The “Platform” is an important convention for contemporary social organizations, yet in practice the term is often so ambiguous as to limit its use within a larger strategic framework. First deployed in manufacturing and politics to convey a common basis for production, the “platform,” when adapted for software and game consoles, came to signify an interoperable suite of computing systems, or “ecosystem.” Eventually, the dominant organizational logic of Silicon Valley’s hardware, software, and social platforms would prove a powerful model for a new economy defined by the distributed, asynchronous interaction of various stakeholders.
What are the material and rhetorical conditions of the platform? Why are they valuble organizational patterns, and how should we advance platforms for the cultural institution? This session will attempt to specify the platform as a useful social technology and invite critique of its commercial underpinnings.