Part of Rhizome's  #internetsubjects series, "#uberwar and the "Sharing" Economy" investigated the broader social, economic, and political implications of services like Airbnb and Uber. This was the first of Rhizome's "flash" panels which are conceived in less than a week and hosted at the New Museum.

It was one of the better panel discussions I've been to; clearly the best in recent memory. It included Denise Cheng (MIT Center for Civic Media), Rob Horning (The New Inquiry), writer Kate Losse, and Melissa S. Fisher (Social & Cultural Analysis, NYU).

I put together a quick roundup for Rhizome. Though there was little chance I could do it justice. So many great points were made, and from many different perspectives.

Solidarity after "Sharing:" Notes on Internet Subjects #1

 

I’m no longer sure of who is actually wise, intelligent, or talented and who is simply well situated in a network of proliferated content. 

Horning is critical of viral content’s ability to change "the stakes of reading." “Having feelings is pointless if your performance of them is not as viral as the occasion that prompted them.” These viral items are really “trojan horses carrying a more significant piece of data: the proof of our social existence.” The Viral Self is a self that allows social media to unsettle our sense of an appropriate amount of attention. Therefore, engineering virality has moral implications. The pursuit of virality becomes hegemonic. 

 

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The construction of authenticity is shifting, says Rob Horning. What we used to express through consumerism is now related to the disparate yet self-defining digital data set we produce. This is the Data Self. The extent to which the formulation of the Data Self is mediated by algorithms lead Horning to declare dissolution of an a priori personal identity. Horning spoke of social media as a form of Althusserian interpellation, using the famous example of the policeman who hails to you in the street: “Hey, You There,” thereby positioning the subject in relation to the interests of the ruling class.

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AuthorMike Pepi