Aymeric Mansoux: Sandbox Culture: A Study of the Application of Free and Open Source Software Licensing Ideas to Art and Cultural Production (2017)

7 July 2017, dusan

“In partial response to the inability of intellectual property laws to adapt to data-sharing over computer networks, several initiatives have proposed techno-legal alternatives to encourage the free circulation and transformation of digital works. These alternatives have shaped part of contemporary digital culture for more than three decades and are today often associated with the “free culture” movement. The different strands of this movement are essentially derived from a narrower concept of software freedom developed in the 1980s, and which is enforced within free and open source software (FLOSS) communities. This principle was the first significant effort to articulate a reusable techno-legal template to work around the limitations of intellectual property laws. It also offered a vision of network culture where community participation and sharing was structural.

From alternate tools and workflow systems, artist-run servers, network publishing experiments, open data and design lobbies, cooperative and collaborative frameworks, but also novel copyright licensing used by both non-profit organisations and for-profit corporations, the impact on cultural production of practices developed in relation to the ideas of FLOSS has been both influential and broadly applied. However, if it is true that FLOSS has indeed succeeded in becoming a theoretical and practical model for the transformation of art and culture, the question remains at which ways it has provided such a model, how it has been effectively appropriated across different groups and contexts and in what ways these overlap or differ.

Using the image of the sandbox, where code becomes a constituent device for different communities to experience varying ideologies and practices, this dissertation aims to map the consequent levels of divergence in interpreting and appropriating the free and open source techno-legal template. This thesis identifies the paradoxes, conflicts, and contradictions within free culture discourse. It explores the tensions between the wish to provide a theoretical universal definition of cultural freedom, and the disorderly reality of its practice and interpretation. However, despite the different layers of cultural diffusion, appropriation, misunderstanding and miscommunication that together form the fabric of free culture, this dissertation argues that, even though feared, fought, and criticised, these issues are not signs of dysfunctionality but are instead the evidence of cultural diversity within free culture. This dissertation will also demonstrate that conflicts between and within these sandboxes create a democratic process that permits the constant transformation of the free and open source discourse, and is therefore something that should be embraced and neither resisted nor substituted for a universal approach to cultural production.”

Includes an anthology of proto-free culture licenses, 1998-2002 (pp 382-452).

PhD Dissertation
Supervisor: Matthew Fuller
Publisher Centre of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, 2017
xxxviii+486 pages
via author

PDF, PDF (7 MB)

Garnet Hertz (ed.): Critical Making (2012)

21 January 2015, dusan

Critical Making is a handmade book project by Garnet Hertz that explores how hands-on productive work ‐ making ‐ can supplement and extend critical reflection on technology and society. It works to blend and extend the fields of design, contemporary art, DIY/craft and technological development. It also can be thought of as an appeal to the electronic DIY maker movement to be critically engaged with culture, history and society: after learning to use a 3D printer, making an LED blink or using an Arduino, then what?

The publication has 70 contributors ‐ primarily from contemporary art and academia ‐ and its 352 pages are bound in ten pocket-sized zine-like volumes. The project takes the topic of DIY culture literally by printing an edition of 300 copies on a hacked photocopier with booklets that were manually folded, stapled and cut. The 300 finished copies were primarily given away for free to project contributors, individuals and institutions important to them. Some of the handmade copies were traded for reviews, photographs, videos, lectures and were given to library archives.

Due to the large demand for this content, the entire collection had been scanned and released on conceptlab.com/criticalmaking and through the Twitter account @criticalpdfs.”

Publisher Telharmonium Press, Hollywood/CA, November 2012
Open Access
10 booklets, 352 pages total

Reviews: Debatty (We Make Money Not Art, 2013), Blue (Engine Institute, 2013).

single PDF (36 MB)
PDF contributions (67 pieces)

Alessandro Delfanti: Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science (2013)

8 November 2014, dusan

Biohackers explores fundamental changes occuring in the circulation and ownership of scientific information. Alessandro Delfanti argues that the combination of the ethos of 20th century science, the hacker movement and the free software movement is producing an open science culture which redefines the relationship between researchers, scientific institutions and commercial companies.

