The Radical Open Access Collective: Community, Resilience, Collaboration

An Open Insights interview with Janneke Adema and Sam Moore

Reblogged from: https://www.openlibhums.org/news/278/

Interviewed by James Smith (OLH)


Janneke Adema and Sam Moore are the authors of a March 2018 UKSG Insights essay entitled Collectivity and collaboration: imagining new forms of communality to create resilience in scholar-led publishing. Today we explore the context behind the Radical Open Access Collective (ROAC), and their thoughts on the complexities of scholar-led open access publishing.

The ROAC is holding the Radical Open Access II – The Ethics of Care conference at Coventry University from 26-27 June 2018.


OLH: Hi Janneke and Sam, thanks for talking to us! To start, how would you summarise the core philosophy of the ROAC?

JA & SM: Thanks for the invitation! We feel that the core philosophy behind the collective is about returning control of publishing to the scholarly community. While the member presses do not represent a unified or homogeneous set of values or practices, they are each interested in practicing a vision of open access that is accountable to (and reflective of) their various communities. This affords experimentation, critique, collaboration and a range of other practices that traditional publishing currently prohibits to a lesser or greater extent. The collective ultimately hopes to offer a mutually supportive, non-hierarchical environment for exploring the futures of open publishing practices.

The collective ultimately hopes to offer a mutually supportive, non-hierarchical environment for exploring the futures of open publishing practices.

Taking this into consideration, some keywords that come to mind with respect to the ROAC’s philosophy are: collaboration, non-competitive, not-for-profit, horizontal (non-hierarchical), scholar-led, ethics of care, diversity, community, experimenting, global justice, affirmative creative critique, performative, progressive, radical, mutually-supportive, mutual reliance, multi-polar, resilience, communality, inclusivity.

OLH: What ethical principles does the ROAC seek to normalise, and what challenges does it face in doing so?

JA & SM: We are not sure “normalise” is the right word here, given the implicit normativity this word brings with it. Ethics, many of us feel, is not something that can be defined in advance or that can be predetermined, we cannot resort to moral criteria or predefined values or truths when it comes to publishing, scholarly communication or openness, for example. A responsible ethical approach to openness, to publishing, to the book, would not presume to know what these are, nore what ethics is, in advance. If anything we feel ethics is, or should be, non-normative: its meaning cannot be predetermined. We also do not follow any set “principles” in this respect; however, our ethics is not relativistic either; instead it responds to specific singular practices and situations, around how openness is implemented and the materiality of the book changes, for example. Our ethics are therefore performative, they arise out of the way we (as scholars, publishers) become with the media we publish.

OLH: Why is being radical a good thing?

JA & SM: Being radical is neither good nor bad, it is a terminology we have adapted to distinguish the specific version of open access we want to promote from more neoliberal or top-down versions, for example. The etymology of “radical” shows it derives from the Latin radix, for root, where it means going back to the origin, to what is essential. For us, radical open access simply represents what we always perceived open access to be, it is a way for us to position ourselves within the wide diversity of meanings open access represents and conjures up.

The etymology of “radical” shows it derives from the Latin radix, for root, where it means going back to the origin, to what is essential.

Being radical does however offer us the chance to present an affirmative counterpoint to the dominant discourses around open access, particularly those promoted by commercial publishers and governmental funders—such as HEFCE and RCUK (now UKRI) in the UK—who tend to be interested in OA inasmuch as it promotes business, transparency, and innovation or merely protects the interests of commercial publishers (see the Finch report, for example). This is how the average humanities and social sciences researcher is likely to encounter OA—as merely representative of a neoliberal ideology and a top down instrumental requirement—and so the ROAC seeks to illustrate that there is an alternative and that OA can have a basis in something both emancipatory and transformative.

OLH: The ROAC is an advocacy group, but it is also a community-builder. How does a strong community translate into a response to the pressing issues of open access?

JA & SM: Because it offers us the opportunity to scale-up or as we have previously argued, to “scale small”—keeping the diversity and independence of the (often small-scale) endeavours of our members intact—both horizontally and vertically. By harnessing the strengths and organizational structures of not-for-profit, independent and scholar-led publishing communities we hope to further facilitate collective efforts through community building and by setting up horizontal alliances. Next to that we hope to enable vertical forms of collaboration with other organisations, collectives, institutions and agencies within scholarly publishing, for example libraries and universities, but also with collectives of artists, technologists and activists. As we have argued elsewhere, we want to explore how we can set up so-called “chains of equivalence” (Laclau) with other movements and struggles that are also dealing with aspects of openness – not just those associated with open knowledge, open science, open data, altmetrics and so on, but also those areas in the Arts and Humanities that conceive digital media more explicitly in terms of power, conflict and violence. Those associated with critical media theory, p2p networks and shadow libraries, for example. We are interested in exploring a plurality of open movements, theories and philosophies in this respect, which may at times conflict and contradict one another, but which can nevertheless contribute to the construction of a common, oppositional horizon.

By harnessing the strengths and organizational structures of not-for-profit, independent and scholar-led publishing communities we hope to further facilitate collective efforts through community building and by setting up horizontal alliances.

In this respect the ROAC also intends to present a unified voice in response to certain issues of advocacy and policy. Having a strong community allows us to discuss and respond to various issues around publishing and openness, around how open access is being implemented for example, highlighting why funders should take alternative, scholar-led publishing initiatives seriously as part of this discussion. Think for example of the recently announced intention of the UKRI in the UK to have a mandatory OA monograph component to the REF after the next. This could present a threat by commercialising and formalising a particularly kind of OA monograph practice in the same way that the current REF policy has done for journal articles (including for example the adaptation of (high) BPCs for monographs, which are unsustainable), which is to say, in accordance with the wishes of commercial publishers. This has already summoned conservative reactions from organisations such as the Royal Historical Society, positioning themselves against this development. Yet, such funder requirement for OA books could also potentially present an opportunity for many presses within the ROAC who already publish OA monographs (such as ROAC members punctum books, Open Book Publishers, and Mattering Press, for example) as well as for scholars looking for options to publish their books in OA without (excessive) BPCs. Making both funders and scholars aware of the existence of these scholar-led models for publishing open access books is of the highest importance here. This is where we would see the ROAC coming in.

