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'Filosofía pirata, edición libre', discussion with Perro Tuerto y Pucho (El Rancho Electrónico) y Gabriela Méndez Cota (Universidad Iberoamericana) for the Mexico city radio station Ibero 909.fm, September 12, 2019.

Open Humanities Press – The Inhumanist Manifesto

Pirate Philosophy, This Is Not A Pipe Podcast

HyperCritical Theory

Übercapitalism and What Can Be Done About It

Recent publications

Masked Media (limited edition paper-only publication for The House That Heals The Soul exhibition, Tetley, Leeds, 2018) 


 The Inhumanist Manifesto: Extended Play (Techne Lab, 2017)

Open Access

Most of Gary's work is freely available to read and download either here in Media Gifts or in Coventry University's online repositories PURE here, and CURVE here 

Radical Open Access

Thursday
Feb142019

cfp: Pirate Care conference, 19/20 June, 2019

Centre for Postdigital Cultures
Conference: PIRATE CARE
19th & 20th June 2019
Square One, Coventry University

 

Call for Papers

Submissions for the screening programme also welcome. (See instructions at the end of the call.)

 

The Centre for Postdigital Cultures (CPC), Coventry University, UK, invites contributions to its second annual conference, which this year will explore the phenomenon of ‘Pirate Care’. Presentations and talks will be complemented by a film programme tackling the main theme of the conference.

The term Pirate Care condenses two processes that are particularly visible at present. On the one hand, basic care provisions that were previously considered cornerstones of social life are now being pushed towards illegality, as a consequence of geopolitical reordering and the marketisation of social services. At the same time new, technologically-enabled care networks are emerging in opposition to this drive toward illegality.

Punitive neoliberalism (Davies, 2016) has been repurposing, rather than dismantling, welfare state provisions such as healthcare, income support, housing and education (Cooper, 2017: 314). This mutation is reintroducing ‘poor laws’ of a colonial flavour, deepening the lines of discrimination between citizens and non-citizens (Mitropolous, 2012: 27), and reframing the family unit as the sole bearer of responsibility for dependants.

However, against this background of institutionalised ‘negligence’ (Harney & Moten, 2013: 31), a growing wave of mobilizations around care can be witnessed across a number of diverse examples: the recent Docs Not Cops campaign in the UK, refusing to carry out documents checks on migrant patients; migrant-rescue boats (such as those operated by Sea-Watch) that defy the criminalization of NGOs active in the Mediterranean; and the growing resistance to homelessness via the reappropriation of houses left empty by speculators (like PAH in Spain); the defiance of legislation making  homelessness illegal (such as Hungary’s reform of October 2018) or municipal decrees criminalizing helping out in public space (e.g. Food Not Bombs’ volunteers arrested in 2017).

On the other hand, we can see initiatives experimenting with care as collective political practices have to operate in the narrow grey zones left open between different technologies, institutions and laws in an age some fear is heading towards ‘total bureaucratization’ (Graeber, 2015: 30). For instance, in Greece, where the bureaucratic measures imposed by the Troika decimated public services, a growing number of grassroots clinics set up by the Solidarity Movement have responded by providing medical attention to those without a private insurance. In Italy, groups of parents without recourse to public childcare are organizing their own pirate kindergartens (Soprasotto), reviving a feminist tradition first experimented with in the 1970s. In Spain, the feminist collective GynePunk developed a biolab toolkit for emergency gynaecological care, to allow all those excluded from the reproductive medical services  —  such as trans or queer women, drug users and sex workers — to perform basic checks on their own bodily fluids. Elsewhere, the collective Women on Waves delivers abortion pills from boats harboured in international waters – and more recently, via drones - to women in countries where this option is illegal.

Thus pirate care, seen in the light of these processes - choosing illegality or existing in the grey areas of the law in order to organize solidarity - takes on a double meaning: Care as Piracy and Piracy as Care (Graziano, 2018).

There is a need to revisit piracy and its philosophical implications - such as sharing, openness, decentralization, free access to knowledge and tools (Hall, 2016) - in the light of transformations in access to social goods brought about by digital networks. It is important to bring into focus the modes of intervention and political struggle that collectivise access to welfare provisions as acts of custodianship (Custodians.online, 2015) and commoning (Caffentzis & Federici, 2014). As international networks of tinkerers and hackers are re-imagining their terrain of intervention, it becomes vital to experiment with a changed conceptual framework that speaks of the importance of the digital realm as a battlefield for the re-appropriation of the means not only of production, but increasingly, of social reproduction (Gutiérrez Aguilar et al., 2016). More broadly, media representations of these dynamics - for example in experimental visual arts and cinema - are of key importance. Bringing the idea of pirate ethics into resonance with contemporary modes of care thus invites different ways of imagining a paradigm change, sometimes occupying tricky positions vis-à-vis the law and the status quo.