Biohackers looks at the emergence of the citizen biology community ‘DIYbio’, the shift to open access by the American biologist Craig Venter and the rebellion of the Italian virologist Ilaria Capua against WHO data-sharing policies.

Delfanti argues that these biologists and many others are involved in a transformation of both life sciences and information systems, using open access tools and claiming independence from both academic and corporate institutions.”

Publisher Pluto Press, London, 2013
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License
ISBN 9781849649070
176 pages

Review (Alice Bell, The Guardian, 2013)
Review (Stefano Golinelli and Luc Henry, Science, 2014)

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Publisher
WorldCat

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Ippolita: The Dark Side of Google (2007–) [IT, FR, ES, EN]

8 October 2013, dusan

In The Dark Side of Google Italian writers’ collective Ippolita provides a thorough, fresh analysis of what is behind the universe of Google and the metadata industry. In recent years Google has established itself as a major point of Internet access. We have progressively adapted to its sober, reassuring interface and its advertisements (discretely off to the side, yet always present). We have adopted its services and the habit of using it to the degree that ‘googling’ has become a form of behavior: ‘If you don’t know what it is, Google it!’

Google shows mastery in taking advantage of our need for simplicity. We sit in front of a colossus, an incredibly pervasive system of managing knowledge, comprising aggressive marketing and shrewd management of its own image, and the propagation of highly configurable interfaces that are still implacably recognizable. What is more, Google co-opts methods for developing Free Software, the use of futuristic systems for gathering and storing data. What lies behind the most consulted search engine in the world?

Italian edition
Publisher Feltrinelli, Milan, 2007

English edition
Translated by Patrice Riemens
Publisher Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2013
Theory on Demand series, Vol. 13
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivative Works 3.0 Netherlands License
ISBN 9789081857567
110 pages

Authors
Publisher (EN)

Luci e ombre di Google (Italian, 2007, draft)
La face cachée de Google (French, trans. Maxime Rovère, 2010, draft)
El lado oscuro de Google (Castilian, trans. Pino and Maria, 2010)
The Dark Side of Google (English, trans. Patrice Riemens, 2013)

Geert Lovink, Miriam Rasch (eds.): Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives (2013)

21 February 2013, dusan

The Unlike Us Reader offers a critical examination of social media, bringing together theoretical essays, personal discussions, and artistic manifestos. How can we understand the social media we use everyday, or consciously choose not to use? We know very well that monopolies control social media, but what are the alternatives? While Facebook continues to increase its user population and combines loose privacy restrictions with control over data, many researchers, programmers, and activists turn towards designing a decentralized future. Through understanding the big networks from within, be it by philosophy or art, new perspectives emerge.

Unlike Us is a research network of artists, designers, scholars, activists, and programmers, with the aim to combine a critique of the dominant social media platforms with work on ‘alternatives in social media’, through workshops, conferences, online dialogues, and publications. Everyone is invited to be a part of the public discussion on how we want to shape the network architectures and the future of social networks we are using so intensely.

Contributors: Solon Barocas, Caroline Bassett, Tatiana Bazzichelli, David Beer, David M. Berry, Mercedes Bunz, Florencio Cabello, Paolo Cirio, Joan Donovan, Louis Doulas, Leighton Evans, Marta G. Franco, Robert W. Gehl, Seda Gürses, Alexandra Haché, Harry Halpin, Mariann Hardey, Pavlos Hatzopoulos, Yuk Hui, Ippolita, Nathan Jurgenson, Nelli Kambouri, Jenny Kennedy, Ganaele Langlois, Simona Lodi, Alessandro Ludovico, Tiziana Mancinelli, Andrew McNicol, Andrea Miconi, Arvind Narayanan, Wyatt Niehaus, Korinna Patelis, PJ Rey, Sebastian Sevignani, Bernard Stiegler, Marc Stumpel, Tiziana Terranova, Vincent Toubiana, Brad Troemel, Lonneke van der Velden, Martin Warnke and D.E. Wittkower.

Publisher Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, February 2013
INC Reader #3
Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 Unported License
ISBN 9789081857529
386 pages
via Anne Helmond

book trailer
research network
next conference (22-23 March 2013, Amsterdam)
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