Tag: Luciana Parisi

Hard Copies of The Birth of Digital Populism book will be available on Friday at UEL’s Affect and Social Media seminar

Really thrilled to say that The Birth of Digital Populism book has just arrived and will be available (by making a donation) for the first time in hard copy at the Affect and Social Media research seminar at UEL this Friday (27th Feb).

It is a beautiful book designed & co-edited by Francesco Taccini – currently at the RCA.

The Blurb

The Birth of Digital Populism. Crowd, Power and Postdemocracy in the 21st Century


The Five Star Movement led by Grillo & Casaleggio had an unexpected success in the Italian general elections of February 2013, deeply disrupting the panorama of Italian politics. This book seeks to explore some of the features characterising the emergence of a new political phenomenon: digital populism. We asked Italian and English thinkers from different political and disciplinary backgrounds to contribute to an analysis of some fundamental points behind the rise of populism and the digital relations between masses, power and democracy at the dawn of the twenty-first century. This is the result of nine interviews carried out between May 2013 and February 2014 with Luciana Parisi, Tiziana Terranova, Lapo Berti, Simon Choat, Godani Paul, Saul Newman, Jussi Parikka, Tony D. Sampson and Alberto Toscano.

Here is the free book “The birth of digital populism. Crowd, power and post-democracy in the 21st century”

Here is the free book from Obsolete Capitalism

“The birth of digital populism. Crowd, power and post-democracy in the 21st century” featuring Luciana Parisi, Tiziana Terranova, Lapo Berti, Simon Choat, Paolo Godani, Saul Newman, Jussi Parikka, Tony D. Sampson and Alberto Toscano.

The book, which is published by Obsolete Capitalism Free Press, is under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International) and can be read or downloaded from the digital publishing platform Issuu at the following address:


The Five Star Movement led by Grillo & Casaleggio had an unexpected success in the Italian general elections of February 2013, deeply disrupting the panorama of Italian politics. This book seeks to explore some of the features characterising the emergence of a new political phenomenon: digital populism. We asked Italian and English thinkers from different political and disciplinary backgrounds to contribute to an analysis of some fundamental points behind the rise of populism and the digital relations between masses, power and democracy at the dawn of the twenty-first century. This is the result of nine interviews carried out between May 2013 and February 2014 with Luciana Parisi, Tiziana Terranova, Lapo Berti, Simon Choat, Paolo Godani, Saul Newman, Jussi Parikka, Tony D. Sampson and Alberto Toscano.

Luciana Parisi and Tiziana Terranova’s Interview on “Crowd, Power and Post-democracy in the 21st Century

There is a translated double interview with Luciana Parisi and Tiziana Terranova on Rizomatika. The interview is also available and sharable in PDF format.

Previous interviews were held with: Parikka, Newman, Sampson, Choat, Toscano e Berti; and in Italian: Parikka, Newman, Sampson, Choat, Berti, Parisi & Terranova , Godani.

The final stage of the Crowd, Power and Post-democracy in the 21st Century project (freely published by Obsolete Capitalism and Rizomatika) is to become an e-book published in April.

More to follow…




Luciana Parisi, Italian, lives and works in London. She is Senior Lecturer in Critical Theory at Goldsmiths College, University of London (UK) where she runs the PhD program at the Centre for Cultural Studies. Her research examines the links between science and philosophy, cybernetics and information, technology and policy in order to formulate a critique of capitalism and at the same time investigate the possibility of real change. During the nineties of the last century she has been working with the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit at Warwick (UK) and has written several essays in collaboration with Steve Goodman (known in the music world as dominus of dubstep as Kode9). In 2004 she published the book “Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the
Mutations of Desire” (Continuum, London, 2004), where she described the critical impasse between the notions of body, sexuality, “gender” and the current status of the studies of science and technology. Her latest work on architectural models is “Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space” (MIT Press, USA, 2013).

Tiziana Terranova, Italian, lives and works in Naples. She is a contemporary researcher, and lecturer of ” Cultural Studies and Media ‘ and ‘ Cultural Theories and New Media” at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’. After graduating from the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the Department of American, Cultural and Linguistic Studies at University of Naples she continued her research on media, cultural studies and new technologies, driven by a passion for this area. The study of these issues took place in England where she achieved a master’s degree in “Communications and Technology” at Brunel University. She also achieved the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths’ College in London. In the mid 90’s Tiziana Terranova dealt with technological subcultures, cyberpunk and published one of the first doctoral thesis on the internet newsgroups and the techno culture in California. Another important experience for her intellectual journey took place in London at the Department of Cultural Studies of the University of “East London” where she founded and directed along with Helene Kennedy one of the first courses in Multimedia, starting the new university course in “Media and New Media Studies”. Her current interests include digital culture and the phenomena that develop around it. Of international importance is her book “Culture Network” published in Italy in 2006 by Il Manifesto. Her last essay entitled ‘Capitalism cognitive and neural life’ was inserted in May 2013 e.Book issue called ‘The state of technological mediation’ by Giorgio Griziotti (Special Hypermedia – Alfabeta editions).

