Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last semester meeting 12/2

Our final meeting of the semester will take place this Wednesday, December 2, from 3:00-4:30 in the BCNM Commons. Dilan Mahendran has graciously agreed to discuss his dissertation work on race and computation. He is a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley's School of Information and a BCNM DE student. His academic areas of interest lie in Race Critical Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Philosophy of Technology, Philosophical Anthropology, and Phenomenology. He is also interested in the methodological problems of positivism and naturalism in technology studies and issues of constructivism in the social study of science and technology.

Please see for readings. We'll read Dilan's dissertation abstract, sections 1-6 of Edmund Husserl's Crisis of European Sciences, and Heidegger's "The Thing" (attached as .pdf). Optional for those with great stamina would be Husserl's Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man (the Vienna Lecture).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall 2009 Schedule / Next Meeting 10/7

Thanks to all of you who have helped to identify speakers to bring to our working group, books to purchase for our library, and topics for future sessions! Amazingly, the fall semester's meetings have largely fallen into place and we're already spilling over with ideas for Spring. Special thanks to David Holstius and Ryan Shaw for bringing Carl and Dilan into our orbit.

Our next meeting will be October 7th. All meetings will take place in the BCNM Commons (340 Moffitt).

Wednesday 10/7, 3-4:30
Discuss McKenzie Wark’s A Hacker Manifesto (2004) and Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle (1967).
Wark is Chair of Culture and Media at the Eugene Lang College of The New School and part of The New School for Social Research. In A Hacker Manifesto, Wark wields both Deleuze and Debord in relation to the issues of property, production, and information commodification in our era of globalized digital media. Championing the rise of a new hacker class, Wark takes on by now well-rehearsed debates over intellectual property and digital divides using Debord's aphoristic, French Marxist style.

From the Debord, we'll read sections I, II, and VIII ("Separation Perfected," "The Commodity as Spectacle," and "Negation and Consumption in the Cultural Sphere"). From the Wark, we'll read "Abstraction," "Class," "Education," "Hacking," "Information," "Revolt," and "Vector." Chapters will be scanned and posted at within the next couple of days.

Thursday 10/29, 4-5:30 (subject to change)
Guest Speaker: Carl DiSalvo
DiSalvo has worked at the intersection of design, technology and politics since 2000. From 2000 – 2005 he was a member of the tactical media collective Carbon Defense League, which engaged in designing software for activists, hacking electronics and information systems, and orchestrating oppositional media events to prompt public debate. In 2006 he received a Ph.D. in Design from Carnegie Mellon University. From 2006 – 2007 he was a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University with joint appointments in the Studio for Creative Inquiry and the Center for the Arts in Society, where he conducted scholarly and applied research into the use of robotics and sensing technologies in community contexts. In 2006 he also co-founded DeepLocal, a software and design consultancy that provides information design and location-based services to advocacy, journalism and municipal organizations. Since 2007 he has been an assistant professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Wednesday 11/4, 3-4:30
**Our FIRST NMWG Tech Seminar**
Web Architecture Basics
Ryan Shaw, Ph.D. candidate, School of Information

Ryan will offer a conveniently condensed portion of his iSchool 190 course on Web Architecture and Information Management. That course focuses on understanding the Web as an information system, and how to use it for information management for personal and shared information. The Web is an open and constantly evolving system which can make it hard to understand how the different parts of the landscape fit together. This session will provide an overview of the Web as a whole, and how the individual parts fit together.

Wednesday 11/18, 3-4:30

Wednesday 12/2, 3-4:30
Guest Speaker: Dilan Mahendran, Ph.D. candidate, School of Information

Race and Computation

Dilan Mahendran is a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley's School of Information and a BCNM DE student. His academic areas of interest lie in Race Critical Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Philosophy of Technology, Philosophical Anthropology, and Phenomenology. He is also interested in the methodological problems of positivism and naturalism in technology studies and issues of constructivism in the social study of science and technology. Dilan's research areas are centered around the impact of digital technology in hip-hop music making. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork at the DJ Project, a hip-hop music production after-school program in the Mission district of San Francisco and in East Oakland, California. Dilan received his BA in Anthropology from Northeastern University and his MS from the School of Information, UC Berkeley.

For next semester, we're looking at basing sessions around the work of and visits by Erin Manning (Relationscapes; Concordia University, Montreal) and Frances Dyson (Sounding New Media:Immersion and Embodiment in the Arts and Culture; UC Davis Technocultural Studies). More to come!

Friday, September 25, 2009

CFP: The Future of the Forum

The Future of the Forum: Internet Communities and the Public Interest

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at the University of California, Berkeley

Keynote Speakers:

Jim Buckmaster, CEO of craigslist

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia

Please send 300-word abstracts and a one-page C.V. to Professor Abigail De Kosnik at by October 5, 2009.

