Further Into The Wild Digital Industries ? #rp14


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#rp14 / re:publica14

So, to begin, a slight disclaimer, we are covering #rp14 from a safe distance!

1. We have lots of other pressing work to take care, so we are not physically there to gather perspectives 2. We have covered RP many times now, even worked for them once, but what is missing for us is a deeper critical analysis of digital culture itself, and the lack of Technotopian, Machine-Spectacle Colonization + Cybernetic Regime critiques.

As Chris Hedges calls it, in a broader sociological context: The Empire Of Illusion. And is ANYONE expressing an emotional and center stage contempt for the conference’s own alignment and compromises w/ corporate IT companies ?!  … w/ the exception of a penetrating but brief off-the-cuff intro comment in Evgeny Morozov’s talk:

RT ::: “I see that [data +] capitalism is represented in spirit by all the [corporate]  logos behind my back.” @morozov #rp14 http://youtu.be/XpbpJiUJ2fM

Daimler, Microsoft, Evian, Deutsche Bank, Vodaphone… ( please check out their partners list, as there’s probably a few other unsavory things in there. ).  Some years ago this would have made such a conference Not credible to hackers and activists. Why does this pass for credibility for most attendees now ?!!

One sample rant: plastic bottled water is FUCKING STUPID ! Let’s Stop participating in it NOW ! ( easier said then done, we know. Attendees, this is also on your shoulders to DO Different ! )

[  We are just catching wind of the Yes Men-like Google Nest prank performance, which did happen on one of the main stages, but not sure that extends to a critique of Re:publica itself. )


So, before we take more backseat "potshots" and longviews from afar,  we do respect many on the RP crew for bringing into the public discourse many extremely complex topics which are so urgent to navigating a healthier and collaborative human path ! And we noticed the RP organization making a clear solidarity statement in support of asylum in Germany for Edward Snowden.



Unable to give time for a serious and thorough essay on the matters here in this one (another unpaid) blog ... but our ongoing work w/ XLterrestrials and the CiTiZEN KiNO project is full of attempts to articulate a robust theory, and possible forms of resistance to the, let's call them, the over-mediated environments.

[ And if these topics are of concern to you, we would appreciate your support, links, feedback, etc. ; It has not been an easy road, to get exposure. ]

But here, we can give you just a quick slice ( as it goes with Twitter exchange ) of one of our major problems w/ Re:publica’s positioning in the digital industries :

RT ::: Peter Weibel : We can’t know yet how the global security junta will turn out, or the effects of colonialization of data worlds. #rp14

RT ::: XLterrestrials : What seems to be lacking in the Technotopian #rp14 Happy Meal is that data worlds ARE the colonization … of intelligent life forms.

[ thanks to RP coverage bits by @nadia_z , and note, we have yet to absorb the full lecture by Mr. Weibel ]

Re:publica has been at this game since 2007. Its producing team New Thinking a bit longer (?). What amazes us – sometimes – is that very smart Net Culture builders didn’t see this “Junta” coming… Cybernetics and its technocratic ( even techno-fascist) evolutions were and are all about a Control + Management Society. As it was all being installed by wild west commercial enterprise … What The Fuck Did You Expect ?!

And STILL there’s some kind of bizarre reformist attitude, that if it wasn’t for corrupt govts, bad corporations, NSA, BND, GCHQ, etc. a digital society would be all hunky dory progress.

Actually a mass mediated society brings with it a wide-range of questions + problems all by itself…  At the very least, where the hell are the communication theories of The Frankfurt School in all this Berliner Digi-Pop ?! … For example.

In any case, clearly a shift in the “new thinking” is beginning to occur … we are no longer so in love with our machines … and increasingly appalled by the latest invasive sales pitching … entirely distrusting of the operating systems…. And that’s already turning into some Very Interesting manifestations of discontent !

And hmm, maybe by 2020, if there’s anything still left of corporate empire and Silicon Valley, re:publica will have caught up to Situationist theory … and the Occupy movement ;)

Well there’s so much more that we would like to get into … Thus far we would highly recommend SPREADING the talks by Morozov and Alexa O’Brien’s interview w/ Sarah Harrison !

Many, many more archives online… sure to be other worthy + tactical bits in the mix… Respex to all the archiving tech team !

Here’s one quick insight into a seemingly small bit of evidence on how the conference for digital devotees slips into synch w/ the corporate agendas… the audio-visual and data-slick view…

The little trailers for the lectures are cleverly designed. A scene from a peaceful forest in a juicy high-res slow gliding frame, which then suddenly stutters and glitches…This is Not a scene from nature at all, it’s a hyperreal mediated and remote specimen of our DIS-engagement. Kind of a cool, poetic rendering of the ever-present mindfuck of displacement! But is it critique or another cool detached techie wink. Nowhere in the program, that we’ve seen, is anyone posing the kind of critical questions ( environmental, psychological, sociological, anti-corporate-capitalist, neurological, pedagogical, indigenous rights, 3rd world exploitations, etc. ) which would confront this freaky malfunctioning relationship…

It brings to mind Corey Doctorow’s techno-evangelist talk last year at rp13, his enthusiasm and ‘inevitability’ for the internet-of-things, everything connected ( by code ) w/ little challenge or debate from the fawning technotopian rp crowd.

What does it mean as we – as a civilization – undergo a severe shift, a virtual migration ( or deportation) from a diversity of cultures to the homogenous digital/cybernetic logic … The increasing dominance and impositions of digital culture on all spheres of life !? Is this a precarious separation from the “natural world” ( warning: a loaded debate, where high-tech western bias dominates ), a separation from our actual habitat, from all other living species, and from the fully embodied human experiences, which will often naturally inform us w/o delays + abstractions of the fuller folly of our parasitic and plundering ways ?

These questions are often too contrary to the view of “technological progress” , too wild, and not relevant to tech and social media conference biz, and to the technology+consumer-driven economies, and to all the techno fixer solutionists !

But without posing them to the makers, tweakers and laborers and users,  to all the global citizens ( and not just those at the forefront of the gadget-empowered ) now in the claws of a data-crunching and data-colonizing, and we might add data-terrorizing operating system, we will continue to be at a loss in regards to what’s going so disturbingly wrong. And perhaps incapable of accessing meaningful tactical manuevers in response.

Other random and often prickly impressions can be found by XLterrestrial analysts – i.e. dr.podinski, @podinski

Added: This article from The Earth Island Institute on The Anthropocene concept is definitely related to the analysis / angle above…

RT ::: The Anthropocene. It’s Not All About Us. We need to recognize we share the planet with millions of other life forms http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/05/08

Added: Pretty difficult to get the drift of rp14 from the 1st 3-day scoop, it’s so densely packed w/ talks, but as we catch up on some more interesting voices, mostly powerful women from a little outside the tech development sector  … Maybe there is Far More agitation then techno solutionism than in previous years… still absorbing, but here’s a couple … Saskia Sassen and Laurie Penny

If you have some other tips or feedback for us, please send …


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