wtf is cyberanthropology?

yet another attempt  Sometimes it is quite interesting what paths thoughts take, and how this is influenced by not anticipated events. Some weeks ago ↑Kurt Beck payed a visit to my office and I told him about my recent ponderings, especially in respect to ↵bombenkrater fusion and ↵bombenkrater discussion. In consequence he asked me if I wouldn’t like to talk about cyberculture for an hour or so at ↑Bayreuth’s Institute for Sociocultural Anthropology. Of course I agreed and we fixed a date—14 November 2006, 19:30-21:00h. Some days later a letter arrived by snail-mail, containing the official invitation and all. Furthermore … Continue reading

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the art of gamemodding

  It seems that the time of harvesting the fruits of my efforts finally has arrived. Today again an invitation to write an article for an anthology came in—I didn’t even send a proposal … God, am I satisfied and proud. Alas, the problem is the now emerged density of deadlines. But self-organization is the key to damming up this kind of trouble. So I skimmed through my physical and digital folders and found yet another abstract I submitted to … well, honestly, I can’t remember where to I sent it. But obviously it was not accepted or even received. … Continue reading

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afrigadget

solving everyday problems with African ingenuity    Yet another blog collecting instances of cultural appropriation of technology, in the case of ↑Afrigadget it’s a group-blog: “The purpose of Afrigadget is to showcase African ingenuity with technology. Many times Africans do not have access to the same quality tools or items that are found in other areas of the world. What is available to be used to solve problems or fix equipment can be wide and varied. You would be surprised at what can be made, fixed or created with bailing wire, inner-tubes and wood.” Afrigadget features not only high resolution … Continue reading

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bedford’s appropriation

the social organisation of craftsmen’s innovation in Sudan project by Prof. Dr. ↑Kurt Beck, Chair of Anthropology, University of Bayreuth    The glistening Sifinja [meaning “Sandal”, the local name for the modified Bedford TJ], after hundreds of thousands of kilometres still a blazing beauty. On the streets of Latin America, Asia, and Africa, richly decorated trucks are a common vista. Occassionally this has been noted, alas, the fact escaped that the trucks are not merely outwardly decorated, but are reconstructed from scratch up in extremely unorthodox fashions, and thereby are adjusted to local conditions and indigenous cultural orientations. Without any … Continue reading

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street use

  That’s exactly what every anthropologist interested in the cultural appropriation of technology needed online—Kevin Kelly’s blog ↑street use “features the ways in which people modify and re-create technology. Herein a collection of personal modifications, folk innovations, street customization, ad hoc alterations, wear-patterns, home-made versions and indigenous ingenuity. In short—stuff as it is actually used, and not how its creators planned on it being used. As ↑William Gibson said, “The street finds its own uses for technology.””  Heavily related entries are: ↵truck-canoe hybrids, ↵Bedford’s metamorphosis: Hotbeds of creativity—the appropriation of the truck in Sudan, and ↵balineros—and in a way ↵perfect … Continue reading

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gods of cyberia

  Yet another proposal I just submitted a minute ago in reply to a call-for-papers. The hellish thing with sent-in abstracts is that they sometimes are accepted. And then you indeed have to write up the paper or article you suggested.  Nowadays the Internet and its subsidiary, the World Wide Web, constitute conceptual spaces for rich human communication and interaction. The still growing technology-based possibilites for human action mediated online seemingly render this spaces in certain respects evermore similar to the offline world. It can be tentatively stated that seen from the emic vantage point of many users the whole … Continue reading

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postmodern cyberpunk

Within its comparatively short time span of existence, ↑cyberpunkreview.com developed to be a genuine premium resource on cyberpunk and related issues. There is not only the vast collection of reviews, which was expanded from movie-reviews to including game- and literature-reviews as well, at its main page, but the ↑virtual meatspace quickly became a highly interesting forum, carrying some high-calibre discussions. I am especially entranced by the discussion-thread ↑Cyberpunk Narrative started by ↑illusivemind, dealing with the issue of cyberpunk being postmodern literature or not—and what good classifications like that do at all. In my view during the discussion again striking similarities … Continue reading

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hacking the himalayas

  If I remember correctly it was back in 1987 that I was in Lhasa for the last time. Unfortunately [?] during my “career” my original regional focus, Karakoram and the Himalayas, somehow went out of sight and I defected to cyberanthropology. Now tech culture journalist and co-editor of ↑boingboing ↑Xeni Jardin travelled “to the top of the world to learn how ancient cultures adapt to a new, interconnected world while still holding on to their sacred traditions.” Seen from my anthropologer’s vantage point I’d jettison the “adapt” and would phrase the statement a bit differently, but we get the … Continue reading

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appropriating kuhn

  Again things are falling into place. Most of the day I spent with thinking about cultural appropriation, the literary genre cyberpunk, anthropology and the connections between all three ‘things’. Finally I wrote up ↵appropriating cyberpunk hinted to today’s achievements of mine and went out to haunt the bookstores for a new copy of Appadurai’s “Modernity at large” because my own copy somehow got lost—give it back, you bastard, whoever you are to whom I lent it. The first three stores didn’t have it in stock, the fourth’s clerk slammed the door right into my face at 18:01h and meticulously … Continue reading

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appropriating cyberpunk

  In his article ↑“The economies of online cooperation: Gifts and public goods in cyberspace” (↵Kollock 1999) ↑Peter Kollock says about digital goods:  Online communities exist within a radically different environment. The setting is a (1) network of (2) digital (3) information, and each of these three features drives important changes. It is a world of information rather than physical objects. Further, it is digital information, meaning that it is possible to produce an infinite number of perfect copies of a piece of information, whether that be a computer program, a multimedia presentation, or the archives of a long e-mail … Continue reading

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