Eglė Rindzevičiūtė: The Power of Systems: How Policy Sciences Opened Up the Cold War World (2016)

28 January 2021, dusan

“In The Power of Systems, Eglė Rindzevičiūtė introduces readers to one of the best-kept secrets of the Cold War: the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an international think tank established by the U.S. and Soviet governments to advance scientific collaboration. From 1972 until the late 1980s IIASA in Austria was one of the very few permanent platforms where policy scientists from both sides of the Cold War divide could work together to articulate and solve world problems. This think tank was a rare zone of freedom, communication, and negotiation, where leading Soviet scientists could try out their innovative ideas, benefit from access to Western literature, and develop social networks, thus paving the way for some of the key science and policy breakthroughs of the twentieth century.

Ambitious diplomatic, scientific, and organizational strategies were employed to make this arena for cooperation work for global change. Under the umbrella of the systems approach, East-West scientists co-produced computer simulations of the long-term world future and the anthropogenic impact on the environment, using global modeling to explore the possible effects of climate change and nuclear winter. Their concern with global issues also became a vehicle for transformation inside the Soviet Union. The book shows how computer modeling, cybernetics, and the systems approach challenged Soviet governance by undermining the linear notions of control on which Soviet governance was based and creating new objects and techniques of government.”

Publisher Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2016
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License
ISBN 9781501703188, 1501703188
xi+292 pages

Reviews: Roundtable: Barbara Czarniawska, Jenny Andersson, Claudia Aradau, Paul Rubinson, author’s response (H-Diplo, 2019), Kristine C. Harper (Isis, 2018), Benjamin Peters (Slavic Review, 2019), Gerald Easter (American Historical Review, 2018), Jeanne Morefield (J History of Ideas, 2020), Laurent Coumel (Cahiers du monde russe, 2018, FR), Una Bergmane (Lithuanian Historical Studies, 2018), Christian Dayé (Serendipities, 2018).

Publisher, (2)

PDF (19 MB)

Sean Dockray: Performing Algorithms: Automation and Accident (2019)

22 November 2019, dusan

Performing Algorithms: Automation and Accident investigates how artists might stage encounters with the algorithms driving our post-industrial, big-data-based, automatic society. Several important theories of this contemporary condition are discussed, including control societies, post-industrial societies, the automatic society, the cybernetic hypothesis, and algorithmic governmentality. These concepts are interwoven with histories of labour and automation, recent developments in machine learning and neural networks, and my own past work.

Through a series of expanded lecture performances that describe our algorithmic condition while setting it into motion, this research seeks to discover ways in which to advance new critical positions within a totalizing technical apparatus whose very design preempts it. The included creative works have been performed, exhibited, and published between 2014 and 2018. They are made available online through an artificially intelligent chatbot, a frequent figure in the research, which here extends the concerns of that research through to how the work is framed and presented.

The thesis focuses on both generative art and the lecture performance, which converge in performing algorithms but are generally not discussed in connection with one another. They emerged in parallel as artistic methods, however, at a time when management and computation were taking root in the workplace in the 1960s. Furthermore, as the Internet became widespread from the 1990s, generative art and the lecture performance each found renewed prominence.

With human language and gesture increasingly modelling itself on the language of computation and work constantly reshaped by the innovations of capital, this project identifies “not working” both in terms of the technological breakdown and also as a condition of labour under automation. A discussion of the first fatal accident involving a self-driving vehicle illustrates this dual condition. Shifting from glitch art’s preoccupation with provoking errors to a consideration of not working, this research proposes artistic strategies that learn to occupy rather than display the accident.”

PhD dissertation
Publisher Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne, 2019
146 pages


Peter Jakobsson: Öppenhetsindustrin / Openness Industry (2012) [Swedish]

30 April 2013, dusan

“Over recent decades several competing descriptions of the media and cultural industries have been put forward. The media and cultural industries have been described as creative industries, copyright industries, and as constitutive of an experience economy. One key element in these descriptions has been the importance of copyright law in a postindustrial economy.

The present study is an analysis of an emerging idea of an industry that functions, in part, outside of the market created by copyright law, and by exploiting, or by building markets on top of, digital, cultural and informational commons. The study is about how this idea is expressed in various forms by business organisations, companies, consultants and policymakers. I have invented the concept of the openness industry to denote the businesses that these organisations and policy makers claim are forerunners and promoters of the idea of ‘openness’ as a business model for the media industry. The purpose of the thesis is to analyse the governmentality and ideology of the openness industry.

A key element in the idea of the openness industry is that internet users can be persuaded to produce symbolic products for it by other means than the economic incentives provided by copyright. Another key element is the high value placed on single individuals in the creation of economic value; but in contrast to how the copyright industries are thought to be dependent on ‘authors’, the openness industry relies on the ‘entrepreneur’. Previous notions of the media and cultural industries have given publishers and producers of film, music and games a central role.The companies that are seminal to the idea of the openness industry are internet and technology companies.” (Abstract)

Doctoral thesis
Media and Communication, Örebro University, Sweden, 2012
Supervisors: Göran Bolin, Mats Ekström
ISBN 9789176688533
209 pages

commentary (Jonas Andersson, in Swedish)