Temporary Publics/Distributed Infrastructure

densitieswillful acts of unruliness
agents of knowledge resisting knowledge objects
scale autonomy
decoupling publics from the state
a game of tinkering with the parameters of the given
emerges from a compulsion to participate and the fatigue to respond
a question of publics
tied to the social production of value
as parametric politics

A poem of sorts cribbed from an essay by Clemens Apprich and Ned Rossiter ‘Sovereign media, critical infrastructures and political subjectivity’ (2016).

Concerned with the shadow libraries such as Library Genesis and aaaarg.fail that collect and serve to distribute texts (and thus knowledge) beyond academic and economic constraints, Apprich and Rossiter discuss ideas about subjectivities that arise when developing sovereign media networks and autonomous critical infrastructure:

How, then, to conceive a political imagination designed not around a reconstitution of the liberal subject inherent in appeals to the public, but rather a subjectivity that emerges from the collective production of infrastructure and knowledge that is underlined by an anticipatory politics in a world gone to ruin? … How, in other words, to think of sociality beyond the state yet immanent to digital infrastructures of communication and knowledge production? (p. 277)

They go on to cite the example of Brazil in the early 2000s in which the Ministry of Culture sponsored media activists to develop digital inclusion and literacy in the country. Apprich and Rossiter claim this temporary coalition between the state and activists changed the ‘face’ of media activism from white middle-class producers to ‘more diverse and eclectic grassroots groups, which included hip-hop crews, Indymedia hackers, popular culture producers, as well as activists from black and indigenous movements’ (pp 278-279). Giving for example the media network MetaReciclagem as a name anyone can adopt, which interests me as a collective entity or identity.

In their discussion of such politics of shadow libraries and recycled technologies they claim ‘template cultures have become today’s iron cage of reason’ as they advocate for sovereign media’s potential of restoring the ‘’90s net-cultural promise of producing your own media as the material basis of collective organization, yet have to do so in a post-Snowden environment of secrecy.’

Apprich, C & Rossiter, N 2016, ‘Sovereign media, critical infrastructures and political subjectivity’, in R Bishop, K Gansing, J Parikka & E Wilk (eds), Across & beyond: a transmediale reader on post-digital practices, concepts and institutions, Sternberg Press, Berlin, pp. 270-83.

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