Learn more about the Berkeley Center for New Media at

Jürgen Habermas’'s treatise on “the public sphere” locates the seeds of the French Revolution in the 18th century rise of new media, newspapers and journals, in coffee houses and reading clubs, that facilitated the rapid exchange of ideas among educated citizens outside the state’s control. In contrast, Søren Kierkegaard attributed the inertia of the mid 18th century to the public’s superficial engagement with media: “[T]he public comes into existence because all its participants become third parties….[T]his public gallery seeks some distraction, and soon gives itself over to the idea that everything which someone does, or achieves, has been done to provide the public something to gossip about….”

Internet forums – participatory and collaboratively authored online communities, discussion boards, blogs, and social networking sites – are rapidly changing the modes and norms of public communication. Will our new media age be a revolutionary one, similar to that analyzed by Habermas? Or will it be a period of widespread passivity, as Kierkegaard lamented of his own time?

This one-day symposium will explore the question, How are Internet communities re-configuring and re-constituting common conceptions of the public, the public good, the public interest, and civic responsibility? What new forms of dialogue are emerging with our new media? When do the pleasures of interacting with digital technologies coincide with, and facilitate, progressive social action?

Are the protocols of Internet affinity groups fragmenting the public into increasingly narrower niches, thus undermining opportunities for productive debates amongst individuals with diverse opinions? Or are contemporary Web users more often than not forging alliances and finding overlaps with strangers who are radically different from them in the “real world?”

The symposium will take place at the University of California, Berkeley. As a public university that has itself served as a medium for the emergence of new forms of public activism, UC Berkeley will provide an ideal setting for scholars to present pioneering research on new media and the public interest.

The symposium organizers invite proposals for papers addressing novel aspects of online participation, the formation of new publics, and the public good. Papers may be specific, focusing on case studies of particular Internet groups, or more theoretical and general in their approach.

Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Historical analyses of how earlier forms of “new” media impacted the public sphere and the public interest (e.g., the printing press, the telephone, the radio, the cinema, ’zine culture).

  • The impact of political blogs, “Tweets,” YouTube vids,, candidate fan sites, “smart mob” technologies (Howard Rheingold), and other attempts to use new media for political organization, and their effects on “real-world” politics (e.g., the 2008 U.S. presidential elections, the 2009 “green revolution” in Iran).

  • “Participatory cultures” (Henry Jenkins) such as Internet fan communities, Wikipedia pages, and YouTube, which lower the barriers to entering – thereby presumably democratizing – the field of cultural production.

  • The concepts of “free” and/or “open” applying to a vast array of contemporary collectives/initiatives, not just to software development (e.g., open access journals, Christopher Kelty’s theory of “recursive publics” – self-governing communities that constantly make/modify/maintain their own infrastructure).

  • Citizen journalism, participatory journalism, and other models for publishing news online that have eroded or re-invented traditional print news publishing models (e.g., Drudge Report, local community blogs, ad-free news Web sites).

  • The establishment of alternate economies on the Internet, including reputation economies and “cycles of credit” (Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar), gift economies, and the attention economy. The intersection of these economies and issues of labor and leisure (e.g., creating popular online content for fame/praise rather than for compensation, eBay and sellers’ reputation linked to their income), and the question of whether the Internet is altering the structure of capitalism.

  • Issues of reputation and representation. The importance of authorship, authority, and identity in Internet communities, the uncertainties of ascertaining who is “speaking” online, and whether open dialogue and trust between strangers is possible on the Internet (e.g., the anonymity of participation permitting flaming and censorship in Internet exchanges, plagiarism from online sources).

  • New forms of public personae, public performance, and public broadcasting being founded via new media, and whether or how they provide the kind of entertainment-based “social glue” that mass broadcast media used to offer (e.g., “best-of-craigslist” posts, Yelp recommendations, Perez Hilton,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/16 Paul Virilio: Then and Now

For the last thirty years, Paul Virilio has been at the forefront of thinking through the connections between such seemingly disparate forces as optics, warfare, information, media, architecture, and the science of speed, or what he refers to as 'dromology'. This week's reading looks to chart two separate but interrelated vectors in relation to his thought. The first is the transformation in his work over the twenty plus years that separate the publication of his seminal "Speed and Politics" and the later "The Information Bomb." Simply put, our aim here will be to see how the prescience often cited in the earlier work has matured and transformed in the later work. The second question we'll consider is the extent to which Virilio's observations on New Media from a pre-crash, pre 9/11 era dominated by Dolly the sheep and Jennicam hold-up a decade later.

