Latest...

'The Inhumanist Manifesto', Media Theory, Vol. 1, No.1, 2017.

The Uberfication of the University (Open access Forerunners series version available here; as of April 4 2017 an interactive Manifold series version is available here.)

Públicos Fantasma - La Naturaleza Política Del Libro - La Red (Mexico: Taller de Ediciones Económicas, 2016) - new book, co-authored with Andrew Murphie, Janneke Adema and Alessandro Ludovico. 

'Posthumanities: The Dark Side of "The Dark Side of the Digital"' (with Janneke Adema), in Janneke Adema and Gary Hall, eds, Disrupting the Humanities: Towards Posthumanities, Journal of Electronic PublishingVol. 9, No.2, Winter, 2016.

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 repository CURVE here 

performative project Janneke Adema has put together, based on our ‘The Political Nature of the Book: On Artists’ Books and Radical Open Access’ article for New Formations, Number 78, Summer, 2013. 

'What Does Academia.edu's Success Mean for Open Access: The Data-Driven World of Search Engines and Social Networking', Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, no.5, 2015.

Radical Open Access network

Wednesday
Aug102016

J. Hillis Miller, Literature Matters - new book from OHP

Open Humanities Press is delighted to announce our first dual-language edition: a new collection of essays by OHP's first Editorial board member and long-time mentor:
  

J. Hillis Miller, Literature Matters 

Why and to what end should we read, teach, and occupy our time with literary and/or cultural studies? A new collection of essays edited by Monika Reif-Hülser. 

J. Hillis Miller, Lektüren-Interventionen 

Warum und wozu Literaturwissenschaft, oder im erweiterten Sinne ‚Kulturwissenschaft? Zusammengestellt, eingeleitet und übersetzt von Monika Reif-Hülser. 

Freely available for download at http://www.openhumanitiespress.org

 

Friday
Jul222016

Response to Pirate Philosophy, Experimental Publishing and Beta-Testing the Future

 

(The text below is my response to Roger Malina's review of Pirate Philosophy'Pirate Philosophy, Experimental Publishing and Beta-Testing the Future', July 10, 2016. The full text of Malina's review, along with the corresponding discussion and my response, can be found on his website here.) 

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Dear Roger, 

Many thanks for such a perceptive – and generous – engagement with Pirate Philosophy. I read your review in Venice, where I was visiting the Architecture Biennale. But I also had an opportunity to see an interesting exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia on the invention of both the concept of publishing and the modern book. ‘Aldo Manuzio. Il rinascimento di Venezia’ positions Renaissance Venice as the Silicon Valley of its age due to its role as the international capital of print (1). Yet Venice was a doubly fitting place to read your post as of course it’s a city built on water that has no fixed or stable boundaries. It’s interesting to bear in mind that European publishing – which, as a technology and as a process, has always been liquid rather than having only become so with the advent of the digital age – itself emerged from an inherently fluid environment. 

I’m going to respond to the issues you raise in separate posts containing some of the thoughts that were triggered as I read your review. That way I can do so in a correspondingly ‘brief, non-comprehensive’ fashion. 

So, I guess the first question is, why have I written a book, Pirate Philosophy, that ‘rails against the academic system that privileges the book and monograph form published via academic or commercial publishers’, and yet published it with just such a press, MIT? 

Well, versions of most of the material that makes up Pirate Philosophy are already available open access. This material can be found on my website as pre-prints, as part of my Open Humanities Notebook (2), and on the websites of some the journals in which versions of particular chapters were first published (3). Given that much of the work is already available in other places and in other forms, the question then becomes more: why did Ialso publish this material as a conventional print book with a traditional academic press? 

The last conventional print monograph I wrote was Digitize This Book! which came out with Minnesota in 2008. Since then I’ve published all sorts of free, libre, open access books and texts – some of them indeed in open, collaborative, collective and anonymous forms of theorizing (4). But as the comments that were made about Pirate Philosophy on Twitter a few weeks ago bear witness (5), people still respond (in the form of tweets, blog posts and reviews, for example) more to material published as a conventional print book with a traditional academic or commercial press. And so if my ambition is to challenge the way we work and think as theorists and philosophers with regard to concepts such as the individualized named author, the sovereign proprietorial subject, originality, the book, and copyright, then it looks like I still do have to publish in ‘conventional’ ways now and again. 

At this point I’d like to take a cue from your idea that ‘in the process of reading you accept to have the author change you the reader through the act of reading… since this contributes to creating the community of practice.’ I want to do so in order to raise a question for us as a community of readers in turn, as I think you’re absolutely right here: the community has to take some responsibility for this situation. My question for the community is this: why are we still so focused on privileging ideas of ‘the book’, even when material is already freely and openly available (just not in a bound, linear, sequential, print-on-paper form that has been published by a traditional academic press)? In other words, is it my practices as an ‘author’ that need to change, or our practices as a community of readers / scholars? 

