Precarity Lab: Technoprecarious (2020)

5 January 2021, dusan

“An analysis that traces the role of digital technology in multiplying precarity.

Technoprecarious advances a new analytic for tracing how precarity unfolds across disparate geographical sites and cultural practices in the digital age. Digital technologies—whether apps like Uber, built on flexible labor, or platforms like Airbnb that shift accountability to users—have assisted in consolidating the wealth and influence of a small number of players. These platforms have also exacerbated increasingly insecure conditions of work and life for racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities; women; indigenous people; migrants; and peoples in the global south. At the same time, precarity has become increasingly generalized, expanding to include even the creative class and digital producers themselves.

This collaboratively authored multigraph analyzes the role of digital technology in multiplying precarity. The authors use the term precarity to characterize those populations disproportionately affected by the forms of inequality and insecurity that digital technologies have generated despite the new affordances and possibilities they offer. The book maps a broad range of digital precarity—from the placement of Palestinian Internet cables to the manufacture of electronics by Navajo women and from the production and deployment of drones on the U.S.–Mexico border to the technocultural productions of Chinese makers. This project contributes to, and helps bridge, ongoing debates on precarity and digital networks in the fields of critical computing, postcolonial studies, visual culture, and information sciences.”

Publisher Goldsmiths Press, London, November 2020
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License
ISBN 9781912685981, 1912685981
xi+113 pages

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HTML, multiple formats

Nick Thurston: Of the Subcontract, or Principles of Poetic Right (2013) [EN, ES]

8 December 2020, dusan

Of the Subcontract is a collection of poems about computational capitalism, each of which was written by an underpaid worker subcontracted through Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk service. The collection is ordered according to cost-of-production and repurposes metadata about the efficiency of each writer to generate informatic typographic embellishments. Those one hundred poems are braced between two newly commissioned essays; the whole book is threaded with references to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Wolfgang von Kempelen, and the emerging iconography of cloud living.

Of the Subcontract reverses out of the database-driven digital world of new labour pools into poetry’s black box: the book. It reduces the poetic imagination to exploited labour and, equally, elevates artificial artificial intelligence to the status of the poetic. In doing so, it explores the all-too-real changes that are reforming every kind of work, each day more quickly, under the surface of life.”

Foreword by McKenzie Wark
Afterword by Darren Wershler
Publisher information as material, York, 2013
Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported License
ISBN 1907468188, 9781907468186
144 pages

Interview with author: Stephen Voyce (Iowa Review, 2014).
Review: Rita Raley (American Book Review, 2014).

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Wikipedia

Of the Subcontract (English, 2013)
De la subcontractar (Spanish, 2019)

Chris Robé: Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas (2017)

18 November 2020, dusan

Breaking the Spell offers the first full-length study that charts the historical trajectory of anarchist-inflected video activism from the late 1960s to the present. Two predominant trends emerge from this social movement-based video activism: 1) anarchist-inflected processes increasingly structure its production, distribution, and exhibition practices; and 2) video does not simply represent collective actions and events, but also serves as a form of activist practice in and of itself from the moment of recording to its later distribution and exhibition. Video plays an increasingly important role among activists in the growing global resistance against neoliberal capitalism. As various radical theorists have pointed out, subjectivity itself becomes a key terrain of struggle as capitalism increasingly structures and mines it through social media sites, cell phone technology, and new “flexible” work and living patterns. As a result, alternative media production becomes a central location where new collective forms of subjectivity can be created to challenge aspects of neoliberalism.

Chris Robé’s book fills in historical gaps by bringing to light unexplored video activist groups like the Cascadia Forest Defenders, eco-video activists from Eugene, Oregon; Mobile Voices, Latino day laborers harnessing cell phone technology to combat racism and police harassment in Los Angeles; and Outta Your Backpack Media, indigenous youth from the Southwest who use video to celebrate their culture and fight against marginalization. This groundbreaking study also deepens our understanding of more well-researched movements like AIDS video activism, Paper Tiger Television, and Indymedia by situating them within a longer history and wider context of radical video activism.”

Publisher PM Press, Oakland, CA, 2017
ISBN 9781629632339, 1629632333
x+469 pages

Interview with author: The New Architects (video, 2017, 43 min).
Reviews: Beth Geglia (Interface, 2017), Franklin Lopez (Fifth Estate, 2017), Patricia R. Zimmerman (Jump Cut, 2018), Allan Atliff (Anarchist Studies, 2017).

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PDF (16 MB)
Academia.edu (author)