Franco “Bifo” Berardi

After I almost lost my eye opening a bottle of German mineral water, the PLGers discussed Matteo Pasquinelli’s “Digital Neofeudalism” and “Immaterial Civil War.” Pasquinelli and Franco “Bifo” Berardi were the organizers behind Rekombinant, a listblog, that lasted between 2000 and 2009. The listblog was “a minimal blog running as a web interface of a collective mailing list” that evolved out of the “intersection of radical philosophy, digital culture and post-Seattle global movements focusing also on art avant-gardes and university activism.” It predominantly circulated through the Italian intellectual skools.

Pasquinelli’s work, much like Bifo’s, focuses on the networks of cognitive labour, adapting Hardt and Negri’s “there is no outside” (from Empire) into a digital context. Class divisions are no longer clear, because of the shift from material to immaterial production. This shift changes our relationship to time and space: everything is now, there is no future, and all is here…

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As paper-centric modes of production become digitized, authorship becomes an important consideration for the future of academic production. What is the future of the scholarly identity? And how does identity impact the production of scholarship?

There is a push-pull relationship between print and digital culture: on the one hand, open access supporters see the benefits of a multifaceted means of reproducing and disseminating research, where readers have a “richer context for reading” (Willinsky, Altering the Material, 132) by enabling them “to check their reading of a piece, with a click or two, against what is being said in related work, to gather background on the author, as well as view other works, and to trace the ideas presented through other forms, whether among media databases, government policies or historical archives” (Willinsky , Altering the Material, 129). On the other hand, although the medium inherently dislocates the author, in order to maintain academic identity, conditions, authenticity, and institutional control over works, archives, databases, and search engines the link to print culture reifies what otherwise might be a more rhizomatic method of production.
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