator–because any computational machine shapes and constrains behavior. [...]

Software studies has paved the way for many disciplines to approach software as an object of study and computer programs as written artifacts, and we may add rhetoric to our toolkit to do so. We can use rhetoric to interpret the ways that computation addresses and responds to various audiences and exigencies, makes assertions about identities, and ultimately participates in a complex ecology of forces that shape behavior and perception. This version of rhetoric is more expansive than the limited, Aristotelian definition rhetoric as the ‘available means of persuasion.’ Just as software studies recognizes that software is more than code, and that code is more than ones and zeros, contemporary rhetoric is interested in more than the content of arguments; it also concerns the relational forces that precede and exceed arguments.” (from the introduction)

With thematic texts by Steve Holmes, John Tinnell, Kevin Brock, Elizabeth Losh, Jennifer Maher, Alexander Monea, Andreas Birkbak & Hjalmar Bang Carlsen, Matthew Bellinger; articles by M. Beatrice Fazi, Erica Robles-Anderson and Patrik Svensson, Michael Lachney, William Babbitt & Ron Eglash, and review section.

Edited by Annette Vee and James J. Brown, Jr.
Published in January 2016
Open Access
ISSN 2047-2390


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