The present moment requires a non-oppositional and nuanced approach to the mutual implications of care and technology (Mol et al., 2010: 14), stretching the perimeters of both. And so, while the seminal definition of care distilled by Joan Tronto and Berenice Fisher sees it as ‘everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair “our world” so that we can live in it as well as possible’ (Tronto & Fisher, 1990: 40), contemporary feminist materialist scholars such as Maria Puig de La Bellacasa feel the need to modify these parameters to include ‘relations [that] maintain and repair a world so that humans and non-humans can live in it as well as possible in a complex life-sustaining web’ (Puig de La Bellacasa, 2017: 97). It is in this spirit that we propose to examine how can we learn to compose (Stengers, 2015) answers to crises across a range of social domains, and alongside technologies and care practices.

We invite proposals for 20 minute presentations on the theme of Pirate Care as outlined above. We welcome submissions addressing a wide range of topics in response to one or more of the following sub-themes:

Criminalisation of Care: including responses to legal attacks to NGO work in the Mediterranean; state-sanctioned violence against healthcare practitioners (Buissonniere, Woznick, and Rubenstein, 2018); the erosion of reproductive medicine provisions and self-determination rights for women; campaigns to decriminalize sexwork and regularize domestic workers.

Care Struggles: histories of grassroots and autonomous organizing around care / for access to care. Examples might include histories of workers’ mutualism; Black Panthers’ free clinics;  ACT UP and AIDS organizing around medical research; feminist struggles for free abortion rights; marginalized constituencies and underground solidarity networks.

Hacking Care: care practice in relation to technologies and tools, open softwares and oppositions to the patent regimes. Relevant stories might include: open source medicine; right to repair and medical devices; open pharma; open science; biohacking practices.

Piracy as Care: focused on practices of civil disobedience that deliberately defy intellectual property and other laws in order to care for practices, ecologies, or constituencies. Examples include shadow libraries’ use of internet to support or coordinate around specific social reproductive needs; tinkering and readaptation of technological objects; and digitally-supported systems to support better care of common goods.

We welcome contributions from academics, practitioners, artists, and activist alike. The programme of talks will be accompanied by a film programme addressing the conference theme. Film submissions for inclusion are also welcome.

Proposed contributions for papers should include:

a presentation title; a short abstract (max 350 words); a short biographical note ( max 150 words).

Proposed contributions from artists and filmmakers should include: a presentation title and brief synopsis (max 250 words); a link to the work; a short biographical note ( max 150 words)

 

Please be aware that our facilities will allow for a proper theatrical screening; the digital format is preferred but you can reach out the conference organisers at the email below in case your prospect submission is in other formats.

Please send your submission no later than April 1st, 2019 to piratecare@gmail.com

A notification of acceptance will be circulated by mid-April 2019.

Limited travel funding will be made available to conference participants on a needs-based basis. Details on how to apply for this will be made available following paper acceptance.

The conference will be a child-friendly environment.

About the CPC

The Centre for Postdigital Cultures (CPC) explores how innovations in postdigital cultures can help us to rethink our ways of being and doing in the 21st century. Our research draws on cross-disciplinary ideas associated with open and disruptive media, the posthumanities, and the Anthropocene to promote a more just and sustainable ‘post-capitalist’ knowledge economy. See https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/areas-of-research/postdigital-cultures/ for more detail.

 

References:

Aguilar R.G., Linsalata L. and M.L.N. Trujillo, 2016. ‘Producing the common and reproducing life: Keys towards rethinkingthe Political.’ In: Dinerstein A. (eds) Social Sciences for an Other Politics. Palgrave Macmillan.

Buissonniere,M., S. Woznick, and L. Rubenstein, 2018. ‘The Criminalization of healthcare’, University of Essex, [https://www1.essex.ac.uk/hrc/documents/54198-criminalization-of-healthcare-web.pdf].

Caffentzis, G. and Federici, S., 2014. Commons against and beyond capitalism. Community Development Journal, 49, pp.92-i105.

Cooper, M., 2017. Family values: Between neoliberalism and the new social conservatism. MIT Press.

Custodians Online, 2015. ‘In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub’, 30th November, [http://custodians.online/].

Davies, W., 2016. ‘The new neoliberalism’. New Left Review (101), 121–134

de La Bellacasa, M.P., 2017. Matters of care: Speculative ethics in more than human worlds (Vol. 41). University of Minnesota Press.

Fisher, B. and J. C. Tronto, 1990. ‘Toward a feminist theory of care’, in Circles of Care: Work and Identity in Women’s Lives, ed. Emily K. Abel and Margaret K. Nelson, Albany: SUNY Press.