SECOND CALL for participation in PhD-course: 2nd Ph.D. Summer School of Cultural Transformations: Cultural Im/materialities: Contagion, Affective Rhythms and Mobilization

SECOND CALL for participation in PhD-course:

2nd Ph.D. Summer School of Cultural Transformations:

Cultural Im/materialities:
Contagion, Affective Rhythms and Mobilization

International PhD course, 23-27 June 2014, Aarhus University, Denmark

The summer school is funded by the Ph.D. programmes Art, Literature and Cultural Studies and ICT, Media, Communication and Journalism and by Centre for Sociological Studies Aarhus University (all Aarhus University). The event is part of a cultural studies summer school network with Warwick University, University of Southern Denmark, Södertörn University and Aarhus University as partners. The first event in 2013 was hosted by Warwick University.

Associate Professor, PhD, Britta Timm Knudsen; Associate Professor, PhD, Mads Krogh; Assistant Professor, PhD, Carsten Stage; Associate Professor, PhD, Anne Marit Waade

Partners: Warwick University, UK, University of Southern Denmark, DK, Södertörn University, SE, CESAU, DK, Copenhagen Business School, DK

Confirmed keynotes
Professor Georgina Born (Music and Anthropology, Oxford University), UK
Reader Tony D. Sampson (Digital Culture and Communications, University of East London), UK
Professor John Protevi (Philosophy and French Studies, Loyola University Chicago), US
Senior Lecturer Luciana Parisi (Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths), UK

Lecturers / workshop organizers / discussants
Jenny Sundén, Södertörn University
Nathaniel Tkacz, Warwick University
Christian Borch, Copenhagen Business School
Representative from University of Southern Denmark
Anne Marit Waade, Aarhus University
Carsten Stage, Aarhus University
Mads Krogh, Aarhus University
Britta Timm Knudsen, Aarhus University
Christoffer Kølvraa, Aarhus University
Louise Fabian, Aarhus University
Camilla Møhring Reestorff, Aarhus University


Time: June 23-27 2014
Room and Place: Aarhus University
Cost/ Policy: No cost fee, each participant covers travel & accommodation.
Max. number of participants: 30

The summer school wants to explore the role of affect, suggestive rhythms and contagion for the somatic mobilization of agents across a range of socio-cultural situations (e.g. protest events, dance halls, online forums, catastrophes), practises and processes (e.g. political mobilization and engagement, school bullying, youth loneliness, xenophobic/nationalist panics). In recent years an increasing interest in materiality, space, technology and embodiment has developed in the humanities and social sciences combined with an ëaffective turní (Clough, Massumi, Thrift, Seigworth and Gregg, Ahmed) to immaterial dimensions of these phenomena.
This has re-actualised early sociological theories about affective suggestion, contagion and imitation (e.g. Gustave Le Bon and Gabriel Tarde), which offer valuable insights to the analysis of a contemporary cultural landscape characterised by for instance viral/memetic phenomena, mediated/networked/rhythmically coordinated crowds, affective online communication and political modulation of citizen affects (Blackman, Borch, Gibbs, Sampson, Butler). During the summer school we wish to collectively explore the immaterial dimensions of the material social world and vice versa, discuss the potentialities, implications and risks of such analysis in an open interdisciplinary environment.
The event will attract PhD students from a range of academic fields (anthropology, geography, media, cultural studies, aesthetics, sociology, political science etc.) interested in, and doing research on, the affective turn, processes of imitation/suggestion/contagion, the rhythmically attuning mobilisation of bodies, and the im/material dimensions of culture and the social world.
Possible areas/topics:

The affective dimensions of materiality, space, technology and things
Aesthetics and affectivity, sensual design
Mobilization within public and private spheres of action
Viral communication, virality in the media, memes, social media
The methodological challenges of analysing cultural materialities and immaterial processes
Theoretical legacies to the ëaffective turní and new materialist orientations within the humanities and social sciences; early sociologies of contagion, suggestion and imitation
Moral, media and financial panics
Music culture, sound, dance and rhythm
Industries of affect, affective consumption
Tourism, black spot/dark tourism
Artistic agency, idols and fandom
Crowds, protest culture, social movements, (creative/eventful) activism, political events
Depression, loneliness, bullying, affective exclusion
Charity, empathy and sympathy
Affect, emotion and power, war and affective modulation
Xenophobia, nationalism, the strategic production of fear and hate
Atmosphere, aura, prestige
Sexuality, porn, love and care
The affectivity of catastrophes
Blasphemy, fanaticism and provocative politics

The Ph.D.-summer school will be based on keynote presentations, workshops and studentsí own project presentations and organized feedback sessions.

