'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, 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


Open book

Media Gifts is the working title of an open, distributed, multi-medium, multi-platform, multi-location, multiple identity book. One of the ways this volume is being made freely and openly available as it emerges and begins to take shape is via this open book section of the Media Gifts website.


Media Gifts


Chapter 1: Media Gifts

Chapter 2: Pirate Philosophy (Version 3.0)

Chapter 3: Liquid Books: Cultural Studies and Theory (Once More From the Top With Feeling) (with Clare Birchall)

Chapter 4: Liquid Theory TV

Chapter 5: The Open Scholarship Full Disclosure Initiative

Chapter 6: WikiNation

Chapter 7: Conclusion: The Missing Community

Chapter 8: Extra Gift: Para-site


Chapter 2: Pirate Philosophy (Version 3.0)

Pirate Philosophy investigates some of the implications of so-called internet piracy for the humanities, particularly the latter’s ideas of authorship, scholarly writing and publishing, intellectual property, copyright law, fair use, content creation and cultural production. As its title suggests, it explores such ideas philosophically, but it explores them legally, too, through the creation of an actual ‘pirate’ text.

What’s happening is a text called ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 1.0’ was published as the opening essay to the 10th edition of the Culture Machine journal, which itself had the theme of Pirate Philosophy. However, this text was available there for a limited period only. After two months it was placed on a torrent search engine and directory as ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 2.0’ and the original deleted from the Culture Machine site. As soon as someone downloaded the torrented version – which actually happened on the same day I made it available, 25 May, 2009 – the original file was destroyed. So there is now no ‘original’ or ‘master’ copy of this text in the conventional sense.  Instead, it exists only to the extent that it’s part of a ‘pirate network’ and is 'stolen' or ‘pirated’. From 25 May 2009 on, all copies of this text have been ‘pirate’ copies. (Originally placed on the Mininova torrent directory, ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 2.0’ is currently available from AAAAARG.ORG, Alive Torrents, Torrentslib, and Torrentzap, among other places.)

The idea is to raise questions around issues of authorship, the proper name, the signature, attribution, publication, citation, copyright, content creation and so on. For example, what does it mean to publish a ‘pirated’ copy of this text? In other words, what does it mean for me to have placed the first version of the opening essay to Culture Machine’s Pirate Philosophy issue on a peer-to-peer network, making it available for anyone not only to read, download, copy and share without charge, but also to remix, reformat, reversion, reinvent and reuse as ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 2.0’? Having destroyed the original version of my text, the only version that can subsequently publish is a pirated version that has been circulated - and potentially authored and edited - distributively. But what if I do then publish a ‘pirated’ version in an academic journal or book as ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 3.0’? What if the only version of 'Pirate Philosophy' that can be included in the Media Gifts book is a version that’s been disseminated - and potentially authored and edited - distributively? How does that affect our ideas of the academic author? Of scholarly writing and publishing? Of attribution? Accreditation? Intellectual property? Content creation? Of the university professor? 


Chapter 3: Liquid Books

The idea for liquid books came about as a result of a publisher asking Clare Birchall and I to produce a follow-up to our 2006 woodware volume, New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press). This follow-up was to consist of a Reader gathering together and making easily accessible a number of important texts by some of the theorists discussed in that earlier print-on-paper volume: Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Friedrich Kittler, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Slavoj Žižek and so on.

While we could appreciate that such a reader might have a certain usefulness, it seemed to us that to turn the idea of 'new cultural studies' into some fixed and stable concept or brand like this would be to miss the point of what we and our fellow contributors were trying to accomplish with that 2006 book. It felt like it would be out of keeping with the spirit of New Cultural Studies, its dedication to a performative cultural studies, and emphasis on the necessity for cultural studies to experiment with generating events and new forms of practice, action and organisation. So we decided to put together what we’re calling a liquid book instead.

What we’ve done is collected texts by the theorists discussed in the first volume, together with some by those we’d include if we were to produce a second: writers such as Maurizio Lazzarato, N. Katherine Hayles, Jean-Luc Nancy and Isabelle Stengers... In lieu of publishing this as another print-on-paper book, however, we’ve published it online as New Cultural Studies: The Liquid Theory Reader.

There are at least five additional reasons why we wanted to experiment with publishing a book in this way. First, doing so allows us to challenge the physical and conceptual limits of the traditional edited codex book, not least by including more (and less) than book chapters and journal articles. We also have the freedom to include whole books in our liquid book. It is also possible to include short extracts and samples from books, along with pages, snippets, references, quotations, annotations, links, tags, even podcasts and YouTube clips, as well as different versions and drafts of our Liquid Reader.

For another, this experiment in publishing a book online enables us to circumvent many of the problems scholars almost invariably encounter when trying to publish a research-led book with a conventional print-on-paper press at the moment. For economic reasons, comparatively few academic publishers are particularly interested in research monographs or even edited collections, let alone work that seems ‘difficult’ or 'experimental'. For the most part it’s accessible textbooks, introductions, course readers and reference works they now want to see in print.

Producing a book electronically in this fashion also has the advantage of allowing us to creatively explore some of the limits and possibilities of the general move toward publishing and disseminating academic work online. It’s an issue that has become particularly relevant in the light of recent developments that include the introduction of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the UK and the possibility of bibliometrics, open access, Google Book Search (most of New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory is already available to read online for free via Google Book Search), Scribd, and the increasing popularity of hand-held electronic book readers such as Amazon's Kindle, Sony’s Reader, and their multi-use rivals, not least among them Apple’s iPad, with its possibilities for embedded interactive audio and visual content.

