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Dr. Elena Pilipets

Elena Pilipets

Platformised Values: Affect, Control and Participation on Tumblr

On social platforms we are confronted daily with content of the most diverse kind. Hashtags mobilise engagement, clickbait generates attention, internet memes provoke and entertain. All of this takes place simultaneously and generates added data value through the redistribution of usage activities. In a digital economy that recycles value-laden user practices, affect, participation and control work hand in hand. But what happens to a platform when its terms of use are noticeably changed?

My CAIS project looks at recent events on the social microblogging platform Tumblr. In December 2018, following a block on the Apple App Store for unfiltered child pornography, Tumblr announced that nude content would be automatically censored on all blogs. The decision, which negatively impacted various communities around art, fandom, self-exploration and gender nonconformism in particular, quickly became a viral controversy. The failure of poorly trained filtering algorithms, the further proliferation of porn bots and the phrase “female-presenting nipples” from Tumblr’s new moderation guidelines also earned a lot of criticism.

Using a combination of digital and visual methods, this project will trace the playful appropriation of hashtags and memes in the context of “Tumblr Purge”. The focus is on the exploration of platformised practices of sharing in their role as mediators between different interests.

Research focus

  • Media/Cultural Studies
  • Affect Theory
  • Platform research
  • Internet memes
  • Digital Popular Culture

Curriculum Vitae

  • 11/2018: PhD on the topic “Pop:Mediations. (Dis)Connecting Affect and Meaning in Digital Popular Culture”, Department of Media and Communication Studies, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt
  • 10/2014-10/2018: University assistant in the research area “Media and Cultural Theory”, Institute for Media and Communication Studies, Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt
  • 09/2013-09/2014: PhD scholarship in the field of “Visual Culture”, Faculty of Cultural Studies, Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt

Lectures and publications

  • Pilipets, E. (in print, 2019) Contagion Images: Faciality, Viral Affect and the Logic of the Grab on Tumblr. In: Schober-de Graaf, A. (ed.) Popularisation and Populism through the Visual Arts: Attraction Images . London: Routledge.
  • Pilipets, E. (2018) Queer Workings of Digital Affect: The Hypermediated Body of Conchita Wurst. Transformations. Journal of Media, Culture & Technology. Issue 31: Technoaffect: Bodies, Machines, Media, 138-155.
  • Pilipets, E. & Winter, R. (2018) Repeat, Remediate, Resist? Digital Meme Activism in the Context of the Refugee Crisis. In: Wimmer, J. Wallner, K, Winter, R. & Oelsner K. (eds.): (Mis)Understanding Political Participation. Digital Practices, New Forms of Participation and the Renewal of Democracy. London: Routledge, 158-177.
  • Pilipets, E. & Winter, R. (2017) Mainstream and Subcultures. In: Hecken, T. & Kleiner, M. (eds.) Handbuch Popkultur . Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 284-295.
  • Pilipets, E., Wieser, M. & Winter, R. (2017) About:Kate. Educational processes of cross-media seriality. MediaPedagogy. Journal for theory and practice of media education. Issue 26: New television series and their potential for a critical pedagogy, 138-164.
  • Pilipets, E. (2016) Queer Memes. Of serial metamorphoses and transcontextual assemblages on the social web. In: MedienJournal Vol. 40: Representations and Ethical Challenges, 50-64.

Dr. Elena Pilipets

Fellow at CAIS from May until October 2019