The examination will consist of three parts: 1. Full paper hand-in (deadline May 15); 2. Attending workshops and doing group assignments; 3. Paper presentation and discussion of papers.

Deadline for submission
Deadline: March 1 2014
Send an email to: Marianne Hoffmeister mho@adm.au.dk
Attach a description of your research topic and project (max. 300 words).

March 15: You will get to know if you participate, and you will be asked to confirm your participation.

Preparation for PhD students
April 1: The organizers will form groups out of the participants (5 in all) and each group has to organize a slot of one hour each with a social and/or academic content (e.g. academic speed-dating, guided tours in Aarhus for strangers by strangers, exercises between the slots).

May 15: Deadline for submitting a full paper (10 pages)

Preparation for teachers
March: Organizers must read the abstracts and form participants groups.

Medio May: The group of teachers will be responsible for 3-4 papers, that he/she has read carefully in advance in order to 1) place the paper within the theme of the summer school 2) to be a discussant of the paper and to give an open and constructive feedback at the summer school

About the summer school network (SSCT)
The series aims at creating an international environment of constructive academic discussions in the field of cultural studies in order to strengthen this discipline in our respective academic communities and to develop the discipline of cultural studies according to actual developments and new theoretical paradigms. The series aims at improving teaching in cultural studies through a meticulous work on theoretical, methodological and empirical challenges. It is also our intention to build stronger research relations and exchange opportunities between the involved institutions and participants. Network coordinator: Carsten Stage (norcs@hum.au.dk).

Alberto Toscano: interview with the authors of Rizomatika & ObsoleteCapitalism

After the publication of a first cycle of interviews on crowds, power and post-democracy, and the relative
translation to Italian, we proceed with the second and final installment.

Alberto Toscano

Next are Lapo Berti, Luciana Parisi and finally Tiziana Terranova.

Crowd, Power and Post-democracy in the 21st Century

Crowd, Power and Post-democracy in the 21st Century. Interviews on digital populism and recent European political phenomena.

“Rural fascism and city or neighborhood fascism, youth fascism and war veteran’s fascism, fascism of the Left and fascism of the Right, fascism of the couple, family, school, and office: every fascism is defined by a micro-black hole that stands on its own and communicates with the others, before resonating in a great, generalized central black hole. There is fascism when a war machine is installed in each hole, in every niche. Only microfascism provides an answer to the global question: ‘Why does desire desire its own repression, how can it desire its own repression?’

(Giles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus, pg.271)

Keep your eyes open for a series of interviews to be initially published (in English and Italian) on both Rizomatika and Obsolete Capitalism starting from this Saturday (Sept 14th).

There will also be a specially designed e-book published by December with all the interviews free to download.

Here’s the running order…

saturday 14th Sept: Jussi Parikka (english)

saturday 21st Sept: Saul Newman (english)

saturday 28 Sept: Tony D. Sampson (english)

saturday 5 Oct: Simon Choat (english)

saturday 12 Oct: Alberto Toscano (english)

saturday 19 Oct: Jussi Parikka (italian translation)

saturday 26 Oct: Saul Newman (italian translation)

saturday 2 Nov: Tony D. Sampson (italian translation)

saturday 9 Nov: Simon Choat (italian translation)

saturday 16 Nov: Alberto Toscano (italian translation)

saturday 23 Nov: Lapo Berti (italian)

saturday 30 Nov: Luciana Parisi (italian)

saturday 7 Dec: Maurizio Lazzarato (italian)

saturday 14 Dec: WM1 (italian, tbc)

saturday 21 Dec: Lapo Berti (english translation)

saturday 28 Dec: Luciana Parisi (english translation)

saturday 4 Jan: Maurizio Lazzarato (english translation)

saturday 11 Jan: WM1 (italian translation, tbc)

Tony Sampson și Luciana Parisi în premieră la București


//please scroll down for English

Viralitate afectivă + Primul congres Bezna

(Tony Sampson și Luciana Parisi în premieră la București)

Centrul Național al Dansului București (CNDB) găzduiește în perioada 22 iunie – 29 iunie seria de evenimente Viralitate afectivă + Primul congres Bezna

Informații detaliate despre fiecare eveniment în parte găsiți mai jos:

– workshop cu Tony Sampson – Viralitate, haos și problema creierului – 22 și 23 iunie, 17:00 – 20:00, CNDB, sala Stere Popescu

– lecture Luciana Parisi – Arhitecturi Contagioase: Control Digital și Estetică – 25 iunie, 17:00 – 20:00, CNDB, sala Stere Popescu

