The Inhumanist Manifesto

'The Inhumanist Manifesto' is taken from the forthcoming inaugural 'manifesto' issue of Media Theory. It is currently available as a blog post on the Media Theory site here.

How I Came To Write A Manifesto

In the spring of 2017 I was invited to help launch a new open access journal, Media Theory. The idea was that a number of authors would each produce a manifesto as to why such a journal was necessary and what they would like to see it do.

I responded by acknowledging that, although the manifesto mode of political writing is associated with some of the themes and topics I’ve engaged with the most--posthumanism, piracy, Marxism, open access, the commons--I was nevertheless hesitant to take up such an invitation. I’m not particularly interested in setting agendas or laying out policies with my work. Nor do I wish to get involved in debates. Yet the reason I hesitated was not just because I’m reluctant to promote new ideas with prescriptive notions about how to carry out those changes I believe need to be made. Nor was my wavering over the writing of a manifesto simply due to a concern that the power of this particular textual form of communication may have waned as a result of too much unthinking repetition, and an associated preference on my part for less obvious ways of acting. Having launched an open access theory journal myself a number of years ago--Culture Machine--I was also aware there was danger of coming across as if I was telling those behind Media Theory what they should do with their journal. 

Sometimes the most responsible decision anyone who has attained even a modest position of authority can make is to step aside after a while. Of course, it can be difficult to relinquish what are often hard-won roles. Neverthless it’s important to do so, regardless of any success, in order to create opportunities and openings for others. Which is why my colleagues and I decided to celebrate Culture Machine’s 15th anniversary by passing editorial control over the journal’s future direction on to Gabriela Méndez Cota and Rafico Ruiz, two early career theorists who are located in Mexico and Canada respectively. And I would no more consider telling the editors of Media Theory what to do with their journal than I would Gabriela and Rafico with Culture Machine.

Still, I wanted to take the opportunity to offer those involed in launching this new open access theory journal my continuing support. So if a manifesto can be understood as a public declaration of the views, motives or intentions of the issuer, I thought I would take the risk of replying to their invitation by briefly making obvious the theory that lies behind the development of Culture Machine and some of the other projects with which I’m involved. I would then leave it to them to decide how much, if anything, of this was relevant as far as their intentions for Media Theory were concerned.  

The rest of 'The Inhumanist Manifesto' is available on the Media Theory site here. 



Three new OHP books from: Brian Massumi; Steven Connor; and Érik Bordeleau, Toni Pape, Ronald Rose-Antoinette and Adam Szymanski

We are pleased to announce the release this month of two new titles in Open Humanities Press’ Immediations series:


Brian Massumi's The Principle of Unrest explores the contemporary implications of an activist philosophy, pivoting on the issue of movement. Movement is understood not simply in spatial terms but as qualitative transformation: becoming, emergence, event.

Available for free download at:



Nocturnal Fabulations/Fabulations nocturnes by Érik Bordeleau, Toni Pape, Ronald Rose-Antoinette and Adam Szymanski with an Introduction by Erin Manning.

This collective, bi-lingual project is animated by a shared curiosity in the pragmatics of fabulation and its speculative gesture of bringing forth a people to come. In an encounter with Apichatpong’s cinematic dreamscape, the concepts of ecology, vitality and opacity emerge to articulate an ethos of fabulation that deframes experience, recomposes subjectivity and unfixes time.Available for free download at:




We are also pleased to announce the latest book in the Technographies series:

Steven Connor's Dream Machines

Dream Machines is a history of imaginary machines and the ways in which machines come to be imagined. It considers seven different kinds of speculative, projected or impossible machines: machines for teleportation, dream-production, sexual pleasure and medical treatment and cure, along with ‘influencing machines’, invisibility machines and perpetual motion machines.

“This is an engaging and imaginative exploration of various forms of writing, thinking, and fantasizing about dream machines, an endlessly fertile topic probed here from just about every possible angle … a major intervention into current understandings of technology, literature, and identity.” 

Matthew Rubery – Queen Mary University of London

“… a deeply original contribution to the history and philosophy of technology and the cultural history of the imagination …”Laura Salisbury – University of Exeter

Available for free download at:

With our best wishes,

Sigi, David, Gary



Ten Ways To Affirmatively Disrupt Platform Capitalism And The Sharing Economy Of Uber and Airbnb ♯4: Establish A Collaborative Data Sharing Community

(This is part of a series of posts in which I provide ten proposals as to how to affirmatively disrupt  platform capitalism and the corporate sharing economy of Uber, Airbnb et al. Together these posts constitute the draft of a text provisionally titled Data Commonism vs Übercapitalism designed to follow on from my recently published short book, The Uberfication of the University. If the latter provides a dystopian sense of what is lying in store for many us over the course of the next few years, Data Commonism vs Übercapitalism is more optimistic in that it shows what we can do about it. 

The first text in this series, Data Commonism: Introduction is here.

The Uberfication of the University is available from Minnesota University Press here. An open access version is available here.)


