First time I've ever done an abstract for an academic paper - and for the exciting and forthcoming 'Digital Labor: Internet as Playground and Factory' conference at the New School in New York, yet.
Believe me, when deep in the mechanicals of popular music-making, this is my idea of playful fun:
Taking reality lightly: play and the constitution of the Net
In scholarly debates about the nature of our interactions on socio-technical networks, play is often invoked as a descriptor or modifier of existing behaviour. But rarely is there any deeper connection made between the multi-disciplinary zone of contemporary play scholarship – particularly in biology, ethology, neuroscience and complexity theory – and the constitutive forces that maintain (despite various enclosures) the openness and creativity of the internet society.
This paper will explore these connections, and claim that the age of informational plenitude has disclosed a socio-biological 'ground of play', or generic capacities of potentiation, that might explain the enduring resilience and inventiveness of cyberculture.
The presentation will also draw on the author's direct and daily experience as a web enterpreneur in music and journalism. This will illustrate how the constitutively playful structure of the Net, and its ambiguous and open social dynamics, shapes the development of network enterprises at least as crucially as commercial or governmental forces.