Discussion Leader: Kris Fallon

Note: NMWG meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month in Fall 2009. Meetings are located in the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons (340 Moffitt), next to the Free Speech Movement Cafe.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Meeting WEDNESDAY 9/2 @ 3:30 in the BCNM Commons

Welcome (back) to the 2009-2010 academic year! We'll hold our first meeting this coming Wednesday, September 2 in the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons (340 Moffitt, just outside the Free Speech Movement Cafe) at 3:30.

If you have questions, please email Kris Trujillo ( or Alenda Chang (

Friday, May 01, 2009

5/7 Biophilosophy, Biopolitics, & the Viral

Discussion Leader: Zach Blas
Time: 1 - 2:30 PM
Location: BCNM Commons at Moffitt Library

At our final meeting on May 7 we'll take a gander at Eugene Thacker's essay "Biophilosophy for the 21st Century," in which he discusses how the interfacing of biology with computers has transformed the concept of life itself. To accompany this, we will also look at Thierry Bardini's "Hypervirus: A Clinical Report" to consider how the virus, as a central being/trope in our digital future, operates beyond the biological and computational into realms of the social, cultural, and political. Seems all too appropriate right now.

Reading selections and directions to the BCNM Commons are at

Sunday, April 19, 2009

4/23 Knowledge Work and the Information Economy

Our next meeting will give us the opportunity to discuss Alan Liu's The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (2004), a surprising amalgam of academic and business savvy as applied to technology's influence on knowledge practices and the ever ineffable quality of "coolness."

Discussion Leader: Ryan Shaw

Thursday, April 02, 2009

4/9 Virtualities of Movement

Our next meeting will take place on Thursday, April 9, from 2:30-3:30 pm in the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons (340 Moffit). Note the change in our usual time (a meeting with Electronic Arts is taking place beforehand)... Kris was kind enough to let us overlap the New Media Tea.

We'll be discussing Brian Massumi’s latest book, Parables for the Virtual, where he considers virtuality as it relates to movement. Pay particular attention to “The Bleed: Where Body Meets Image” and Massumi’s description of virtual affect in relation to Ronald Reagan’s account of watching himself move on television.

Discussion leader: Ashley Ferro-Murray, Theater, Dance & Performance Studies

Reading at

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

3/12 Full of Sound and Theory

When: Thursday, March 12, 1-2:30PM
Where: 340 Moffitt (Center for New Media Commons)

Our next meeting will center on radio and digital recording. We will discuss one essay about the very early days of radio (Denis Hollier, “The Death of Paper: A Radio Play”), and one essay about the cultural impact of mp3 technology (Jonathan Sterne, “The mp3 as Cultural Artifact”). Among other issues, we might want to consider the different temporal and ontological modes that distinguish radio and mp3 podcasting, the changing structure of address available to each medium, the shifting terrain of copyright concerns in the move from radio broadcasting to file sharing, and how an emphasis on sound might reconfigure some of the basic assumptions in the often visually dominated field of new media studies.

Discussion Leader: Tom McEnaney, Comparative Literature

Monday, February 23, 2009

Reading Change

We have the opportunity to read a chapter from Rita Raley's forthcoming book Tactical Media, entitled "Border Hacks: Electronic Civil Disobedience and the Politics of Immigration" (reading available at

As time permits, we suggest reading/skimming at least one of the other already suggested pieces as a knowledge of them would add dimension to our discussion.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2/26 Meeting on Rita Raley

Please join the New Media Working Group for its next meeting on Thursday, February 26th, from 1-2:30PM in the Berkeley Center for New Media Commons (340 Moffitt). We will discuss a sampling of work by Rita Raley, Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, concerning new media art, "Global English," and the practices and politics of "reading" code. Raley's book Tactical Media is forthcoming in April.

Readings available at and via the following links:

1) "Code.surface || Code.depth"

2) "Machine Translation and Global English"

3) "Reveal Codes: Hypertext & Performance"

Given time constraints, we recommend selecting one essay for perusal (whichever strikes you as the most interesting or relevant to your work) and skimming the remainder for discussion.

Alenda Chang (
Ryan Shaw (

Thursday, February 05, 2009

2/12 Meeting on Archive Fever

What: New Media Working Group
When: 1-2PM, Thursday 2/12
Where: BCNM Commons next to the Free Speech Cafe
Discussion Leader: Kris Trujillo



Please join the New Media Working Group to discuss Jacques Derrida's Archive Fever, a lecture delivered on June 5, 1994, at the Freud Museum in London. We will look closely at the unnamed introduction, "Exergue," and "Preamble" (pages 1-31), paying special attention to Derrida's meditations on the psychical archive's relation to memory and the death drive, on the future of psychoanalytic inscription and historiography in light of electronic media, and on the filiation of digital archives.

Stick around after the meeting for another Berkeley Center for New Media Tea... good food and conversation!

Questions? Comments?
Contact Alenda Chang, Rhetoric ( or Ryan Shaw, School of Information (