CODE NL-D SYMPOSIUM I: RECLAIMING DIGITAL AGENCY, co-organised by the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe and IMPAKT Center for Media Culture was held on the 26. June, 2021. With the first symposium, we wanted to understand the potential of cross - disciplinary collaborations and artistic interventions to catalyse system change. It was a gathering of a brilliant panel of artists, politicians, activists and academics who confronted issues relating to current and new technologies and their societal impact starting from the following questions:
1. What changes do we want?
2. How can artists inspire these changes?
To start off, we saw Evelyn Austin (Bits of Freedom), Leonieke Verhoog (Public Spaces), in conversation with IMPAKT Centre Director Arjon Dunnewind, discussing and sparking ideas on how to enact the changes we want to see in the legislative sphere, particularly as users and consumers. In identifying the problems, would we then be able more effectively decide how to navigate the digital landscape increasingly dominated by surveillance technologies.
Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in her keynote talked about the evolution of the digital landscape in the last few decades, and how we might reclaim digital agenda, harness them for social change, in a time where tech giants such as Reddit and Youtube now dominate the scene.
To round off the symposium, our panellists from the second panel suggested ways in which we can engage creatively in exercising our digital agency, as individuals and as collectives. Marek Tuszynski of Tactical Tech presented a series on artworks illuminating the thin spectrum of influence one a creative, the user and consumer could exercise, in exercising one’s digital agency. Whereas, Sarah Grant of Cosmic.Berlin introduced InterTropical Network, a peer - to - peer, distributed network across communities in tropical zones, as an instance of ground up efforts to collectively improve our digital agency.
Hopefully, this event will activate our individual agency, open up our imaginations into what solutions are possible and how we can creatively influence new laws regulating big tech and eventually - reclaim our digital agency. To rewatch recordings of the symposium, click on this link here. We’re planning for a follow up, the second part of the symposium series, scheduled for September. Keep a look out for this as we firm up details!
School of MA x
26 July 2021