Info

ow is a research project focused on the transformation of the internet user in relation to labour. It draws from Benjamin Bratton's The Stack definition of user—anything able to interface with another user; whether human, animal, plant, mineral, machinic, algorithmic, etc.—to understand the idea of work in a different way.

To do so, the project sets a scenario where a Universal Basic Income is a prerequisite for a post-work society, undermining the classic idea of work and worker—a process began in the 70s with the rising of the post-fordist figure.

The internet user is, indeed, the latest iteration of a process of full identification between the post-fordist worker and his her job, where intellectual and affective labour are the main means of production and of subject-formation.

Reading

In no particular order:

Output

Working on:

  • The Ideology of Free Culture and the Grammar of Sabotage—Matteo Pasquinelli

    I am aware that Pasquinelli does not want this text to circulate on the internet anymore, and that he took distance from it, but I found it a pleasant entry point to connect to a future reading of the Accursed Share, while also reading it as a follow up to Anna Nimus’ Copyrights, Copyleft and the Creative Anti-Commons. The text is from almost 10 years ago. The living energy of machines: Michel Serres and the cybernetic parasite The parasite is the asymmetrical arrow absorbing and condensing energy in a natural continuum from small organisms to human beings: “the parasite parasites the para... more
  • (Notes Towards) Speculative Design—Benedict Singleton

    On craft, being crafty, approaching and making design as traps, and mêtis. The link that Plato asserts is that traps of all kinds embody an ‘inauthentic’ attitude to the world: an ignoble, even downright sneaky, evasion of the ‘proper’ effort. (...) any form of hunting ‘in which the strength of beasts is subdued by nets and snares, and not by the victory of a laborious spirit’ is culturally toxic. The chase is an appropriate way to conduct oneself, a sacred pursuit in which formidable skill is coupled with great effort against a worthy opponent. While such trials of strength and fleetness are... more
  • The Stack, Interface Layer—Benjamin H. Bratton

    Relevant passages highlighted while reading the Interface Layer chapter of The Stack. Ultimately it is the arbitrary precision of interfacial diagrams of specific interactions that allows them to delimit in advance what the User can and can- not do with The Stack as a whole. Beyond just the framing of possible actions, the active responsiveness of the interfacial diagram allows its unique mapping of reality to seem not only valid but also functionally real to the User. This accumulation of incommensurable recursive projections back into direct perceptual reality (however inaccurate, false, stupefying, and illegible they may be) is the first ... more
  • re:publica 2016 – Trebor Scholz: How Platform Cooperativism Can Unleash the Network

    Platform cooperativism is based on two principles: communal ownership democratic governance At 10:18 he assesses that digital labour is the tail of a long process, began in the 1970s with post-fordism, to put an end to work employment. This model could really help a transition toward a post-capitalist, post-work society—where workers own the means of production and the surplus value is localised and spread in the geographical areas (e.g. a city) where labour takes place (unlike with the current sharing economy model, where the surplus value goes back to the platform—Uber, Airbnb, etc). More over, there might even be a... more
  • Apophany

    apophany
  • Soylent: a word-processor with a crowd inside

    A new plugin for MS Word, to inject real people performing some of the commands present in the application: document shortening, proofreading, and human-language macros. From MIT researcher Michael Bernstein. more
  • The Stack, User Layer—Benjamin H. Bratton

    Relevant passages highlighted while reading the User Layer chapter of The Stack. The Stack—User Layer By contrast, the platform sovereignty of the User in The Stack as identified for the Interface and City layers is derived not from some essential dignity of the particular human who “uses,” but from the agency of the User position in relation to the envelopes against which he or she or it is situated. Any sovereignty of the User draws less probably from established legal rights than from the contradictions and slippages between how formal citizens are provided access under control regimes versus how platfo... more
  • Deleting your free github.com's account