OLH: How do you imagine the role of radical experimentation as a tool for humanities open access?

JA & SM: Many of the ROAC member presses would understand the relationship the other way round, that openness affords experimentation and is the reason many OA projects adopt an open approach to begin with. This means that openness is often foundational to radical projects, a natural way of working that permits different kinds of experimentation in certain contexts. Openness is thus not about being more open, for instance, but is rather about being open to change and experimentation—depending on the contingent circumstances, the political and ethical decisions and cuts that need to be made, and so on.

… [B]y experimenting in an open way with the idea and the concept of the book, but also with the materiality and the system of material production surrounding it—which includes our ideas of the material and materiality—we can ask important questions concerning authorship, the fixity of the text, quality, authority and responsibility; issues that lie at the basis of what scholarship is and what the functions of the university should be.

This is why, in foregrounding experimentation, the ROAC reflects a range of practices and ideologies, rather than a single, coherent movement for making research freely available. Experimentation in this respect can be seen as a form of ongoing critique, serving as a means to re-perform our existing institutions and scholarly practices in a more ethical and responsible way. Experimentation thus stands at the basis of a rethinking of scholarly communication and the university in general, and can even potentially be seen as a means to rethink politics itself too. For instance, by experimenting in an open way with the idea and the concept of the book, but also with the materiality and the system of material production surrounding it—which includes our ideas of the material and materiality—we can ask important questions concerning authorship, the fixity of the text, quality, authority and responsibility; issues that lie at the basis of what scholarship is and what the functions of the university should be.

OLH: How does a radical approach to open access empower researchers in the Global South, and those outside of traditional institutional frameworks?

JA & SM: We would rather emphasise the opposite: it is researchers in the Global South and those outside or on the fringes of institutions (so-called para-academics) that empower the open access movement and scholarly publishing more in general. Dominique Babini has for example stressed that “the international community would do well to follow the examples of initiatives in Latin America, where open access is already the norm and where costs are shared among members of scholarly communities to ensure lasting impact”. In Latin America, Babini points out, the cost of publishing has always been an integral part of the cost of research, where it is universities and academic societies, not commercial publishers that predominantly publish journals and books. There is also the example of sustainable publishing platforms and models developed here, based on cost sharing, in opposition to the commercial enclosures APCs impose for example. Think of portals such as SciELO and Redalyc, but also the organisation (and ROAC member) Babini represents,CLACSO, which brings together hundreds of research centres and graduate schools in the social sciences and humanities, predominantly in Latin American countries.

… [I]t is researchers in the Global South and those outside or on the fringes of institutions (so-called para-academics) that empower the open access movement and scholarly publishing more in general.

From the perspective of being outside of established structures, we also need to acknowledge the essential role shadow libraries and guerrilla open access play in providing access to research in a global context, where for example LibGen and Sci-Hub have achieved with relative ease what the open access movement has for decades been striving for: quick and easy and near universal access to the results of scholarly research.

OLH: Open source tools and open access publishing are intertwined. What needs to be free and open for smaller initiatives to thrive?

JA & SM: If possible the entire production process (open that is, nothing is free), although we appreciate we will always be implicated in commercial, profit-driven, proprietary structures, platforms and models to some extent. It is about making strategic choices on the basis of what we, or better said, the ROAC’s members, think is important. Sometimes this means using proprietary software, sometimes it includes publishing in a closed way. There are no pre-set answers or guidelines here, although there are now many open-source options for scholar-publishers to choose from. Future work of the ROAC will be, based on the information portal we have already set up, to further collate many of these options and to develop a toolkit of advice so that other communities can start their own publishing projects too.

In many ways we’re heading in the wrong direction with increased control of the means of production by large corporate entities.

That said, the current push for centrally-controlled walled gardens, such as those being developed by Elsevier (see e.g. this article by Posada and Chen) and Springer-Nature, is very disturbing. Publishers now seek to lock users into their ecosystems, monetising not just user intellectual property but their interaction data too. In many ways we’re heading in the wrong direction with increased control of the means of production by large corporate entities. A perhaps missed opportunity to counteract this is the recent tender call for the European Commission Open Research Publishing Platformthat does not specifically require open infrastructure to protect against corporate capture.

Nonetheless, instead of centralised and one-size-fits all publishing platforms, we would like to emphasise the value of decentralised ecosystems of small open source publishing projects, where platforms are often based on implementing a specific model or solution aimed to solve the crisis in academic publishing. This kind of imposed uniformity could lead to a loss of control of certain aspects of the publishing process and threaten the independence and individuality of small experimental projects. This is why the ROAC intends to complement library-based and university press publishing projects that share a more decentralised vision, and urges funders to support a biodiversity of publishing projects and models.

OLH: What are your views on volunteerist labour in publishing? Is this something for which people should always be paid or is unpaid publishing work acceptable?

JA & SM: Our feeling is that academic publishing is already sustained by (and couldn’t exist without) large amounts of volunteer labour contributed by academic editors, reviewers, copyeditors and interns. Presses in the ROAC simply divert some of this labour from commercial publishing (and encourages other academics to do the same) towards something more transformative, that is truly in the communities interest as well as community-owned and controlled. Yet labour is not a zero-sum game and will be always be a site of struggle between individual commitments as part of the traditional publishing industry, due to the prestige this confers, and collective commitments to transforming this system through experimentation into alternatives. Ultimately we want to make the appeal that publishing should be valued as both an integral aspect of research and something for which scholars should be paid as part of their academic positions.

Ultimately we want to make the appeal that publishing should be valued as both an integral aspect of research and something for which scholars should be paid as part of their academic positions.

That said, many of our initiatives are currently committed to paying their designers, typesetters and proofreaders, interns, or other people they do work with, fairly (whilst they often don’t receive a wage themselves). On the other hand, members of the ROAC have also been critical of applying a market logic or a logic of calculation to all the relationships within research and communication. There are different ways than mere monetary ones in which we can recognise the contributions of the various agencies involved in the publishing process.