Workshop-ul și lecture-ul sunt parte din cursul “Afecte mediatice, patos biologic și psihotehnologie feministă” susținut de Biroul de Cercetări Melodramatice (2012/2013) la Universitatea Națională de Arte București, finanțat prin programul Patterns Lectures al Erste Foundation. Mai multe informații despre curs:http://thebureauofmelodramaticresearch.blogspot.ro/

– Bezna #4 – o serie de lecture-performance din/despre Lumea Cealaltă [the Netherworld] + lansarea zine-ului, 29 iunie 22:00, CNDB, sala Stere Popescu



Viralitate, haos și problema creierului – workshop cu Tony Sampson

Viralitate – sâmbătă 22 iunie, 17:00 – 20:00

Prima parte a prezentării va introduce conceptele care stau la baza cărții Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks [Viralitate: Teoria contagiunii în era rețelelor] (2012). Este vorba de o discuție despre contagiunea socială pe baza textelor lui Gabriel Tarde și Gilles Deleuze. Prezentarea va explora două stratageme ale viralității în rețea. Prima, cea imunologică, este formată dintr-o serie de propoziții analogice legate de răspândirea fricii din contexte biologice în contexte nonbiologice. A doua, dragostea virală, este exemplificată de iubirea-Obama și pare să fie mult mai atractivă. Ea rezonează cu modulații nediscursive și cu atmosfere afective. Vorbește despre eveniment și nu despre esențe. Scopul explorării acestor stratageme este acela de a face evidente relațiile de putere cognitive și afective în societatea de control, altfel subtile și imateriale.

Workshopul care urmează va căuta diverse stratageme care pot fi dezvoltate pentru a devia contagiunea fricii și a dragostei.

Haos și problema creierului – duminică 23 iunie, 17:00 – 20:00

A doua prezentare va discuta interesul deosebit al lui Gilles Deleuze pentru neurofilozofie și va re-pune în discuție confruntarea creierului cu haosul. Prezentarea va urmări în continuare două problematici principale: ce poate fi făcut unui creier și ce poate să facă un creier? Prima se referă la apariția și dezvoltarea așa-numitei neuroculturi și acordă atenție în mod particular invențiilor neuromarketing-ului ca extensie a muncii cognitive. Aceste noi tehnici de persuasiune și absorbție au ca scop capturarea legăturilor chimice ale neuronului și punerea lui la lucru în noi moduri. Cea de a doua examinează potențialul unui creier nomadic care confruntă haosul și rămâne în afara obiectificării impuse de neurocultura actuală. Interesul lui Deleuze pentru relația dintre știință, artă și filozofie ajută la formularea unor idei importante pentru problematicile expuse.

Workshopul care urmează pune în discuție felul în care creierele comune ale artiștilor/elor, oamenilor de știință și filozofilor pot reacționa la haos și, în principal, cum ele pot deveni nomade.

Tony D. Sampson este teoretician și scriitor, profesor la University of East London. A scris pe tema viralității și a rețelelor, a editat împreună cu Jussi Parikka Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn and Other Anomalous Objects from the Dark Side of Digital Culture [Cartea spamului: despre viruși, porno și alte anomalii din zona întunecată a culturii digitale] (2009). Ultima lui carte este Virality. Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks [Viralitate. Teoria contagiunii in era rețelelor] (2012). Spre deosebire de teoria memelor și a contagiunii microbiale, Virality nu se limitează la analogii biologice și metafore medicale, construind în schimb o teorie a asamblajelor, evenimentelor și afectelor contagioase. Pentru Sampson contagiunea nu e neapărat o forță negativă sau pozitivă, este principiul de bază al interacțiunilor sociale.


Arhitecturi Contagioase: Control Digital și Estetică – lecture Luciana Parisi

marți 25 iunie, 17:00 – 20:00

Prezentarea adresează automatizarea algoritmică ca nouă formă estetică de putere. Computația algoritmică în designul arhitectural și interactiv nu este doar un instrument matematic abstract ci constitute un mod de gândire în sine, care operează cu abstractizări situate dincolo de cogniția și controlul uman. Principala referință filozofică a proiectului este Alfred North Whitehead, a cărui filozofie procesuală oferă un vocabular pentru “moduri de gândire” care manifestă diferite grade de autonomie față de uman, chiar dacă sunt mobilizate de acesta. Deoarece procesarea algoritmică stă la baza practicilor de design care reconfigurează lumea în care trăim – de la spațiile fizice pe care le folosim la spațiile virtuale ale rețelelor digitale – natura gândirii algoritmice este o temă de o importanță presantă care readuce în discuție probleme ale controlului și, în cele din urmă, ale puterii.