Graeber, D., 2015. The utopia of rules: On technology, stupidity, and the secret joys of bureaucracy. Melville House.

Graziano, V. 2018. ‘Pirate Care - How do we imagine the health care for the future we want?’, Medium, 5th October [https://medium.com/dsi4eu/pirate-care-how-do-we-imagine-the-health-care-for-the-future-we-want-fa7f71a7a21].

Hall, G., 2016. Pirate philosophy: for a digital posthumanities. MIT Press.

Harney, S. and Moten, F., 2013. The undercommons: Fugitive planning and black study, Minor Compositions.

Mitropoulos, A., 2012. Contract & contagion: From biopolitics to oikonomia. Minor Compositions.

Mol, A., Moser, I. and Pols, J. eds., 2015. Care in practice: On tinkering in clinics, homes and farms (Vol. 8). transcript Verlag.

Stengers, I. (2015) In Catastrophic times: Resisting the coming barbarism. Open Humanities Press.

 

Tuesday
Feb052019

Cities of InfraRed

Cities of InfraRed is an abstract for my proposed contribution to a book that is being put together by Cornelia Sollfrank, Shuhsa Niederberger and Felix Stalder. The book has the working title of Aesthetics of the Commons, and arises out of the Creating Commons research project at the Zurich University of the Arts.


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In my presentation for the Creating Commons: Affects, Collectives, Aesthetics panel at Transmediale 2019 (see above), I made the point that the Left has been conspicuously bad at turning their representations into the kind of actions that motivate people, in the mainstream of society especially, to constitute themselves as a group around issues such as the commons. (Even taking #MeToo and BlackLivesMatter into account, there’s been no progressive counterpart to the Right’s transformation of the political landscape, achieved through the use of slogans such as ‘Take back control’ and ‘Make America great again’ to create chains of equivalence across different disaffected social groups based on collective forms of identification.)  I then proceeded to talk about how a number of colleagues and I have nevertheless been working on mobilizing some of the Left’s affective-emotional themes - encapsulated by words such as collective, cooperative and community – to develop a range of aesthetic projects for the production of free resources that are capable of acting as a political force.

At first sight it might appear that a lot of our focus has been on scaling the creation of such common resources along with the community that maintains them: from the single journal Culture Machine (1999), to the 21 journals of Open Humanities Press (2008), through the 50 plus members of the Radical Open Access Collective (2015), to The Post Office’s collective presence of all these projects and more as part of an existing formal institution (2018). In actual fact, however, it has never been our intention to simply grow or expand our activities. We prefer to non-scale them, as some of my colleagues have taken to calling it, following Anna Tsing (although we’ve been operating like this for over 20 years now). This we achieve: by developing relationships with a diversity of others in different parts of the world through collaborative co-creation and custodianship; and by allowing our work to be openly copied, shared and reiterated, free of charge. 

We are now turning our attention to the following question: can this non-scaling model of development be applied to cities in order to transform them through the provision of commons-oriented alternatives to public and private infrastructure? Why cities? Cities are particularly interesting places when it comes to political strategy. For one thing, they operate at a scale that makes progressive change a realistic possibility. (Nation states are too large.) For another, it’s in cities that political forces for change most often emerge these days, as various 21st century protest movements, from Occupy Wall Street, through the roundabout revolutions of Turkey, Egypt and Bahrain, to the gilets jaunes in Paris, bear witness.


Instead of having to rely on governments and multi-national companies for their infrastructure, our idea is to make it possible for cities to be able to take some of the ‘alternative’ resources that are provided for them by projects such as Etherbox, Tactical Tech and Memory of the World – and then build their own versions on a self-organising basis, adopting and improving those parts they want and discarding the rest. We see this non-scaling model for collectively-creating a range of municipal institutions (libraries, museums, archives) and the associated technology and tools, as having the potential to provide a more socially just and environmentally sustainable way to run cities in the future.

The use of a CopyFarLeft PPL license, for example, would mean those who live in a city could be compensated for the labour they put into creating and maintaining its infrastructure and institutions by applying it to this mutually-owned and shared information and data commons. At the same time, those businesses that are not part of the city’s commons but who nevertheless wish to exploit its information and data for reasons of privatisation would be prohibited from doing so by the terms of the license - in effect creatively disrupting for-profit companies such as Uber and Deliveroo.

