Paperback, 6.69×9.61 in., B/W, 486pp.
Publication date: March 4, 2021
BISAC: COM079000, COM079010, SOC071000
Thema: URY, URD, JBCT1
Categories: Technology Studies, Communication Studies
Anonymity is highly contested, marking the limits of civil liberties and legality. Digital technologies of communication, identification, and surveillance put anonymity to the test. They challenge how anonymity can be achieved, and dismantled. Everyday digital practices and claims for transparency shape the ways in which anonymity is desired, done, and undone.
The Book of Anonymity includes contributions by artists, anthropologists, sociologists, media scholars, and art historians. It features ethnographic research, conceptual work, and artistic practices conducted in France, Germany, India, Iran, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. From police to hacking cultures, from Bitcoin to sperm donation, from Yik-Yak to Amazon and IKEA, from DNA to Big Data — thirty essays address how the reconfiguration of anonymity transforms our concepts of privacy, property, self, kin, addiction, currency, and labor.
The Book of Anonymity is a stunning achievement! It is luxuriantly interdisciplinary, highly original, and deeply reflective. […] It should be in the library of anyone concerned with information control and revelation issues, as these touch anonymity and identifiability, privacy and publicity and secrecy and transparency. Whether involving scholarship, activism or art, the varied articles strike at the very core of contemporary new technology communication issues such as trust, legitimacy, access, authority and power, and the principled reciprocity central to the social bond and a decent (or, when these are lacking) indecent society.
~ Gary T. Marx, M.I.T.
The Book of Anonymity is written in the tradition of author-less texts. Editing and contributing anonymously constitute experiments in anonymity that speak to the aggressive valuation regimes shaping contemporary artistic and academic knowledge productions alike. This is not to discount the usefulness of attribution, but to trouble the ease with which labour is still dissected, measured and attached to the nexus of person, value and knowledge. To name, one contribution insists is to “define people, things, as individuals, to mark them, hold them, hierarchize them, to press them into service and turn them into value.” Another contribution advocates and questions if an ethics of anonymity can engender the kind of care that individualised practices arguably strive for yet undermine. Not all contributions speak to such concerns directly but all consider what is at stake in the im/possibilities of anonymous expression, at a time of thick digital traces. Editing and contributing anonymously thus is a practical commitment to one of the red threads that criss-cross the kaleidoscopic accounts presented in this book.