P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

At ISEA, Istanbul, Sept 18: The digital and climate change

Re-rooting Digital Culture - Media Art Ecologies

Sun­day, 18 Sep­tem­ber, 2011 - 09:00 - 10:30
Chair Per­son: 
Ruth Cat­low
Tom Corby
Helen Var­ley Jamieson
Michel Bauwens
Paula Crutchlow

Chair: Ruth Cat­low

Over the last decade the aware­ness of an­thro­pogenic cli­mate change has emerged in par­al­lel with hy­per-con­nec­tive dig­i­tal net­works. In the con­text of en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic col­lapse peo­ple around the world are seek­ing al­ter­na­tive vi­sions of pros­per­ity and sus­tain­able ways of liv­ing.

While the legacy of the car­bon fu­eled In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion plays it­self out, we find our­selves grap­pling with ques­tions about the fu­ture im­pli­ca­tions of fast-evolv­ing global dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture. By their very na­ture the new tools, net­works and be­hav­iours of pro­duc­tiv­ity, ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween hu­mans and ma­chines grow and de­velop at an ac­cel­er­ated rate. The rhetoric, aes­thet­ics, tech­nics and as­so­ci­ated eth­i­cal ques­tions of dig­i­tal cul­ture are fun­da­men­tally chang­ing so­cial re­la­tions as well as the na­ture of our ma­te­r­ial ex­is­tence.

The ideas for this in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary panel have grown out of Fur­ther­field's Media Art Ecolo­gies pro­gramme and will ex­plore the re­la­tion­ship be­tween dig­i­tal cul­ture and cli­mate change, de­vel­op­ing themes adopted in grass-roots, emerg­ing and es­tab­lished prac­tices in art, de­sign, ac­tivism and sci­ence.

Pan­elists are artists and ac­tivists whose prac­tices ad­dress the in­ter­re­la­tion of tech­no­log­i­cal and nat­ural processes: be­ings and things, in­di­vid­u­als and mul­ti­tudes, mat­ter and pat­terns. They take an eco­log­i­cal ap­proach that chal­lenges growth eco­nom­ics and techno-con­sumerism and at­tends to the na­ture of co-evolv­ing, in­ter­de­pen­dent en­ti­ties and con­di­tions; they they ac­ti­vate net­works (dig­i­tal, so­cial, phys­i­cal) to work with eco­log­i­cal themes and Free and Open processes.

Paper Ab­stracts

P2P Al­ter­na­tives for a Sus­tain­able Fu­ture

by Michel Bauwens

Bauwens ar­gues for a provoca­tive dou­ble (hypo)the­sis, namely that for-profit pro­duc­tion based on pro­pri­etary knowl­edge is in­her­ently un­sus­tain­able, both at a micro, and a macro level, be­cause it is de­signed to ig­nore neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­ter­nal­i­ties, and mo­bi­lizes many dif­fer­ent strate­gies, such as planned ob­so­les­cence, to achieve this end. By con­trast, com­mons-ori­ented pro­duc­tion that is cen­tered around busi­ness ecolo­gies work­ing with open com­mu­ni­ties, is in­her­ently sus­tain­able. Open com­mu­ni­ties have no in­cen­tive to de­sign un­sus­tain­able prod­ucts, and the busi­ness ecolo­gies work­ing with them, have to build their for-profit ac­tiv­i­ties on this foun­da­tion. In ad­di­tion, non-pro­pri­etary de­sign has a deep im­pact not just on the prod­ucts, but on the very ma­chin­ery of pro­duc­tion (through the de­vel­op­ment of open and dis­trib­uted man­u­fac­tur­ing) and on con­sump­tion (through prod­uct-ser­vice ecolo­gies that are specif­i­cally de­signed for sus­tain­abil­ity and re-use). In this pre­sen­ta­tion, Bauwens will un­pack the char­ac­ter­is­tics of peer pro­duc­tion that are trans­form­ing pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion processes to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity.