Making our ‘liquid book’ available open access is another way this project is creatively experimenting with new forms of practice and organization. This means New Cultural Studies: The Liquid Theory Reader is freely available throughout the world to anyone who is interested in reading it, providing they have access to the internet. This includes not just other researchers, but also teachers, students, investigative journalists, policy makers, union organisers, NGOs, political activists, protest groups and the general public. It is thus hopefully playing a role, however small, in breaking down some of the barriers between countries in the so-called ‘developed’, 'developing' and ‘undeveloped’ worlds, and so helping to overcome the ‘Westernization’ of the research literature. Indeed, at the time of writing the Liquid Books project has over 100 registered ‘users’ from Brazil, South Africa, Hong Kong, the Lebanon, the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among other places.

But the main reason we wanted to experiment with publishing a book like this is because we can make it available not just open access, but under open editing and free, gratis, libre content conditions, too. So the New Cultural Studies Reader is ‘liquid’ in the sense that not only is it open and free for anyone, anywhere, to read; its initial iteration is also open to users on a read/write basis.  This means users can continually help compose, add to, annotate, tag, edit, translate, remix, reformat, reinvent, reimagine and reuse it, or produce alternative parallel versions of it, however they wish. In this way, the ‘book’, along with any subsequent versions, can be produced in an open, collaborative, decentralised, multi-user-generated fashion: not just by its initial 'authors', 'editors',  'creators' or ‘curators’, but by a multiplicity of often anonymous collaborators distributed around the globe. In the process it is hoped that this book will raise – and encourage others to raise - a variety of fascinating and challenging questions: for ideas of the book, academic authorship, the proper name, attribution, publication, citation, accreditation, fair use, quality control, peer-review, copyright, intellectual property and content creation; and, in the case of the New Cultural Studies Reader, for the intellectual formation of cultural studies, too.


Chapter 8: Para-site

This extra gift is part of an experiment in developing written works specific to the digital medium. Itself a text on the relation between art, writing and new technology in the work of the performance artist Stelarc, ‘Para-site’ was originally devised as a website, and was intended to act as a supplement or shadow to Stelarc’s own website. The  Stelarc ‘Para-site’ was constructed by weaving together passages of text using hyper-text links to form a kind of textual web, each passage functioning as an electronic gateway to a number of other digital locations ‘within’ the site. Additional hyper-text links were then used to interweave this web with texts and images on the artist’s own website, with still further links being made to some of the other texts by Stelarc available on the web.  In this way the Stelarc ‘Para-site’ was designed to enter into both a prosthetic and a parasitical relationship with its ‘host’: augmenting, extending, modifying and reconfiguring it, but also invading, disturbing, contaminating and infecting it. 


On The Unbound (Nature Of This) Book

As the About page makes clear, I have decided to make the research for the open book I’m putting together here freely available online in the Open Humanities Notebook section of this website. I am doing so more or less as this research emerges, not just in draft and pre-print form as journal articles, book chapters, catalogue essays, but also as contributions to email discussions, conference papers, lectures and so on. Long before any of these texts are collected together and given to a publisher to be bound as a book, economically, materially and conceptually, then. 

This Open Notebook offers a space where the research for this book, provisionally titled Media Gifts, can be disseminated quickly and easily in a manner that enables it to be openly shared and discussed. More than that, however, it provides an opportunity to experiment critically with loosening at least some of the ties used to bind books once a text has been contracted by a professional press.

For instance, it is common for most book contracts to allow authors to retain the right to republish in their own works material that has previously appeared elsewhere (as scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals, say), provided the necessary permissions have been granted. But what if draft or pre-print versions of the chapters that make up my book are gathered together here in this Open Notebook? When it comes to publishing this research as a bound book, are ‘brand name’ presses likely to reject it on the grounds of reduced potential sales since a version of the material will already be available online? Will I be required to remove this material to ensure they have the exclusive right to sell or give away copies?

At what point does the material that goes to make up a book become bound tightly enough for it to be understood as actually making up a book? Where in practice is the line going to be drawn?

And what if some of this material is disseminated out of sequence, under different titles, in other versions, forms and places where it is not quite so easy to bind, legally, economically or conceptually, as a book? Let us take as an example the version of the chapter in Media Gifts that explores the idea of Liquid Books. This appears as part of an actual Liquid Book that is published using a wiki, and is free for users to read, comment upon, rewrite, remix and reinvent. Similarly, the chapter on pirate philosophy is currently only available on a ‘pirate’ peer-to-peer network. There is no ‘original’ or ‘master’ copy of this text in the conventional sense: this text exists only to the extent it is part of a ‘pirate network’ and is stolen or ‘pirated’.

Indeed, while each of the media projects the Media Gifts book is concerned with – at the moment there are ten in all - constitutes a distinct project in its own right, they can also, as I say, be seen as forming a dynamic network of texts, websites, archives, wikis, IPTV programmes and other internet traces. Consequently, if it is to be thought of as a book at all, it should be understood as an open, distributed and multi-location book: parts of it are to be found on this website/blog, others on wikis, others again on p2p file-sharing networks. To adapt a phrase of Maurice Blanchot’s from The Book to Come - for whom Stéphane Mallarmé’s ‘Un Coup de dés orients the future of the book both in the direction of the greatest dispersion and in the direction of a tension capable of gathering infinite diversity, by the discovery of more complex structures’ - Media Gifts is a book ‘gathered through dispersion’.