Roel Roscam Abbing: Social Media Platforms. Hugo Boothby: The Politics of Listening

Welcome to a K3 seminar with Roel Roscam Abbing and Hugo Boothby, new PhD students at K3, Roel Roscam Abbing in Interaction Design and Hugo Boothby in Media and Communication Studies. At the seminar, they will talk about work done before starting the PhD education and about their forthcoming theses.

The title of the talks are:

Welcome to The Federation (Roel Roscam Abbing)

Listen up! (Hugo Boothby)

They will take place on Wednesday, September 18 at 10.15-12.00 in The K3 Open Studio, NIC 0541, Niagara.

Below you will find abstracts for the talks.

Welcome to The Federation (Roel Ascam Abbing)


In this seminar I will introduce my previous work as an artistic researcher on the crossroads of networked computation, infrastructures, self-organization and DIY approaches. This previous work included a project Welcome To The Federation, which set the stage for my current PhD research direction at K3.

This research is particularly focused on the Fediverse, a loose network of inter-operating social media platforms that has rapidly gained momentum in the wake of ongoing privacy violations and abuses on mainstream social media. The Fediverse itself is not a new phenomenon, since alternative social media implementations have existed for almost a decade. However, the novelty of the current Fediverse is the influx of new social conceptions into the ecosystem. This seems partly to be the case because Mastodon (, one of the newer implementations that through a focus on design and user experience became the most popular, had an early heavy presence of contributors from various minority backgrounds. These LGBTI and PoC developers brought with them new concerns, discourses and techniques in to this part of Free/Libre and Open Source culture. Considering that many of the innovations that have made Mastodon popular have been social rather than technical in nature, the Fediverse has become a laboratory in which questions of social organization and governance can no longer be artificially decoupled from the underlying software. As a case study for reflecting on how to design resilient community infrastructures and possible alternative trajectories to the Silicon Valley model of technical development, the Fediverse presents a compelling case for engagement from the discipline of interaction design.

Listen up! (Hugo Boothby)


This seminar is a presentation of the PhD research project that I started in September 2019. The research is placed within Media and Communication Studies with a specialisation in Sound Studies. My thesis will address the politics of listening. The particular focus is technologies of listening and the listening experiences they afford. I seek to explore how mediated sites of listening create opportunities, but also engender limitations, for political engagement. In this presentation I hope to provide a brief overview of my field of study, and define the frame within which I propose to address a politics of listening. At present my work is primarily concerned with technologies of listening at their granular level. My present site of research being algorithmic selection within digital audio processes. My initial case study explores the affordances and materialities of the MP3 data compression format and iPod digital media player. The research method that I propose for this work is a practice-based or artistic research approach. Taking as a point of departure my sound installation/composition ‘Music for Universities’ (Boothby 2019a and 2019b). This is work that uses the transversal media tool of “eventualisation” (Gansing 2013). Eventualisation understood here as a process of appropriation and recontextualisation that works to problematise technologies of listening and the sites of mediated listening they enact. I will use the seminar to propose a theoretical framework that draws on theories of affordance (Gibson 1977), media ecology (Fuller 2005) and affect (Gilbert 2004). For this work I take my definition of politics and conceptualisations of space from the philosopher Jacques Rancière (2001; 2011).


Boothby, Hugo (January 2019a) Transversal Media Practice as Tool for Radio Research.

Paper presentation at Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) Conference, University of Stirling.

Boothby, Hugo (April 2019b) Music for Universities. Paper presentation at Algorithmic Music: Value, Creativity and Artificial Intelligence, one-day symposium. King’s College, London.

Gansing, Kristoffer (2013) Transversal Media Practices: Media Archaeology, Art and Technological Development. Malmö: Malmö University. Doctoral dissertation

Gibson, James (1977) The Theory of Affordance, in R. Shaw and J. Bransford (eds). Perceiving, Acting and Knowing: Toward and Ecological Psychology, (pp. 62-82) Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Gilbert, Jeremy (2004) Signifying Nothing: ‘Culture,’ ‘Discourse’ and the Sociality of Affect. Culture Machine, Vol 6

Rancière, Jacques (2001). Ten Theses on Politics. Theory & Event 5(3), Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved September 4, 2019, from Project MUSE database.

Rancière, Jacques (2011) The Thinking of Dissensus: Politics and Aesthetics. In Bowman and Stamp (eds.) Reading Rancière. London: Continuum.

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