HfG Karlsruhe, 12 Apr. Net Activism – Net Demagogy

February 20th, 2017

Discussion forum
Wed, 12.04.2017, 6-8 pm,  ZKM_Media Theater
Cost: free


In his analysis of western societies, media philosopher Vilém Flusser described a structural transitional phenomenon at the beginning of the 1980s: The mass-media power relations and their rigid opinion channels towards the public were in the process of being dissolved. On the horizon, a net company was emerging, in which dialogue between equals establish an individual consensus. Along the way, however, “fascist cross connections” had to be confronted – attempts by mighty nodules in the net (Alexander Galloway) to control the net dialogue to suit their own interests.

Today, about 30 years later, the hopes of many net activists of the 1990s to set up egalitarian societies through the internet are replaced by disillusion. The networked media have long since taken up systemic characters (Siegfried Zielinski). In their extreme cases, they facilitate platforms for demagogic initiatives such as right-wing alt-right movement and their mouthpiece, the extreme right US news website Breitbart. In Germany, Pegida and groups of translocal hatred significantly organise themselves through social networks. However, the fascist cross connections make a particular impact beneath the surface of our screens: It’s not just since the NSA scandals and the predicative analytics and microtargeting initiatives in the US elections that it has become apparent how persuasive communication strategies can be further optimised by evaluating user behaviour.

Peter Weibel and Siegfried Zielinski will be discussing the current situation with various guests (tba) in an open forum.


  • Florian Cramer (Rotterdam University of Applied Science)
  • Daniel Irrgang (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design)
  • Matteo Pasquinelli (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design)
  • Vesselin Popov (The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge)
  • More participants tba

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