Matthew Fuller's Home Page

Dr. Matthew Fuller

Until September 2006, I was responsible for the Media Design Research programme along with Femke Snelting, and Course Director for the MA Media Design.

My current research interests in the area of media design include: speculative and social software; media ecologies.

The first is a contribution to the developing currents aiming at a new culture of software. Social Software can provisionally be said to have two strands. Primarily it is software built by and for those of us locked out of the narrowly engineered subjectivity of mainstream software. It is software which asks itself what kind of currents, what kind of machine, numerical, social and other dynamics it feeds in and out of, and what others can be brought into being?

The second current is related to this. It is software that is directly born, changed and developed as the result of an ongoing sociability between users and programmers in which demands are made on the practices of coding that exceed their easy fit into standardised social relations.

Examples of this kind of work can be found by Mongrel http://www.mongrelx.org/ amongst others.

What characterises speculative work in software is firstly to operate reflexively upon itself and the condition of being software. To go where it is not supposed to go, to look behind the blip. To make visible the dynamics, structures, regimes and drives of each of the little events which it connects to. Secondly, it is to subject these blips and what shapes and produces them to unnatural forms of connection between themselves. To make the ready ordering of data, of categories and of subjects spasm out of control. Thirdly, it is to subject the consequences of these first two stages to the havoc of invention.

In a sense, speculative software is software that uses art methodologies, such as reflexivity, but without necessarily being specific to art systems. A good source for such work is the 'software art' repository, http://www.runme.org/

The second area, media ecologies, is an attempt to develop a materialist aesthetics of media. This work has a number of threads: Nietzschean concepts of discourse and physiology, through various incarnations in recent decades; the potential for a 'production rather than reception' based media theory, building out from art and design practice and methodologies; an attempt to mix or hack studies of technology, i.e. in science studies or evolutionary and post-cybernetic theories of culture, with the polysemic, inventive or trouble-making capacities of the media systems they provide conceptual access to. A book of work on this area will be published by MIT Press in 2005

Links:

Behind the Blip, essays on the culture of software, Autonomedia, New York, 2003

TextFm, an SMS to radio text-to-speech server software, in collaboration with Graham Harwood

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