The ROAC also aims to decrease the amount of volunteer labour in publishing to some extent by enabling scholar-led and not-for-profit projects to work closer together and to encourage them to, as a community, share amongst themselves, tools, best practices and information that might aid with working more efficiently, including information on how to obtain funds and grants to subsidise publishing projects. To encourage this, we have set up the Radical Open Access mailing list, which we use to discuss issues around the politics and ethics of publishing, and to share best practices and strategies amongst each other.

OLH: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Janneke and Sam!

Join us again soon for more #EmpowOA Open Insights.

Vacature: Onderzoekscoördinator bij INC

Let op! Sluitingsdatum: 25 april 2018
Ga naar de HvA-site om te solliciteren

De Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) is voor het lectoraat Netwerkcultuur, onderdeel van het Kenniscentrum (CREATE-IT), van de Faculteit Digitale Media en Creatieve Industrie per 1 juni of 1 september 2018 op zoek naar:

Onderzoekscoördinator (0,6 fte)

De functie

De onderzoekscoördinator leidt en beheert onderzoeksprojecten van het lectoraat, onder meer het RAAK-MKB-project over digitaal publiceren waarvoor het lectoraat een succesvol subsidievoorstel heeft ingediend en dat van start gaat op 1 juni 2018. In dit project werkt het lectoraat samen met twee kunstacademies en ruim een dozijn MKB-partners uit het veld van uitgeven, vormgeving en softwareontwikkeling aan de optimalisering van het (digitale) uitgeefproces in de cultuursector. Ook speel je een voorkomende rol in andere projecten van het lectoraat, zoals over alternatieve verdienmodellen en kunstkritiek, en initieer je nieuwe projecten en schrijf je daar plannen, fondsaanvragen en begrotingen voor. Je draagt zorg voor de documentatie en administratie van projecten, bewaakt de voortgang en zorgt voor de inbedding ervan in de organisatie. Daarbij wordt ook het onderwijs betrokken. Je werkt hierbij nauw samen met de lector, de twee onderzoekers van het lectoraat en de eveneens nieuw te werven onderzoeksmedewerker.

Wij zoeken

Een ervaren projectmanager met WO werk- en denkniveau die graag aan inhoudelijke projecten werkt in de media- en cultuursector, waarbij verschillende partijen samen op een experimentele en hands-on wijze onderzoek doen. Je hebt ervaring met het schrijven en redigeren van projectplannen en subsidieaanvragen. Je bent op de hoogte van de ontwikkelingen in het vakgebied van de nieuwe media en netwerkcultuur; ervaring op gebied van digital publishing is een pre. Je kunt mensen activeren en inspireren, vindt het leuk om te organiseren, en kunt goed het overzicht bewaren in projecten die opgedeeld zijn in losse deelprojecten die zich op verschillende locaties afspelen. Je bent nauwkeurig in documentatie en administratie en beheerst zowel het Nederlands als het Engels op hoog niveau in woord en geschrift. Ten slotte heb je hart voor onderzoek en onderwijs.

De afdeling

Het Instituut voor Netwerkcultuur (INC) maakt onderdeel uit van het kenniscentrum CREATE-IT. Tot de werkzaamheden van het lectoraat behoren onderzoek, het organiseren van theoretisch onderwijs en het ontwikkelen en uitvoeren van een programma van seminars, conferenties, evenementen en publicaties ten behoeve van kennisontwikkeling en kennisoverdracht. Het lectoraat bestaat uit een team van vijf medewerkers. Daarnaast werkt het lectoraat regelmatig met (internationale) stagiair(e)s en gastonderzoekers.

CREATE-IT applied research is het kenniscentrum van de faculteit. Studenten en onderzoekers werken samen in uitdagende projecten op het gebied van media, mode en IT. Het centrum wordt gekenmerkt door een ondernemende instelling en multidisciplinaire aanpak. Het onderzoek vindt zoveel mogelijk plaats binnen de bedrijven en instellingen waarmee samengewerkt wordt, maar er zijn ook verschillende labs, waar nieuwe technologieën onderzocht worden en waar studenten (afstudeer)opdrachten uitvoeren.

Wij bieden

De werkzaamheden maken deel uit van de organieke functie Projectmanager 4. Bij deze functie hoort de loonschaal 11 (cao hbo). Het salaris bedraagt maximaal € 4.661,- bruto per maand bij een volledige aanstelling en is afhankelijk van opleiding en ervaring. Het betreft in eerste instantie een tijdelijke aanstelling voor één jaar.

De HvA heeft een uitgebreid pakket secundaire arbeidsvoorwaarden, waaronder een ruime vakantieregeling en een 13e maand. Daarnaast biedt de HvA (via de HvA Academie) uitstekende studie- en ontwikkelingsmogelijkheden en stimuleert medewerkers om zich blijvend te professionaliseren.

Informatie

Nadere informatie: Miriam Rasch per e-mail vacatures@hva.nl (niet gebruiken om te solliciteren).

Deze vacature is gelijktijdig in- en extern gepubliceerd. Bij gelijke geschiktheid hebben interne kandidaten voorrang op externe kandidaten.

Meer informatie over de sollicitatieprocedure is te vinden op onze website WerkenbijdeHvA.

Bij de werving en selectie ter invulling van deze vacature, houden wij de HvA Sollicitatiecode aan.
Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

Registration for Radical Open Access II – The Ethics of Care now open

Radical Open Access II – The Ethics of Care


Two days of critical discussion about creating a more diverse and equitable future for open access

The Post Office
Coventry University
June 26-27 2018 

Organised by Coventry University’s postdigital arts and humanities research studio The Post Office, a project of the Centre for Postdigital Cultures

Find out more at: http://radicaloa.co.uk/conferences/roa2/

Attendance and participation is free of charge but registration is mandatory. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/radical-open-access-ii-the-ethics-of-care-tickets-44796943865


Co-curators: Culture Machine, Mattering Press, Memory of the World/Public Library, meson press, Open Humanities Press, punctum books, POP

Speakers: Denisse Albornoz, Janneke Adema, Laurie Allen, Angel Octavio Alvarez Solís, Bodó Balázs, Kirsten Bell, George Chen, Jill Claassen, Joe Deville, Maddalena Fragnito, Valeria Graziano, Eileen Joy, Chris Kelty, Christopher Long, Kaja Marczewska, Frances McDonald, Gabriela Méndez-Cota, Samuel Moore, Tahani Nadim, Christopher Newfield, Sebastian Nordhoff, Lena Nyahodza, Alejandro Posada, Reggie Raju, Václav Štětka, Whitney Trettien


Radical Open Access II is about developing an ethics of care. Care with regard to:

  • our means of creating, publishing and communicating research;
  • our working conditions;
  • our relations with others.

