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  • 1.
    Forsler, Ingrid
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Efficient Worker or Reflective Practitioner?: Competing Technical Rationalities of Media Software Tools2018In: Technologies of Labour and the Politics of Contradiction / [ed] Bilić, Paško; Primorac, Jaka; Valtýsson, Bjarki, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 1, p. 99-119Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The work of creators of digital media today is profoundly reliant on the use of specialised software. Yet, software is not merely an instrument of labour. The current hegemonies of society are incorporated in the technological design of tools, explicating what Feenberg (2009) calls technical rationality. Different production frameworks can embed distinct forms of such rationality depending on the goals of their creators. Drawing on theories of knowledge and feminist theory of technological development, Forsler and Velkova present an analysis of the production frameworks of three different manufactures of software tools for computer graphics, both industrial and user-driven. The chapter contributes with a conceptual theoretical model of how these frameworks are underpinned by different epistemological assumptions and competing visions of media practitioners.

  • 2.
    van Leeuwen, Manon
    et al.
    FUNDECYT.
    Velkova, Julia
    Morgado, Guadalupe
    FUNDECYT.
    Training for Open Source: A Need not a Luxury2008In: Collaboration and the Knowledge Economy: Issues, Applications, Case Studies / [ed] Paul Cunningham & Miriam Cunningham, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 3.
    van Leeuwen, Manon
    et al.
    FUNDECYT.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Communication, Media and Communication Studies.
    Özel, Bulent
    Istanbul Bilgi University.
    How to Avoid the Transformation of Barriers to OSS Adoption in Public Administration into Barriers for Regional Development2007In: Exploiting the Knowledge Economy:: Issues, Applications and Case Studies / [ed] Paul Cunningham & Miriam Cunningham, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2007, p. 571-578Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Data that warms: Waste heat, infrastructural convergence and the computation traffic commodity2016In: Big Data and Society, ISSN 2053-9517, E-ISSN 2053-9517, Vol. 3, no 2Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the ways in which data centre operators are currently reconfiguring the systems of energy and heat supply in European capitals, replacing conventional forms of heating with data-driven heat production, and becoming important energy suppliers. Taking as an empirical object the heat generated from server halls, the article traces the expanding phenomenon of ‘waste heat recycling’ and charts the ways in which data centre operators in Stockholm and Paris direct waste heat through metropolitan district heating systems and urban homes, and valorise it. Drawing on new materialisms, infrastructure studies and classical theory of production and destruction of value in capitalism, the article outlines two modes in which this process happens, namely infrastructural convergence and decentralisation of the data centre. These modes arguably help data centre operators convert big data from a source of value online into a raw material that needs to flow in the network irrespective of meaning. In this conversion process, the article argues, a new commodity is in a process of formation, that of computation traffic. Altogether data-driven heat production is suggested to raise the importance of certain data processing nodes in Northern Europe, simultaneously intervening in the global politics of access, while neutralising external criticism towards big data by making urban life literally dependent on power from data streams.

  • 5.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Ethnography of Open Cultural Production: From Participant Observation to Multisited Participatory Communication2016In: Methodological Reflections on Researching Communication and Social Change / [ed] Wildermuth, Norbert and Ngomba, Teke (Eds), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, p. 139-160Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Free Software Beyond Radical Politics: Negotiations of Creative and Craft Autonomy in Digital Visual Media Production2016In: Media and Communication, ISSN 2083-5701, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 4, no 4, p. 43-52Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Free software development and the technological practices of hackers have been broadly recognised as fundamental for the formation of political cultures that foster democracy in the digital mediascape. This article explores the role of free software in the practices of digital artists, animators and technicians who work in various roles for the contempo-rary digital visual media industries. Rather than discussing it as a model of organising work, the study conceives free software as a production tool and shows how it becomes a locus of politics about finding material security in flexible capitalism. This politics is ultimately contradictory in that it extends creative and craft autonomy of digital artists but does not mobilise a critical project. Instead, it nurtures further precarious labour. Empirically, the article draws on eth-nographically collected material from the media practices of digital artists and programmers who engage with two popular free software production tools, Blender and Synfig.

  • 7.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Media Technologies in the Making: User-driven Software and Infrastructures for Computer Graphics Production2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the past few decades there have emerged greater possibilities for users and consumers of media to create or engage in the creation of digital media technologies. This PhD dissertation explores the ways in which the broadening of possibilities for making technologies, specifically software, has been taken advantage of by new producers of digital culture – freelancers, aspiring digital media creators and small studios – in the production of digital visual media. It is based on two empirical case studies that concern the making of free software for computer graphics animation production in two contexts: by a loose collective of anime fans in Siberia, Russia, and by a small animation studio in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The case studies are presented and analysed in the scope of four journal articles and one book chapter which form the core of the dissertation.

