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Monthly Archives: May 2013

bubble-tea

Folks, you might know that fancy beverage called bubble tea. Last summer, it became hugely popular in Germany. Sales skyrocketed during the hot months. Retailers across the country sprang up like mushrooms. There was no pedestrian zone downtown that did not feature the most trendy drink of the year. Companies like BoboQ introduced this stylish product which is known since long in Asian countries like Taiwan. The outstanding feature of bubble tea is its little corn starch or Tapioca pearls, that tastily burst in the mouth while drinking it with sweetened green or black tea, milk or syrup. Only the English upper class believes that Earl Grey is best left as it is, bubble tea introduced a much more hip approach to consume tea in the 21st century.

But the party didn’t last very long. On the 22nd of August, a regional newspaper in Germany, the Rheinische Post, featured an article that reported on poisonous ingredients in bubble tea. Citing a study conducted by the RWTH Aachen University, the newspaper claimed that some ingredients like styrol and acetophenone are suspected to cause cancer and allergies. One of the studies’ leading researchers was quoted saying, that there is a lot of dirt in bubble tea.

“A lot of dirt.” Strong stuff.

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Lawrence Lessig, Harvard professor, lawyer, intellectual property-rights activist and clearly a genius (you can tell by the hair-style), gives a rapid-fire-talk about corruption, democracy, lobbyism and Lesterland. He’s got 734,810  viewers right now and you, young Jedi, should be the next. Watch this on TED Talks and be dazzled, outraged, inspired.

If you like the hair-style and want to see the man in real: Lessig is on the podium of the Debate in Lund on May, 29, 20.00, Café Athen, AF building, Sandgatan 2.

 

 

This week Germany’s most important internet and blogger’s conference re:publica 2013 took place in Berlin (May 6-8) with about 5,000 participants and a mass of panels and workshops on many, many topics related to current developments on the Internet.

republica13

One main subject of this year’s discussions (in official panels as well as in private discussions and in related media coverage) was a differentiation of tariffs for internet services recently announced by Germany’s biggest provider Deutsche Telekom. The company started a new tariff policy by the beginning of May and now demands extra fees from users of large amounts of data. Those who are not willing or able to pay these extra fees will be confronted with degraded network performance. Net neutrality, until now discussed theoretically as a potential threat for a free Internet, seems to become a real problem.

On the other side, re:publica also featured activists’ reflections on how to use the Internet in a more democratic or a more humanistic sense. For example, Sascha Lobo, sort of Germany’s beacon light when it comes to the internet, spoke about his newly launched Reclaim Social Media”-project. His idea is to develop a tool for reclaiming control of your own data produced and stored in different social networks.

sascha-lobo

Tuppens minut: Sascha Lobo at re:publica 13. Behind him on the screen it says ‘anger’.

Another example: Laurie Penny, blogger and journalist from Great Britain, talked about Cybersexism. Penny explained that there is not only a problem with Cybersexim on the internet, the web also provides potential solutions – if used in a proper way.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of discussions focused on the commercial potential of the internet. For example, Tero Kaukomaa from Finland spoke about experiences with partly crowdfunding the movie Iron Sky. And, equally unsurprising, you could hear several talks by scholars and scientists as well, for example about ethics of algorithms (in German).

For those who are interested, several presentations and lectures are available on YouTube.

About half a year ago, I wrote in SK: UNCUT about the enigmatic conception of interpassivity. Interpassivity is a theoretical term developed by cultural philosophers Robert Pfaller and Slavoj Žižek in the 1990’s with regard to artworks and diverse cultural phenomena –  a term with a very specific psychoanalytical underpinning. I observed that since the beginnings, reflection on interpassivity slowly developed and influenced the fields of social philosophy, pushed for example by the research group of Gijs van Oenen at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University, and also by other social scientists. But although the idea of interpassivity – which was developed as a counter concept against interactivity – has some relevance for communication science, the concept is far from established in the field up to now.

What relevance, you may ask? Just one example. I recently stumbled across this weblog with a short analysis of the so-called “boiler room parties” in terms of interpassivity. Boiler room parties are a phenomenon on the web that recently gained remarkable attention – with several thousand visitors at each boiler room TV event. The idea of boiler room parties and boiler room TV is to broadcast parties organized at secret places as an exclusive event to a larger web audience. But what’s the purpose of showing these parties to a growing public? It is for sure that the broadcast doesn’t aim at inviting more people to the club. The parties will remain secret and exclusive events for a small group actively enjoying the clubbing. However, one can argue that boiler room events represent an opportunity for thousands of visitors to delegate their enjoyment by watching others enjoying in their place. That’s a very specific pleasure and a variation of what Pfaller and Žižek call interpassivity…

boiler room

Once one starts to look, one can find quite some reflections about cases of seemingly “interpassive communication” on the web. What is still lacking is some profound theoretical discussion of interpassivity – especially in contrast to the concept of interactivity that seems so well established. So guess what? I am currently starting a research project about this topic. The project is related to the research group NEMO – New Media, Modern Democracy at Lund University / Campus Helsingborg and is financially supported by the German Fritz Thyssen Foundation with a scholarship. My ambition is to reflect on implications of the cultural theory of interpassivity as established by Robert Pfaller, Slavoj Žižek and Gijs van Oenen with regard to the concept of interactive communication. Master Thesis anyone?

What is it like to work as a newly qualified communications strategist? How do you go about applying for a job in the communications industry? How can you stand out from the rest – what should you consider when you are showcasing yourself, your skills and your education?’
If you are looking for tips on launching your career in strategic communication and digital media here’s your chance to meet the experts.
On Tuesday, May 21, an experienced recruitment consultant and two Campus Helsingborg students who now hold exciting positions in communications, will visit to pass on valuable advice.
Our guests are:
  • Ingrid Franov: Ingrid works as a recruitment consultant at Hammersmith & Hanborg and has extensive experience in the communications industry. Ingrid is also a member of the department’s advisory board.
  • Emmy Lundh: Emmy graduated from our Bachelor programme in 2011. Now she works as a communicator and web coordinator at Skåne University Hospital.
  • Michael Blomqwist: Michael graduated from our Bachelor programme in strategic communications and digital media in 2012. He now works as a digital project leader at Cloetta Sweden AB.
Seminar organiser Sara von Platen says: “We are delighted to welcome three guests who will give you the inside story on working in the communication industry. The seminar will give you valuable tips and advice for your future career, but also give you the opportunity to meet the programs’ different cohorts.”
The seminar is open to all students in the Bachelor’s program in strategic communications and the Bachelor’s program in strategic communications and digital media.
Time and place: Tuesday, 21 May, 15-17 in room U203.