Thanks to its ability to create a more profound affective-emotional community experience, certainly than the pseudo community ethos of Airbnb and co, it's not inconceivable that such a commons-based approach could gain enough of an advantage over its public and private rivals to attract people in sufficiently large numbers to make developing into a large-scale political force a real possibility. It would therefore provide a means of reclaiming the idea of community from the forces of reactionary nationalist populism, such as those associated with Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage in the U.K. and Donald Trump in the U.S. After all, wasn’t it a sense of not belonging - indeed of being actively excluded and forgotten - that led those who feel they have been left behind by neoliberal globalisation to vote for Brexit and Trump?  We thus see this commons-flavoured version of the ‘Preston Model’ for community building as one means by which the struggle for a left populism and construction of a progressive ‘people’ can be fought and won.

As for my title, ‘InfraRed’, well, infra is of course taken from infrastructure, while red links our approach to the politics of the Left. But red also serves to distinguish the above described vision for the future of cities from the blue of most visual representations of the so-called smart city.

Saturday
Jan122019

Polish translation of New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies

A Polish translation of the 2012 Open Humanities Press book New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies, edited by Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, has been published on the website of the Machina Myśli group.

It is available here: http://machinamysli.org/nowy-materializm-wywiady-i-kartografie/.

The page is in Polish, but if you would like to download a copy you simply need to click respectively 'pdf'' or 'EPUB' in text.

 

Thursday
Dec132018

Why the Radical Open Access Collective is Not Taking Part in Scholastica's 'Academic-Led Publishing Day'

Members of the Radical Open Access Collective (ROAC) recently received an email from Scholastica, asking whether we as a collective would like to take part in an 'Academic-Led Publishing Day' they are initiating. Having discussed this informally with several of our members, we have decided not to take part in this day as a collective. The reasons for this decision are outlined in the response to Scholastic's invitation below (drafted by Janneke Adema and Samuel Moore). We do not want to speak on behalf of individual members in this matter, though, so if anyone in the ROAC is interested in taking part individually they can of course do so. 

 

Dear Danielle (who was writing to us on behalf of Scholastica),

Thank you for your invitation to take part in 'Academic-Led Publishing Day'. There are various reasons why, from a radical open access perspective, we would refuse to be involved in such a day. Let us set out some of these reasons.

First of all we feel the name of your proposed event is problematic. None of the organisations mentioned in your invitation - Library Publishing Coalition, Michigan Publishing, Ubiquity Press, the University of California Press - are academic-led (or scholar-led if you prefer that term). The exception is Ubiquity Press, which is however operating predominantly as a commercial service and infrastructure provider. Looking at the organisations you list this seems very much an 'academy-led' event, and we suggest you perhaps change the name accordingly (i.e. to 'Academy-Led Publishing Day'). 

We feel words are important here; and all the more so given a true 'Academic-Led Publishing Day' would indeed be one that is initiated, organised and 'owned' by academic-led publishing initiatives themselves, rather than commercial service providers such as Scholastica.

The Radical Open Access Collective promotes community ownership of research (as you say you do). The difference is that for us this includes ownership and custodianship of open publishing infrastructures. To this end we have set up an information portal which lists open source publishing software and platforms as open and non-commercial alternatives to the services that Scholastica and Ubiquity provide. We feel taking part in an  'Academic-Led Publishing Day'—which we would like to emphasise is not actually academic-led at all but initiated by Scholastica, a for-profit intermediary—would, as it is currently conceived, be to indirectly promote the commercial services you provide. We acknowledge some presses may choose to use Scholastica's services and benefit from them. As a collective, however, we aim to promote and seek alliances with non-profit and open alternatives instead. 

We would very much like to support an 'Academic-Led Publishing Day', if it were indeed initiated from the bottom-up by scholar-led publishing initiatives, and we very much support those not-for-profit organisations that are taking part in this event. We also don’t want to speak for individual members of the Radical Open Access Collective, and would not wish to discourage them from taking part in this event if that is what they want to do. (We will forward your invitation to our mailing list.) Still, as a collective, we choose to pass on this one. We hope you understand.

 

Friday
Dec072018

Ways of Following: Art, Materiality, Collaboration by Katve-Kaisa Kontturi

Open Humanities Press is pleased to announce the new book in its Immediations series: Katve-Kaisa Kontturi's Ways of Following: Art, Materiality, Collaboration.

In Ways of Following, Katve-Kaisa Kontturi offers rare, intimate access to artists’ studios and exhibitions, where art processes thrive in their material-relational becoming. The book argues for an ethical and affirmative mode of engaging with contemporary art that replaces critical distance with sensuous and transformative proximity. From writing-with to dancing and breathing, from conversations to modelling, it maps ways of following that make the moving materiality of art intensively felt. Drawing on long-term engagements with selected contemporary artists and their art-in-process, Kontturi expands the concept and practice of collaboration from human interactions to working with, and between, materials. With this shift, Ways of Following radically rethinks such core tenets of art theory as intention, artistic influences and the autonomy of art, bringing new urgency to the work of art and its political capacity to propose new ways of being and thinking.

 

 

 

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