If you have a chance to visit next week’s Transmediale media arts festival in Berlin (and hopefully drop by at our workshops), make sure you don’t miss Andrew Norman Wilson’s performance Movement Materials And What We Can do.
Wilson’s video piece Workers Leaving the Googleplex made the rounds in the blogs some time ago. In it he narrates his experience working for a subcontractor of Google at the company’s US headquarters, and his encounter with the Google Books ScanOps division which eventually led to him being fired. He found out that the workers who perform the rather repetitive work of scanning books must wear special badges, are kept separate from other employees in the more knowledge-intensive divisions of the company and are denied access to Google’s famed amenities. Noticing how these second-class workers are overwhelmingly people of colour, Wilson approached some of them with a video camera and the intention to find out more about their labour conditions – which quickly led to security intervening and his contract being severed.
As a follow-up, Wilson made the manual labour cloaked by Google’s secrecy visible again through a photo series pulled from Google Books. Scanned fingers of workers flipping the pages of classics like Adam Smiths Wealth Of Nations leave traces of the human labour necessary for digitising our cultural heritage.
To my mind, Wilson’s works are a most welcome reminder of the persistence of manual labour underpinning the knowledge economy, and of the ways this mostly invisible form of labour – precarised and always under threat of automation – is deeply entangled with issues of class and race. In his performance at Transmediale, Wilson will use “corporate, academic and artistic lecture techniques” in order to further interrogate this theme.
There are some rumours floating around that Elsevier is in advanced talks to buy Mendeley. Mendeley, as most of you will know, is one of the new reference management softwares that includes social media elements, particularly through its online portal. A Wired article from 2011 provides a decent overview of its development, scope and potential. In the meantime, Mendeley has only grown, and now alongside ResearchGate and Zotero - the former focusing more on collaborative tools, the latter although including social elements a more classical reference and citation software – represents the exciting edge of what is happening in this field. Continue Reading…
A series of workshops being held at the Transmediale festival
Berlin 30.1 – 2.2 http://www.transmediale.de/bwpwap
‘The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed’, William Gibson.
Organised by Simon Worthington and the Hybrid Publishing Consortium, the four days of Post-digital Publishing workshops are meant to contribute, even if on a small scale, to a ‘future re-distribution’ of open source and indy publishing. While an imminent deluge of books is already underway, as the book goes digital and universities open their libraries with Open Access publishing, we will look at the ways in which to engage with these re-distribution processes, as well as explore cyber-librarianship, DIY publishing tools, indy infrastructures and the ongoing battle for the re-imagining of the University in the digital age.
Ross Mounce, PhD Student at the University of Bath, is building a list of Gold OA journals with all licence details. He already scored 531 out of 985 journals he found here, so there’s 454 left still to score. He has started the task on a collaborative, editable Google Spreadsheet here.
If you have some spare time please help him to fill-in the data on his spreadsheet (sheet called ‘Data’). All data filled-in on the datasheet will be public data for anyone to use/copy/remix CC0.
We are all struck with a sense of loss, grief and shock since we heard of the death of Aaron Swartz, by suicide. People who have been his friends have written heart-felt obituaries, saluting his dreams and visions and unwavering commitment to a larger social good. Colleagues who have worked with him and have been inspired by his achievements have documented the quirky intelligence and the whimsical genius that Swartz was. His fellow crusaders, who have stood by him in his impassioned battle against the piracy centred witch-hunt have helped spell out the legal and political conditions, which might not have directly led to this sorry end, but definitely have to be factored in his own negotiations with depression. All these voices have enshrined Aaron Swartz, the 26 year old boy-wonder who was just trying to make the world a better place where information is free and everybody has unobstructed access to knowledge. They have shown us that there is an ‘Aaron sized hole’ in the world, which is going to be difficult to fill. These are voices that need to be heard, remembered, and revisited beyond the urgency of the current tragedy and it is good to know that this archive of grief and outpouring of emotional support will stay as a living memory to the legend that Swartz had already become in his life-time. Continue Reading…