Radical Open Access II aims to move the debate over open access on from two issues in particular:

THE QUESTION OF ACCESS. At first sight it may seem rather odd for a conference on open access to want to move on from this question. But as Sci-Hub, aaaarg, libgen et al. show, the debate over access has largely been won by shadow-libraries, who are providing quick and easy access to vast amounts of published research. Too much of the debate over ‘legitimate’ forms of open access now seems to be about how to use the provision of access to research as a means of exercising forms of governmental and commercial control (via audits, metrics, discourses of transparency and so on).

THE OA MOVEMENT’S RELUCTANCE TO ENGAGE RIGOROUSLY WITH THE KIND OF CONCERNS THAT ARE BEING DISCUSSED ELSEWHERE IN SOCIETY. This includes climate change, the environment, and the damage that humans are doing to the planet (i.e. the Anthropocene). But it also takes in debates over different forms:

  • of organising labour (e.g. platform cooperativism);
  • of working – such as those associated with ideas of post-work, the sharing and gig economies, and Universal Basic Income;
  • of being together – see the rise of interest in the Commons, and in experiments with horizontalist, leaderless ways of self-organizing such as those associated with the Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and the Dakota Standing Rock Sioux protests.

Background

In 2015 the inaugural international Radical Open Access Conference addressed an urgent question: how should we set about reclaiming open access from its corporate take-over, evident not least in the rise of A/BPC models based on the charging of exorbitant, unaffordable and unsustainable publishing fees from scholars and their institutions? The conference saw participants calling for the creation of new forms of communality, designed to support the building of commons-based open access publishing infrastructures, and promote a more diverse, not-for-profit eco-system of scholarly communication. With these calls in mind, the Radical Open Access Collective (ROAC) was formed immediately following the 2015 conference as a horizontal alliance between like-minded groups dedicated to the sharing of skills, tools and expertise. Since then it has grown to a community of over 40 scholar-led, not-for-profit presses, journals and other projects. The members of this alliance are all invested in reimaging publishing. And what’s more, are committed to doing so in a context where debates over access—which in many respects have been resolved by the emergence of shadow libraries such as Sci-Hub—are increasingly giving way to concerns over the commercial hegemony of academic publishing. So much so that the issue addressed by the 2015 conference—how can open access be taken back from its corporate take-over? —now seems more urgent than ever.

In June 2018, Coventry University’s postdigital arts and humanities research studio, The Post Office, will convene a second Radical Open Access conference, examining the ways in which open access is being rendered further complicit with neoliberalism’s audit culture of evaluation, measurement, impact and accountability. Witness the way open access has become a top-down requirement – quite literally a ‘mandate’ – rather than a bottom-up scholar-led movement for change. Taking as its theme The Ethics of Care, the concern of this second conference will be on moving away from those market-driven incentives that are frequently used to justify open access, to focus instead on the values that underpin many of the radical open access community’s experiments in open publishing and scholarly communication. In particular, it will follow the lead of Mattering Press, a founding member of the ROAC, in exploring how an ethics of care can help to counter the calculative logic that otherwise permeates academic publishing.

What would a commitment to more ethical forms of publishing look like? Would such an ethics of care highlight the importance of:

  • Making publishing more diverse and equitable – geographically, but also with respect to issues of class, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality?
  • Nurturing new and historically under-represented cultures of knowledge – those associated with early career, precariously employed and para-academics, or located outside the global North and West?
  • Ensuring everyone is able to have a voice – not least those writing on niche or avant-garde topics or who are conducting hybrid, multimodal, post-literary forms of research, and who are currently underserved by our profit-focused commercial publishing system?

Indeed, for many members of the ROAC, a commitment to ethics entails understanding publishing very much as a complex, multi-agential, relational practice, and thus recognising that we have a responsibility to all those involved in the publishing process. Caring for the relationships involved throughout this process is essential, from rewarding or otherwise acknowledging people fairly for their labour, wherever possible, to redirecting our volunteer efforts away from commercial profit-driven entities in favour of supporting more progressive not-for-profit forms of publishing. But it also includes taking care of the nonhuman: not just the published object itself, but all those animals, plants and minerals that help to make up the scholarly communication eco-system.

Radical Open Access II is community-driven, and is being co-organised and co-curated by various members of the ROAC in a collaborative manner. It includes panels on topics as diverse as: Predatory Publishing; The Geopolitics of Open; Competition and Cooperation; Humane Metrics/Metrics Noir; Guerrilla Open Access; The Poethics of Scholarship; and Care for the Commons. The conference is free to attend and will also be live streamed for those who are unable to be there in person.

Facebook Liberation Army Link List (April 12, 2018)

Compiled and edited by Geert Lovink & Patricia de Vries (Institute of Network Cultures)

Facebook Delete Manuals
https://pageflows.com/blog/delete-facebook/
https://www.ghostery.com/blog/ghostery-news/after-cambridge-analytica-scandal-how-to-delete-your-facebook-account/
https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2018/03/28/people-really-deleting-their-facebook-accounts-its-complicated/464109002/
https://androidreader.com/how-to-delete-your-facebook-account-step-by-step/
https://beat.10ztalk.com/2018/03/26/why-deletefacebook-is-a-bad-idea-unless-you-have-these-4-questions-answered/
https://ourdataourselves.tacticaltech.org/posts/21_delete_facebook/

Divorce Tools
https://www.fastcodesign.com/90164935/want-to-fight-back-against-facebooks-algorithm-check-out-these-tools
https://blog.mozilla.org/firefox/facebook-container-extension/
https://ourdataourselves.tacticaltech.org/posts/21_delete_facebook/
https://degooglisons-internet.org/

