Friday 11 December, 18:00

Taking Networks Literally

What you see is what you get?

Alex Galloway
New York University


What is a network and what can a network do? Can a network be an archive, and if so how does this change our very notion of the archive? This talk will describe the specific mode of mediation that is appropriate to networks, while at the same time differentiating it from two more commonly used modes, hermeneutics and immanence. Three divine forms embody these three modes of mediation: Hermes for hermeneutics, Iris for immanence, and the Furies for networks. The network mode of mediation is further defined via reference to three principles: the anti-hermeneutic principle, the principle of the occult, and the principle of recuperation.

Studying the Web with the Web?

Richard Rogers
University of Amsterdam


We look at Google results and see society, instead of Google. That is a shorthand way of saying that we see institutions and issues in the ranked lists that are returned in the search results. Query the word ‘rights’ in Google.com and you are returned with the top Websites in the English-language space doing rights, in a variety of ways. You can also see which rights-types are higher than others. For example, LGBT rights appear in the top ten of Google.com, but not in Google.fr, where youth rights are much higher. But the question that is often asked is, where does social research end, and Google studies begin? Isn¹t it Google that determines the rankings? Surely Google has more to do with the hierarchies than societal dynamics. Can Google ever be removed from the picture when one is using it to perform research? These questions are of course classic ones more generally about the possibility of ever being able to isolate phenomena dependent on a context for them to exist. However, this question should also be put to Web studies more generally. Can one only study the Web with the Web?

Advisable techniques for super-hubs

Matthew Fuller
Goldsmiths, University of London


This presentation will work on the question of a potential topological approach to cultural development through the perspective of Evil Media. This is an articulation of media studies that I am currently developing with Andrew Goffey. Evil Media emphasises the use of power in relation to the often invisible forms of media operative in contemporary computational and networked digital media. We work with corporate software such as workflow algorithms, recommendation systems, and decision support systems and with other techniques such as sophistry and persuasion. Evil Media calls upon the precursor work of tactically engaged thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Machiavalli and Gracian amongst others to develop a series of stratagems which may be operationalised in database-driven social formations, policing, network analysis and management. The approach offers means to work with variablity and invariability of form in organisation at various scales taking the micropolitics of technique into particular account. A number of these stratagems with particular relevance to topological thinking will be proposed.