Tag: Virality

BKM talk

Various circumstances in the run up to my BKM appearance back in Dec last year prevented me from doing the talk I had intended to do. It’s a bit of a jumble as a result. This is more an experiment with a range of virality and post-virality ideas than an articulation of neuroculture and noncognitive capitalism – mainly focusing here on noncognitive HCI.

As the transition from virality to neuroculture becomes more evident I will of course elaborate on, for example, the mereological problem at the centre of Wittgenstein’s brain/body emergence and the assemblage theory that replaces it etc etc.

Thank you very much to Erich Hörl for the kind invite and Robin Schrade for his wonderful effort to bring in the visuals.

Memes, spam, nodes and moods: On creating super–clusters of attention

There’s a nice summary of a talk I did on virality for the Global Media Cultures masters programme at the University of Warwick yesterday. Some really interesting points came up about links between network science and the attention economy and the relation between science and cultural theory.
Read on…

Noncognitive Capitalism at Bochumer Kolloquium Medienwissenschaft

Talk just confirmed at Bochumer Kolloquium Medienwissenschaft (BKM) on 03/12/2013.


Tony D. Sampson | School of Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London

Noncognitive Capitalism in Times of Neuroculture


In this talk I will expand on the idea of noncognitive capitalism briefly introduced in my book Virality (Minnesota, 2012). There I attempted to grasp some of the conditions of network capitalism through a “resuscitation” of Gabriel Tarde’s imitation thesis. In short, Tarde was fascinated by the brain sciences of his day, and as such, he theorized base social relation (repetition-imitation) as “unconscious associations”, or in other words, social networks of mostly hypnotized brain cells. Here I will rethink what we might now call neuroculture and ask to what extent avenues of current brain science are coming together with capitalist enterprise to shape contemporary social relationality.

I will contend that the looming shadow of neuroculture provokes a series of questions. The first (what can be done to a brain?) explores the interwoveness of often conflicting cognitive and behavioural neuroscientific research, the attention economy and work in the digital industries. The second (what can a brain do?) asks if a brain can be liberated from the objectifying forces of neuroculture. And finally (what is it that thinks?) struggles to look beyond the objectified brain to nomadic assemblages of sense making.

Beware the Rays of Imitation – Virality Review

There’s a nicely balanced, detailed and mostly favourable review of Virality by Claire Barber in Reviews in Cultural Theory this month.

Some of the remarks concerning the neuroscientific viewpoint, an example of virality briefly introduced in the latter part of the book, are very pertinent and will be addressed in far more depth in my next book on neuroculture. I’m busy writing that right now… More to follow!

Virality, Chaos and the Brain – a workshop with Tony D. Sampson

Virality, Chaos and the Brain – a workshop with Tony D. Sampson
Organized by The Bureau of Melodramatic Research
——- supported by Erste Foundation ——–
22nd and 23rd of June
CNDB (National Dance Center), Sala Stere Popescu
Address: Bulevardul Mărășești nr. 80-82, Sector 4, Bucharest

22nd June, Saturday, 17:00 – 20:00
The first discussion will begin by introducing the conceptual approach behind the book Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Network (Minnesota, 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 subtly 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.

23rd June, Sunday, 17:00 – 20:00
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.

Tony D. Sampson is a theorist and writer who works as Reader at the University of East London. He has written on virality and networks, and with Jussi Parikka co-edited the Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn and Other Anomalous Objects from the Dark Side of Digital Culture (2009).
The Bureau of Melodramatic Research: http://thebureauofmelodramaticresearch.blogspot.co.uk/

I am Algorithm: Charlie Tweed invites Tony D. Sampson

I am Algorithm: Charlie Tweed invites Tony D. Sampson

19 Jun 2013

6:00 pm – 8:00 pmAspex

The Vulcan Building
Gunwharf Quays
(Behind Loch Fyne on Canalside)

The talk will expand upon some of the themes and ideas within the exhibition I am Algorithm and look at connections between Charlie’s practice and the writing and research of Tony D. Sampson who is a London-based theorist, writer and Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London.

Charlie Tweed will discuss the development of his work for the show and will look at some ongoing themes in his research including: new forms of technological control,  the use of fictional writing and fictional identity as a form of agency, media ecologies, affects and non-human agency and its political potential in art.

Tony D. Sampson will give a talk titled: From Virality to Neuroculture: What Can a Brain Do? In this talk Tony D. Sampson will draw on the late 19th century sociology of Gabriel Tarde to develop a conceptual approach to contagion theory before going on to think through Tarde’s relevance to contemporary experiences of networks, software culture and the technologies of neuromarketing.

Charlie and Tony will then draw on connections in their research and there will also be an opportunity for the audience to get involved in the discussion and ask questions.

Please use Eventbrite below to book your FREE place!


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.

University of Exeter Contagion Workshop on social media, reality mining and new species of contagion


Workshop 2: Social media, reality mining and new species of contagion

A Research and Knowledge Transfer research event
Date 14 May 2013
Time 10:45 to 16:00
Place Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies

The Contagion project is hosting three workshops, organised through the Society, Technology and Culture Theme of the HASS Strategy. In the last decades there have been heightened attempts to theorise, model and manage the risks of social, financial and biological contagion (Peckham 2013). While the metaphor is widely used, the rules for defining contagions are no longer clear. If contagion emerged as a concern with intimate sexual contact in the 16th Century, and was translated into fear of urban crowds in the 19th Century, and to unease with globalisation in the 20th Century, the 21st Century is coming to terms with the changing coordinates of those contacts, new proximities and distances, new kinds of mediation, aggregation and link-breaking, new vocabularies for affective politics, and a concern with the movement of movement itself (Thrift 2011). As a result, there’s a need to develop resources for understanding how contemporary contagions work and a need to critically evaluate the limits and consequences of analogizing biological, financial and communication processes under the rubric of contagion. In Workshop 2 we will explore the questions: How are social media and ubiquitous computing changing the coordinates and spaces of contagion? What methods can be used to mine reality and to understand the new responses of social networks to information?


11.30   Arrival, coffee and tea

11.45   From virality to neuroculture

Dr Tony D. Sampson (Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London)

12.15   An empirical approach for modelling dynamic contact networks

Dr Eiko Yoneki (Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge)

13.00   Lunch

14.00   The pharmacology of attentive media

Dr Sam Kinsley (Geography, University of Exeter) 

14.30   Social media, community-based organisations, and attention work

Dr Matthew Wilson (Geography, University of Kentucky)

15.00   Introducing the DOLLY project: spatialising social media

Dr Matthew Zook (Geography, University of Kentucky)

15.30   Discussion

16.30   Close of workshop


AP Twitter hack causes panic on Wall Street “flash crash”

“Wall Street collided with social media on Tuesday, when a false tweet from a trusted news organization sent the US stock market into freefall.”

And so the marketplace and economic man are supposed to be rational beings while also prone to “flash crash”.

More from the Guardian article

(Tues 23rd April 2013)