Luciana Parisi este Senior Lecturer și conduce programul de doctorat la Centrul pentru Studii Culturale la Goldsmiths University of London (UK). Cercetarea ei chestionează relațiile între știință și filozofie, cibernetică și teoria informației, tehnologie și politică într-o încercare de a formula o critică a capitalismului și în același timp de a investiga posibilități de schimbare. În anii 90 a lucrat în cadrul celebrului Cybernetic Culture Research Unit [Centrul de Cercetare a Culturii Cibernetice]. În 2004 a publicat Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire [Sexul abstract: filozofie, biotehnologie şi mutaţiile dorinţei] lucrare care reușește să depășească impasul critic generat de aparenta contradicție între noțiuni cum sunt corp, sexualitate, gender pe de o parte, și rezultatele unor studii actuale din știință și tehnologie pe de altă parte. Recent cercetarea ei s-a concentrat pe computație și modele arhitecturale, în cartea Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and the Control of Space [Arhitecturi contagioase: computație, estetică și controlul spațiului] (2013).


Bezna #4 – serie de lecture-performance din/despre cealaltă lume + lansarea zine-ului

sâmbătă 29 iunie, începând cu ora 21:00

Second Body and the Multiple Outside – Alina Popa

Cât timp suntem prinși în corpul prezent disponibil într-adevăr nu există nici o ieșire, nici un alt exterior. Problema nu este că nu există o ieșire, ci că suntem prinși în același exterior fără să lucrăm cu el. Există exterioare multiple care pot fi produse. Chiar și unul lipsit de uman și fără conștiință.

Shadow Body (or Second Body) – Florin Flueras

Corpul-umbră nu are mare legătură cu ce există sau cu ce e posibil nici cu ce poți înțelege sau valida. Corpul-umbră nu e un corp pe care îl ai, e mai degrabă un corp care te contine, e un concept prin care necunoscutul te poate înghiți. Corpul-umbră e un concept dar poate fi și un concret corp nevizual, necunoscut, întunecat, o a doua natură sau chiar corpul ce zboară în visele tale.

Povestea Căderii – Veda Popovici

„În general, un corp relaxat duce la mai puține accidentări în timpul căderilor” fragment din ICT (Instrucțiunile pentru Cădere Totală)

Toată lumea este binevenită la a asculta Povestea Căderii. Această poveste, spusă astăzi, contează ca act de rememorare și re-învățare a Noii Frici. Apărută din hibridizarea întunecimii banale cu întunecimea excepțională, este această Nouă Frică emoția ce va declanșa Căderea Totală.

Plăcerea de a ronțăi în urgența vieții de apoi – Mihai Lukacs + Arnold Șlahter

În acest moment, nu există o cale cu adevărat autentică de a vă spune la cine sau la ce să vă așteptați sau de cine sau de ce să vă feriți. Reacția reprezentanților legii este una de consternare. Nu vă aventurați afară din orice motiv până când natura crizei nu a fost constatată sau până când vă putem sfătui ce să faceți. Cea mai sigură acțiune este să rămâneți unde sunteți. Până acum, cel mai bun sfat pe care l-au putut da publicului a fost acesta: “Spuneți-le oamenilor, pentru Dumnezeu, să părăsească străzile! Spuneți-le să se ducă acasă și să își închidă bine ușile și ferestrele!” (George A. Romero)

Black Lol – Iuliana Stoianescu

O blondă stătea pe canapea la televizor, când aude ciocănit la ușă. Se duce la ușă și întreabă: “Cine este?” “Eu!” “Eu?!?” :))))

The Outernational Condition – Ion Dumitrescu

Pentru cineva aflat în fața Cortinei de Fier (privind peste ruinele proaspete ale zidului), estul părea un teritoriu fără formă, cu subiecți îndărătnici trăind într-un umbrar geo-politic, niște siluete umanoide agitându-se în obscuritate, ființe nu pe deplin dezvoltate râvnind la fructele habitusului internațional. Păreau de neînțeles și nedezvoltați pe prea multe planuri. Abia mai târziu acești subiecți “externi” au fost îmblânziți și transformați în consumatori vorace.

Microbificare şi politica zgomotului – Irina Gheorghe

În construcțiile utopice ale unei alte lumi, granița cu lumea deja existentă e clar delimitată și fortificată. Sub teroarea invaziilor, infiltrațiilor, infecțiilor, autonomia și imunizarea par a fi singurele promisiuni alternative. Când însă exteriorul și interiorul sunt deja contaminate reciproc, separarea devine imposibilă iar rezistența se autoanihilează.

Centrul de Calcul Bucuresti – Ștefan Tiron + Claudiu Cobilanschi (eveniment conex, miercuri 27 iunie, 11:00, tur ghidat în Muzeul Universității Politehnica București)

Centrul de Calcul este interesat de forme perimate de cunoaștere, retro-futurism, goana naționalistă scandaloasă după inventatori dar și de descoperirile accidentale ale savoir-faire-ului naiv care, cel puțin după noi, are nevoie de o reevaluare radicală.

