Florian Cramer – Anti-Media: Ephemera on Speculative Arts


nai010 publishers, ISBN-13: 978-9462080317, English, 240 pages, 2013, The Netherlands

Florian Cramer is widely acknowledged as one of the key theorists of net.art and software art, although from there he has expanded his research in the last decade into a number of different cultural realms, dealing with DIY technologies, networks, film, literature, print, post-digital, underground culture and communication at large. Using his background in electronic literature and neoist networked practices he coalesces all these trajectories in a collection of equally engaging texts. (Un)sorted in five groups which breaks the title and subtitle words (“anti”, “media”, “ephemera”, “speculative”, “arts”) the writings reflect author’s stamina and commitment to the different topics, something also attested to by the eight-hour book launch lecture he gave at the Worm space in Rotterdam. His prose is able to dissect topics, refer to important and obscure sources and provoke with controversial statements, throwing readers into uncharted territories and delineating new interconnections between texts. Between the lines we have here a definition of alternative culture. It goes in multiple directions, it’s very controversial and it uses any medium and strategy the author finds useful. The complexity, the potential and the eventual inherent limits of this approach are all embedded in the intertwining of topics and arguments, which confirm the idea that criticism, in Cramer’s words, has to get “its hands dirty.”