The conference Media, Knowledge & Education 2011: Cultures and Ethics of Sharing took place at Innsbruck, 18/19 November, 2011. Thanks to all participants, co-organizers, and support staff. Audio recordings of the talks will soon be available at the conference website, followed by an online and print publication. More information on this will follow. The tagcloud was created by Klaus Rummler and is based on the abstracts submitted for the conference.

The current issue of the International Review of Information Ethics on the ethics of sharing, guest-edited by Felix Stalder and Wolfgang Sützl, is available online now. With contributions by Clemens Apprich, Michel Bauwens, Vito Campanelli, Alessandro Delfanti, Marie-Luisa Frick/Andreas Oberprantacher, Mayo Fuster Morell, and Andras Wittel.

… This issue brings together contributions towards an ethics of sharing that embed the new technological potentialities linking them to their actual social impact. In our understanding, information ethics “deals with ethical questions in the field of digital production and reproduction of phenomena and processes such as the exchange, combination and use of information.” So, the task of developing an ethics of sharing is both descriptive – helping us to understand the contemporary complexities of the ethics of exchanging information as it emerges from using digital technologies across a global range of social and cultural contexts – as well as normative – helping us to address blind-spots and clarifying possible ethical frameworks to address unresolved issues regarding these practices. And what do we and should we finally do with the truly impressive contributions gathered here to provide answers to the above named questions and guidelines for the outlined task? We share them with you leaving them to your appropriate use – whatever you may make out of it. (From the editorial by Rafael Capurro and Felix Weil)

Download the complete IRIE issue 15/2011 in pdf format here

Paper presented at the MIT7 conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Even though the term “media activism” is often used to exclusively refer to the tactical media movement of the 1990s , contemporary media activism has in fact an extraordinarily rich history. Although research on this subject is limited, it is possible to identify media of resistance in every epoch of media history, or indeed to approach media history principally as a history of media of resistance. In their works on the carnival culture of medieval and early modern Europe, Mikhail Bakhtin (1984; image on the right), Rolf Johannsmeier (1984), and Piero Camporesi (1994) describe a wealth of forms of such media. They describe the cultures of carnival as a sophisticated and profoundly political range of counter cultural forms with a surprising capacity of sidestepping any kind of censorship.

Download full paper in pdf format here.

Untranslating Peace was a seminar I held at the MA Program in Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, August 1-12, 2011.

This seminar aims to contribute towards a better understanding of the interculturality of peace by drawing on theories of translation and cultural translation. Coming out of postcolonial and queer theory, as well as linguistic translation theories, cultural translation has been researched and practiced in a range of contexts as both a theory and a practice of cultural difference. As cultural translation is a process in which the cultural and the political intersect, the hypothesis of the seminar is that by critically studying cultural translation, we can gain new insights not only into the cultural conditionings of peaces, but also the politics of peace. Continue reading ‘Untranslating Peace’

Art and Culture in the Age of Security. Data Browser 04. Edited with Geoff Cox.

‘Today we are facing extreme and most dangerous developments in the thought of security. In the course of a gradual neutralisation of politics and the progressive surrender of traditional tasks of the state, security imposes itself as the basic principle of state activity. What used to be one among several decisive measures of public administration until the first half of the twentieth century, now becomes the sole criterion of political legitimation. The thought of security entails an essential risk. A state which has security as its sole task and source of legitimacy is a fragile organism; it can always be provoked by terrorism to become itself terrorist.’

Following the words of Giorgio Agamben (from his 2001 article ‘On Security and Terror’), security has become the basic principle of international politics after 9/11, and the ‘sole criterion of political legitimation’. But security – reducing plural, spontaneous and surprising phenomena to a level of calculability – also seems to operate against a political legitimacy based on possibilities of dissent, and stands in clear opposition to artistic creativity. Being uncalculable by nature, art is often incompatible with the demands of security and consequently viewed as a ‘risk’, leading to the arrest of artists, and a neutralisation of innovative environments for the sake of security.

Yet precisely the position of art outside the calculable seems to bring about a new politicisation of art, and some speak of art as ‘politics by other means’. Has art become the last remaining enclave of a critique of violence? Yet how ‘risky’ can art be?

