(Site update: March 9, 2014)
[updated content: newsfeed]
On March 4th, our beloved cat, Coco, went on his last adventure. He is survived by his feline friends Portia, Jackson, and Bebert. The undisputed alpha of the cat clan, he acted as sage and guardian to several kittens. A noble, intelligent, and loving friend, we will miss him dearly. He first arrived 15 years ago, on the doorstep in the rain. Extremely sickly, Coco was nursed back to health and enjoyed a wonderful life with us where all his needs were met.
In his younger years, he prowled the neighbourhood as a small but mighty scrapper who could hold his own. As he grew older, he kept closer to home but could be seen climbing up his favourite tree, teaching younger cats how to bathe, enjoying long summer days on the patio, and rarely more than a few feet away from any of us. He provided a great deal of love and affection to our family.
As he grew even older, he was afflicted with numerous health problems. At a certain point we had to make one of the hardest decisions. But to look into his eyes, it was as if he was telling us it was the right decision, that he was ready.
Those who have lived with cats for any length of time know that they each have their own unique personality. Coco was certainly one of those very distinct creatures with a bold, adventurous, and wise spirit.
Feb 15: Conference talk, interrogating access conference, feb 14-16, 2014
Tweaking the Crowdfunding Model: Supplementing Research Funding
In the Canadian context, it is no secret that available funding resources are both “drying up” due to top-down government-based austerity measures, and an increase in government intervention as to what constitutes valid research as indexed on the ideological context of commercialization of scholarly activity.
The crowdfunding phenomenon differs in both content and intention from its closely resembling cousin, crowdsourcing, in that it makes specific use of online tools for the acquisition of funds from a broad spectrum of disintermediated sources. Heralded by some as an entrepreneurial instrument (Schwienbacher and Larralde, 2010) that mobilizes audiences (“crowds” in some of the literature, “communities” or “customers” in others) for the purposes of either ex ante or ex post facto initiatives (Kappel 2009), it has been popularized as a means by which successful financing for projects can be brought to term.
This paper will explore an alternative funding source specifically for the Arts and Humanities based on the crowdfunding model, but modified in such a way that said initiatives may result in improved funder-fundee matching and evaluation using a phase-based approach. As the current crowdfunding model generally favours entrepreneurial start-ups and content that is more populist or topical in nature, a series of modifications would be required to optimize the potential success of such initiatives. The benefits and limits of such crowdfunding initiatives will be of a piece in this discussion, while ultimately such a model may be repurposed as a supplement to more traditional funding sources, open to a global audience, and of some utility for facilitating research at particularly critical phases.
Kappel, Tim. (2009) Ex Ante Crowdfunding and the Recording Industry: A Model for the US? Loyola.
Schwienbacher, Armin and Benjamin Larralde. (2010). Crowdfunding of Small Entrepreneurial Ventures. Handbook of Entrepreneurial Finance. Oxford University Press.
Feb 13: new article
tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique: Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society 12.1 has just published an article of mine on Veblen and social capital.
Veblen 2.0: Neoliberal Games of Social Capital and the Attention Economy as Conspicuous Consumption
Abstract: The purpose of this article will be in reading acts of prosumer behaviour in social networking environments through a Veblenian lens, supported in part by the post-Marxist insights of Guy Debord, especially with respect to the issue of celebrity emulation, conspicuous leisure as constructed by the labour of profile management and promiscuous online interactivity, and acts of status enhancement or aggrandizement. Such a discussion must be set in the current context of the normative frame of neoliberal ideology which champions the values of the entrepreneurial self, devolved competitiveness as a form of - in this case social rather than strictly economic - neo-Darwinism, and the touted virtues of speed and connectivity. Ultimately, it is our hope to link these conspicuous online practices to the ideological framework to demonstrate how prosumption plays an integral role in the quantification of the social economy as expressed as “social capital.” In order to achieve these objectives, strict and operational definitions of prosumption, conspicuity in the Veblenian literature, and neoliberalism will be required. The line between social and economic capital is not a definitive one, and that the behaviours and motives associated with increasing social capital may be weighted more to the individual and influenced by neoliberal values that recode the social as derivative of the economic.