Departure & Alternatives
https://gab.ai/
https://medium.com/we-distribute/a-quick-guide-to-the-free-network-c069309f334
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/11/facebook-competition/
https://www.tippereconomy.io/
https://mastodon.social/about
http://www.orkut.com/index.html
https://peepeth.com/about
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPSbNdBmWKE
https://degooglisons-internet.org/
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/prevaat-the-privacy-focused-social-network#/
https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-alternatives/
https://ourdataourselves.tacticaltech.org/posts/21_delete_facebook/#decide
http://threatbrief.com/deletefacebook-5-best-facebook-alternatives-focus-privacy/
https://mashable.com/2018/03/20/facebook-replacement-openbook-competition/#frm9x3CADZqZ

The RSS Alternative
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/07/rss-is-undead/
https://www.wired.com/story/rss-readers-feedly-inoreader-old-reader/

To Regulate or Not to Regulate
http://www.ctrl-verlust.net/cambridge-analytica-the-kontrollverlust-and-the-post-privacy-approach-to-data-regulation/
https://stratechery.com/2018/the-facebook-current/
https://medium.com/@YESHICAN/an-open-letter-to-facebook-from-the-data-for-black-lives-movement-81e693c6b46c
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/04/algorithms-powerful-europe-response-social-media
https://www.republik.ch/2018/03/27/menschen-wuerden-ihre-daten-verkaufen-wenn-sie-koennten
https://ourdataourselves.tacticaltech.org/posts/21_delete_facebook/

Long Reads & Analysis & Opinion
https://cyberwanderlustblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/why-feminists-should-abandon-social-networks-ideology/
https://thebaffler.com/latest/cambridge-analytica-con-levine
https://aeon.co/essays/why-its-as-hard-to-escape-an-echo-chamber-as-it-is-to-flee-a-cult
https://labs.rs/en/the-human-fabric-of-the-facebook-pyramid/
https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/cambridge-analytica-and-our-lives-inside-the-surveillance-machine
https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2018/03/26/Quit-Facebook/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/business/facebook-zuckerberg-apologies/?utm_term=.156887e60e4b
https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-a-history-of-mark-zuckerberg-apologizing/
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/10/technology/zuckerberg-elections-russia-data-privacy.html

(Tech) Facts & & Threads
https://mashable.com/2013/06/26/facebook-shadow-profiles/#b9irCKx_MZqz
https://medium.com/tow-center/the-graph-api-key-points-in-the-facebook-and-cambridge-analytica-debacle-b69fe692d747
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-28/fakebook-its-way-zero
https://twitter.com/therealjpk/status/976484505035751424
https://twitter.com/ashk4n/status/983725115903852544
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2_fUqaHGe8

Openbare vergadering van Facebook Liberation Army

Persbericht

Openbare vergadering van Facebook Liberation Army maandag 16 april 20.00 uur in De Waag, Amsterdam.

Het Facebook Liberation Army is verheugd dat de beweging om Facebook te verlaten publieke aandacht heeft gekregen. Na de Cambridge Analytica onthullingen van whistleblower Chris Wylie komt #deletefacebook goed op gang. In Nederland zet de lancering van www.byebyefacebook.nl door Zondag met Lubach de stroomversnelling in gang.

De eerste Facebook Farewell Party vond plaats in 2015. Op initiatief van De Waag en Institute of Network Cultures werd een vreugdevol afscheidsfeest georganiseerd in de Stadsschouwburg. De argumenten om Facebook vaarwel te zeggen waren toen ook al overweldigend, van privacyoverwegingen en verslavingsverschijnselen tot de vercommercialisering van vriendschap.

De vraag toen en nu is: Wat is het alternatief? Op 16 april zal deze vraag centraal staan. Wat is Mastodon en hoe werkt Signal? Bestaan Ello en Diaspora nog en hoe bevalt het daar? Wie staat er in de startblokken met een alternatief? Wat zijn de voorwaarden waar een sociaal platform aan moet voldoen? We zullen ook bespreken wat de beste manier is een Facebook-account te deleten. Niet iedereen kan zijn netwerk zomaar opgeven, heeft een eigen massamedium of marketingbudget om volgers te blijven informeren. Wat zijn de afwegingen voor personen en organisaties? Maar ook: hoe vertel ik het mijn familie en vrienden? Hebben we afkickklinieken nodig of is iedereen nu wel klaar met Facebook en is de betovering allang doorbroken?

De openbare vergadering vindt plaats op maandag 16 april 2018 om 20.00 in De Waag, Nieuwmarkt 4, Amsterdam.

-> Sluit je aan bij de Facebook Liberation Army en begin je eigen initiatief. Organiseer een meet-up of begin een Facebook Anonymous kring. Vaarwel zeggen tegen Facebook is een bevrijding, dat moet gevierd worden!

Achtergrond:
De Facebook Liberation Army campagne is een vervolg op de ‘Unlike Us’ conferenties van het Instituut voor Netwerkcultuur (vanaf 2011) en de Facebook Farewell Party die in april 2015 door o.a. Waag is georganiseerd in de Amsterdamse Stadsschouwburg.

Meer informatie op www.waag.org
Facebook Farewell Party (2015): fla.waag.org
Zondag met Lubach: https://www.facebook.com/zondagmetlubach/videos/1711346418957093/

Open Access in Russia – a point of connection?

Since the success of Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia 1600-1850 edited by Simon Franklin and Katherine Bowers, and our growing number of titles that focus on Russia-related topics, we have become interested in the growing use of … Continue reading

Here’s the program for MoneyLab #5: Matters of Currency @Buffalo

MoneyLab #5: Matters of Currency

Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center
341 DELAWARE AVE., BUFFALO, NY 14202

27–28 April 2018

*GET YOUR FREE TICKETS HERE

MATTERS OF CURRENCY 

It is no longer clear how the axiom “money is power” still holds—if it ever did—in an era of cryptocurrencies, local currencies, free trade zones as financial instruments, “cheap nature” and resource extraction, offshore tax havens, and their leaks in things like the paradise papers. The terms “making” and “money” both mutate with their globally distributed technological, financial and legal frameworks now independent of national regulations.