As for Pirate Philosophy, it endeavours to move beyond ideas of open and closed access, legal and illegal modes of publication, even the human and nonhuman, the ‘I’ and the ‘we’, as a way of engaging with our scholarly practices and the technologies involved in them – while also avoiding, as you rightly observe, any positions of moral or political purity. 

Best, Gary 

References: 

1) http://www.gallerieaccademia.org/exhibitions-and-events/current/aldo-manuzio-il-rinascimento-di-venezia/?lang=en.

2) http://garyhall.squarespace.com/journal.

3) See here for one example: http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/pirate-radical-philosophy-2. 

 

4) This material and/or the relevant links can be found on my website: http://www.garyhall.info/

5) https://twitter.com/BiellaColeman/status/733025063637819392;

 

 

Tuesday
Jul192016

Digital Humanities and Digital Media: Conversations on Politics, Culture, Aesthetics and Literacy - new book from OHP

We are delighted to announce a new book in the Fibreculture Books series.

Roberto Simanowski's Digital Humanities and Digital Media: Conversations on Politics, Culture, Aesthetics and Literacy.

With Johanna Drucker, John Cayley, Erick Fellinto, Ulrik Ekman, Mihai Nadin, Nick Montfort, Rodney Jones, Diane Favro, Kathleen Komar, Todd Presner, Willeke Wendrich, N. Katherine Hayles, Jay David Bolter and Bernard Stiegler.

In this lively and engaging book, Roberto Simanowski interviews key figures in the Digital Humanities, shedding new light on the intersections between digital humanities, digital media studies and the current state of digital media development. Simanowski is a skilled interviewer who strikes a good balance between allowing digressions and unexpected directions, while focusing the discussions on shared key points.'
The pdf and online versions of the book are of course available for free:
 

Our thanks to Andrew Murphie (Series editor) and Athina Karatzogianni (Title editor).
Sigi, David, Gary

Open Humanities Press

Tuesday
May102016

New Book: Pirate Philosophy

This is the Preface from my new book: Pirate Philosophy: For A Digital Posthumanities  (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2016). 

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/pirate-philosophy

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"We find ourselves in a time of riots wherein a rebirth of History, as opposed to the pure and simple repetition of the worst, is signalled and takes shape" - Alain Badiou

 

Since the financial crash of 2008, much has been written about the “crisis of capitalism” and the associated series of postcrash political events that are seen as having begun with the Tunisian revolution of 2010: the Arab Spring, the 2011 “August riots” in England, and Occupy Wall Street, together with the movement of the European squares that eventually led to the election of Syriza in Greece and rise to prominence of another left-wing party, Podemos, in Spain. Yet to what extent does our contemporary sociopolitical situation also pose a challenge to those of us who work and study in the university?  How can we act not so much for or with the anti-austerity and student protesters, “graduates without a future,” and “remainder of capital,” demonstrating alongside them, accepting invitations to speak to them and write about them and so on, but rather in terms of them, thus refusing to submit critical thought to “existing political discourses and the formulation of political needs those discourses articulate,” and so “defusing” “the trap of the event”?  Does the struggle against the neoliberal “corporatization” of higher education not require us to have the courage to transform radically the material practices and social relations of our lives and labor?. 

 

It is these questions that form the starting point for this book’s engagement with a range of theorists and philosophers, operating in some of the most exciting areas of the humanities today. They include Lev Manovich (the digital humanities), Rosi Braidotti (new materialism), Bernard Stiegler (posthumanism), and Graham Harman (object-oriented ontology). Drawing critically on phenomena such as the peer-to-peer file-sharing and the anticopyright pro-piracy movements, Pirate Philosophy explores how we can produce not just new ways of thinking about the world, which is what theorists and philosophers have traditionally aspired to do, but new ways of actually being theorists and philosophers in this “time of riots." 

The book’s opening chapter sets the scene with an account of the politics of online sharing in relation to the struggles against the current intellectual property regime associated with Anonymous, LulzSec, Aaron Swartz and the “academic spring” of 2012. It discusses Creative Commons; the open access, open source and free software movements; and the difficulty of forging a common, oppositional horizon given these struggles and movements do not share a common idea of the Commons. In the chapters that follow Pirate Philosophy proceeds to ask how, when it comes to our own scholarly ways of creating, performing and sharing knowledge and research, can we operate in a manner that is different not just from the neoliberal model of the entrepreneurial academic associated with corporate social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but also from the traditional liberal humanist model that comes replete with clichéd, ready-made (some would even say cowardly) ideas of proprietorial authorship, the book, originality, fixity and the finished object?. 

