Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies


Date February 2011 / Category News

Last week Amsterdam University Press released my book Bastard Culture! How User Participation Transforms Cultural Production. Published under a Creative Commons license, the entire book is available as download. The book is an updated and expanded version of my 2008 dissertation and includes a new chapter on the discourse on 'social media'. My aim in this project has been to deconstruct the ideological connotation of participation and to offer a pragmatic view on technology and media practices in digital culture.

Tags Book publication

Date April 2009 / Category News

On May 15th 2009 the Utrecht New Media Studies program will celebrate its 10th something anniversay.
The book launch takes place on May 15th 2009 at Studio T, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht (NL). On this day we want to reflect on what we have achieved in the last ten years and how we have developed into a full-fledged and indispensable field of study. The day will be kicked off with a series of presentations of former student who will tell us about their professional careers after their study. In the afternoon our book Digital Material: Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology will be launched (AUP, eds. M. van den Boomen, S. Lammes, A.-S. Lehmann, J. Raessens and M.T. Schäfer). Lectures will be held by Geert Lovink (Institute for Network Cultures) and Florian Cramer (Piet Zwart Institute). During the day Studio T exhibits two installations: nOtbOt by Walter Langelaar and threads/ by audrey samson. Both artists will also give talks on their approach to working with 'digital material'.

Tags Book Event

Date March 2008 / Category News

Finally Springer published the long expected volume "Philosophy and Design. From Engineering to Architecture" edited by Pieter Vermaas, Peter Kroes, Andrew Light and Steven A. Moore. It consists of 25 essays reflecting engineering and design as issues for philosophy and ethics. The contributions provide philosophical and ethical analyses ranging from rather traditional engineering to emerging practices in genetics, nanotechnology, software design and information technology. The editor's introductory chapter emphasizes the meaning of design and engineering as a theme for philosophy and maps comprehensively the field according to philosophical, societal and ethical issues. Carl Mitcham, author of "Thinking Through Technology" praises the book as "significant contribution to the expanding field of design studies [...] It is also the first collection of philosophical papers to bridge the divide between critical reflections on design in engineering and in architecture."
Bernhard Rieder and I are pleased to contribute a piece on software design using open source as an example to emphasize the cultural context of engineering.
Get the book at Springer.
Read our article (.pdf)

Tags Book

Date June 2004 / Category Publications

Siegfried Zielinski: Archäologie der Medien. Zur Tiefenzeit des technischen Hörens und Sehens. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt 2002.
Read at theaterwissenschaft.at

Joel Black: The Reality Effect. Film, Culture and the Graphic Imperative. New York, London: Routledge 2002.
Read at theaterwissenschaft.at

Ursula von Keitz und Kay Hoffmann, Hg.: Die Einübung des dokumentarischen Blicks. Fiction Film und Non Fiction Film zwischen Wahrheitsanspruch und expressiver Sachlichkeit 1895 - 1945. Marburg: Schüren 2001.
Read at theaterwissenschaft.at

Tags Book German Review

Date January 2005 / Category News

Last summer Marianne van den Boomen and me were working on an article on open source software. We noticed that open source has become a metaphor for democracy, freedom, transparent work processes and collective legends of a better society. Our attempt to map the metaphors travelling through society resulted in the article "Will the revolution be open sourced? How open source travels through society".

The article is published in the book "How open is the future. Economic, Social and Cultural Scenarios inspired by Free and Open Source Software" edited by Marleen Wynants and Jan Cornelis. The editors and a Brussel University and industry network, are launching the book with a one day seminar on Open Source on February 3rd 2005.

The book is released under the creative commons license and is available  online as well.  Download the book at Crosstalks.

Tags Book

Date July 2009 / Category News

YouTube made a profound impact on digital culture owing to its vast number of users, and enormous and continuous repository of on-demand-video. Commentators praised it as democratizing media use, facilitating the revolution that turns the user into the producer and changes everything, or condemned it for the same or many other reasons. The popular discourse has often simultaneously overestimated and underestimated YouTube in the many often hasty and superficial statements. Few attempts have been made so far to approach YouTube critically and analytically. A first collection of articles has been provided by Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer in their 2008 publication Video Vortext Reader: Responses to YouTube.

With the recently published YouTube Reader, edited by Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau, a comprehensive book is available that attempts to go beyond mere description to theorize an emerging media phenomenon from different perspectives. The entire book is available as free download (.pdf).

Tags Article Book

Date March 2008 / Category News

Im transcript Verlag ist das Buch "SUBversionen.  Zum Verhältnis von Politik und Ästhetik in der Gegenwart" erschienen. Die Herausgeber Thomas Ernst, Patricia Gozalbez Cantó, Sebastian Richter, Nadja Sennewald, und Julia Tieke versammeln in dem Band Beiträge, die subversive Strategien in Kunst und Medien kritisch reflektieren. Neben Texten zur Geschichte und Wirkung des Subversiven im Allgemeinen, werden subversive Strategien in den Bereichen Theater, Fotografie, Literatur, Film und Mode analysiert und bewertet. Zusammen mit Hans Bernhard von Ubermorgen.com trage ich dazu mit einem Artikel über die Ambivalenz des Subversiven bei.

  • Eine Besprechung des Bandes findet sich auf Datenschmutz.
  • Das Buch bei transcript
  • Der Artikel: Subversion ist Schnellbeton. Zur Ambivalenz des Subversiven in Medienproduktionen, online, oder als .pdf.

Tags Book

Date January 2007 / Category News

A plethora of different tools are supposed to help the user to get along with a certain software application. FAQs, Wikis, forums, read-me texts, tutorials, manuals and the documentation should help the user to set up and use the software. These tools are frequently provided in a misleading way and often difficult to understand. In discussion with software designer Patrick Kranzlmüller we asked whether a solution would be based on an improved information management system or on a different way of organizing the development process. The Austrian communication scientist Theo Hug pointed us to the terminology of Microlearning. In microlearning we recognized the teach yourself processes that are established practices in digital culture. But further more microlearning can offer a way to diminish the gap between users and developers.

In our article "RTFM! Teach-Yourself Culture in Open Source Software Projects" we evaluate tools used for documenting and explaining software and analyze how microlearning could offer a methodology for integrating the user and stimulating the teach yourself processes. In consequence a list of recommendations for software developers is provided. Communicating the complexity of software to users is not only a matter of information design but a social challenge, too.

Tags Article Book Software-Design User-Participation

Date September 2004 / Category News

Software Art & Cultures Conference at the 2004 Read_Me Festival in Aarhus
(22.8. – 25.8.2004)

The Read_Me Festival is connecting the theorizing of software art and cultures in a conference with hands on practice in the Dorkbot City Camp where artists and programmers are presenting their work. The festival’s main theme People doing strange things with software describes already that creative usage of software is a cultural practice. I went to Aarhus to experience the synergies of the festival’s interdisciplinary perspective and presented a paper on using technology as a cultural practice. In fact this was a new version of the paper i had presented in Bilbao in April. I added some comments on the discursive function of mods.
The activities at the festival and the camp are documented in a weblog.
A review on the conference and the festival by Peter Luining at nettime.
A review in Italian on neural.it.

Tags Book conference

Date June 2005 / Category News

This big volume, edited by Joost Raessens and Jeffrey Goldstein, covers a lot of perspectives on computer games. From the history of computer games and their pre-history (slot machines) to the design and the reception of games a broad range of issues are discussed in this book. Contributors come from various fields such as social sciences, psychology, cultural studies and game design.
MIT Press

Tags Book

2000 - 2022 Mirko Tobias Schäfer

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