It’s 2014. I’m an Assistant Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at NYU (CV). My book, Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet, is out. (Some of the reviews: Morozov, WSJ; The Nation; The Guardian; LA Review of Books; Scientific American; The Millions. It also won the 2013 PROSE Award in Computing & Information Sciences.) Right now, I’m working on a book with Helen Nissenbaum about obfuscation, and researching a book about cryptocurrencies and digital money. This semester, I’m teaching «Hacker Culture & Politics» and «New Media Research Studio» (my office hours are 15:30-17:00, Monday and Wednesday). My work email address is fb42 at nyu dot edu — send anything personal or confidential to finn at pressmail dot ch, using my public key to encrypt.
So far this year I wrote Kleptography for Radical Philosophy, on Bitcoin for Artforum, and Une histoire du spam for Le Monde diplomatique (English here), and had a written dialogue with Kevin Driscoll for Culture Digitally. Gabriella Coleman and I have a coauthored chapter in the volume Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society. I talked on ABC Canberra about 419 spam, at Apex Art about anonymity, and briefly appeared on Russian television, strangely. And a piece of mine was translated into Esperanto!
In 2013 I changed jobs and moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to New York City. I wrote Insecurity Systems for Artforum, and a piece about email scams for the Boston Globe. I spoke at PRISM Breakup and Always Already Obsolete at Eyebeam and the New Museum, respectively. Gabriella Coleman, Quinn Norton and I gave a talk at SXSWi called Creativity & Mayhem. I had a conversation with Brian Lehrer on NPR in July. Helen Nissenbaum and I coauthored Political and Ethical Perspectives on Data Obfuscation for the collection Privacy, Due Process and the Computational Turn: The Philosophy of Law Meets the Philosophy of Technology. The spam book came out.
In 2012 I was an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. I wrote Chris Marker, 1921-2012: Future Anterior and The Walled City: “Cannot One Dream of a Computer Hypothesis?” for Radical Philosophy, and Constitutive Interference: Spam and Networked Communities for Representations. I gave a lot of talks, and taught «Introduction to Information» and «Dead Media,» and spent a lot of time revising and rewriting the spam book.
In 2011 I joined Michigan from a postdoc position. I coauthored Vernacular Resistance to Data Collection and Analysis: A Political Theory of Obfuscation with Helen Nissenbaum for First Monday. I wrote Keyspace: Reflections on WikiLeaks and the Assange Papers and “Roar So Wildly”: Spam, Language, Technology for Radical Philosophy, and After WikiLeaks, Us for The New Everyday. I spent a lot of time working on what would become the spam book.
From 2006 to 2009, I lived in Aberdeen, Scotland, where I got my PhD from the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Modern Thought, under the supervision of Christopher Fynsk and Mario Biagioli. I made a lot of things on the web, like this companion site for Laura U. Marks’s Enfoldment and Infinity, and an archive devoted to Walter Benjamin. Before that, I got an MA from the European Graduate School in Switzerland (grey glaciers, green fields, bright sunlight, and life-changing conversations) in 2004-2006 while living and working in various places.
Aside from work: here’s a gif of me talking, by my sister Tess who makes brilliant comics. I like desert camping, doom metal, the red-tailed hawks that live in Washington Square Park, sitting down to write every morning, and many other things. ☀