Of course, many theorists are currently challenging the tyranny of the human with an emphasis on the nonhuman, the posthuman, the postanthropocentric, along with the crisis of life itself that is expressed by the Anthropocene. Yet such “posttheory theories” continue to remain intricately bound up with humanism and the human in the very performance of their attempt to think beyond them, due to the approaches they have adopted in response to the question of the politics of copying, distributing, selling and (re)using theory. This is to some extent inevitable given the lack of antihumanist alternatives to publishing either on a “copyright… All rights reserved” or open access and Creative Commons basis that are institutionally and professionally recognized. Nevertheless, Pirate Philosophy endeavors to move the analysis of the human and nonhuman on by raising a question that is also an exhortation: How, as theorists and philosophers, can we act differently – to the point where we actually begin to take on board and assume some of the implications of the challenge that is offered by theory and philosophy to fundamental humanities concepts such as the human, the subject, the author, copyright, and the Commons, for the ways in which we live, work, and think? How, in other words, can we act as something like pirate philosophers in the sense of the term’s etymological origins with the ancient Greeks, where the pirate is someone who tries, tests, teases, and troubles, as well as attacks? Might doing so be one way for us to try out and put to the test new economic, legal and political models for the creation, publication and circulation of knowledge and ideas, models that are more appropriate for our postcrash sociopolitical situation?

 

Saturday
Apr302016

The Missing Community

(What follows is the sixth part of an interview, 'Just Because You Write about Posthumanism Doesn’t Mean You Aren’t a Liberal Humanist: An Interview with Gary Hall' by Francien Broekhuizen, Simon Dawes, Danai Mikelli and Poppy Wilde. It is published in the MeCCSA-PGN Conference 2015 issue of Networking Knowledge, Vol 9, No 1 (2016). The first part of the interview, 'Neoliberal Subjectivation', is available here; the second part, 'Liberalism as a "Way of Doing Things"', here; the third part, 'From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg', here; the fourth part, 'Thinking With Media Technologies', here; the fifth part, 'On Open Humanities Press And Other Projects', here.) 

 

THE EDITORS: Where do you feel your responsibility lies in terms of nudging people towards open access? 

GARY HALL: I realise this is probably going to sound odd, but I don’t feel I have that kind of responsibility. I know you’d like me to speak about open access, and I understand why that is, given how much work I’ve done in the area, and that I’ve published a book about it and so forth. The fact is, though, while I really want to be helpful, I’m not sure how interested I am in open access – except to the extent it enables us to address, critically and creatively, the sort of issues we’ve been talking about. It’s certainly not my intention to position myself as some kind of representative or spokesperson for open access by assuming responsibility for nudging people towards it, be it at a governmental policy maker, funding council, scholarly society, institutional, departmental or professional level. 

If what I’m interested in is placing a question mark against both our neoliberal and our liberal humanist models of subjectivity, then it’d be naïve of me to expect that there’s going to be a large, pre-existing audience out there I can appeal to; an audience that’s ready and waiting for me to simply prod them into taking on board these ideas and their implications for our current ways of doing things, which as we have seen are largely (neo)liberal humanist in practice. You could even go so far as to say that, in denaturalising and destablising notions of individual rights, property, copyright and so on that we otherwise take for granted, my work is designed precisely to challenge a lot of the norms, values and practices around which any such wider audience might gather. (There are no legal anti-humanist or non-humanist alternatives to publishing on a copyright all rights reserved basis that are professionally recognised, for instance.) Consequently, we might think of such an audience, not so much in terms of Giorgio Agamben’s ‘coming community’ or what, following Jacques Derrida, we could call a community to come, but as a missing community. This is another reason I’m interested in experimenting with ways of working and thinking as a media theorist that are not only engaged in representing or providing an account of the world, but performatively acting in or intra-acting with it too. Rather than endeavouring to speak to or on behalf of such a missing community, it seems to me we have to performatively invent the context in which such a community could emerge.  

Creating such a missing community is what I’d suggest we’re attempting to do with many of the projects I’m connected to, which include not just Culture Machine and Open Humanities Press, but also the Centre for Disruptive Media here at Coventry and its affirmative disruption of both neoliberal and liberal ideas of the humanities, the library, the archive and even the university.  Will we succeed? I’m not sure. It’s reinflecting a phrase of Stuart Hall’s, I know, but for me we have to work ‘without guarantees’, without any assurances that such a community will appear at some point in the future. Still, that’s the kind of difficulty, contradiction, paradox even, I’m interested in living with and exploring. And this includes the paradox that’s associated with my own inability to simply transcend the individualistic authorial ‘I’: both in this interview, and in my forthcoming publication of a traditional print book with only my name on it about the problems involved in authors producing books with only their individual names on them, even though I know this book, like this interview, is written by what for shorthand can be called the Others in me.  It’s something I’m not entirely at ease with – and not just for the reasons we’ve discussed. (It’s also partly why I began by referring to Foucault’s ‘Masked Philosopher’ interview, which he published anonymously.) Nevertheless, I still take the decision to write such books and to participate in such interviews on occaision. For me, doing so can be another means of experimenting in a quasi-transcendental fashion with some of the multiple differential modalities of ‘I’ that are possible in our current context; and thus of again giving new, non-dialectical inflections to certain tendencies associated with both our neoliberal and liberal ways of doing things. 

Hopefully, all this explains why I continue to work in a university, despite all the stress, anxiety and exhaustion associated with it at the moment. I do so because the university is one space – it’s not the only space, art is perhaps another, but the university is one space – where we have a chance to do things differently. Where we can raise these kinds of questions. Where we can explore and experiment with new ways of doing.

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