Filed under book | Tags: · biosphere, cold war, computing, cybernetics, environment, governmentality, history of science, networks, politics, secrecy, soviet union, systems science, systems theory
“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
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).
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Filed under book | Tags: · art, image, internet, media, networks, politics
“The proxy, a decoy or surrogate, is today often used to designate a computer server acting as an intermediary for requests from clients. Originating in the Latin procurator, an agent representing others in a court of law, proxies are now emblematic of a post-democratic political age, one increasingly populated by bot militias, puppet states, and communication relays. Thus, the proxy works as a dialectical figure that is woven into the fabric of networks, where action and stance seem to be masked, calculated and remote-controlled.
This publication looks at proxy-politics on both a micro and a macro level, exploring proxies as objects, as well as networks as objects. What is the relation between the molecular and the planetary? How to fathom the computational regime? Yet, whilst being a manifestation of the networked age, thinking like a proxy offers loopholes and strategies for survival within it.
The Research Center for Proxy Politics (RCPP) explores and reflects upon the nature of medial networks and their actors. Between September 2014 and August 2017, the center hosted workshops, lectures and events at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, under the auspices of Hito Steyerl’s Lens-based class.”
Contributors: Tom McCarthy, Kodwo Eshun, Goldin+Senneby, Brian Holmes, Nick Houde, Jonathan Jung, Laura Katzauer, Boaz Levin, Mikk Madisson, Doreen Mende, Sondra Perry, Oleksiy Radynski, Robert Rapoport, Hito Steyerl, thricedotted, Vera Tollmann, Miloš Trakilović.
Edited by Research Center for Proxy Politics (Vera Tollmann and Boaz Levin)
Publisher Archive Books, Berlin, October 2017
ISBN 3943620719, 9783943620719
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Filed under book | Tags: · algorithm, commons, culture, democracy, digital condition, digital culture, networks, politics, post-democracy, social media, technology, web
“Our daily lives, our culture and our politics are now shaped by the digital condition as large numbers of people involve themselves in contentious negotiations of meaning in ever more dimensions of life, from the trivial to the profound. They are making use of the capacities of complex communication infrastructures, currently dominated by social mass media such as Twitter and Facebook, on which they have come to depend.
Amidst a confusing plurality, Felix Stalder argues that are three key constituents of this condition: the use of existing cultural materials for one’s own production, the way in which new meaning is established as a collective endeavour, and the underlying role of algorithms and automated decision-making processes that reduce and give shape to massive volumes of data. These three characteristics define what Stalder calls ‘the digital condition’. Stalder also examines the profound political implications of this new culture. We stand at a crossroads between post-democracy and the commons, a concentration of power among the few or a genuine widening of participation, with the digital condition offering the potential for starkly different outcomes.
This ambitious and wide-ranging theory of our contemporary digital condition will be of great interest to students and scholars in media and communications, cultural studies, and social, political and cultural theory, as well as to a wider readership interested in the ways in which culture and politics are changing today.”
First published in German as Kultur der Digitalität, Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016.
Translated by Valentine Pakis
Publisher Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, 2018
ISBN 9781509519590, 1509519599
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