    The dissertation draws on a media practice perspective and an understanding of software as an artefact that concentrates and mediates specific infrastructural arrangements that entangle politics of technological production, economic interests and practice-related concerns. The analytical focus of the research problematises in particular practices of software decommodification and its further repair and development by non-programmers; the anchoring of software development and repair in actual production practices of computer graphics animations; and a commitment to sharing software, animations and other artefacts online as commons. The thesis combines several concepts from anthropology and science and technology studies to theorise these practices: – politics and regimes of value (Appadurai, 1986); repair and artful integrations (Jackson, 2014; Suchman, 2000); gifting (Baudrillard, 1981; Mauss, 1925/2002) and autonomy (cf Bourdieu, 1993). Bringing together these concepts, the dissertation regards them as constitutive and indicative of what I refer to as ‘media-related infrastructuring practices’, or practices in which non-programmers generate infrastructures through creating and mediating arrangements around technical artefacts like software.

    The results of the dissertation indicate how making free software for computer graphics media is entangled in diverse conditions of technological unevenness that may enable, but also limit, the possibilities of aspiring media creators to improve their status or work positions in the broader field of digital media.

  • 8.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Negotiating creative autonomy: Experiences of technology in computer-based visual media production2016In: Politics, Civil Society and Participation: Media and Communications in a Transforming Environment / [ed] L. Kramp, N. Carpentier, A. Hepp, R. Kilborn, R. Kunelius, H. Nieminen, T. Olsson, P. Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, I. Tomanić Trivundža & S. Tosoni, Bremen: edition lumière, 2016, p. 185-195Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Media production is today heavily computerised, and as a consequence of this, profoundly reliant on software. At the same time software does not represent a neutral artefact - it imposes certain affordances, logics, structures and hierarchies of knowledge onto the media making processes. This chapter explores the ways in which visual media creators negotiate the choices between multiple technological alternatives, and the ways in which these negotiations relate to the degree of creative autonomy experienced by cultural producers in their media practice. Combining perspectives from media studies of work in the cultural industries, and science and technology studies (STS), the paper suggests that choices of technology lead media producers to experience creative autonomy differently, by making them labour either within post-industrial technological frameworks that they do not have ownership or control over, or conversely, allow them greater ownership on technology and possibilities to mould their tools, bringing their practice closer to forms of pre-industrial craft production. Creative autonomy, I suggest, can therefore be negotiated by artists and media creators not only in relation to institutions of employment, or nation state politics, but also through deliberate choices of tools, the digital technical toolset that they select and embed in their practice; an approach largely inspired and practiced by some forms of hacker culture.

  • 9.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Open cultural production and the online gift economy: The case of Blender2016In: First Monday, ISSN 1396-0466, E-ISSN 1396-0466, Vol. 21, no 10Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The economies of the Internet are largely driven by sharing. Much of it is often veiled in a celebratory discourse that emphasizes how sharing artifacts online through gift exchanges removes hierarchies and creates broader access to public knowledge, such as in projects of free culture and open source software development. The article critically interrogates these assumptions and the gift economy of open cultural production more generally. Using a practice called open source animation film making, developed by Blender, an organisation at the core of the largest open source 3D computer graphics community, this paper shows that the discourse surrounding free culture online has largely misunderstood the complexity and ambiguities of the economy below the cultural politics of openness. With the help of classical theories of gift and value I discuss issues of debt, obligation, status, discipline, and social hierarchies created by exchanging online a variety of digital artifacts of different value, such as software, culture, and labor. This article shows that the wealth of open cultural production relies on combining multiple dimensions of gifting with fiscal and hidden forms of capital, producing a culture of secrecy in parallel to that of openness.

  • 10.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Repairing and developing software infrastructures: The case of Morevna Project in Russia2018In: New Media and Society, ISSN 1461-4448, E-ISSN 1461-7315, Vol. 20, no 6, p. 2145-2161Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article discusses how alternative software infrastructures can emerge out offrictions, failure, and repair in the attempts of media creators to evade piracy. Usinga case from the geographical fringes of Russia called Morevna Project, and theoriesof infrastructures and repair, the article suggests how repair can lead to the slow,mundane and fragile formation of what I refer to as ‘situated’ digital infrastructures forcultural production. While pirate-based media production can push creators to searchfor and develop alternative infrastructures, the latter emerge as fragile frameworksthat are constantly threatened from collapse and suspension. The continuous work ofintegrating diverse interests across local and online media-related contexts and practicesbecomes an essential stabilising force needed to perpetuate these infrastructures andprevents them from falling back into oblivion.

  • 11.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Sharing technology and media as digital commons: sensibilities and tensions from making invisible things visible2016In: Selected Papers of AoIR 2016: The 17th Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the internal social structures among producers who are radically committed to openness through sharing technology and content online. It foregrounds that in these practices, openness and sharing are not only about creating open knowledge, public digital culture and technologies, but also trigger practices of self-control, discipline, and contestation over what is to be made public and how. The author argues that the ways in which these are negotiated have implications for the broader domain of cultural production online. The next two papers each look at the social structures promoted through open source practices by exploring how actors committed to them are trying to affect institutional politics.

