Hi, my name is Tiziana Terranova and I joined Robin Hood in June 2014.
I have a degree in the humanities, Languages and Literatures, but I always had a strong interest in media, communications and technology so when I finished my undergraduate studies at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ I moved to the Uk where I studied these subjects first at Brunel University and then at Goldsmiths’ College. I wrote my PhD about cyberpunk and cyberculture through a fieldwork on Internet forums in the mid-nineties. Since then, I have never stopped looking and being amazed by the vitality of the Internet and its culture of perpetual trasnformation and layering. I wrote a book on Network Culture in the early 2000s, and a chapter of that was dedicated to the phenomenon of ‘free labor’, that is the fact that the Internet is fuelled by free and voluntary labor of user. That essay was kind of prophetic and it has become a bit of a classic because it provided an autonomist Marxist reading of this process by means of notions such as the ‘social factory’, ‘immaterial labor’ etc.
After over a decade of teaching in UK institution, I have moved back to Italy where I continue researching the Internet while also participating to various projects such as Euronomade, the Italian free university network which has carried on the theoretical and political work of Autonomist Marxism and various kinds of militant networks.
I heard about Robin Hood from Akseli Virtanen whom I had met at a conference organized by Franco Berardi in San Marino as part of his attempt to found a European School of Social Imagination. He got back in touch with me in 2014 after he read an essay called Algorithms and Capital which I had published as a result of a workshop involving autonomist marxists and software studies scholars. I was on sabbatical that year and the techie world was going through its bitcoin infatuation phase. In Italy, a social centre such as Macao had launched a platform such as Commoncoin for the circuit of occupied spaces. There was a lot of debate on finance and new possibilities.
As a result I attended the first RH office in Stuttgart which involved theorists I very much admire and respect such as Maurizio Lazzarato, Brian Massumi and Erin Manning and met new ones. I accepted to join the board even as boards make me nervous and I feel very responsible. RH has changed a lot, I was drawn to the idea of the parasite as paradox but also opening a path and breaking a taboo about finance, then the blockchain happened and all kinds of things have been set in motion. We sometimes disagree and there are occasional clashes, but I like a cooperation founded on the tension of dissensus.
I am in RH because I am sick and tired of seeing such a waste of talents, creativity and power in this economy, of its mono-dimensional emphasis on competitive individualism, the sadness and depression it creates, its intrinsic racism. I believe that finance is not bad, but it raises important issues in an economy of abundance, that is investment in the future, what we value and desire. It should not be left to a bunch of oligarchs who keep giving themselves huge dividends and pay-raises until they disappear into the ultra-rich stratosphere. It should irrigate and nurture the social, that is all that is deemed as ‘unproductive’ by most economists: learning, healing, thinking, researching, looking after people, animals, nature, inventing new ways of living, art, intelligence.
At the moment I am working on a book about the ‘social turn’ in networked media, looking at what the social element of networking bring into it, but also into production, automation and money.
I am looking forward to RH’s office in Athens in November, to really catch up with developments and see them tested on the ground.