Recommended Reading: Captives of the Cloud by Metahaven for E-Flux



A selection of the global US social media cloud, resorting under the Patriot Act by Metahaven

E-Flux this month includes an essay by Metahaven (Part 1 of 3) on cloud computing, international law, and privacy. "Citizens across the world are subject to the same Patriot Act powers" the US has over its citizens" as data stored overseas by US companies is still subject to US surveillance. The US also excersizes "super-jurisdiction" in cases like the seizure of Megaupload, which was a Hong Kong-based company, the DOJ accused of "willful conspiracy to break US law" due it's global user base. Furthermore, "all top-level domain names" registered through VeriSign are subject to  US seizure, even if operated entirely outside the country. 

The essay continues, looking at examples of Apple's App store censureship of Drones+, Google+ and Facebook real name policy, and other examples of the "cloud as a political space." 


"The first mention of the notion of the “cloud” was in a 1996 diagram in an MIT research paper," redrawn by Metahaven for e-flux

Most journalism routinely criticizes (or praises) the US government for its ability to spy on “Americans.” But something essential is not mentioned here—the practical ability of the US government to spy on everybody else. The potential impact of surveillance of the US cloud is as vast as the impact of its services—which have already profoundly transformed the world. An FBI representative told CNET about the gap the agency perceives between the phone network and advanced cloud communications for which it does not presently have sufficiently intrusive technical capacity—the risk of surveillance “going dark.” The representative mentioned “national security” to demonstrate how badly it needs such cloud wiretapping, inadvertently revealing that the state secrets privilege—once a legal anomaly, now a routine—will likely ...


Recommended Reading: Net Narrative catalog


Net Narrative is an exhibition curated by Harry Burke at Carlos/Ishikawa including work by Iain Ball, Ed Fornieles, Marlie Mul, Katja Novitskova, Ben Vickers, Holly White, and Artie Vierkant. Worth reviewing the catalog which includes essays by Huw Lemmey, Gene McHugh, and Eleanor Saitta. 

Eleanor Saitta:

Storytelling is more comfortable in the network than anywhere
it’s had to live since the enlightenment, since we locked up the
wandering bard in the cathedral, the university, and the television studio.

Networks are made of stories. A network is a bunch of people who share
a story about how to interact. Protocols are really just stories.
(And, as often as not, just so stories.) The converse isn’t true, of
course—there’s far more to a story than just a protocol, but it means
that networks intrinsically hold open a space for the story.


The stories that the network tells have a materially different quality,
existing all at once from all the perspectives of the multitude, without
a single privileged view. It’s not that any individual voice is wrong,
it’s just incomplete—the stories networks tell can only be perceived in
full in collective simultaneity, and those collectives have no room for

Huw Lemmey:

Sociality is the dominant vector within post-internet cultural production. With what is described as “post-internet art”, and especially in post-internet literary trends such as alt-lit, sociality is both the form and function of creative work; relationships, both interhuman and between people and institutions, are the primary medium of artwork formed in consideration of the online. Sometimes it can appear as though IRL shows, where people display visual artefacts, are remnants, poor excuses for social networks to circulate around online, third places. Parties, free schools, TV stations; all these operate as ways to manipulate ...


Recommended Reading: Interventions, Issue 2—Framing the Internet


Ernst Fischer, Collateral Resignation Agreement, 2011. (Print, Interventions's issue 2 unlimited edition).

On its "about" page, Interventions, the online journal of the Modern and Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies MA program at Columbia University, is presented as an online curatorial platform featuring essays, web-based art projects, and experimental investigations into the space between these practices. The editors' letter for issue 2 reads,

In the first section of "Framing the Internet," we have gathered reflections on how the Internet and digital technologies have been mobilized as productive tools for curatorial, artistic and pedagogical inquiry, from round tables and critical texts to exhibition reviews and artist projects.

Which is exactly what this publication offers. It includes texts on subjects as varied as the Internet as a free tool for  communication, production, and dissemination of artistic production in a way somewhat independent of capital (Anton Vidokle); RMB City, the Second Life city—or rather, community—planned and developed by Beijing-based artist Cao Fei (Ceren Erdem); and Indexhibit a tool for artists to build websites and online portfolios (Cat Kron, in a short survey whose subject seems fascinating but that could have been handled in a more complex way). These are accompanied by artist projects—mainly by Columbia MFA students, a fantastic way of tying this publication, whose ambitions seem more global than to solely appeal to the Columbia community, with its natural collaborators within that community—and includes the brilliant idea of the unlimited edition: each issue includes a one-page PDF available for download as a large-edition art project. 

One of the highlights of the issue is the inclusion of a roundtable discussion that took place at Columbia on October 4, 2011. Titled "Framing the Internet," it invited artist Anton Vidokle, media theorist Alexander Galloway, and Bettina Funke, head of publications ...