Common to and between all these mutations, a new relationship to the physicality of money appears: what is the matter and materiality of money? What is the current physicality of value? Currency and matter both resonate with multiple significations today, and invoke the need to examine the “making of money” from multiple disciplinary perspectives. This symposium brings together a range of voices contributing to possible answers for these questions, from fields including Philosophy, Art, Architecture, Computer Science, Community Activism and more. Participants will variously examine different forms of money—objects, life and spaces—for their physicalities, or matters.

Through workshops, talks and panel discussions, “Matters of Currency” will shed new light on money- power relations as mirrored in changing relations to technological and material transformations in the world today.

 

PROGRAM

Friday, April 27

Locations:

Squeaky Wheel (617 Main Street) &

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (341 Delaware Avenue)

 

  • 9:00–9:30 am | Coffee/Check-in at Squeaky Wheel
  • 9:30–9:45 am | Welcome
  • 9:45–11:15 am | Workshop 1: Cassie Thornton
  • 11:15–11:30 am | Break
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm | Workshop 2: LittleSis
  • 12:30–1:30 pm | Lunch
  • 1:30–2:30 pm | Workshop 3: Paul Kolling/Terra0
  • 2:30–3:00 pm | Change of Venues to Hallwalls + Coffee Break
  • 3:00–4:00 pm | Screening: Love & Labor, Stephanie Andreou & Sarah Keeling, 2017
  • 4:00–5:00 pm | UB Plenary: Jordan Geiger, Chris Lee, Stephanie Rothenberg and UB Faculty
  • 5:00–7:00 pm | Keynote: Jason Moore

 

Saturday, April 28

Location: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Avenue

  • 9:00–9:30 am | Coffee/Check-in at Hallwalls
  • 9:30–10:00 am | Welcome
  • 10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Panel 1 | Money: Matters of Objects with Fran Ilich & Gabriela Ceja, Max Haiven, and Brett Scott | Moderator: Leigh Claire La Berge
  • 12:00–1:30 pm | Lunch
  • 1:30–3:30 pm | Panel 2 | Money: Matters of Life with Paul Kolling/Terra0, Cassie Thornton, UB Faculty | Moderator: Jason Moore
  • 3:30–4:00 pm | Coffee Break
  • 4:00–6:00 pm | Panel 3 | Money: Matters of Spaces with Patricia de Vries, Adrian Blackwell, Caitlin Blanchfield, Caroline Woolard | Moderator: Abigail Cooke

 

Speakers bios:

Jason W. Moore – environmental historian and historical geographer at Binghamton University and author of several books including “Capitalism and the Web of Life.”

Caroline Woolard – artist and organizer who works collaboratively and collectively as a founding member of Trade School, OurGoods, and BFAMFAPhD.

Leigh Claire La Berge – professes at the intersection of arts, literature, visual culture and political economy. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at BMCC CUNY.

Cassie Thornton – artist and founder of Feminist Economics Department

Max Haiven – author of several books including “Cultures of Financialization”

Fran Illich and Gabriela Ceja – artists and founders of the digital material sunflower, alternative currency as well as coffee and film co-ops. Read a review on the Aridoamérica project here.

Patricia de Vries – PhD candidate in algorithmic art and researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures

Paul Kolling from Terra0 – blockchain developers for environmental management and tokenizing of natural resources.

Caitlin Blanchfield – PhD in architectural history and comparative literature and society at Columbia University and a contributing editor to the Avery Review.

Adrian Blackwell – artist, designer and urban theorist whose work focuses on the relation between physical space and political economic forces. He is co-editor of the journal Scapegoat: Architecture / Landscape / Political Economy.

LittleSis (Public Accountability Initiative) – Based in Buffalo, creators of free database that power maps influential social networks.

 

Organizers’ Bios:
Jordan Geiger – Assistant Professor of Architecture, University at Buffalo, Editor of “Entr’acte: Performing Publics, Pervasive Media and Architecture.”

Chris Lee – Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, University at Buffalo, Research Fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut (2017/2018), considers graphic design’s entanglements with power through the intersection of typography, money, and the document.

Stephanie Rothenberg – Associate Professor of Art, University at Buffalo, Artist and researcher investigating the intersections between socio-economic systems, technology and non-human ecologies.

 

 

Organized by:

Jordan Geiger, Chris Lee and Stephanie Rothenberg of the University at Buffalo Humanities Institute’s Research Workshop “Making Money: Critical Research into Cultures of Exchange.” A project of the Technē Institute for Art and Emerging Technologies in conjunction with the Institute of Network Cultures at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

Team Twitterati: Eric Barry Drasin (MFA candidate, UB Department of Art) and Yvette Granata (PhD candidate, UB Department of Media Study)

Contact information: For questions about the event please email the MoneyLab Buffalo team at moneylab5buffalo@gmail.com

A Tradition of Free and Odious Utterance: Free Speech & Sacred Noise in Steve Waters’s Temple

**This post is co-authored by Gabriel Solomon Mindel and Alexander J. Ullman

On February 2, 2017, thousands of protesters took to the University of California Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza to protest and ultimately shut down a planned talk by the right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Captured in real time, its dark and blurry image projected to screens across the world, this gathering dumped fuel on a fire that had been burning slowly for many years. Conservative and predominantly “white-male” resentment against the mainstreaming of “politically correct” speech had become the basis for an inchoate community via the internet and was now emerging as a socially acceptable sentiment in the era of Trump. For those protesting at Berkeley, the silencing of Yiannopoulos was not intended simply to condemn the content of his speech, but to intervene preemptively in the culture-wide “fascist creep” disguising itself as humour and taboo breaking. It called into question the actual meaning of both speech and freedom in a place that had become synonymous with the struggle for both.

