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Extending Horizons - The Praxis Of Experimental Publishing In The Age Of Digital Networks


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This dissertation is focused on the practices of experimental publishing that are intertwined with digital and networked technology, and borrow strategies derived from the context of arts and design. In order to build a model of interpretation of such practices, I defined a theoretical framework, I made an overview of influential perspectives within the field, and I carried out an investigation of the ‘communities of practice’ in which experimental publishing takes place. Then, I analyzed a phenomenology of projects that highlight the characteristics of an experimental approach in each specific stage of the publishing process. Finally, I developed an online archive for the purpose of categorizing and connecting the different case studies. The main question addressed is: How does experimental publishing contribute to influence and extend the very notion of publishing, understood as an activity that transcends a specific professional sector by involving a substantial portion of Web users? To answer this question, I compare a series of diverse definitions of publishing, I discuss the complexities of such field and I advance a perspective to orient within it and to identify its boundaries. This perspective is characterized by a ‘holistic’ understanding of publishing — not a specific moment, but a succession of phases — and by a focus on processes instead of products. Then, I consider dynamics of both digitization and digitalization, and the effects that these have on publishing tools. In order to do so, I describe a series of episodes that have illustrative value for the understanding this impact. At this stage, I define the attribute ‘experimental’ by referring to artistic and literary avant-gardes, and to the universe of the artists’ books, including also a series of manifestos produced by designers and artists who work in the field of publishing. In order to pinpoint experimental modes of production, dissemination and reception, I build and analyze a thematic set of case studies. I look at these by using as a model the series of phases extracted from the initial analysis of the publishing process: production of content, production of artifacts, distribution, reception, and survival. Each of these case studies is meant to bring out the transformations that an experimental practice can produce on each specific phase of the process. Finally, I concentrate on the practical outcome of the dissertation, which can be assimilated to different phases in the model, in particular that of survival. Here, I describe the development of an online repository of experimental publishing and the choices related to the inclusion and the categorization of the projects covered in the thematic case studies. Then, I introduce a periodization and a series of inclusion criteria that guide the activities of archiving. I conclude by discussing the aspects of publishing that are extended or altered by the practices described in the case studies. In this way, I close a circular path of definitions that are related through a feedback mechanism. In this path, defining publishing helps to frame experimental practices, which in turns affect the notion of publishing defined in first place. In this research, digital and networked technology plays a multiple role: it is a core agent in the mutations in the editorial practice; it produces conditions that are able to foster or hinder a set of values and consequent behaviors that are not always easily intelligible. In this sense, it is appropriate to speak of the reciprocal influence of society and digitality . A phenomenology of experimental publishing, the core of the research, is developed by selecting, discussing, and comparing a series artifacts, practices, services, and platforms conceived by artists and designers. These projects function as meditations on mediation: the process to build and activate them, their role, behavior, and symbolic value operate as tools to reflect upon the ways in which several layers of mediation — frames in Michael Bhaskar terms (2013) — affect the production, distribution, and reception of content; in a word: publishing. In building this phenomenology, I avoid showcase projects, “the achilles heel of all electronic and multimedia publishing efforts” (Cramer 2014) by which I mean artifacts or services subservient to the technologies employed. An exception to this rule occurs when a showcase projects is useful to highlight, by opposition, features that belong to other ones. A collateral result of such phenomenology is to point out the ways in which the publishing ecosystem is designed. Therefore, the projects I consider do not directly provide solutions because they often address “wicked problems” (Rittel and Webber 1973): societal issues that hold a level of ambiguity and do not allow for straightforward answers.
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... However, in locations where online material may be restricted, print allows information to reach people where digital cannot. Bhaskar (2013) and Lorusso (2016) both argue that the act of 'amplification', a mainstay of the publishing process involves "having something encountered more widely, or by different people, than would otherwise have been the case." (Bhaskar, 2013, p.114). ...
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Taking into account the historical issues in the gender-technology debate, the current socio-technological situation, feminist practices and principles, and the methods of publishing in a post-digital world this project proposes to create a platform for women with an interest in technology and/or researching into gender and technology to connect and share ideas; a space for critical analysis, reflection, discussion, action and activism. It aims to challenge the standard format of a conventionally produced and bound publication, viewing it as an object of our hierarchical and patriarchal cultural system. It proposes a model for feminist publication design and distribution which adheres to the feminist principles of equality, collectivism and being non-hierarchical.
