Net Activism – Net Demagogy
Discussion forum at »Net Activism – Net Demagogy«
Discussion forum
Wed, April 12, 2017 6 pm – 8 pm CEST, Panel Discussion


In his analysis of western societies, media philosopher Vilém Flusser described a structural transitional phenomenon at the beginning of the 1980s: The mass-media power relations and their rigid opinion channels towards the public were in the process of being dissolved. On the horizon, a net company was emerging, in which dialog between equals establish an individual consensus. Along the way, however, »fascist cross connections« had to be confronted – attempts by mighty nodules in the net (Alexander Galloway) to control the net dialog to suit their own interests.

Today, about 30 years later, the hopes of many net activists of the 1990s to set up egalitarian societies through the internet are replaced by disillusion. The networked media have long since taken up systemic characters (Siegfried Zielinski). In their extreme cases, they facilitate platforms for demagogic initiatives such as right-wing alt-right movement and their mouthpiece, the extreme right US news website Breitbart. In Germany, Pegida and groups of translocal hatred significantly organize themselves through social networks. However, the fascist cross connections make a particular impact beneath the surface of our screens: It’s not just since the NSA scandals and the predicative analytics and microtargeting initiatives in the US elections that it has become apparent how persuasive communication strategies can be further optimized by evaluating user behavior.

Followed by Vesselin Popov' s lecture about the risks and opportunities of Big Data, Peter Weibel and Siegfried Zielinski will be discussing the current situation with guests and the audience in an open forum.

Please note: Lectures and discussions will be held in English. 


  • Florian Cramer (Rotterdam University of Applied Science)
  • Daniel Irrgang (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design)
  • Matteo Pasquinelli (Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design)
  • Vesselin Popov (The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge)



Organization / Institution
ZKM | Karlsruhe