There has been a palpable shift in the digital world, primarily motivated by the growing popularity of the iPhone model of mobile computing and the rise of an app as a new signifier, media object, and technique of ubiquitous computing. Although the term has been in use colloquially since 2009 (following Apple’s iPhone ad campaign built upon the slogan “There’s an app for that”), the rapid adoption of the term and the tool was unforeseen by media theorists. Nonetheless, many social, cultural and media theorists predict the death of the Web, the reinforcement of control and censorship of the online content, and the end of a general purpose computer (Zittrain). Whereas the logic and environment of the Web is one of open, free, and constantly changing or updating (i.e. mutating) networks, it is argued that mobile computing operates upon semi-closed platforms that are driven by specialty software with single-purpose designs (Anderson and Wolff).
How do apps as ‘cultural technique’ (Siegert) and ‘technics’ (Stiegler) channel our ways of maintaining relations with/in media environment? Do the specific and circumscribed operations of individual applications foster or foreclose what media theorists call the transformative and transductive potential of collective technological individuation (Simondon)? Do apps represent “a new reticular condition of transindividuation grammatising new forms of social relations” (Stiegler)? Or do they signal instead the triumph of “regulatory” networks over “generative” ones (Zittrain)? This conference sets out to examine the relations between mobile apps and their networked/internet context.