Publikationsvorhaben ReClaiming Participation

Description

CONCEPT

Participation has become the key issue in popular, economic, and academic notions of New Media. This volume seeks to examine and unravel the debates of the “Participation Age”, rejecting a mere appraisal of the impact of contemporary media on participation. Instead of perpetuating euphoric visions of social “all-inclusion”, web democracy and collaboration as well as pessimistic views of exclusion, top-down hierarchy and the “digital divide”, we aim to reclaim collectivity as an effect of technological, historical and political conditions and practices.

 I. PARTICIPATION AND THE CLAIMS OF COMMUNITY

As media policy, participation is accompanied by visions of being related or tied to something larger and superior. Claims for participation are often implicitly or explicitly connected to a certain idea of a greater unity: an imagination of collectivity or even collective intelligence. This session will question the claims of community in a double sense: if participation can be staged as a promise and a duty at the same time, what are the utopias of participation and what may be their dark sides? Which desires, attractions, and impositions are implied in requests for participation? Thinking of participatory processes as mediations between disparate human and technical entities also means reconsidering the obstacles of coordinating and matching these entities. What are the interface-processes supporting or impeding the building of communities?

II. PARTICIPATORY PRACTICES AND DIGITAL MEDIA

New apps, internet platforms and software codes seem to enhance forms of distributed productivity and to open new possibilities to share ideas. Simultaneously, these media conditions, and hence the knowledge of (non-)participation, are inscribed in media and technical objects or devices. Based on this, the session will explore to what extent digital media and the rise of networks re-conceptualize user practices and vice versa. How can we address the reciprocal relations and transformational processes between technical objects predetermining socio-cultural practices in the same way as they are shaped by them? The aim of this session is thus to critically rethink digital participation. In addition to analyzing displays and interface designs, it aims to scrutinize the operations of software agents, bots, and hardware components, which contribute to and determine the possibilities of participation. Consequently, the central question to be discussed is, how can participation be thought of as a socio-technological process?

 III. ART AND MEDIA: THEORY OF PARTAKING

This session will focus on theoretical and experimental approaches to the media conditions of participation. This concerns technological prerequisites, practices and techniques, as well as fundamental outlines of participatory being while anticipating a media theory of partaking. Considerations that focus on relational thinking have gained new urgency regarding the fundamentally relational concept of participation. This includes ecological approaches, relational ontology, and postulates of a technological milieu of individuation. By questioning the interconnection of technology, aesthetics, and philosophy, art has become a favored field for experiments with participation. Art and techniques thereby shall be considered in a wider sense as skills, tactics, and practices that might provide a possibility to subvert ideologies of inclusion and exclusion, demonstrating alternatives to the claims and impositions of participation.

Institutions
  • FB Literatur-, Kunst- und Medienwissenschaften
Funding sources
Name Project no. Description Period
Exzellenzinitiative518/14no information
Further information
Period: 15.04.2014 – 31.12.2014