Tag: The Birth of Digital Populism

Red Tape 5 — Form(s) of populism at the Royal College of Art 2nd July 5-7pm

This event has been moved to Sept 2015. More details to follow.

More information  to follow regarding other guest speakers at this event, but for now here’s the blurb for The Birth of Digital Populism book launch event I’m speaking at on July 2nd (5-7pm) – part of a Red Tape event hosted by the RCA. Red Tape 5 — Form(s) of populism In occasion of the launch of ‘The Birth of Digital Populism’, a book by the Italian collective Obsolete Capitalism, Red Tape introduces a discussion focusing on new forms of populism, investigating the role of images, faciality and the aesthetic of populist politics today. This discussion will focus on the coming together of computation and politics, and will try to investigate the visual form they can take together. Does the rise of computation allow for unexpected configuration of politics to emerge? ‘The Birth of Digital Populism’, published by Obsolete Capitalism in 2015, tries to answer this question by focuses on the novelty characterising the emergence of a new political phenomenon: that of digital populism. An example of digital populism is that of the Five Star Movement, a self-defined ‘non-party’ which deeply changed the panorama of Italian politics after the unexpected electoral success of 2013. The Italian Five Star Movement had been carrying out cluster analyses onto its platform of voters, making use of computation to collect and analyse widely-scattered data. The web allowed them to better target its voters, as if they were customers of a business in a competitive market.  Such data — which informed the political program of the Five Star Movement and allowed them to triumph in the general elections — was captured via an apparatus, or a political device, informed and heavily dependent on the faciality of a leader, or the image and charisma of its leader: Beppe Grillo. Starting from this idea of faciality of the leader, this last Red Tape seminar is therefore asking whether computation can be used for political goals, and what forms it takes and might take in the future. What other examples of digital populism do we find in the UK or across Europe? And, relevant to this discussion, what is the imagery, the aesthetic, the (visual) form(s) that populism needs today to be able to interface with its voters, users and consumers?

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.