Experimental Publishing II – Critique, Intervention, And Speculation

A half-day symposium with talks by Mark Amerika (UC Boulder) and Nick Thurston (University of Leeds) 

2:15-5:30pm May 28
Centre for Postdigital Cultures
Teaching Room
3rd Floor Lanchester Library
Coventry University
Registration (free):   

In 2019 and 2020, the Centre for Postdigital Cultures (CPC) will be hosting a series of symposia exploring contemporary approaches to experimental publishing. Over the course of the series, we will ask questions about the role and nature of experimentation in publishing, about ways in which experimental publishing has been formulated and performed in the past, and ways in which it shapes our publishing imaginaries at present. This series aims to conceptualise and map what experimental publishing is or can be and to explore what lies behind our aims and motivations to experiment through publishing. As such, it forms the first activity within the CPC’s new Post-Publishing programme, an initiative committed to exploring iterative and processual forms of publishing and their role in reconceptualising publishing as an integral part of the research and writing process, i.e. as that which inherently shapes it. 


Mark Amerika, a Professor of Distinction at the University of Colorado, has exhibited his artwork internationally at venues such as the Whitney Biennial of American Art, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and The ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.  He is the author of many books including The Kafka Chronicles (FC2), Sexual Blood (FC2), remixthebook (University of Minnesota Press—, META/DATA: A Digital Poetics (The MIT Press), remixthecontext (Routledge), and Locus Solus (An Inappropriate Translation Composed in a 21st Century Manner) (Counterpath Press).

Nick Thurston is a writer and editor who makes artworks. His most recent books include the co-edited collection, Post-Digital Cultures of the Far Right (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2018), and an experimental Spanish-language translation of his last poetic book by NO_LIBROS (Barcelona, 2019). Recent and current exhibitions include shows at Transmediale (Berlin, 2018), Q21 (Vienna, 2018), MuHKA (Antwerp, 2018) and HMKV (Dortmund, 2019).


Experimental publishing can be positioned as an intervention, a mode of critique, and a tool of speculation. It is a way of thinking about writing and publishing today that has at its centre a commitment to questioning and breaking down distinctions between practice and theory, criticality and creativity, and between the scholarly and the artistic.

In this series of events we propose to explore contemporary approaches to experimental publishing as:

  • an ongoing critique of our current publishing systems and practices, deconstructing existing hegemonies and questioning the fixtures in publishing to which we have grown accustomed—from the book as a stable object to single authorship and copyright.
  • an affirmative practice which offers means to re-perform our existing writerly, research, and publishing institutions and practices through publishing experiments.
  • a speculative practice that makes possible an exploration of different futures for writing and research, and the emergence of new, potentially more inclusive forms, genres, and spaces of publishing, open to ambivalence and failure.

This take on experimentation can be understood as a heterogeneous, unpredictable, and uncontained process, one that leaves the critical potentiality of the book as a medium open to new intellectual, political, and economic contingencies.


Thermal Objects and The Nature of Data Centers: new double issue of Culture Machine

We are excited to announce the publication of the latest edition of the open access journal Culture Machine ( This is a special double-issue, consisting of:

Culture Machine Vol. 17 (2019):  Thermal Objects, edited by Elena Beregow

Culture Machine Vol. 18 (2019): The Nature of Data Centers, edited by Mél Hogan and Asta Vonderau

The contents of each issue are provided below.

Established in 1999, Culture Machine is now edited principally by Gabriela Méndez Cota and Rafico Ruiz. Its aim is to seek out and promote scholarly work that engages provocatively with contemporary technical objects, processes and imaginaries from the North and South. Building on its open ended, non-instrumental, and exploratory approach to critical theory, Culture Machine is actively calling for creative proposals that contest and come up against globalizing technical narratives and the environmental logics of extraction.

Culture Machine is part of Open Humanities Press


Vol. 17: Thermal Objects, edited by Elena Beregow


Editorial: Theorizing Temperatures and the Social − Elena Beregow

Time, Temperature and its Informational Turn – Wolfgang Ernst
Hot and Cold Techniques in the Longue Durée of Media − Erhard Schüttpelz
Cooked or Fermented? The Thermal Logic of Social Transformation − Elena Beregow
Thermocultures of Memory – Samir Bhowmik
Natural Ice and the Emerging Cryopolis: A Historical Perspective on Urban Cold Infrastructure – Paula Schönach
Infernal Machinery: Thermopolitics of the Explosion − Nigel Clark
Thermal Violence: Heat Rays, Sweatboxes and the Politics of Exposure − Nicole Starosielski
As ‘index and metaphor’: Migration and the Thermal Imaginary in Richards Mosse’s Incoming − Niall Martin
Distance Runners as Thermal Objects: Temperature Work, Somatic Learning and Thermal Attunement – John Hockey and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson
Posthuman Dance: Body Heart and Haptic Intimacy in ORA – Hilary Bergen
Thermal Envelopes: Heat and Warmth in Installation Art − Gunnar Schmidt
Performative Raw Clay Practices and Ceramic Firing Techniques − Agustina Andreoletti