Feb 5: new monthly column at University affairs
Introducing the first in a series of entries for my new column at University Affairs on the plight of contract academic staff - and developing working solutions.
jan 21: foreword to new book
Honoured to be given the opportunity to write the foreword to Robert Lort's newest book, Eat the Word, a Deleuzian-inspired series of literary vignettes. The book is due to be released in 5-7 days.
Jan 21: quoted on selfies; jan 22: quoted on digital narcissism
Quoted on "selfies" in a Western Gazette article written by Jacqueline Baker, and on digital narcissism in an article written by Roberto Nanni.
Jan 12: New article / ed intro -
Happy new year.
My editorial introduction to the themed section on digital narcissisms is now out, as well as my article on modular capitalism and geomorphia. Both are now available in the recent issue of Reconstruction.
The editorial intro on digital narcissism: "Triumph of the Id"
The article: Geomorphia: Did the Earth Move for You? Mobile Capital as Geomorphic Agent
Dec 21: New article
The Journal of Documentation Studies just published an article of mine. The full article, as an "early cite" since the issue has not yet been printed, is available for those with institutional access to the Emerald Journal Group.
"An Information Meta-State Approach to Documentation"
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to bring both Simondonian and Deleuzian insights to bear upon the nature of documents and documentation by viewing them as non-representationalist, and as products of transduction and reticulation that render documents assemblages that are in constant negotiation with an environment as instances of a perpetually renewing problematic.
Design/methodology/approach - Simondon’s work on metastability and transduction can offer particular insights into how we view documents in terms of their materiality, signification, and possibly to move beyond the phenomenological bias in the treatment of documents.
Findings - In understanding or describing the process of documentation as a reticulation or unfolding, we also come to view the document as an assemblage in perpetual negotiation. This paper adapts Deleuze and Guattari’s articulation framework of expression-signification and provides a bit of groundwork toward two registers of information (first and second order) according to the preindividual process of that allows for the individuation of documents.
Originality/value - This paper makes an original contribution to understanding the process of documentation and the product of documents in a more fluid, interdynamic context by shifting or displacing the traditional view of information.
a few old books
Feeling rather bummed out today, but a small bit of solace comes by way of some old books I purchased from Attic Books yesterday. You can read about them here.
Every once in a while it is nice to set my geeky work aside and do something... geeky and non-work related.
In this short piece, posted on this site, I take very sharp things and a lot of obsessive patience to the inside cover of a book from 1787 to reveal secret pages hiding beneath!
Join me as I peel back the pastedown to reveal the historical secret inside.
nov 13: usc teaching honour roll
Just learned that I made the teaching honour roll again, along with ten other of my colleagues at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Official news copy from the FIMS website:
"Congratulations go to 11 FIMS faculty members who were recently named to the 2013-2013 edition of the USC Teaching Honour Roll.
Included are: Andrea Benoit, Tim Blackmore, Jacquie Burkell, Chris Clark, Norma Coates, Sally Colwell, Kane Faucher, Amanda Grzyb, Selma Purac, John Reed and Sharon Sliwinski.
The University Students' Council each year names to the Teaching Honour Roll those instructors who receive an accumulated average of 6.3 or higher out of 7 on the first 14 questions of the UWO Senate-mandated course and teacher evaluations."
OCT 31: western news book reviews
Book reviews of four worthwhile books by Rachel M. Heydon, Bernd Steinbock, Don Gutteridge, and various authors under the fine editorship of Linda M. Morra and Jessica Schagerl. The books under review takes us from intergenerational learning, what it really means to be an Athenian, archival practices with respect to women scholars and artists, to a fable on what makes Gavin so great. Check out my reviews in the Read All Over section here.
oct 23: new edition of codex seraphinianus
Rizzoli is issuing a new edition of the Codex Seraphinianus on Oct 29 with new plates supplied by Serafini. This exciting news for Codex nerds like me may precipitate some further work on the Codex, if not also plans to create an homage edition of my own. Those interested can peruse the incomplete analysis and initial attempts to construct some Serafini-esque work here.
This digitized Serafini "majuscule" above was constructed by me, using a mixture of hand-drawn elements that were scanned for processing in font-making software. My own incomplete Serafini alphabet has been converted to true-type font (.ttf) and can be used on most word processors.
OCT 20: presented at apps & affect conference
image streamed from blog.teamtreehouse.com
Hosted at Museum London on October 18-20. This conference will bring together a diverse group of scholars from a variety of disciplines to present work on the significance of apps, be them openly creative points of access and invention, or a form of regulatory control.
