The volume investigates the socio-material dimension and media practices of cooperation – before, during and beyond situations. Cooperation is understood as reciprocal interplay operating with or without consensus, in co-presence or absence of the involved actors in distributed situations. Artefacts, bodies, texts and infrastructures are the media that make cooperation possible. They enable and configure reciprocal accomplishments – and are themselves created through media practices in cooperative situations.
Based on historical case studies focused on media and data practices,
the project reconstructs the co-operative creation of networked media
since 1989. From a media-historical perspective, it aims to provide a
contribution to the European and transatlantic history of the Internet
and the World Wide Web. From a media-theoretical perspective, the
project aims to develop and specify a concept of digitality that takes
into account its cooperative emergence, its infrastructural
maintenance, universalization, and its specific publics.
We thereby focus on the constitutive role of a) interchangeability of representations and the growth of digital systems, b) cooperative production of interoperability and modularity, and c) elementary practices of reading, writing and algorithmic control. The three work packages of the project explore
the constitution of the World Wide Web via its situated work constitution (Gießmann, Schüttpelz, Taha, Volmar),
the development of intranets using the example of German corporate networks (Taha) and
the emergence and spread of IP-based real-time communication via instant messaging (Volmar).
We assume that the establishment of the Internet and especially the
World Wide Web as a public general-purpose infrastructure has lead to a
remediation of cooperative practices of local working contexts. The
project therefore therefore reconstructs the emergence and proliferation
of web applications as a software- and data-oriented infrastructural
history of cooperative media. We focus on the mutual production of
cooperative conditions from collective, locally limited as well as
translocally distributed work contexts and the corresponding situated
data practices and arrangements (such as format usage, user
administration, file sharing, collaborative processing of files,
programming, error correction, patenting, standardization, etc.).
We are particularly interested in the interactions between work practices and the specific requirements for cooperation they produce, and in the materializations and affordances of digital micro-practices, through which cooperative conditions are ultimately realized in the form of digitally networked applications. We analyze these dynamics before the background of a longue durée of bureaucratic and administrative processes. These form the underlying socio-technical conditions that determine the materiality of cooperative computing, networking and data processing.
This research project is a part of the Collaborative Research Center „Media of Cooperation“ at Siegen University. Feel free to contact us anytime! Up to date publications can be found at our Media of Cooperation homepage.
How does a distributed ledger become a medium? Why do people count on blockchain as a future technology? Our research project does not answer these questions on an abstract level. We rather aim to explore the development and operating of blockchain infrastructure on site. Initially, we conduct interviews with stakeholders working on applications for payment systems and the Internet of Things.
Blockchains in Action assumes that development and transformation processes can be observed in local material practices of cooperation. We understand blockchains as infrastructural and public media. Their capacities for mediation only become observable in practice, which we approach through a combination of ethnography and media theory.