Hacking Heritage: A New Research Project

In May 2014, my colleague Karin Wenz and I submitted an application for a new research project: “Hacking Heritage“. Recently, we received great news: the project has been granted by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and will now be pursued as part of our research at Maastricht University.

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Exhibiting Decay

Tensions of Authenticity in Illegal and Organised Urban Exploration

‘Urban exploration’ originally refers to practices of individuals or groups while visiting and investigating abandoned, often industrial sites. Most of these locations are not officially open to the public, so that these visits are usually illegal. The thrill of trespassing and the fact that visitors face artefacts in what is considered their ‘authentic state of decay’ rather than after their ‘artificial restoration’ act as crucial incentives for urban exploration. In this sense, urban exploration is originally a practice where the infringement of ownership is part of the authenticity of the experience.

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“Creating Cultures” Conference at King’s College London

The “Creating Cultures” postgraduate conference (King’s College London, June 12/13) will explore intersections between contemporary media, participatory cultures and creative industries. The programme covers critical issues in journalism, looks at cities and contested spaces as well as practices of artistic and activist participation. Lev Manovich will present the first keynote on Thursday, with a response from David Berry. I will contribute to the section “Digital Participatory Communities” with a presentation on the Reddit-marketplace and its gift-exchanges.

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Launched: “Value and Currency in Peer Production”

 

The Journal of Peer Production has just launched a new issue on “Value and Currency”. The editors introduce the publication:

“Peer production has often been described as a ‘third mode of production’, irreducible to State or market imperatives. The creation and organisation of peer projects allegedly take place without ‘managerial commands’ or ‘price signals’, without recourse to bureaucratic apparatuses or the logic of competitive markets. Instead, and mimicking the technical architectures upon which many peer projects are based, production is described as non-hierarchical and decentralised. Group dynamics are also commonly described as ‘flat’ and this is captured, of course, in the very notion of the ‘peer’. When tested against the realities of actual projects, however, such early conceptions of peer production are, at best, in need of further elaboration and qualification”. (source)

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From Social News to Social Archives?

Selective Sharing and Users’ Audience Management

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Since Snapchat turned down an acquisition offer from Facebook in early November, many people must have been waiting for new features: time-limited status updates, a chat option without saved messaging ‒ anything that would allow for ephemeral content-exchange on the leading social network. Meanwhile, the messaging application Snapchat enables users to share visual content which is automatically deleted within a specified time limit. The receiver is not able to access a file after a certain time defined by the sender. The app has since been criticised for diverse leaks and additional functions which counteract such a ‘self-destruction’. However, the popularity of such an app indicates users’ need for control over the content they share ‒ a desire which one could have expected to be incorporated by Facebook rather promptly.

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Occupy and Academia: Experimental Aesthetics of a Socio-Political Laboratory

Together with my colleague Pablo Abend, I have presented parts of our research on “Occupy and Academia” during the workshop Protest Culture/Cultural Protest. We discussed interdependencies between protest and resistance practices of the Occupy movement(s) and academic research in related fields. The workshop took place at the Collegium Polonicum in Słubice from November 15 to 16, 2013. It was organized in cooperation with the Department of Comparative Social and Cultural Anthropology at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. This is a short version of what we have been talking about:

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