My own contribution to the discussion by way of the abstract:
App as Non-Apparition: The Counter-Alethic Function [white walls and black holes]
Apps already grid the subject and its conditions of possibility through a regime of signs, aligned in part by a technocratic restructuring of the myth of progress where the app is positioned as the essential filter through which problems can find their immediate or ready-to-hand solutions. However, despite the optimism of the technocratic solutions-as-tools, like the algorithm the app effectively regulates subjectivity by distributing uniform diversity rather than acknowledge the already-different. In Deleuze and Guattari's sense, it may qualify as simply another, albeit etherealized or computationally embedded, molarity that captures, regulates, and distributes the flows of difference by also shaping the Weltanschaaung through the precise pre-programmed aperture of the app itself. For example, the app of Google Maps alters the way we view and engage space, distance, and point-concentrated relevance. If there is no "app" for that particular "that," it may be implied as part of the computational logic that it is of no value or significance, thus appealing to valuation by omission. The emergence of affect generally must follow an intensive feature where the virtual is made immanent to the process of individuation. The app, however, might conceal the intensive affects and function to cancel out the real differences required for a truly expressive means of creating something other out of the tracing of the subject-user and the object-app, both of which enter into a dialectical relationship. The question upon which this turns would be in determining whether the app provides a mechanism for feedback or feedforward. By an appeal to the works of Heidegger, Simondon, and Deleuze, this talk will trace the logic of the app as possibly being less conducive in recognizing affect or the fold that exists between subjectivity and technology, still subordinating the affect of sense as a secondary quality.
oct 8: Book release
The word “information” carries a number of connotations depending on context, and can be said to be one of the most problematic words to define despite many efforts by statistical theorists, mathematicians, physicists, cyberneticians, communication theorists, computer scientists, and philosophers. Is information physical or non-physical? Is the universe digital, analog, or a “chaosmic” mixture of the two?
This book explores a Deleuzian way of understanding information by retracing Deleuze’s ontology of difference back to Gilbert Simondon’s concepts of transduction, metastability, and perpetual individuation as a source for Deleuze’s concept of the virtual. Although Deleuze did not address information specifically in his oeuvre, this book attempts to construct what a Deleuzian theory of information might look like as a consequence of his philosophical insights.
The reader is presented with a brief survey of information theories, capsule explanations of the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon and Gilles Deleuze, and a discussion on the roles of metastasis and metastability as a means of addressing the problematic known as information outside of computing regimes, and as a critique of cybernetics, informatics, and memetics. Can information be reconfigured as affirmative difference, transformed into a “nomad science,” or must it remain consigned to the realm of probabilism?
sept 26: teaching award
Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching recipients announced: 9/26/2013 4:14:33 PM
Susan Knabe, Anabel Quan-Haase, Mark Kearney and Kane Faucher have all received the award for 2013.
The awards were announced at a reception on Wednesday, September 26, held in University College. Acting Dean Nick Dyer-Witheford presented each recipient with a certificate marking the achievement.
sept 7: WNDER's new website
The Western Network for Digital Education and Research website has now been launched. Read about WNDER's ambitious mandate here.
general update - august 22, 2013
Image streamed from Christrains.com
1. An article accepted with revisions; 2. Proofs for my upcoming book with Sense Publishers; 3. Work on the book, Datapolitik in full swing; 4. Course revisions complete for this coming year (Propaganda, Social Networking, Media & Audiences); 5. Nominated for Dean's Teaching Award; 6. Work on "crowdfunding" article with collaborator continues; 7. Co-editorial work on Deleuze and Guattari on Capitalism/Economy continues; 8. A smattering of other articles in various stages; 9. Revving up for a negotiation year at Western; 10. New member of the Western Network for Digital Education and Research (WNDER)
july 15: Back from lisbon
A weeklong stay in Lisbon as part of the Deleuze conference. For those who like pictures, I snapped a few here.
july 8-10: Deleuze conference presentation
On July 8-10: I presented Seed De/Re-Territorialization: Monsanto and Genetic Drift as Deleuzo-Guattarian Capital (6th International Deleuze Conference, Faculty of Science, Lisbon, Portugal).
