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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Workshop 2: Social media, reality mining and new species of contagion
|A Research and Knowledge Transfer research event
||14 May 2013
||10:45 to 16:00
||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)
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)
16.30 Close of workshop
“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)
This effort (below) by MA students from the University of Amsterdam provides a fairly nice summary of what Virality argues.