Sala Stere Popescu – B-dul Mărășești 80-82.

Intrarea la toate evenimentele mai sus menționate este liberă.

English //

Affective Virality + First Bezna Congress

(Tony Sampson and Luciana Parisi first time in Bucharest)

The National Dance Center (CNDB) hosts between 22 – 29 Jun the series of events Affective Virality + First Bezna Congress


Detailed information below:

– workshop with Tony Sampson – Virality, Chaos and the Brain  – 22 Jun 17h00 – 20h00, 23 Jun 17h00 – 20h00, CNDB, studio Stere Popescu

– lecture Luciana Parisi – Contagious Architecture: Digital Control and Aesthetics – 25 Jun, 17h00 – 20h00, CNDB, studio Stere Popescu

The workshop and lecture are part of the course “Mediatic Affects, Biological Pathos and the Psychotechnology of Gender” by the Bureau of Melodramatic Research (2012/2013) at the National University of Arts, Bucharest, supported by Patterns Lectures, Erste Foundation – More information about the course: http://thebureauofmelodramaticresearch.blogspot.se/

– Bezna #4 – a series of lecture-performances on/from the Netherworld + zine launch, 29 Jun, 20h00, CNDB, studio Stere Popescu



Virality, Chaos and the Brain – workshop with Tony Sampson

Virality – Saturday, 22 Jun, 17h00 – 20h00

The first discussion will begin by introducing the conceptual approach behind the book Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Network (2012). This is a diagrammatic rendering of social contagion drawing on the work of Gabriel Tarde and Gilles Deleuze. The lectures will then explore two stratagems of networked virality. The first, the immunologic, is a discursive formation or series of analogical propositions relating to the spreading of fear from biological to nonbiological contexts. The second, viral love, is typified by Obama-love and appears to be far more catching. It works according to nondiscursive resonances and affective atmospheres. It speaks of the event, not the essence. The aim of exploring these two stratagems is to tease out the subtlety and softness of cognitive and affective power relations in the control society.

The workshop that follows this lecture asks how stratagems can be developed to counter the contagions of fear and love.

Chaos and the Brain – Sunday, 23 Jun, 17h00 – 20h00

The second lecture will open up Deleuze’s long standing interest in neurophilosophy and look again at the brain’s confrontation with chaos. By doing so two main questions are posed: what can be done to a brain and what can a brain do? The first looks at the rise of so-called neuroculture, and focuses particular attention on the inventions of neuromarketing as an extension of cognitive labour. These new techniques of persuasion and absorption are intended to capture the chemical firings of the neuron and put it to work in new ways. The latter explores the potential of a nomadic brain that can confront chaos and escape the objectified brains of neuroculture. Here Deleuze’s interest in the relation between science, art and philosophy helps to prompt important questions for this event.

The workshop that follows this lecture asks how the common brains of artists, scientists and philosophers can respond to chaos, each other, and more significantly, how do they become nomadic.


Contagious Architecture: Digital Control and Aesthetics – lecture Luciana Parisi

Tuesday, 25 Jun, 17h00 – 20h00

The talk will address the question of algorithmic automation as a new aesthetic form of power.  Algorithmic computation in architectural and interaction design is not simply an abstract mathematical tool but constitutes a mode of thought in its own right, in that its operation extends into forms of abstraction that lie beyond direct human cognition and control. The main philosophical source for the project is Alfred North Whitehead, whose process philosophy provides a vocabulary for “modes of thought” exhibiting various degrees of autonomy from human agency even as they are mobilized by it. Because algorithmic processing lies at the heart of the design practices now reshaping our world—from the physical spaces of our built environment to the networked spaces of digital culture—the nature of algorithmic thought is a topic of pressing importance that reraises questions of control and, ultimately, power.

Luciana Parisi is a Senior Lecturer and runs the PhD programme at the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University of London (UK). Her research looks at the relations between science and philosophy, cybernetics and information, technology and politics to formulate a critique of capitalism and at the same time investigate possibilities for change. During the late 90s she worked with the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit at Warwick and has since written with Steve Goodman (aka kode 9). In 2004, she published Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire, where she departed from the critical impasse between notions of the body, sexuality, gender on the one hand, and studies of science and technologies on the other. Recently her research has engaged with computation, cognition, and algorithmic aesthetics. Her latest book on architectural modeling is Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and the Control of Space (2013).


Bezna #4 – a series of lecture-performances on/from the Netherworld + zine launch

Saturday, 29 Jun, 22h00

The Second Body and The Multiple Outside – Alina Popa

As long as we are caught in the present available body, there is indeed no outside. The problem is not that there is no outside, but it lies precisely in the fact that we are caught in the same outside without working with it. There are multiple outsides to be produced. Even an outside devoid of human and without thought.