The abstract is as follows:
Recent legal disputes involving Monsanto's genetically modified organisms highlight issues of enviro-genetic territory with respect to the effects of gene drift from GM crops to non-GM crops. Although Monsanto prides itself on a Baroque-inspired philosophical outlook where human purpose is to "perfect" nature, and in thus controlling and correcting nature in ways reminiscent of cybernetics, gene drift reterritorializes environmental space in ways that cannot be properly contained, and may suggest a purposive plan on the part of Monsanto to recode the environment according to its own genetic capture and hyper-capitalist flows as united with bioinformatics. This paper will apply Deleuze's and Guattari's insights on the war machine and the apparatus of capture to better position Monsanto's relationship to environmental and genetic territory. This paper will argue that despite any superficial resemblance to rhizomatic spread, Monsanto is engaging in a covert arborescent strategy which attempts to overdetermine environmental and genetic space according to a despotic "corrective" regime under the guise of benevolent utility.
Not only will this prove exciting in rubbing shoulders with D&G giants, but I will also have an opportunity to spend time in a city that is older than London (the one in the UK, not here). As someone who is an advocate for farmers' autonomy, organic food, and biodiversity, my hope is that this will be the first in a series of papers and possible articles critiquing the practices of major GM seed developers from a Deleuzian standpoint.
june 14: ulises mejias' new book
UMinn Press has just released the long-awaited (at least by me and a handful of other geeks) "Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World" by Ulises Mejias, a scholar and researcher at SUNY Oswego. One of the central questions Mejias asks (and one that my Debordian 2.0 self asks with respect to the tyranny of the social web algorithm) is how can we unthink networks? What are the hegemonic traits of current largely corporate networks that divide and rule over its "nodes" (are we more than just nodes in a network?), and how has this marginalized others, alienating users from what they can do? - there may be a Nietzschean question in there! Anyhow, while the glut of zombie novellas and Victorian romances continue being extruded by the publishing apparatus, Mejias' book has been bumped up on my beach read list. I hope to pen a review once I have finished it.
June 14: book review
I wrote a review of "From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin" by Henry Whittlesey (ed.) on their interesting and procedural method of "transposition" at Sein und Werden. Read about it here.
June 7: consultancy position
I have recently been taken on as an associate consultant for the Toronto consultancy firm, Eco-Ethonomics, which focuses on providing strategic planning, sustainability, organizational development, and social enterprise. Read about what they do here.
JUNE 1: Some advocacy stuff
I recently sent a letter to leaders of all the federal parties outlining my concerns with the proposed changes to the Seeds Act. I received a good reply from the NDP. You can read my letter and their response here. (.doc)
Also, I would urge anyone visiting this site to sign the online petition to save Windsor's Centre for Studies in Social Justice, slated to be shuttered this July. This program not only boasts an amazing pool of talented researchers, but also produces students with the ability to advocate on issues of social justice and labour. You can sign the petition here.
June 1: the Infinite grey released
The final book in my trilogy is now available on Amazon. You can read about it on the infinity page. The publisher, Civil Coping Mechanisms, is currently building the landing page with an excerpt.
This is a "soft release," which means I have no plans on any book tours, signings, interviews, or any other PR mechanism beyond what my publisher arranges. Marketing the third in a trilogy is a distinct challenge since it favours those who have already been following the first two volumes.
The cover image appears courtesy of Dale Dunning (the sculptor and photographer of the image). Check out his other work at his page, and read about my raves on him and the other excellent artists who have supplied images for the trilogy here.
may 12 - goodreads blogpost: black market books
Image streamed from Ceciliatan.com
Free books... at the expense of indie authors and publishers. Read my post on the matter here.
may 5 - goodreads blogpost: The infinite grey... soon!
What a long, strange textual trip it's been. Read some of my reflections on the long lead-up to the final book in my hefty tome-like trilogy here.
april 23 - goodreads blogpost: the art of cover art
image streamed from bazaardesigns.com
Instead of discussing what is between the covers, I give plaudits to the fine practicing artists who supplied the images that appear on the covers themselves. Read about them here.
April 18: noise matters
I was invited by L.-F. Celine scholar Greg Hainge to give my meandering reflections on his newest book, Noise Matters at 333sound. Why not join in?