Vol. 18: The Nature of Data Centers, edited by Mél Hogan and Asta Vonderau

Editorial − Mél Hogan and Asta Vonderau

Resurrection from Bunkers and Data Centers − Adam Fish and Bradley L. Garrett
Emplacing Data Within Imperial Histories: Imagining Iceland as Data Centers’ ‘Natural’ Home − Alix Johnson
Silicon Forest and Server Farms: The (Urban) Nature of Digital Capitalism in the Pacific Northwest − Anthony M Levenda and Dillon Mahmoudi
The Second Coming: Google and Internet Infrastructure – Vicki Mayer
An Apple a Day: Listening to Data Centre Site Selection through a Sonospheric Investigation − Matt Parker
Managing Carbon and Data Flows: Fungible Forms of Mediation in the Cloud − Anne Pasek
The Data Center as Technological Wilderness − A.R.E Taylor
Data Centres as Impermanent Infrastructures − Julia Velkova
Storing Data, Infrastructuring the Air: Thermocultures of the Cloud − Asta Vonderau
When Infrastructure Becomes Failure: A material analysis of the limitations of cloud gaming services − Sean RM Willett


(Please note that a temporary issue with the site's SSL certificate requires you to view the issues on a secure network)


On Gesture: Approaches and Questions event

On Gesture: Approaches and Questions 

17th May, 2019

The DigiLab, William Morris Building, Coventry University  

The study-day draws upon the rich literature on gesture recently emerged across media and film studies, design, dance, psychoanalysis, linguistics, art, philosophy and performance studies. The aim of this event is less centred around defining gesture and its particular ontology, in these various fields but rather opening up the concept for further investigation. The main focus is then on the methodological stances and attitudes better apt to examine gesture as a medium across disciplines and between theory and practice, in the attempt to understand why these movements of the body have become so important to us in a postdigital world. 

The event will comprise contributions by Darren Berkland (CPC, Coventry University), Bonnie Evans (Queen Mary, University of London), Tina Kendall (Anglia Ruskin University), Catherine MacTaggart (artist), Caroline Molloy (MPA, Coventry University), Tom Gorman (MPA, Coventry University), Sara Reed (C-DaRE, Coventry University), and an artist talk by Agata Mergler (York University, Toronto).     

Register here: 



We Started Building a Progressive Ecosystem for the Arts and Humanities – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next! 

This is the abstract of my talk for Critical Issues in Open Access and Scholarly Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, May 24, 2019, organized by Goldsmiths in collaboration with Research England and Jisc. More details about this even are provided below.


Over the last 20 years I’ve been involved in developing more than 15 grassroots, scholar-led open access projects. This talk discusses the politics underpinning these initiatives along with some of their unforeseen consequences. Among the projects featured are:

- Culture Machine (, a journal of critical and cultural theory that started in the UK in 1999 and is shortly due to relaunch out of Mexico

- Open Humanities Press (, an international collective that currently publishes 21 OA journals, over 40 OA books distributed across 8 book series, as well as libre OA experiments such as Liquid Books and Living Books About Life

- Radical Open Access Collective (, a community of non-profit presses, journals and other entities that was formed in 2015 and now consists of over 60 members.


Posthumanities Publishing

This is an 'authors-cut' version of the abstract Janneke Adema and I have put together for our forthcoming presentation at the Institute of Network Cultures' 'Urgent Publishing: New Strategies for Publishing in Post-Truth Times', Making Public conference Arnhem, 15-16 May. Janneke and I are speaking with Lídia Pereira and Axel Andersson on the 'The Carrier Bag Theory of Non-Fiction' session. 


This plural-voiced presentation will focus on what publishing does rather than what publishing is. It will intervene in the debate over publishing in the post-truth era by shifting the focus away from a hegemonic, modular, object-centered understanding of modularity, toward a more relational model of posthumanities publishing. Here research, reading, writing and the published text (not to mention software, the market and the commons) are understood as emerging from the intra-actions of a heterogeneous constellation of both human and nonhuman actors, many of which are ignored by existing theories of media. Drawing boundaries – whether it involves conceptualising information containers via the figure of the net, leaf or carrier bag – is still recognised as unavoidable from such a posthumanistic perspective. For us, then, it is a matter of drawing the boundaries differently, in a manner that does not impose on such relational intra-actions a version of capitalism’s old, closed, pre-digital logic. The latter emphasizes the finished object that is made rather than the process of making, as under existing IP law only the discrete finished object, be it a book, zine or platform, can be turned into a marketable commodity (not the idea or creative process itself).

This collaborative presentation will proceed to discuss processual posthumanities publishing experiments that have emphasised different forms of relationality – forms that do not revolve primarily around the published text-as-object, or indeed the individual human author-as-subject. In discussing these experiments it will show strategising publishing in terms of urgent and non-urgent, fast and slow can be unhelpful: the art of critique requires its own pace. It is not even certain publishing in our post-truth, postdigital era still means ‘making public’.