Inaugural issue on “Digital Material/ism”

The inaugural issue of Digital Culture & Society on “Digital Material/ism” has just been published (October 2015): It presents case studies as well as methodological reflections and theoretical insights into digital materiality and materialisDigiCultS_Materialismm. The issue contains articles by Tim Barker and Conor McKeown, Till A. Heilmann, Stefan Werning, Laura Forlano, Grant Bollmer, Ashley Scarlett, Yuk Hui, Moritz Hiller, Evelyn Wan and Sabrina Sauer.

Moreover, for the first issue I have interviewed media theorist Jussi Parikka about his book “A Geology of Media” (2015), the relevance of new materialism and the need for critical, digital humanities. My Maastricht University colleague Karin Wenz spoke to sociologist Tim Jordan about his book “Information Politics” (2015), reflecting on issues of power, control and politics in digital culture.

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Using Big Data for Epidemiological Surveillance

Google Flu Trends and the Methodological Shift from ‘Supply’ to ‘Demand’

In June this year (2014), transcript published an edited volume on “Big Data“. I contributed a chapter to this publication, on a topic which fascinates me: data obtained through search engine queries – and hence based on the digital traces which users leave behind. While I have looked into this topic more generally with regards to Google Trends before, this paper analyses Google Flu Trends and the connection between Big Data and epidemiological surveillance more specifically. The paper is in German, but I recently discussed the topic with Max Haiven and Anna Sauerbrey at the SLOW Politics conference in Berlin. Below you can find a summary of the paper and a video of our discussion.

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Call for Papers: “Digital Material/ism”

Digital Material/ism: How Materiality shapes Digital Culture and Social Interaction – First Issue of Digital Culture & Society

Abstract deadline: February 1, 2015

The idea of a society, in which everyday smart objects are equipped with digital logic and sensor technologies, is currently taking shape. Devices connected as learning machines to the “Internet of Things” necessitate further research on issues related to digital media and their materiality. In this context, media, culture and social theories, dealing with the materiality of digital technology, have gained increasing relevance.

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New Journal: Digital Culture and Society

Together with my colleagues Pablo Abend, Mathias Fuchs, Ramon Reichert and Karin Wenz, I recently initiated the publication of a new journal:

Digital Culture & Society is a refereed, international journal, fostering discussion about the ways in which digital technologies, platforms and applications reconfigure daily lives and practices. It offers a forum for critical analysis and inquiries into digital media theory. The newly established journal provides a publication environment for interdisciplinary research approaches, contemporary theory developments and methodological innovation in digital media studies. It invites reflection on how culture unfolds through the use of digital technology, and how it conversely influences the development of digital technology itself.

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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







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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