Greg has a solid grasp of Deleuze and Guattari in addition to L.F. Celine. For those keeping track, he and I co-authored a short paper back in 2010 on Celine and ventriloquism for Etudes Celiniennes.
april 12 - goodreads post: on the trilogy
Violating my own personal rule that authors should not speak about their own work, I do so anyway - but with a bit of cheek, and then veer off into issue-based rambling. Read it here.
april 5 - goodreads post: ranking practices
Today I got to rank myself 36 / 36 on number of years I have been post-womb. But what do book rankings mean? What can we learn from them, and what can we not? I weigh in on the popularity metrics and algorithmic nature of book rankings. Read it here.
april 4; two book reviews at western news
Two reviews at Western News: Bipasha Baurah and Terence M. Green.
April 3: western annual author reception
Along with several of my Western colleagues, the Western Bookstore put on a little fete for us. Vice Provost Janice Deakin did the honours of presenting us with awards; esteemed shutterbug Lotte Huxley snapped the occasion; President Amit Chakma dropped by; and I had some very lovely conversations with some very talented Western writers.
march 29 - goodreads post: goodreads + amazon = ?
image streamed from forbes.com
If Amazon cannot buy out its competition, it can surely edge them out. The recent news of Amazon's desire to purchase the reader network Goodreads may change the very nature of the site. Read about some of my best guesses of what those changes might be here.
march 27: thumbstruck: the semiotics of liking via the phaticon
I had an academic article published in the newly refurbished, online-only, open-source journal, Semiotic Review (formerly The Semiotic Review of Books). What's it about? Digital thumbs, of course! (This piece should not be confused with a more gen-audience piece I wrote many years ago on the "thumbstruck generation").
This article will be an early attempt to ground the ubiquitous icon of the “thumb” present on several SNSs and online comment fora in both semiotic and semantic registers. The digital convention of making use of the thumb must first be clarified in terms of its status as either icon, index, or symbol, and furthermore what role it plays in human-computer interaction (HCI), gamification of SNSs, digital gesturality, and the inherent mechanisms of arithmomania that guide approbation in the command and control environments of computer-mediated communication (CMC) that rely on prompting to guide online behaviour. In addition, we might ask if the thumb functions as part of the currency in online social capital accumulation and social transactionalism.
Read it here.
march 25: western research day
march 8: symposium presentation
On March 8, I presented Creative Engagement and Reflective Practice: Two Approaches to Teaching Social Media (Technology in Education Symposium, J.G. Althouse Bldg, Faculty of Education, Western University). It was a lively panel including other faculty members addressing issues of a digitally interactive (if not ergodic) syllabus, the use of YouTube for instructional delivery, vodcasting lectures for distance studies courses, and other uses of the digital milieu for exploration, teaching and learning.
BORN: Ottawa, Canada 1977
PROFESSION: Author; Assistant Professor at Western University, Faculty of Information and Media Studies; strategic planning consultant. (other jobs include book reveiwer, columnist)
Married, three cats, lives in London, Canada
UPCOMING EVENTS (1)
[sticky] upcoming talk: improving digitability: learning delivery across the digital divide. Technology in education symposium, march 27-8
When universities speak of mobility, they may be keen to extract value by focusing on the global market of potential students who may prosper from an educational delivery system that is locally convenient; i.e., in being able to take courses for credit regardless of where they live. However, a plethora of problems arise that include, but are not limited to, the following: 1. Jurisdictional barriers in terms of credentialization whereby previous education in one region is not easily comparable to others as a criteria for admission; 2. Linguistic barriers as not all persons have the same proficiencies in the language in which the course is being taught; 3. Financial barriers in terms of income levels where it cannot be assumed that a single sticker price for course offerings by a university will be within a range of affordability for those who reside in impoverished nations. We might also add that massive, globally delivered courses from one university may be complicit with various cultural assumptions, pre-loaded with normative biases (most likely a Western-centric bias) which do not take into consideration the uniqueness and autonomy of diverse cultures, learning styles, and educational values. Despite the ubiquity and large scale adoption of ICTs on a global scale, it may turn out that people are not as mobile in any sense of the term as data transfer and digital products. Assuming the potential student has reliable technological access, this does not necessarily mean that s/he is on the advantaged side of the digital divide. As Castells notes, people in developing nations having access to the technologies does not mean they magically become participants in the “knowledge economy” if there is no suitable training in how to capitalize on their usage.
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