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Twitter is a new web application playing dual roles of online social networking and microblogging. Users communicate with each other by publishing text-based posts. The popularity and open structure of Twitter have attracted a large number of automated programs, known as bots, which appear to be a double-edged sword to Twitter. Legitimate bots generate a large amount of benign tweets delivering news and updating feeds, while malicious bots spread spam or malicious contents. More interestingly, in the middle between human and bot, there has emerged cyborg referred to either bot-assisted human or human-assisted bot. To assist human users in identifying who they are interacting with, this paper focuses on the classification of human, bot, and cyborg accounts on Twitter. We first conduct a set of large-scale measurements with a collection of over 500,000 accounts. We observe the difference among human, bot, and cyborg in terms of tweeting behavior, tweet content, and account properties. Based on the measurement results, we propose a classification system that includes the following four parts: 1) an entropy-based component, 2) a spam detection component, 3) an account properties component, and 4) a decision maker. It uses the combination of features extracted from an unknown user to determine the likelihood of being a human, bot, or cyborg. Our experimental evaluation demonstrates the efficacy of the proposed classification system.
It is conventionally assumed that book publishing is a process through which writing is relayed to readers: publishing conceived as publication. At most, publishing is acknowledged as a process which writing passes through, with effects that are partially acknowledged for mass-market genre fiction, and almost universally denied for literary fiction. Here I argue that publishing—as a set of processes and practices—is constitutive of all formations of writing and reading. Publishing precedes writing and governs the possibilities of reading. This article is an explicit challenge to both contemporary book studies and literary studies. The argument elaborated here takes publishing—as a set of processes, practices and relations—to the centre of literary studies. It should be immediately clear that the definitions of “publishing” and the publishable formulated here, owe little to common sense. These common senses, implicit and explicit, are elaborated in the first section of this article. Section two presents a critical alternative. A sketch of this critical alternative—horizons of the publishable—follows. I finish by outlining some of the transformations effected by publishing and the publishable on concepts such as style, genre, intertextuality, adaptation, and the literary, in its strong evaluative sense. The materiality of the book is now both topos and mantra. Varying modes of publication, the diverse physical forms of texts, and historically variegated reading practices are routinely invoked as contexts in ever more nuanced accounts of textuality and reading. In part, this represents the selective movement of book studies into the literary studies mainstream. Leah Price’s introduction to the 2006 PMLA special issue—“Book History and the Idea of Literature”—both documents and evidences this process.1 But the book as object, and slogan, also reflects a more complex traf-fic of discourse: a specifically literary contribution to the general topic of “material cultures”; continuities and congruence between Annales history (which shaped early histories of the book and reading) and the “new” historicism; and the metabolization of certain concepts, above all writing/différance, in some fields of critical editing. Despite this, publishing remains untheorized, not only in literary studies but in book history. Such a claim clearly requires substantiation, but a couple of general points here may suggest the shape of the argument. There is certainly an increasing awareness that regimes of writing and reading are shaped by a wide range of institutions, including those of publishing. Any attention paid to illustration, format, typography, distribution, reprinting, and so on, can offer direct or indirect evidence of this. Yet for the most part this attention is not directed to thinking either individual practices, or publishing as a totality, at the most general level. For the most part, publishing is not a primary interest in such studies at all, which evidence ever more and ever fuller instances of the rich variations that differentiate text, contexts, readings, and readers.2 More speculatively, the context in which publishing came to be understood as an influence on writing and/or reading coincided with the moment when authority and responsibility for meaning shifted from author to reader and reading. Roger Chartier’s later work is emblematic of this simultaneous opening up of material form as the inscription of production and its nearly exclusive understanding in terms of reading.3 It is within the terms of this problematic movement towards reading that publishing was and generally remains understood. Above all I wish to insist here on the precession of publishing. Ro-land Barthes, most famously in “The Death of the Author” and “From Work to Text,” did much to defamiliarize and invert our commonsense understandings of the relationship between texts (and works) and those who write and are inscribed in them.4 It was Barthes, after all, who naturalized the author as a figure subsequent to the text, constituted in writing and reading. But this much-misunderstood birth of the reader, or rather a very specific practice of reading, leaves no role for publishing. Barthes comes closest to describing such a process in “From Work to Text” when he invokes the machinery of book production and especially how books or works are ordered in distribution—“in bookshops, in catalogues . . . on a...
Having accepted the invitation to revisit my essay of 1982, “What Is the History of Books?”, I find that I can do it only in the first person singular and therefore must ask to be excused for indulging in some autobiographical detail. I would also like to make a disclaimer: in proposing a model for studying the history of books twenty-four years ago, I did not mean to tell book historians how they ought to do their jobs. I hoped that the model might be useful in a heuristic way and never thought of it as comparable to the models favored by economists, the kind in which you insert data, work it over, and arrive at a bottom line. (I do not believe that bottom lines exist in history.) It seemed to me in 1982 that the history of books was suffering from fissiparousness: experts were pursuing such specialized studies that they were losing contact with one another. The esoteric elements of book history needed to be integrated into an overview that would show how the parts could connect to form a whole—or what I characterized as a communications circuit. The tendency toward fragmentation and specialization still exists. History Version of Record
History Version of Record -Say It with Software Art!"
  • Amy Alexander
Alexander, Amy. 2003. " -Say It with Software Art!" May 13. read/+bibalph/+24/.