Shadow Body (or Second Body) – Florin Flueras

Shadow Body is not so much about what exists or what is possible, or about what you can comprehend or validate, Shadow Body is not a body that you have, it is rather a body that has you, it is a concept through which the unknown can abduct you. Shadow Body is a concept but it can be also a concrete unvisual, ungrounded, unknown body, a second nature or even the body that flies in your dreams.

The Story of the Fall – Veda Popovici

“Generally a relaxed body results in fewer injuries in falls.” excerpt from the FFI (Full Fall Instructions)

We welcome all to the lecture of the Story of the Fall. This story, told today, after it happened, counts as an act of remembrance and re-learning the New Fear. Springing out of the hybridization of banal darkness with exceptional darkness, it is this New Fear the emotion to trigger the Full Fall.

The pleasure of nibbling in case of afterlife emergency – Mihai Lukacs + Arnold Șlahter

“At this point, there’s no really authentic way for us to say who or what to look for and guard yourself against. Reaction of law enforcement officials is one of complete bewilderment at this hour. Do not venture outside for any reason until the nature of this crisis has been determined, and until we can advise what course of action to take. The safest course of action at this time is simply to stay where you are.  So far, the best advice they are able to give the public is this: “Tell the people for God’s sake to get off the streets! Tell them to go home and lock their windows and doors up tight!” (George A. Romero)

Black Lol – Iuliana Stoianescu

A blonde was sitting on a couch in front of the TV, when suddenly she hears knocking at the door. She goes to the door and askes: “Who is it?” “Me!” “Me?!?” :))))

The Outernational Condition – Ion Dumitrescu

For someone in front of the Iron Curtain (looking over the fresh ruins of the wall) the east seemed an unmolded territory with resilient subjects living in geo-political dim light, humanoid silhouettes agitating in obscurity, apparently not fully developed, too weird to live too rare to die, craving to break in the international habitus. They appeared incomprehensible and unevolved on too many levels. It was only later that these outer-subjects were tamed and transformed in voracious consumers.

Microbification and the Politics of Noise – Irina Gheorghe

In the utopian construction of a new world, the borders with the already existing one is clearly marked and fortified. Under the terror of invasions, infiltrations, infections, autonomy and immunity seem to be the only alternative promises. But when interior and exterior are already contaminated by one another separation becomes impossible and resistance annihilates itself.

Centrul de Calcul Bucuresti – Ștefan Tiron + Claudiu Cobilanschi (side event, Wednesday, 26 Jun, 11h00, guided tour in the Museum of Politehnica University, Bucharest)

Centrul de Calcul is interested in obsolete forms of knowledge, in retro-futurisms, in the bulky, outrageous and unwarranted nationalistic craze about inventors but also the accidental rediscovery of naive savoir-faire that, to us at least, is in need of radical reappraisal.

More Virality dates

Just confirmed an invited talk on Virality as part of the “I am Algorithm” show by the artist Charlie Tweed (6pm on Wednesday 19th June at the Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. More details to follow).

Tweed was the winner of Emergency5. His I am algorithm show continues an exploration of the human desire to control and systematise the natural world, and how new technologies have instilled a complex form of social control over populations in both the physical and virtual sphere.

His films attempt to visualise an approach that moves beyond the separation of human and environment and physical and virtual space in order to present a flat ontology where the voice of all types of organic and inorganic materials, architectures, technical components, processes and algorithms is heard.

Here’s an example of Tweed’s work: http://vimeo.com/63355716

And an interview with him: http://www.aspex.org.uk/blog/interview-with-charlie-tweed/

Also confirming details of another very interesting visit as part of the open lectures/seminars Mediatic Affects, Biological Pathos and the Psychotechnology of Gender in the University of Arts Bucharest and organised by The Bureau of Melodramatic Research based in Bucharest. I’ll talk about “Virality, Chaos and the Brain” on the 22nd-23rd June. More details to follow. http://www.thebureauofmelodramaticresearch.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/news

Other confirmed speakers in this series include Luciana Parisi whose new book Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and the Control of Space (MIT Press, 2013) was published very recently.

Recent Talks on Virality (part one)

The following posts are adapted from the notes of two recent Virality related talks. The first, a much longer effort, begins at the University of East London on the 22nd October. The second (the latter half of these posts) continues at Goldsmiths later the same day to celebrate the launch of Evil Media (Goffey and Fuller), Virality and the latest issue of Computational Culture.

UEL 22nd Oct

The introduction of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of the rhizome to the digital media cultures debate in the 1990s was followed by a lot of speculative writing concerning the democratic nature of hypertext and the Web.