Viewed by some as a riot, the militant protest tactics evoked scorn, distress, and confusion from a wide spectrum of respondents. Conservative audiences were horrified by the self-evident violence of the Left, even while enjoying a laugh with Milo at the various fails of “SJW’s” and “snowflakes”. Meanwhile Liberals couldn’t seem to fathom the expressions of anger and nihilism evinced by the black-clad mass celebrating in front of the shattered windows of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, who set a fire at the very steps upon which the Free Speech Movement of 1964 had been birthed. The cancellation of Yiannopoulos’s talk has since set off a chain of rhetorical and physical confrontations resulting in the cancellation of Conservative speeches on campus and multiple “free speech” rallies which have devolved into street battles between a motley cohort of alt-right groups and various counter-protesters surrounding a park that was also named after MLK.

Sproul Plaza Protests, UC Berkeley, September 24, 2017, Image by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Coincident with the events that same spring, Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre staged Temple by British playwright Steve Waters, a revisiting of 2011’s Occupy London protests whose encampments surrounded the area of St. Paul’s Cathedral. First performed in London in 2015, the play speculates that the swirling circumstances of the ten-day period leading up to the dean’s resignation (including the cathedral’s closing on October 21; the Canon Chancellor’s abrupt resignation on the morning of October 28; and the reopening of the cathedral later that day, effectively evicting the protesters) had something to do with the church’s own struggle to reconcile its responsibility to serve both God and his people in the face of ethical contradictions.

Seeing Temple on Aurora Street, barely two weeks and two blocks from the “Patriot’s Day” melee on April 15, provoked us to consider what resonances seemed to be emerging between places and times evoked in the play and humming in the streets. Thinking comparatively between Berkeley in 2017 and Temple yields historical and political synchronicities, between protest movements and the institutions which arbitrate public space and public speech. Temple offers a critique of how the discourse of “free speech” is naturalized, even weaponized, by historical actors; yet it also imagines speech as sonic form never separate from its ethical content. The play exposes how “free speech” often serves as an empty signifier mobilized for political purposes, how it always risks being separated from its material and ethical consequences. Against this, the play pits the noise of protest as a powerful riposte to these abstractions.

“Preaching at. St. Paul’s Church”–Folkmoot

Temple’s story centers around the personal conflict of the Dean, who vacillates between support for the protests surrounding the church and for the city eager to evict them, dramatizing how London’s Occupy movement, displaced from its original encampment outside the London Stock Exchange, took refuge in the courtyards surrounding St. Paul’s Cathedral, replacing one symbolic institution of power with another. As the Dean reminds us, this debating throng gathered on the church’s doorstep is an echo of the folkmoot at St. Paul’s Cross from nearly 800 years before: “In the Reformation era firebrands would preach against usury, against merchants in the very presence of the Mayor…doubtless a riotous affair…” Thus Temple situates Occupy as not an impediment to the functioning of the Church, but a revival of “a tradition of free, even odious utterance… of untrammelled public speech” (41-42).

Despite this sympathetic gesture, the Dean struggles against the unremitting noise of the current protestors outside his window. He frequently sits on the window ledge, holding his head as he peers out toward the loud chanting in what otherwise would be moments of silence: “This drumming, the music, the occasional shout…every night this fitful rhythm of noise, shouts, cries” (34). The polyphonic mass is yet another ethically demanding voice fighting for the dean’s attention. So too the other church leaders, the city lawyer arguing for the camp’s eviction, and the Canon Chancellor’s resort to Twitter where the realm of appearances seems to dictate political decisions because “like the whispering gallery …everything we do is broadcast …amplified …reverberating around the world” (42). Should the dean re-open the church and have the protest camp removed? Should he resign? What would Jesus do?

Still from Aurora Theater’s production of Temple, Berkeley, CA, Image courtesy of authors

This interior struggle is formalized in the clash between the sound of protesters and the ritualized sounds of the church. The play compresses the drama of a three hour period into an hour and a half, and every quarter hour the bells at St. Paul’s ring, marking the ritualized time structure of the church and its domination over the city’s soundscape. R. Murray Schafer points out in The Soundscape that “time is always running out in the Christian system,” (i.e. its inevitable destiny in the apocalypse) “and the clock bell punctuates this fact” (56). The bells mark time, but they also mark power, for they are the “Sacred Noise” that Schafer claims societies “deliberately invoked as a break from the tedium of tranquility” – the silent world of the profane (51). The Church’s ability to determine time and disturb the peace is the (sound)mark of its power, yet the sound of the London protest encampment frequently disrupts its claim to sovereignty. The sonic agon of the play allegorized the one in the street: as Occupy’s cacophony challenged St. Paul’s exclusive right to make noise without censure, so too can the free speech protests be heard as a kind of sonic riposte to the institutionalized soundscape of the university, a sparse scholarly murmur punctuated by the bells of Berkeley’s Sather Tower.

Sonic ritual and sacred noise bookend Temple: the sound of a church choir opening it and the bells in closing. However, the play’s critique of such ritual occurs through constant sonic disruption and the unremitting attack on silence in the final stage direction (“the noise builds”). Therefore, as the Dean’s decision to reopen the cathedral suggests that the church’s rituals have won out, Temple insinuates that Occupy’s struggle was as much about the power to disrupt the peace with speech as it was to preserve its camp. This disruptive quality of ‘noise’ in the play calls attention to protest’s spatial  capacities: the ability for sounding to extend beyond the limits of the body, to challenge the very architectures of power. We never see the protesters in the play, yet their acousmatic noise is manifest as if a distinct body were sharing space within the rectory. . Yet what are the limits of this ghostly aurality? Does the noise of the crowd simply become metaphor? We might ask the same thing of the protests at Berkeley, their proximity to the halls of power – university buildings, city hall, police stations – not compensating for their simultaneous containment in public space and exclusion from power’s internal deliberation. How does this risk metaphorizing the very material presence of these protests, the people who were using their actions and bodies to protest against the right’s usurpation of the term “free speech”?

Image of Dean Knowles courtesy of authors

The contest between the pew and the street in Temple exposed how the term “free speech” is metaphorically mobilized for political and ethical convenience. In a way, Temple is a critique of the Dean Graeme Knowles’s actual homily given on October 28th, 2011, just before the church reopened and just after the diegetic time of the play closes. In this homily, Knowles appropriates the language of testimony while at the same time appealing to a more abstract notion of “free speech”:

We are called out to be witnesses, to speak out, to testify…like Simon and Jude, many of us will be anonymous, but like them, our voices need to be heard. Because of their testimony, we are here today. Without their voice, the good news of the gospel would not have reached us.