  • 12.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Studying Emerging Data Practices: Creating a Cultural Biography of Objects Through Using the Web as an Ethnographic Resource2018Other (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This case presents and discusses ethnography-inspired methods for studying emerging phenomena related to big data such as the practice of data center waste heat recycling. It suggests a twofold methodology that is based on treating the contemporary Web as a multi-modal resource for creating cultural, ethnographic-like accounts of emerging data-related practices, as well as on tracing online the cultural biographies of objects. The case suggests some ways in which the Web can be used as a resource to understand data-related practices as they develop and extend in the offline world, rather than as they unfold and modify online spheres of social and cultural activity. The present methodology can be regarded as appropriate to produce knowledge for the initial stages of a potentially larger research project.

  • 13.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Thresholds for participation in open animation production: a critical explorationof some assumptions on peer-production2014In: Selected Papers of Internet Research, SPIR, ISSN 2162-3317, Vol. 15Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 14.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Workflows, labour and value in open animation production: an ethnographic study of a distributed animation training creation2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 15.
    Velkova, Julia
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Jakobsson, Peter
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies. Beckmans College of Design.
    At the intersection of commons and market: Negotiations of value in open-sourced cultural production2017In: International journal of cultural studies, ISSN 1367-8779, E-ISSN 1460-356X, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 14-30Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the way in which producers of digital cultural commons use new production models based on openness and sharing to interact with and adapt to existing structures such as the capitalist market and the economies of public cultural funding. Through an ethnographic exploration of two cases of open-source animation film production – Gooseberry and Morevna, formed around the 3D graphics Blender and the 2D graphics Synfig communities – we explore how sharing and production of commons generates values and relationships which trigger the movement of producers, software and films between different fields of cultural production and different moral economies – those of the capitalist market, the institutions of public funding and the commons. Our theoretical approach expands the concept of ‘moral economies’ from critical political economy with ‘regimes of value’ from anthropological work on value production, which, we argue, is useful to overcome dichotomous representations of exploitation or romanticization of the commons.

  • 16.
    Velkova, Julia
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Jakobsson, Peter
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Between decommodification and recommodification: negotiations of value in open-source cultural production2015In: Selected Papers from Internet Research 16: The 16th Annual Meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The authors of this paper revitalize classic work on gift economies, exploring the ways in which the fiscal and moral economies are articulated together in commons-based production. Through a multi-sited ethnographic study of open source animation film-making communities tracing the movement between actors and objects across different regimes of value, the authors describe negotiated transitions from commons to commodity and back again. They argue that when engaging with producers’ own accounts of their community-based processes and the agonistic ethics holding sway there, we are better able to see the fluid dynamics of decommodification and recommodification taking place within commons production integrated into the commodity-based capitalist economic environment.

  • 17.
    Velkova, Julia
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Jakobsson, Peter
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    The Production of Difference and Commensurability Between Regimes of Value in Open Source Cultural Production2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the way in which producers of digital cultural commons use new production models based on openness and sharing to interact with and adapt to existing structures such as the capitalist market and the economies of public cultural funding. By an ethnographic exploration of two cases ofopen-source animation film production - Gooseberry and Morevna formed around the 3D graphics Blender and the 2D graphics Synfig communities we explore how sharing and production of commons generate values and relationships which trigger the move of producers, software and films between different fields of cultural production and different moral economies – those of the capitalist market, the institutions of public funding and the commons. Our theoretical approach expands the concept of 'moral economies' from critical political economy with 'regimes of value' from anthropological work on value production which we argue is useful to overcome dichotomous representations of exploitation or romanticisation of the commons.

  • 18.
    Velkova, Julia
    et al.
    University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
    Kaun, Anne
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Algorithmic resistance: Media practices and the politics of repair2019In: Information, Communication and Society, ISSN 1369-118X, E-ISSN 1468-4462Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The article constitutes a critical intervention in the current, dramatic debate on the consequences of algorithms and automation for society. While most research has focused on negative outcomes, including ethical problems of machine bias and accountability, little has been said about the possibilities of users to resist algorithmic power. The article draws on Raymond Williams’ work on media as practice to advance a framework for studying algorithms with a focus on user agency. We illustrate this framework with the example of the media activist campaign World White Web by the Swedish artist and visual designer Johanna Burai. We suggest that user agency in relation to algorithms can emerge from alternative uses of platforms, in the aftermath of algorithmic logics, and give birth to complicit forms of resistance that work through ‘repair’ politics oriented towards correcting the work of algorithms. We conclude with a discussion of the ways in which the proposed framework helps us rethink debates on algorithmic power.

    The full text will be freely available from 2021-02-26 08:00
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