Felix Stalder: The Digital Condition (2016–)

25 March 2018, dusan

“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
xi+204 pages

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A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders (2018)

8 January 2018, dusan

“This guide explores the use of digital methods to study false viral news, political memes, trolling practices and their social life online.

It responds to an increasing demand for understanding the interplay between digital platforms, misleading information, propaganda and viral content practices, and their influence on politics and public life in democratic societies.”

Compiled by Liliana Bounegru, Jonathan Gray, Tommaso Venturini, and Michele Mauri
Publisher Public Data Lab, January 2018
Creative Commons BY 4.0 License
211 pages

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Amodern, 7: Ephemera and Ephemerality (2017)

5 December 2017, dusan

“Like some winged insects, ephemera – the plural of the Greek ephemeron – denotes things that last through the day. Maurice Rickards defined it as “the minor transient documents of everyday life” – bus tickets, business cards, bookmarks. Ephemera describes modern mass media forms such as the newspaper and radio broadcasts, as well as contemporary ones such as email and short message service. Ephemera haunts classical aesthetics, whose pretensions to cultural value and endurance can figuratively efface its own materiality and fragility. Ephemera similarly menaces concepts and practices of history, even when it serves as evidence of the past and the stuff of the archive. Indeed, ephemera problematizes memory itself: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun has theorized that digital media create an “enduring ephemeral” of constantly refreshing, regenerating information, introducing as much instability into computer programs as abides in putatively more fallible, degenerative human memory. With this observation, the paradox of ephemera – that it was meant to be disposable and fleeting, but is instead often kept and collected – comes into view as a central ambivalence of modern mediated life.”

With essays by Christina Svendsen, Mollie McFee, Priti Joshi, Kimberly Hall, Dennis Yi Tenen, Susan Zieger, Lindsay Brandon Hunter, and a conversation with Mita Mahato.

Edited by Priti Joshi and Susan Zieger
Publisher Concordia University and Lakehead University, December 2017
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

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