We are witnessing an acceleration of the deployment of digital technologies in border regimes as well as in migratory practices. This does not necessarily make borders ‘smarter’, but it points to spiraling dynamics between border and migration practices to which digital technologies prove central. Technologies deployed for example by European countries to manage the so-called “refugee crisis” – from fences to the EuroSur drone system – have their reverse: while digital networks facilitate surveillance systems, they foster mobility and challenge border regimes at the same time. Persisting migration in defiance of ever more sophisticated border technologies demonstrate the possible detour of control systems. For our fourth issue of spheres we invite potential contributers to consider the significance of digital technologies for migration and to investigate the relation between migratory regimes and practices on the one hand and digital cultures and infrastructures on the other. (more…)
No digital cultures without infrastructures! This issue will look into the theoretical as well as practical explorations of infrastructures as operational backbone of digital cultures. We deem infrastructures, understood as an ensemble of human, social and technological individuals, important for yielding new forms of knowledge, which are able to challenge and transform the current architecture of infrastructural systems, software protocols, and network media, represented by corporate Internet-platforms like Amazon, Facebook or Google. Even though we have been witnessing an ‘explosion’ of the discourse around digital cultures and its infrastructures in the last years, most of the research and critique in this field is still based on the model of a predefined network, thereby repeating the epistemological presuppositions of nodes and links, rather than thinking about alternative perspectives for our technocultural future. Beyond commercial media platforms, where the individual remains a clearly identifiable point within the network, in order to address him or her with personalized ads, network technologies contain the potential to foster new forms of subjectivity, where the individual becomes a network itself – from the networked individual to the individual as network.