I first met Geert Lovink in 2013, while attending the Unlike Us #3 conference at the Institute for Network Cultures in Amsterdam (INC). I was there to speak about Facebook Demetricator, in what was at that time one of the first talks I’d given about the project. INC, which was founded by Geert, “analyzes and shapes the terrain of network cultures through events, publications, and online dialogue. [Their] projects evolve around urgent publishing, alternative revenue models, critical design and making, digital counter culture and much more.” Before and since, I have regularly looked to and read their free publications as a timely and astute critical lens on social media, networks, and platforms in the 21st century. Further, Geert’s books (such as Sad by Design, Social Media Abyss, Networks without a Cause, and more), blog posts, and other writings constitute an evolving analysis of the internet that blends European theory with practice-based research and aesthetics. If you aren’t already familiar with Geert and INC’s work, check it out.
Since the publication of Geert’s latest book and the release of my recent film (which Geert wrote about here), we’ve been talking, and one outcome of that is the recently published dialogue on the INC blog, where we wrote back and forth about platform capitalism, software recomposition, post-digital and the new aesthetic, the broad shift from text to image, the state of online video (including TikTok), whether an avant-garde can happen on social media at all, and, as always, more.