Ex­e­cut­ing ecolo­gies: sys­tems, code, in­scrip­tion

by Dr. Tom Corby

Corby ex­plores over­lap­ping themes around en­vi­ron­ment, ecol­ogy and in­for­ma­tion. In doing so it at­tempts to sketch a the­o­ret­i­cal back­ground for an elec­tronic arts prac­tice con­cerned with re­spond­ing to cli­mate change. Such an un­der­tak­ing is fraught with dif­fi­cul­ties. It in­volves syn­the­sis­ing be­tween cul­tural, eco­log­i­cal and sci­en­tific view­points that often ap­pear at odds, and ne­go­ti­at­ing loaded con­cepts such as ‘na­ture’ and ‘en­vi­ron­ment’. Draw­ing on his own prac­tice and the writ­ing of Kather­ine Hayles, Gre­gory Bate­son and Ur­sula Heise amongst oth­ers Corby will ex­plore re­cur­sive re­la­tion­ship be­tween ma­te­r­ial and in­for­ma­tional do­mains and in doing so sign­post an ex­panded ecol­ogy of so­cial and tech­no­log­i­cal con­fig­u­ra­tions that can help frame dis­cus­sion of dig­i­tal prac­tice in this area.


by Helen Var­ley Jamieson and Paula Crutchlow

MAKE-SHIFT is a house party, a chat room, a slide show and a per­for­mance process – a live event for the 21st cen­tury that re-imag­ines the pri­vate ac­tions of our do­mes­tic lives as mul­ti­ple, in­ter­con­nected and with global con­se­quences. make-shift hap­pens si­mul­ta­ne­ously be­tween two or­di­nary houses and a be­spoke on­line per­for­mance space ac­ces­si­ble to any­one, any­where with a broad­band con­nec­tion. Two per­form­ers (one in each house) work with house­hold ob­jects, re­cy­cling rub­bish and cy­ber­for­mance tools to bro­ker in­ter­ac­tion and dis­cus­sion be­tween local and re­mote au­di­ences in a type of per­for­ma­tive salon.

This per­for­mance pre­sen­ta­tion of MAKE-SHIFT ad­dresses the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of nest­ing and feed­ing, the re­la­tion­ships be­tween mo­bil­ity and be­com­ing un­stuck. It thinks about how, con­trary to our feel­ing of po­lit­i­cal dis­em­pow­er­ment, our small daily ac­tions ac­cu­mu­late and ir­rev­o­ca­bly trans­form the world we live in. It talks about stuff and how it breaks down – and that how ever hard you try to make it go away – noth­ing is ever re­ally gone – just re-arranged. 

Bios of the Par­tic­i­pants

Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens is an ac­tive writer, re­searcher and con­fer­ence speaker on the sub­ject of tech­nol­ogy, cul­ture and busi­ness in­no­va­tion. He is the founder of the Foun­da­tion for Peer-to-Peer Al­ter­na­tives and works in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a global group of re­searchers in the ex­plo­ration of peer pro­duc­tion, gov­er­nance, and prop­erty. He has been an an­a­lyst for the United States In­for­ma­tion Agency, knowl­edge man­ager for British Pe­tro­leum, eBusi­ness Strat­egy Man­ager for Bel­ga­com, as well as an in­ter­net en­tre­pre­neur in his home coun­try of Bel­gium. He has co-pro­duced the 3-hour TV doc­u­men­tary Tech­no­ca­lyps with Frank Theys, and co-edited the two-vol­ume book on an­thro­pol­ogy of dig­i­tal so­ci­ety with Salvino Sal­vag­gio. Michel is cur­rently Pri­mav­era Re­search Fel­low at the Uni­ver­sity of Am­s­ter­dam and ex­ter­nal ex­pert at the Pon­tif­i­cal Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences (2008). Michel cur­rently lives in Chi­ang Mai, Thai­land