We Don’t Have To Live Like This: How To Affirmatively Disrupt the Disrupters 

♯4: Establish A Collaborative Data Sharing Community

As I pointed out in my previous post on how we can affirmatively disrupt the platform capitalists of the sharing and gig economies, the main problem with Jaron Lanier’s idea for a universal micropayment system is that it maintains us in the position of being ubercapitalist microentrepreneurs--not just of ourselves but of our data too. We can propose an alternative to Lanier’s universal micropayment system, however, in the form of an organisation, union, or consortium that is more capable of countering the power of both the state and übercapitalism, and thus protecting our information and data, than we are as isolated individuals. The idea would be to begin to address the problem of scale by signing over our data to this organisation where it can be captured, controlled, and managed on our behalf. 

Is one place where such a consortium can potentially begin to be generated around open access? The open access movement argues for access to academic research to be made available online to scholars and the general public free of charge, without anyone having to pay subscriptions to either read or (in its purest forms) publish this research.  In many definitions of open access it also means users are free to print, reproduce, and distribute copies of this research, and that it is being made available free of most licensing and copyright restrictions, thus enabling users to make derivative works from it too.  Accordingly, the open access movement contains a large number of people who possess significant experience and expertise when it comes to dealing with issues of open data, open knowledge, and free and open source software. Many have already done extensive work on making the exchange of bibliographic information between repositories, e-journals, and research infrastructures interoperable. What is more, some of those associated with open access have recently begun to explore how different projects and organisations can cooperate. Examples include the Open Access Publishing Cooperative Study that is ‘bringing together libraries, journals, societies, presses, funders’ and others to ‘explore the feasibility of a cooperative alternative in scholarly publishing’, as well as the Radical Open Access Collective with which I am associated.  (At the time of this writing, the radical Open Access collective includes The BABEL Working Group, Culture Machine, CLACSO, Discover Society, Ephemera, Goldsmiths Press, Journal of Peer Production, Journal of Radical Librarianship, Limn,  Mattering Press, MayFly Books, Minor Compositions,  MediaCommons Press, MLA Commons, Meson Press, Open Book Publishers, Open Humanities Press, Open Knowledge Foundation, Photomediations Machine, Punctum Books, Scalar, Spheres, and tripleC. That the open access movement has emerged in large part out of the publicly-funded, non-profit university system is testament to the fact that this is one sphere in society where the for-profit values and practices of neoliberalism are still being wrestled with.) 

The reason I am using the word "cooperate" here is with a view to working collaboratively with those, such as Neal Gorenflo, Jannele Orsi, and Trebor Scholz, who are championing ideas of platform cooperativism and open cooperatives.  Strictly speaking, however, there is an important difference between cooperation and collaboration as these two terms are usually defined.  In cooperation the project is something you help someone with: something they are working on, but which they are ultimately responsible for and that they own and can sell individually. In collaboration, meanwhile, a collective owns the project jointly. Collaboration is therefore actually the better term for what I have in mind: it is certainly closer to my understanding of the Commons.  However, I do think we need to work collaboratively. So in that spirit I am still going to use cooperativism from time to time in the rest of discussion of how we can affirmatively disrupt the sharing economy, if that make sense. 

Can a collection of open access initiatives begin to form such a collaborative consortium where our information and data can be protected and cared for on our behalf? Or no matter how many open access projects and organisations it brings together, is there a danger such a consortium will be too small to collect data on a large enough scale to be able to affirmatively disrupt to any significant degree the system whereby corporate global entities such as Uber and Airbnb are intensifying the process of dismantling social democracy?


Document Practices Symposium, University of Leeds, May 5


Interactive Version Of The Uberfication Of The University Now Available In Minnesota's Manifold Series

An open access, interactive version of The Uberfication Of The University is now available as part of the University of Minnesota Press’s new publishing platform for interactive scholarly monographs, Manifold:

Funded through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Manifold is a collaboration between University of Minnesota Press, the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and Cast Iron Coding.

Minnesota began work on the Manifold project two years ago, aiming to create a responsive platform for interactive books that would help university presses share long-form monographs through an appealing and elegant interface. On the Manifold site, there are a selection of projects from the University of Minnesota Press that may be read, annotated, highlighted, and shared through social media. Each project has a homepage that presents an overview of the text, provides a quick link to the text, aggregates recent activity, showcases the evolution of the project, and shares resources—images, videos, files, PDFs, image collections—that have been added to the text. Images that were part of the print version will appear in-line; resources that have been added for the Manifold edition will appear to the left of the text. Texts are responsive and may be read on any device, though the mobile versions are not yet fully featured. 

Though the current beta version only includes Minnesota publications, the platform is being designed so that any press or interested scholar can install Manifold, customize the platform with specific colors and logos, and publish work through the administrative dashboard. Manifold is capable of ingesting a variety of formats—ePub, HTML, Google Docs, Markdown, Microsoft Word—immediately transforming them into interactive web publications.

Manifold is an open-source project. The code is available on Github. For a longer introduction to the project, please read 'Building Manifold', by Project Co-PIs Doug Armato and Matthew K. Gold. To learn more about the technology behind the platform, please read 'A Technical Introduction to Manifold' by Manifold Lead Developer Zach Davis.

(For the full version of the above text, please read 'Manifold Beta Now Available'.)

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