MALfunction #2: Democratization

MALfunction #2: Democratization
Thursday, October 20 @ 6:30pm
Museum of Natural History, CU Boulder
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Researcher: Nathan Schneider
An Internet of Ownership: Democratic Design for the Online Economy

Artist: JP Merz
Lecture & Performance – Playing with Technology: The Politics of Electro-Acoustic Music

Nathan Schneider
The disappointments of the sharing economy—for instance, monopolistic conglomerates and systemic labor abuses—stem from its failures to meaningfully share ownership and governance. Under the banner of “platform cooperativism,” an emerging network of cooperative developers, tech entrepreneurs, labor organizers, and scholars are developing a business ecosystem that aligns the ownership and governance of companies and products with the people whose lives are most affected by them. This represents a radical critique of the existing online economy, but it’s also a field of experimentation for healthier ownership design.

Nathan Schneider is a scholar-in-residence of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder who writes about economy, technology, and religion. His articles have appeared in publications including Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Catholic Worker, and others. He writes regular columns for America, a national Catholic weekly, and Vice magazine, and he is a contributing editor for YES! Magazine. His two books, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, were both published in 2013 by University of California Press. In 2015, he co-organized “Platform Cooperativism,” a pioneering conference on democratic online platforms at The New School, and co-edited the subsequent book, Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet.

JP Merz
Introducing and contextualizing the tradition of performing music with technology, this hybrid lecture/performance will consider how institutions of electro-acoustic music create hierarchies by shaping aesthetic and cultural values, and will propose potential methods for democratizing sound and sound practices.

JP Merz is a composer and sound artist who works with classical, jazz, and rock musicians, as well as improvisers, dancers, electrical engineers, programming languages, and robots. His recent work explores intimate, emotion-driven, and kinesthetic experiences of sound. JP’s music has been performed by members of the JACK Quartet, Altius Quartet, Playground Ensemble, Iowa Center for New Music, and Colorado Music Festival Orchestra at places such as the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, New Music on the Point, San Francisco Fringe Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, the Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions, and basements. In addition to composing, JP performs on electric viola, guitar, and electronics with an eclectic variety of groups ranging from new music/improv ensembles to folk-rock bands.


MALfunction: A series of intimate events that question where media and society, research and practice meet. Each MALfunction features one researcher and one artist whose work examines a similar technological theme. FREE and open to the public.

Presented by the Media Archaeology Lab and hosted at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Co-sponsored by the College of Media, Communication and Information and the Department of English. Curated by Maya Livio.

Nathan Schneider

JP Merz