Ruth Cat­low

Ruth Cat­low is an artist and cu­ra­tor work­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion of art, tech­nol­ogy and so­cial change. As co-founder, with Marc Gar­rett, of Fur­ther­field a grass roots media arts or­gan­i­sa­tion, on­line com­mu­nity and gallery (for­merly HTTP Gallery) in North Lon­don, she works with in­ter­na­tional artists, hack­ers, cu­ra­tors, mu­si­cians, pro­gram­mers, writ­ers, ac­tivists and thinkers. Her cur­rent focus is on prac­tices that en­gage an eco­log­i­cal ap­proach with an in­ter­est in the in­ter­re­la­tion of tech­no­log­i­cal and nat­ural processes. Ruth has been in­volved with de­vel­op­ing net­worked par­tic­i­pa­tory arts in­fra­struc­tures such as Vis­i­torsStu­dio and NODE.​London. Ruth has worked in Higher Ed­u­ca­tion for over 15 years and is cur­rently run­ning de­grees in Dig­i­tal Art and De­sign Prac­tice and de­vel­op­ing a new MA in Fine Art and En­vi­ron­ment at Writ­tle School of De­sign.
http:// ​www.​furtherfield.​org

Tom Corby

Tom Corby is an artist and writer work­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of West­min­ster. His art­works pro­duced with Gavin Baily and Jonathan Macken­zie, ex­plore tech­no­log­i­cal and eco­log­i­cal re­la­tions and have been ex­hib­ited at nu­mer­ous venues in­clud­ing the Zen­trum fur Kunst und Me­di­en­tech­nolo­gie (ZKM); In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Arts, Lon­don; the In­ter­com­mu­ni­ca­tion Cen­tre (ICC), Tokyo and the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum. Awards in­clude at the 10th Japan Media Arts Fes­ti­val in 2007 and at Prix Ars Elec­tron­ica 2006 and 2000 amongst many oth­ers. Re­viewed in Art Re­view, Art Monthly, The Guardian, La Re­pub­blica and Artist’s Newslet­ter.

Paula Crutchlow

Paula Crutchlow lives with her fam­ily in Ex­eter, Devon. She grad­u­ated in Dance from De Mont­fort Uni­ver­sity, and in 2000 com­pleted an MA in De­vised The­atre at Dart­ing­ton Col­lege of Arts, UK where she was an As­so­ci­ate Lec­turer in The­atre until their re­lo­ca­tion to Fal­mouth in 2010. Paula has worked in Britain and in­ter­na­tion­ally as a per­former, di­rec­tor and tutor of move­ment and de­vised the­atre. As a co-founder and Artis­tic Di­rec­tor of Blind Ditch she has col­lab­o­rated on con­text-spe­cific col­lab­o­ra­tive art, per­for­mance and cul­tural events which en­gage au­di­ences and par­tic­i­pants in dis­tinct ways through the use of dig­i­tal media and live per­for­mance.

Helen Var­ley Jamieson

Helen Var­ley Jamieson is a writer, the­atre prac­ti­tioner and dig­i­tal artist from New Zealand. In 2008 she com­pleted a Mas­ter of Arts (re­search) at Queens­land Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (Aus­tralia) in­ves­ti­gat­ing her prac­tice of cy­ber­for­mance – live per­for­mance on the in­ter­net – which she has been de­vel­op­ing for over a decade. She is a found­ing mem­ber of the glob­ally-dis­persed cy­ber­for­mance troupe Avatar Body Col­li­sion, and the pro­ject man­ager of Up­Stage, an open source web-based plat­form for cy­ber­for­mance. Using Up­Stage, she has co-cu­rated on­line fes­ti­vals in­volv­ing artists and au­di­ences around the world. Helen is also the “web queen” of the Mag­dalena Pro­ject, an in­ter­na­tional net­work of women in con­tem­po­rary the­atre.

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