Dmc Session 01: Introduction

This lecture series will explore how artists, activists, corporations and non-profit organisations use/have used online and digital networks to encourage people to actively participate in collective action, and in particular, in the world around them.


“The age of mechanical reproduction had profound effects on the creation, distribution, and perception of art and other cultural forms (Walter Benjamin) In the age of digital reproduction processes, change is becoming equally, if not more, radical.”

“Culture and creativity are, of course, inextricably tied to technological developments. The rock paintings of the Stone Age would not have been possible without tools, like charcoal, for making them. The development of oil paint and perspective were as crucial to Renaissance painting as patronage (Berger). Literary historians note that the existence of the novel was dependent not only on the 'invention' of the Gutenburg press but also the developmen of a literate population with enough time for leisure time and money to form an audience.

The new cultural forms of the 20th Century were based entirely on technological developments. The reproduction of sound led from Edison's auspicious recordings to the revolution in popular culture epitomized by the Beatles. The reproduction of images led to the cultural forms so successful that it was, and still is, feared that film and television may eclipse earlier technologies like the printed word.

The technological changes were are currently witnessing are not without precedent, but human lives have not been changed so fast since the industrial revoulution. New interactive technologies have colonised most, if not all, of our cultural practices within just 20 years. From the development of online galleries, to online gaming communities, to websites that allow us to share music or photographs with our friends and family, we are seeing new forms of expression and a subtle change in our expectation of what is possible.

Access to a computer and the Internet equip people not only with the means of production but also distribution.”

From "Untitled: Emerging Cultural Forms in the Digital Age"
Introductory article by Mark Blythe, Ann Light, Shaleph O'Neill
Published in Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, Vol 3 (1), Feb 2007


New York Times SpecialEdition, 12.11.2008 (04.07.2009)

“In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass them out on the street.”

What were the background ideas, organisation, tools, and motivations behind action like this?



My background and experience/mediums:

Broad view of digital media culture: video, audio, text, syndication, internet, games, communications, virtual environments, networks, peer production

Digital Media Culture -> Open Source Ideology -> Action in material-corporeal places/spaces.


"Open Source and New Media Artists"

Article by Katri Halonen, Metropolia
Published in Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, Vol 3 (1), Feb 2007



On shutdown day


Layout and expectations of the course






An anthropological introduction to YouTube (55 mins)

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

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