Joanna Zylinska on Facebook and the ‘ethics of mediation’

I am really happy that the DCRC have been able to invite Professor Joanna Zylinska to visit the Pervasive Media Studio to give a talk, on the 19th of March 2013. As well as being a great editor at Culture Machine, Prof. Zylinska has written significantly about ethics in relation to processes of mediation and how we might rethink where agency lies in the increasingly complicated human-technical relations of our everyday lives.

Prof. Zylinska will talk about how our understandings of what counts as ‘human’ are being changed by the capacities of new media technologies that extend our abilities beyond our bodies. Drawing on material from her recent book Life After New Media: Mediation as a Vital Process (MIT Press, 2012, co-written with Sarah Kember) Zylinska will explain what she is calling an ‘ethics of mediation’, which she argues is an increasingly important part of our ethical understanding of contemporary everyday life. She will ask: what happens when we understand physical things as intimately interconnected by networks of energy and information?  What systems of morality are made possible or necessary when more and more of our lives are mediated by social networking systems such as Facebook?

To learn more about Prof. Zylinska’s work and to listen to this fascinating talk please join us at the Pervasive Media Studio on the 19th of March.


Reviews of Taking Care of Youth and the Generations

I have been looking at the reception of some of Bernard Stiegler’s more activist-oriented work, while considering the themes of care and the economy of contribution, and thought it would be worth quickly posting links to some of the reviews of Stiegler’s Taking Care of Youth and the Generations. The book, Taking Care, is the locus of Stiegler’s attempt to tackle the subject of attention and pedagogy, and formed the impetus for the conference ‘Paying Attention‘ organised by my colleagues Patrick Crogan and Jonathan Dovey, which I helped coordinate.

First, it is worth noting that the essay/lecture on Stiegler by Alexander Galloway in his excellent French Theory Today (available as a PDF) draws significantly from Taking Care and is worth reading.

The two ‘published’ reviews that I have seen are by Galloway in the journal Radical Philosophy (PDF) and by Richard Iveson in the journal Parallax (an earlier draft is available online at New Cross Review of Books). Iveson’s review is fairly substantial and focuses on what he calls Stiegler’s ‘re-schooling’ of Foucault. Galloway’s shorter, and perhaps pithier, piece addresses what he sees as Stiegler’s formulation of a moral philosophy.

In the ‘electronic journal’ Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Peter Gratton provides an interesting, quite early, review of the English translation of Taking Care. He raises issues with the way Stiegler considers (or perhaps doesn’t) representative democracy and what he considers to be Stiegler’s Euro-centric appeal towards rehabilitation of a bourgeois sensibility for culture.

Amongst the several online reviews you can find with Google, I would highlight the write-up by Brian Rajski on his blog Voice Imitator.

Paying Attention – special issue of culture machine

Patrick Crogan and I are pleased to announce the publication of a special issue of the journal Culture Machine concerning the various ways we might examine the commodification of attention. This work stems from our engagement with the work of Bernard Stiegler and draws significant influence from his book ‘Taking Care of Youth and the Generations’. The special issue includes a contribution from Stiegler as well as articles from Jonathan Beller and Tiziana Terranova and an interview with Michel Bauwens.

I blogged about this further on the Paying Attention website:

Patrick Crogan and Sam Kinsley, researchers within the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE, have co-edited the just released special issue of the influential Open Humanities Press journal, Culture Machine entitled ‘Paying Attention‘. The issue was drawn from the 2010 conference of the same name, documented on this website, convened by the Digital Cultures Research Centre with funds from the European Science Foundation. With a substantial introduction by the editors, the issue revitalises and updates the critical examination of the workings of the ‘attention economy’ in the context of today’s rapidly emerging realtime, ubiquitous, online digital technoculture. It re-focusses work on this theme of attention in light of the current and emerging technocultural milieu of smart devices, the increasing mediation of experience, and the significant financial speculation in the attention capturing potential of social networking media. The special issue includes an interview with Peer2peer Foundation co-founder, Michel Bauwens; essays by key theorists of attention Jonathan Beller, Bernard Stiegler & Tiziana Terranova; and several papers on topics from Facebook, Free and Open Software, the ecological costs of our attentional technologies, to the problematic role of digital social networking in Istanbul’s recent (2010) European Capital of Culture project. Please visit the Culture Machine website to explore this open access special issue.

Reading Bernard Stiegler

I am slowly but surely working my way through Bernard Stiegler’s writings, and really enjoying doing so. These notes are just a way of distilling some the themes I’ve encountered and I haven’t posted anything for a while on this blog.  My understanding of Stiegler’s work, such as it is(!), is in large part thanks to my colleague Patrick Crogan, with whom I have been convening a Stiegler reading group at UWE.  We have a blog at: – which is worth checking out! Continue reading “Reading Bernard Stiegler”

This summer/autumn I will be…

I have written anything on this blog for quite a while so I thought I’d redress the deficit (a word for our times!) of content by simply explaining what I’m up to.

I’m hoping to give a talk at the UK lab of a prominent technology company, concerning research conducted with Patrick Crogan on the economy of attention.  Through meetings with key researchers at that company, the visit will also inform my research fieldwork in Silicon Valley in September/October. More of which shortly…

I will attend the Royal Geographical Society’s annual international conference in September. I’m giving two papers and serving as a committee member in the RGS History & Philosophy of Geography Research Group. The first paper, co-authored with Matthew Wilson (U. Kentucky), concerns the material practices of using location based services. The second paper addresses the tension between contemporary understandings of neural plasticity and the commodification of human attention, especially in relation to pervasive media.  Both of these papers will be subsequently submitted to journals to be considered for publication. I’ll put up details on this blog as and when this happens.

During the months of September and October 2011, I will carry out in-depth fieldwork investigating understandings of the future of computing and associated innovation practices within research and development facilities in Silicon Valley (California). The research is funded by a British Academy Small Grant.  This is research that will follow on from my PhD work. The exciting advance with this project is that the data gathered will inform knowledge exchange activities with the Pervasive Media Studio network of artists and small/start-up technology companies. This work will also lead to further conference papers and publications. Stay tuned!