    A user in reply to a blog-post on deleting one's github account because of all the downsides of it being a centralise system, unlike git itself which is a decentralised-by-design one. Canta 2016-01-17 AT 16:55 I agree with both you Bob and Mikael. Specially Bob. However, on a side note, this “OPEN YOuR EYeS!!!1” kinda rant also annoys me. There’s something about the point stated here i feel like a half truth. TL;DR: github is not a necessary evil, our peers are a necessary evil, and dealing with them is dealing with the likes of github. What i believ... more
  • github.com's machine user

    github.com explains how to add a machine user to a github repository. Machine users If your server needs to access multiple repositories, you can choose to create a new GitHub account and attach an SSH key that will be used exclusively for automation. Since this GitHub account won't be used by a human, it's called a machine user. You can then add the machine user as collaborator or add the machine user to a team with access to the repositories it needs to manipulate. NOTE: Adding a machine user as a collaborator always grants read/write access. Adding a ... more
  • The notion of "excess" energy by Georges Bataille

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    In connection also to The accursed share, an essay on general economy • Volume I, Consumption. more
  • The Politics Of Platform Technologies—Benjamin Bratton

    At minute 5:41: [the state providing energy, infrastructure, legal identity, etc.] and bit by bit, each of these and more, are now also provided by cloud platforms. Not necessarily as formal replacement for State-version, but, like google-id, simply more useful and affective for daily life. So for these platforms, the terms of participation are not mandatory, and because of this, the social contracts are more extractive and constitutional. At minute 8:47: It’s important as well to recognise that platforms are not only a technical infrastructure, they are an institutional form as well. They centralise like States, scaffolding the terms of participation to... more
  • Rosi Braidotti—Posthumanism and Society Conference, New York 9 May 2015

    I would like to argue that what we need is the critical post-human thought that is connected to monistic, vital, materialist politics. A couple of interesting moment, one at 11:28, and the other at 19:57: respectively the word "human" as a non-neutral term and human beings as sites of data-mining. more
  • Some Trace Effects of the Post-Anthropocene: On Accelerationist Geopolitical Aesthetics—Benjamin H. Bratton

    I am particularly interested in how these effects interface with what replaces the emptied legacy positions of “Polity” and “Aesthetics” directly through confrontation with what we can broadly call Design. In particular, we are attentive to how planetary-scale computation’s instrumentalization of Design to model its political arrivals also provides “aesthetic” programs which are less reflective of political realities than generative of their material evolution. For this, the work of computation as a style of thought, while today overdetermined by its economic instrumentality, is held open by the final incompleteness of algorithmic indeterminacy, and through this can directly engender unknown and unknowable... more
  • Alexander Galloway: 10 Theses On The Digital

    An ontology of the digital. Digital: broken discrete points ⤷ How did they become discrete in the first place? Analog: smooth continous curves Digital is the basic distinction that allows us to make any distinction at all. It is the capacity to divide things and make distinctions between them. No 0, 1 but 1,2. Thesis 1. The digital means the one dividing in tow. Any process that produces or maintain differences between two or more elements can be labelled digital. → differential being (affirmative) → dialectical being (negative) Thesis 2. The analogue means the two coming together as one Two poles of immanence. → continuous being → generic being Thesis 3. An analogy... more
  • A Public Library—Forderungen [Demands]

    imd383-heidenreichs-u1u4b
    A conversation on financial feudalism, self-governing intelligent objects, and a possible future without money, with Ralph and Stefan Heidenreich. Financial feudalism reigns over our economy. It requires that massive amounts of wealth be concentrated in the few, and precarity and poverty for the rest. Forderungen (2105, Merve), Ralph and Stefan Heidenreich’s recently published follow-up to Mehr Geld (2008, Merve), considers our dystopian future and contests it with three utopian solutions: one based on state power; one rooted in the current financial regime; and one emerging from algorithms and networks. State-based Keynesian interventions call for a job guarantee that can ensure full em... more