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The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age

2016

Darin Barney, Gabriella Coleman, Christine Ross, Jonathan Sterne, and Tamar Tembeck, Editors

The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age

An unprecedented transdisciplinary call to reassess the meaning of participation in the digital age

Structured along four axes investigating the relations between participation and politics, surveillance, openness, and aesthetics, The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age comprises fifteen essays that explore the promises, possibilities, and failures of contemporary participatory media practices. This book represents the most comprehensive and transdisciplinary endeavor to date to examine the nature, place, and value of participation in the digital age.

Just what is the “participatory condition”? It is the situation in which taking part in something with others has become both environmental and normative. The fact that we have always participated does not mean we have always lived under the participatory condition. What is distinctive about the present is the extent to which the everyday social, economic, cultural, and political activities that comprise simply being in the world have been thematized and organized around the priority of participation.

Structured along four axes investigating the relations between participation and politics, surveillance, openness, and aesthetics, The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age comprises fifteen essays that explore the promises, possibilities, and failures of contemporary participatory media practices as related to power, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring uprisings, worker-owned cooperatives for the post-Internet age; paradoxes of participation, media activism, open source projects; participatory civic life; commercial surveillance; contemporary art and design; and education.

This book represents the most comprehensive and transdisciplinary endeavor to date to examine the nature, place, and value of participation in the digital age. Just as in 1979, when Jean-François Lyotard proposed that “the postmodern condition” was characterized by the questioning of historical grand narratives, The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age investigates how participation has become a central preoccupation of our time.

Contributors: Mark Andrejevic, Pomona College; Bart Cammaerts, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); Nico Carpentier, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB – Free University of Brussels) and Charles University in Prague; Julie E. Cohen, Georgetown University; Kate Crawford, MIT; Alessandro Delfanti, University of Toronto; Christina Dunbar-Hester, University of Southern California; Rudolf Frieling, California College of Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute; Salvatore Iaconesi, La Sapienza University of Rome and ISIA Design Florence; Jason Edward Lewis, Concordia University; Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; Graham Pullin, University of Dundee; Trebor Scholz, The New School in New York City; Cayley Sorochan, McGill University; Bernard Stiegler, Institute for Research and Innovation in Paris; Krzysztof Wodiczko, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Jillian C. York.

The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age

The editors are affiliated with the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and the interdisciplinary research hub Media@McGill at McGill University. Darin Barney, associate professor, is author of Communication Technology, The Network Society, and Prometheus Wired. Gabriella Coleman, associate professor, is author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy and Coding Freedom. Christine Ross, professor and the director of Media@McGill, is author of The Aesthetics of Disengagement (Minnesota, 2005) and The Past Is the Present. Jonathan Sterne, professor, is author of MP3 and The Audible Past. Tamar Tembeck, academic associate at Media@McGill, is the editor of Auto/Pathographies.

The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age

Contents
The Participatory Condition: An Introduction
Darin Barney, Gabriella Coleman, Christine Ross, Jonathan Sterne, and Tamar Tembeck
Part I: The Politics of Participation
1. Power as Participation’s Master Signifier
Nico Carpentier
2. Participation as Ideology in Occupy Wall Street
Cayley Sorochan
3: From TuniLeaks to Bassem Youssef: Revolutionary Media in the Arab World
Jillian C. York
4. Think Outside the Boss: Cooperative Alternatives for the Post-Internet Age
Trebor Scholz
Part II. Openness
5. Paradoxes of Participation
Christina Dunbar-Hester
6. Participatory Design and the Open Source Voice
Graham Pullin
7. Open Source Cancer: Brain Scans and the Rituality of Biodigital Data Sharing
Alessandro Delfanti and Salvatore Iaconesi
8. Internet-Mediated Mutual Cooperation Practices: The Sharing of Material and Immaterial Resources
Bart Cammaerts
Part III. Participation under Surveillance
9. Big Urban Data and Shrinking Civic Space: The Statistical City Meets the Simulated City
Kate Crawford
10. The Pacification of Interactivity
Mark Andrejevic
11. The Surveillance–Innovation Complex: The Irony of the Participatory Turn
Julie E. Cohen
Part IV. Participation and Aisthesis
12. Preparations for a Haunting: Notes toward an Indigenous Future Imaginary
Jason Edward Lewis
13. Participatory Situations: The Dialogical Art of Instant Narrative by Dora García
Rudolf Frieling
14. The Formation of New Reason: Seven Proposals for the Renewal of Education
Bernard Stiegler
15. Zoom Pavilion
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Krzysztof Wodiczko
Acknowledgments
Index