Tag: Andrew Goffey

Reminder about Monday’s Book Launch at Goldsmiths

Launch Event:
Computational Culture, Issue Two,
Virality, Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks, by Tony D. Sampson
Evil Media, by Matthew Fuller & Andrew Goffey

Location: 342, Richard Hoggart Building
Cost: free
Website: computationalculture.net/cfps-events
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 22 October 2012, 18:00 – 20:00

http://www.gold.ac.uk/cultural-studies/calendar/?id=5710

22nd October event at Goldsmiths

If you’re in London in October you may be interested in this event at Goldsmiths to mark the release of Evil Media, Virality and the next issue of Computational Culture. It’s the first of a number of events related to Virality I’ll be posting about.

Computational Culture, Issue Two

Virality, Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks, by Tony D. Sampson

Evil Media, by Matthew Fuller & Andrew Goffey

22nd October

6pm

Room RHB 342

New Cross

Free, all welcome

To celebrate these publications, informal presentations will be made by the authors of Virality and Evil Media and contributors to Computational Culture.

‘Computational Culture’  is an online open-access peer-reviewed journal of inter-disciplinary enquiry into the nature of cultural computational objects, practices, processes and structures.  The new issue presents articles by Carlos Barreneche, Jennifer Gabrys, Robert W. Gehl & Sarah Bell, Shintaro Miyazaki, Bernhard Rieder, Bernard Stiegler, Annette Vee and reviews by Chiara Bernardi, KevinHamilton, Boris Ružiæ, Felix Stalder and an anonymous contributor.

In ‘Virality’ Tony D. Sampson presents a contagion theory fit for the age of networks. Unlike memes and microbial contagions, Virality does not restrict itself to biological analogies and medical metaphors. It instead points toward a theory of contagious assemblages, events, and affects. For Sampson, contagion is not necessarily a positive or negative force of encounter; it is how society comes together and relates.

[University of Minnesota Press]

‘Evil Media’ invites the reader to explore and understand the abstract infrastructure of the present day. From search engines to flirting strategies, from the value of institutional stupidity to the malicious minutiae of databases, this book shows how the devil is in the details.  The title takes the imperative “Don’t be evil” and asks, what would be done any differently in contemporary computational and networked media were that maxim reversed.

[The MIT Press]

In ‘Sensing an Experimental Forest’, her article for ‘Computational Culture’ 2, Jennifer Gabrys discusses fieldwork conducted at an environmental sensor test site, the James Reserve in California.  The use of wireless sensor networks to study environmental phenomena is an increasingly prevalent practice, and ecological applications of sensors have been central to the development of wireless sensor networks that now extend to numerous ‘participatory’ applications.

Virality

http://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/virality

Evil Media

http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=12995

Computational Culture

http://www.computationalculture.net/

4 of 4 What Makes a Video Viral go Viral?

The Imperfect [Viral] Crime

We might say that viral marketers try to make their Trojans out of the same kind of stuff we experience when glimpsing strange cloud formations.

man-cloud

To be sure, the marketer must endeavor to be the trickster insofar as he tries to sustain the hallucination long enough to fleece those idiots still caught out staring into the sky. This is nevertheless the “imperfect crime” of viral marketing Fuller and Goffey discuss so well in their Evil Media chapter in The Spam Book: as they put it, the problem with viral marketing is that “the identity of the criminal needs to be circulated along with the act itself.”

So what makes something go viral? Well, isn’t this the elixir of marketing and political strategizing? It’s certainly not something that can be easily grasped. Aside from engaging with the imperfect criminal act, the viral marketer must also take into account the accidental environments in which phantoms exist. See, for example, the work of network market researchers like Duncan Watts who point to the accidents of influence. As Fuller and Goffey argue, as soon as the viral is pushed “into the [uncertain] realm of experiential communication [and] material affect,” the marketer can no longer rely on an encoded message to ensure the virus’s trajectory (p. 155). There are no assurances that things will go viral. The cloud might eventually become dispersed or get heavier and fall from the sky.

Forget the meme theory of viral marketing. It is in these uncertain realms of communication that the accidents of virality seem to persist irrelevant of how much memetic seeding takes place. Importantly then, the creativity of the idiot does not belong to the idiot-subject or the idiot maker, it would seem. The idiot is not simply created; he also creates himself and those idiots around him. Marketers have to bide their time, keep their distance, and wait for their phantom event to spread out. Nevertheless, with enough added idiocy, the attention of the collective hallucination will eventually be drawn to this or that point of distraction and the virus might just catch on.

References

Jon Ronson’s viral video: Thank God it’s Tuesday http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/video/2012/may/18/jon-ronson-viral-video-tuesday

Olga Goriunova, 2010 ‘Digital Media Idiocy’, Thinking Network Politics conference, Anglia Research Centre in Digital Culture,Anglia Ruskin University.

Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd, 16.

Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense (London: Continuum, 1990), 241–57.

Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey, “Towards an Evil Media Studies,” in Parikka and Sampson, The Spam Book, 155.

Clive Thompson, “Is the Tipping Point Toast?” Fast Company Magazine, February 1, 2008, http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/122/is-the-tippingpoint-toast.html