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Steven Zultanski

Bio: Steven Zultanski is an academic researcher. The author has co-authored 1 publications.

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TL;DR: The authors argue that artist-writers are using open-ended and flexible metaphors, along with other literary techniques, to articulate the connections between code, surveillance, and economics in social media, making the Internet feel like it is built on discourse, rather than on code, servers, fibre-optic cables and hyper-exploited labour involved in the mining of rare metals.
Abstract: Recently, a number of artists and theorists have been writing about the algorithmic, infrastructural and economic aspects of the contemporary media world. Such writing shifts the conversation about social media away from considerations of novel discourse and instead places emphasis on the power structures, profit motives and political machinations that undergird networked reality. Social media platforms are designed to feel like autonomous arenas of free signification, rather than highly controlled and tightly monitored corporate/governmental spaces. In other words, these platforms make the Internet feel like it is built on discourse, rather than on code, servers, fibre-optic cables and the hyper-exploited labour involved in the mining of rare metals. This article examines writings by Hito Steyerl, Trevor Paglen, Jackie Wang and others to argue that artist-writers are using open-ended and flexible metaphors, along with other literary techniques, to articulate the connections between the largely invisible systems of code, surveillance and economics.