For example, in 1993, Kathleen Burnett’s “Toward A Theory Of Hypertextual Design“, claimed that  “At its most political, connectivity is a democratizing principle”

But networks have proven to be both democratic and aristocratic.

Not surprising perhaps. In Deleuzian ontology there have always been two kinds of multiplicity…

There are lines of flight and refrains, smooth and striated spaces. Rhizomes becoming knots.

In many ways then, my research interest begins with trying to grasp these multiplicities by exploring the computer virus problem.

One way to approach the virus was to see it as a discursive formation of the network security industry, where it has predominantly been viewed as a “threat”.

 For example, in one journal article I wrote about the plight of a Canadian lecturer who had been severely criticised by the AV industry for teaching his students to code viruses.

Jussi Parrika’s book (inset) was the first to approach the computer virus problem without falling back on merely rhetorical analysis.

Around this time I also met up with a future collaborator (Jussi Parikka) who was similarly using Deleuze to look at viruses as discursive “bad” objects.

The bad virus is not simply a discursive formation. The “threat” has a material affect, and defines, to a great extent, what you can and cannot do on a network.

After reading Fred Cohen’s PhD thesis (the first computer science paper on viruses), I became interested in Cohen’s notion that viruses could in fact be benevolent. That is, viruses could function as an alternative mode of communication…

Gary Genosko’s book traces communication models from cybernetics to network cultures

 Some of these ideas, first published in M/C journal in 2005, have recently been used in Gary Genosko’s new book, Remodelling Communication.

Cohen concluded his thesis by pointing to a problem not solely to do with code, but to do with networks. A network that is open, he says, (i.e. open for sharing) is also open to viral contamination.

There were others working on the viral. Alex Galloway and Eugene Thacker, for example, approached viruses via Deleuze’s control society thesis. The control society breaks with Foucault’s disciplinary society, A move away from heat factories, toward a society controlled by computers and continuous networks. The passive danger of entropy and active danger of sabotage, is replaced in the control society by the crash, and viruses and piracy.

“There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.” (Deleuze, 1990)

In her book, Abstract Sex, Luciana Parisi similarly draws on the capacity of the viral to apply Deleuzian ontology to biotech reproduction.

Parisi’s viruses provide a significant alternative to dominant neo-Darwinist accounts of reproduction, according to an evolutionary survival mechanism, pointing instead toward an assemblage theory of the viral.

In 2009 I co-edited this collection focusing on the anomalies of network culture.

We invited contributions from Parisi, Galloway and Thacker, Sadie Plant, and Matt Fuller and Andy Goffey, to name but a few.

We described our approach as “topological,” requiring us to focus on the forces that constitute moral judgements of good and bad. We also deployed the famous Monty Python spam sketch as a counter to George Gerbner’s effects theory. We were less interested in media meaning than we were in the accidents of communication. Like this, anomalies are not counter to a network architecture. They are the becoming of a network.

                                                                                                                                                                 My chapter looked specifically at the idea of universal contagion, and asked: “what makes a network become viral?” I compared the notion of rhizomatic communication with what network science was telling us, at the time, about how network architectures emerge. Before the 1990s, and the invent of the Web, most network modelling had assumed complex networks to be randomly connected.

However, using the Web as a new, rich source of data, researchers began to observe a scale free model of connectivity. Scale free networks are both random and organised, and paradoxically, unstable and stable at once. They have been compared to a capricious fractal. Scale free networks are generally characterised by the growth of giant nodes. 20% of these nodes can have 80% of the connectivity.

In a more recent co-written chapter (with Parikka) we have again looked at how network dysfunctionalies are informing certain marketing practices. We argue that business enterprises are learning from spam and viral tactics, so as to develop new epidemiological worlds of consumption.

For example, The DubitInsider concept presents a very simple marketing idea. It seeks to recruit 7-24 year olds who consider themselves to be peer leaders with strong communication skills to act as Brand Ambassadors. In short, this requires the clandestine passing on of online and offline product suggestions to their peers via internet postings on social networks, emails, instant messenger conversations, and organising small events and parties.

 The chapter also follows a recent challenge to a widely accepted law of viral marketing; that is, the power of the influential.

Drawing from epidemiology Malcolm Gladwell argued that a few trendsetting individuals can tip the threshold of an epidemic.

 However, this mainstay of word-of-mouth marketing  is confronted by the network scientist Duncan Watts, who points to the accidents of network contagion. Given the right conditions, he argues, anyone can spread a virus.

My contribution to the Spam Book concludes by referring to early 19th century French sociology, and Gabriel Tarde’s appealing counter Durkheimian social contagion theory.

At the end of the 19th (and beginning of the 20th) century, Durkheim and Tarde provided two distinct and competing theories of the social.

It is this initial interest in Tarde that leads to Virality (see part two).