The aim of Clemens Apprich’s postdoctoral research is to establish “Critical Infrastructures” as an analytical concept in order to understand current media practices in their multiple and political usage of network technologies. In this sense, infrastructures are critical, because they are always already in crisis, and therefore open to détournements and reappropriation. At the same time they are critical, because they reveal critical knowledge and diversity of cultural forms. Hence, recent debates about the commons and shared resources challenge us to develop new concepts and understandings of infrastructures. They contain the potential to foster new forms of cooperation and collaboration, in order to enable collective forms of individuation that go beyond the horizon of the individual consumer.
Critical Infrastructures, understood as collective assemblages of human, social and technological individuals, yield new forms of knowledge about the socio-technical architectures, practices, and processes that underlie online phenomena. As can be seen in some of today’s most prolific art and media projects, such as Public Library, unMonastery, MetaReciclagem, alternative infrastructures are deemed important if we want to challenge and transform the currently predominant network-model in digital media, represented by corporate Internet-platforms like Amazon, Facebook or Google. Critical Infrastructures therefore can provide students, designers, artists, practitioners, and scholars with ideas as to how we can develop a new “imaginary” of digital cultures and its underlying materialities.