The contributors to DATA browser 04: CREATING INSECURITY address these questions at the intersection of art, technology, and politics.

For more information check the Data Browser page.



You have reached the website of Wolfgang Sützl, aka Wolfgang Suetzl, hi.


Visuelle Strategien im Medienaktivismus.

Published in Hug, Theo u. Andreas Kriwak (eds.): Visuelle Kompetenz. Innsbruck: IUP 2011

Der Beitrag untersucht die Techniken der Maskierung und Spiegelung als visuelle Instrumente des Medienaktivismus. Nach einer Bestimmung des Begriffs Medienaktivismus anhand einer Auseinandersetzung mit den tactical media wird die Maske nach Bachtin und Giannetti als Metapher einer karnevalesken Kultur beschrieben, in der sich ein Anspruch auf Eigenmacht verbirgt, welcher in der Möglichkeit, aus sich selbst herauszutreten (Nietzsche) begründet ist. Maskierungen werden von Medienaktivisten/-aktivistinnen genutzt, um „neue Lebensmöglichkeiten zu artikulieren“ (Lazzarato, Raunig). Politiken der Sicherheit sind umgekehrt bestrebt, Möglichkeiten zu begrenzen und beinhalten daher Technologien der Demaskierung. In dieser Demaskierung verbirgt sich eine Form der Subjektivation (Butler, Foucault). Die Gegenwendigkeit der Subjektivation entspricht der visuellen Form des Spiegels. Im Medienaktivismus werden verzerrende Spiegelungen eingesetzt, um Fremdmacht temporär zu begrenzen, eine „Destrukturierung des Untragbaren“ (Lazzarato) zu bewirken …

Image: Stone mask, ca. 7000 B.C. (by Griffindor)

Full article as pdf

Das Blut – Symbolik und Magie Translated from the Italian, published by Turia + Kant 2004

Piero Camporesi rekonstruiert Riten und Obsessionen vormoderner Gesellschaften, verbindet sie aber immer wieder mit der Gegenwart. Seine Studien über den “Saft des Lebens” führen von der antiken Kosmologie über das Mittelalter und die frühe Neuzeit bis in unsere Tage, in denen das Blut zum Objekct der Hämatologie wurde und im Alltag weit weniger präsent ist als zu Zeiten öffentlicher Hinrichtungen und fehlender Kanalisation …

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Giorgio Agamben published an article that took issue with security as the “basic principle” of state politics. Referring to Foucault, Agamben contrasted security and disciplinary power, describing security as a characteristic of liberalism: “Measures of security can only function within a context of freedom of traffic, trade and individual initiative.” He further argued that through the “progressive surrender of traditional tasks of the state, security imposes itself as the basic principle of state activity” becoming the “sole criterion of political legitimation.” Further, Agamben argued that “a state which has security as its only task and source of legitimacy is a fragile organism; it can always be provoked by terrorism to turn itself terroristic.”[2] The progressive erosion of civic rights that occurs when “security imposes itself” indicates a deep-layered incompatibility between democratic legitimacy and security. To this end, Agamben called for a “revision of the concept of security” as a project of immediate importance …

Full article:  CTheory

Zur Sprache der Verschwiegenheit: Wo Sprache Gewalt vor ihrem Benanntwerden schützt, gedeihen Schweige-Institutionen und Verschwiegenheitsnetzwerke

Es war Brauch in der Knabenhauptschule Braunau am Inn, 1973, dass die Schüler in den Pausen in Zweierreihen schweigend im Kreis marschierten. Auch, dass die beaufsichtigenden Lehrer bei Disziplinverstößen mit dem Bestrafungsdreischritt “Niederbrüllen, Ohrfeigen, Nachsitzen” vorgingen. Auch, dass in manchen Klassen mit einem Stock geprügelt wurde, der am Beginn des Schuljahres getauft wurde. In den Klassen bildeten sich als Schutz gegen die Gewalt der Lehrer Hierarchien der Gewalt, und als von Lehrergewalt Betroffener war man an ihrem unteren Ende. Die Gewalt wurde so weitergegeben, und aus Angst vor erneuter Gewalt hielt man den Mund, Lehrern, Eltern, Mitschülern gegenüber …

Full article in Der Standard

Grotesker Körper, Festmahl, Rituale der Wiedergeburt: die Ästhetik des medialen Ungehorsams hat Vorläufer in der Karnevalskultur vergangener Jahrhunderte.

