All posts tagged with 'assemblage'
Jedd Wilcox is a staff member at Parsons The New School for Design and a student in the Graduate Program in Media Studies at The New School, where he co-chaired the 2009 Critical Themes in Media Studies Conference and is completing his Master’s thesis on technological mediation and everyday sustainability this Spring. His interests include sustainable design, DIY culture, participatory media, and appropriate technologies.
A Certain Convocation of Politic Worms: Assembling Community Vermiculture and the Ecological Collective
In this paper, I examine the growing trend of urban vermiculture, the practice of composting organic waste with worms, through the lens of the machinic assemblage (Deleuze) and the collective (Latour). Informing this inquiry is data drawn from traces of the vermiculture community’s discourse via Web-based discussion (i.e. vermicomposting blogs, discussion boards, etc.) and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) guides (i.e. online “instructables”), as well as from the larger public discourse surrounding the practice as it is represented in the press.
In examining the emergence of vermiculture as a “sustainable” practice related to waste minimization and local food sourcing, I investigate the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) in the representation of the system’s heterogeneous actors and their ontological perspectives. To what extent do the affordances of DIY participatory media make possible the political “representation” (in keeping with both Cultural Studies’ as well as Latour’s overtly political deployment of the term) of the human and non-human actors involved? Is a resolution of the tension between an anthropocentric, instrumental conception of the actors involved (including made artifacts and the worms themselves) and an ecological, collective approach possible?
John Drew is a video journalist and filmmaker who most recently co-directed the feature Border Stories and co-produced the multimedia website www.borderstories.org, which won last year’s Public Prize at the Every Human Has Rights Media Awards in Paris and was nominated as a finalist in the 2008 Online News Association’s Best in Video Journalism category. John is currently pursuing a masters degree in media studies at the New School in New York City.
The YouTube Assemblage: An emergent, banal and yet potent site of semi-conscious political and hegemonic contestation
During the month of November of 2009, more than 170 million U.S. internet users watched online video- nearly 31 billion videos in fact, of which 39% were viewed via YouTube.com . That is to say, more than 12 billion videos were watched on a single website in one month (94.3 videos per viewer) and Google, which paid $1.65 billion (in stock) for YouTube in 2006, is now trying to figure out how to monetize this situation.
YouTube represents nothing less than a socio-technological phenomenon that is now reshaping several industries- but what exactly has Google, arguably the world’s most successful company, purchased? Having launched and premiered its first video in February of 2005, YouTube now uploads twenty hours of video every minute and yet still hasn’t turned a profit. What does Google know about YouTube that we don’t?
Drawing from the work of Geert Lovink, Jodi Dean, Soenke Zehle, Ned Rossitier and Manuel DeLanda, this paper seeks to critically discuss the current socio-technical existence of YouTube and what this existence might spell for the future. More precisely, by considering Lovink and Dean’s respective analysis of network culture and blogging, I argue that the role of the camera and video technology within the world of YouTube necessitates nuanced consideration that both complicates and amplifies each of their conclusions about the social and the directions it is shifting. I then argue that it is only with an understanding of DeLanda’s assemblage theory that we may adequately assess YouTube’s socio-technical existence and consider how it is uniquely implicated in various, albeit transient, social and political arenas. Finally, by incorporating Zehle and Rossitier’s discussion of non-representational politics, I argue that YouTube is in fact its own assemblage that boasts great political power, which is already destabilizing and deterritorializing traditional sources of capitalist domination, such as copyright law.