I've written something for Open Democracy, updating a little bit of the Designed Conflict Territories stuff and adding some wider scope. I also wanted to at least start to address some of the recent complaints coming out about critical design as a valid field.
I’ve previously argued that what we’re missing is an agonistic platform. I speculated that technology and networks are territories dominated by a narrow political and technological elite that provide no room for them to be challenged and others have argued the same without the focus on technological constraints. The re-emergence of extremism in the mainstream of the western world, single-issue parties and low voter turnout seem mainly due to the frustration and the assumption that their political agency is for naught.
Critical design, I believe has the latent ability to introduce a new sort of space where agonistic conflict can be had. Where agonism is a direct conflict between polities where both hold each in respect and where negotiation has failed because of unfair political footings and limited channels of action and communication. I call these spaces Designed Conflict Territories. That is territories, much like networks or technologies that are specifically designed to have or host agonistic conflict with or within. To me, something like the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network is an ideological portent of these spaces.Designed Conflict Territories or something like it at the RCA
I'll be doing a talk this week at the RCA about networks as territories and their political agency. Not sure on any details.
Monopoly of Legitimate Use announced
I've been commissioned by the Lighthouse in Brighton and HOUSE Festival to make a new film - The Monopoly of Legitimate Use, borrowing from Max Weber's statement of the same.
Here's some blurb:
The Monopoly of Legitimate Use looks at a near-future techno-political landscape, examining ideological conflicts between networks and states. Three short vignettes within the film deal with the control of citizenship, political identity and border definition in a complex networked topology. The films raise questions of how we identify ourselves politically and using what tools or methods as well as the rebalance of control caused by simultaneously globalising and localising network technology.