While the church’s reopening (and the concomitant removal of Occupy) may actually appear like a restriction on free speech, the dean reassures congregants that the church is itself a testament to it. “World leaders have spoken under this throne,” he says, at once emphasizing the church’s personal importance to Christians who feel silenced by the church’s closing and the political importance of an otherwise “neutral” institution.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, Image courtesy of authors

Waters’s play attempts to resolve the church/streets binary by filling hollow calls to testimony with multiple voices across a political spectrum, offering a polyvocality that helps to unpack this contradiction of the church standing up for free speech while simultaneously denying it. Through the clash of sounds and the characters voices, Temple exposes how Knowles’s homily is actually covering up a historical contradiction between numerous relations: between various iterations of what “free speech” means; between who controls the soundscape; between various iterations of free speech movements throughout history.  It is here that the link to what is happening in Berkeley in 2017 is most poignant, in the resonance between the church’s past and its conflicted present on the one hand, and the dissonance between the historic memory of the UC Berkeley-based Free Speech Movement (FSM) of the fall of 1964 and how the “New Free Speech Movement” of the “alt-right” has effortlessly yet inaccurately usurped its language and moral ground.

If the Church and the University are spaces of exception, institutions that are both public and private, their responsibility to democratized speech is premised on ethical and legal principles that are not the same as the constitution-bound worlds around them. It is this being of the world and not that incites the agonism around who can speak and what they can say: according to Jesus in John 15:19 “… because you do not belong to the world…therefore the world hates you.”

The Free Speech Movement of 1964 advocated for the ability to offer persuasive speech with social consequences–rather than mere talk–carried forth by an uneasy alliance of liberal and conservative students brought together by the simultaneity of the Civil Rights Movement and Republican Party election campaigns. Campus administrators and the economic and political elite of the day claimed that students were being persuaded to perform illegal activities off campus, while it was the FSM leadership’s assertion that civil disobedience and direct action of the type being developed in civil rights and labor struggles was in fact defensible “free expression.” 50 years ago tactics such as sit-ins, occupations, blocking an arrest, and transforming a police car into a stage were seen by moderate and conservative commentators as coercive and violent forms of rebellion, but for activists they paled in comparison to the everyday racist violence affecting Black people in America, the imperial violence of the Vietnam War, or the total annihilation promised by a potential nuclear war. Similarly today, Antifa accept pre-emptive and coercive violence as necessitated by the potential violence summoned by the “alt-right,” whether in the form of lone individuals inspired by their white supremacist ideology or the spectre of a large scale fascist transformation of American society.

Though protest songs provided the background music to the FSM of the 60’s, the current debate and protests over “free speech” call attention to another constitutive relationship between sound and protest, between noise and power. Behind the liberal plea to “lower the voices” and heighten the reason in political discourse is a reminder that sound has an ability to interact with consciousness in non-rational, even hypnotic ways. We see a kind of hypnosis in the very language of “free speech” today, a term invoked by the alt-right and the university to protect certain political agendas similar to the way that the term “objectivity” was deployed mid-century. Stanley Fish made a similar argument in the 1990’s amidst that moment’s culture wars, arguing that because all speech is socially constructed and ideologically asserted “there’s no such thing as Free Speech.”

Free speech, for Fish, only exists as an ideal construct outside of history in which voices are pure “noise,” separated from consequences and assertions. But his notion of “noise” and “free speech” again are too metaphorical, separated from the uneven histories of protected speech and the materiality of noisy protests. As Jonathan Sterne writes, out of the perceived noise and meaninglessness of protests there emerge rhythms and grooves that can be heard farther than they can be seen, that invite participation and resistance. In the context of Temple and the UC Berkeley protests, the “noise” created within and against the term “free speech” should not simply be dialed down or declared a realm of meaningless utterance, but unpacked as an important opening in to how power is both employed and resisted by institutions like the university and the church.

Berkeley Free Speech Protests of 1964, Image courtesy of author

The Chancellors of UC Berkeley have never been averse to using violence to correct and regulate speech on its campuses, whether it be Chancellor Strong’s eviction of the FSM’s occupation of Sproul Hall in 1964, or the brutalization of student protesters by campus police under the watchful eye of Chancellor Birgeneau in 2009. The Dean of St. Paul’s agony could give us insight into what went into Chancellor Christ’s ambivalent public letter that assures us that “free speech” and “safety” will come at a cost. In ‘64 the discourse of “free speech” became a platform for political dialogue and social transformation, not for usurping the language of testimony and personal experience while abstracting real societal power. What the “alt-right” frames as a common struggle for a moral and legal principle only disguises the balances of power that determine who can speak without the consequence of violence: white people or people of color; governments or protestors; bankers or the poor.

“Free Speech” is the domain of a particular sacred noise, one that has the power to disrupt what Martin Luther King Jr. himself described as the “appalling silence and indifference of good people who sit around saying ‘wait on time’.” In this recently discovered speech, given in London just after he spoke at St. Paul’s in December 1964, MLK goes on to say that “human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability,” retroactively giving moral weight to Mario Savio’s demand that “you’ve got to put your bodies […] upon the wheels.” We can see this spirit of rebellion in the counter-rhythms of London’s anti-austerity occupations, rising up to meet the bells of St. Paul’s, and as well in the “rough music” of outraged students rising up to meet the Sather Tower Carillon as it insistently keeps time.

Featured Image: Still from video of Berkeley Protests, February 2017

Gabriel Salomon Mindel is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose research considers ways that people produce and struggle for space using sound to extend beyond the limits of their bodies, particularly in formal and informal modes of protest. He received an MFA in Visual Arts from Simon Fraser University where his work focused on the production of visual artworks from time-based phenomena such as sound composition, dance, social practices and protest. He has also spent nearly two decades exhibiting artwork, performing improvised music and composing for dance and film. Images, writings and recordings can be found at https://diademdiscos.com/gms/.

Alexander J. Ullman is a PhD student at UC Berkeley’s Department of English where he researches Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Century Literatures. 

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