1. Vorfreude

Der Rede von digitalen Medien haftet häufig etwas Ungeschichtliches an. Die Rhetorik, welche die Neuerungen in diesem Bereich begleitet, setzt sich gerne als eine Art historischer Nullpunkt, von dem aus es nur eine Blickrichtung gibt, nämlich jene nach vorne. Das Verhängnisvolle an dieser Sichtweise ist freilich, dass Zukunft erneut nichts anderes sein kann als der Moment einer Neuerung, und damit eine Widerholung des bereits Geschehenen, das als solches jedoch nicht wahrgenommen wird, weil es sofort aus dem Blickfeld gerät: Daten werden immer rascher unbrauchbar, Innovationszyklen verkürzen sich, die Befreiung von der auf der Tradition lastenden Schwere des Ursprungs scheint den Preis einer digital induzierten Amnesie zu fordern (Sützl 2004).

Dieses Ausscheiden der Neuen Medien aus der Geschichte lässt sich exemplarisch am Werbeslogan Microsofts aus den 1990er-Jahren ablesen: Where do you want to go today? Er veranschaulicht eine Perspektive, in welcher die Gegenwart jeden Tag aufs Neue als ein hinter sich zu lassender Ort erscheint, voll des Strebens nach vorne, das folgerichtig von großen Unternehmen explizit als niemals zu stillende Vorfreude vermarktet wird, die ein immer neu zu verkaufendes Produkt darstellt (vgl. Abb. 1).

Full article at Medienimpulse

Krieg und Sicherheit in Zeiten des War on Terror. Ed. with Doris Wallnöfer. Wien: Turia + Kant 2008.

With contributions by Chris Hables Gray, Josefina Echavarría, Norbert Koppensteiner, Wolfgang Sützl, Dirk Spreen, Wolfgang Dietrich, Doris Wallnöfer, Eva Kreisky, Saskia Stachowitsch, Claudia Brunner, Helmut Krieger, Rainer Ganahl.

As Giorgio Agamben wrote in 2001, security has been the Leitbegriff, guiding concept, of state politics since the birth of the modern state.1 Today, though, we are facing ‘extreme and most dangerous developments in the thought of security’. Referring to Foucault, Agamben argues that unlike disciplinary power, security creates open spaces and is therefore related to ideas of liberalism and globalisation, managing disorder rather than preventing it. It can constantly be provoked by terrorism to become itself terroristic, there are no clear boundaries between security and terror, and security leads to a gradual neutralisation of politics. Nevertheless, security ‘now becomes the sole criterion of political legitimation’. Measures of security require ‘constant reference to a state of exception’ and are therefore irreconcilable with democracy, leading to the danger of a ‘a world civil war which renders all civil coexistence impossible’, which is why ‘nothing is more important than a revision of the concept of security’ (Agamben 2001).
While eight years later we see the fallout of security as the guiding concept of politics all over the globe, we are far away from a better understanding of security.2 In this essay, I want to address some of the reasons for this that I consider important, and, in doing so, make an attempt to contribute to this revision …

Full article as pdf

Published in Databrowser 04

International conference, 18/19 November, 2011, Innsbruck. Continue reading ‘Call for Papers: Cultures and Ethics of Sharing’

Medienimpulse 2/2011 will be a special edition on media activism. Submission deadline: 31.05.2011
Release date: 21.06.2011

Call for papers (scroll down for English)

Media activism is an as yet little researched area in media studies. Media of resistance, protest media, activist media, media of disobedience, radical media – a wide range of media configurations creates and communicates knowledge that distances itself from the knowledge of domination, attacking it at the interface of technology, politics and art. Continue reading ‘Call for Papers: Media Activism’