Arrived at the first day of , the Institute for Network Society annual (). Realized today's talks are all in Chinese. This must be what it's like for non-English speaking folks coming to most tech politics conferences. Being a native English speaker is a privilege that's hard to recognize until I find myself in this kind of situation.

My first ever experience of being in the linguistic and ethnic minority at an event was as a teenager, attending Ngā Manu Kōrero, the annual Te Reo Māori speech competitions. It blows my mind that many people have never had such an experience.

The first speaker at , a woman in a pink lab coat, does an amazingly visual presentation on the mobile device as a magic mirror biased towards making everything "beautiful". She plays with these tools live on the screen, demonstrating "beautification" and then hacking this concept to showcase the more creative and expressive use these same tools can be put to.

program is here:
caa-ins.org/archives/5895/2

The speaker names are all in Chinese, which I can't read 😞

The second speaker is a young man in a cap and hipster glasses. He starts off with demonstrating something that involves a group of audience volunteers standing in a circle, numbering off. Then moves on to something about and continuous consciousness.

This second speaker is making minimal use of the presentation screen, as I often do. I'm having an experience maybe akin to that of a visual person attending one of my presentations 😏 He seems to be talking about various examples of applications, and a ? A tool for recognising emotions in human faces based on a schema? A photo of a person doing calligraphy with a brain scanning web attached. Who is Rosa? Why are these posts turning into bad haiku?

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The third speaker, another young man in hipster glasses is talking about , and various other famous arts figures including John Cage. A B+W photo of an old French protest march. A photo representing infinite regression? Photo of the issue with "You" as Person of the Year.

Fourth speaker is a young woman wearing a grey overcoat and orange and black stripey pants. I approve 😉

Fourth speaker seems to be talking about of notable architecture. She quotes . A photo of a set of sails above a city. ? Photos of white folks in period aristocratic costume, and of palatial built environments, The White Palace? A photo of the contrast between low-rise and high-rise housing, in China? Photos of an old, communal neighbourhood. She quotes and others. A video of lit-up city nightscapes with massive group dancing.

What would you call a that turns up predictably at the same time every week? That's a common sight in public squares in China. Most of them seems to be huge dance classes.

The fifth speaker is a young woman in a black Matrix coat and glasses whose presentation is entitled "Blindness". She seems to be talking about or "" and how much time people spend on average online.

Fifth speaker is talking about "Computer Vision Syndrome" and quoting . Now she's talking about MS Windows and maybe how the overlapping nature of windows on a desktop contrasts with paintings like Alberti's Window and Magritte's window painting, and Friedberg's writing about windows. She quotes and . Then moves on to "trees blindness" and tree walks. Then to teen use of#SocialMedia and discourses of .

More images infinite regression. Photo of . A surrealist painting. ? a space suite on a couch. Everything is quite surreal when I have no idea what's being said 😏

Today's speakers seems to come from a range of universities around China. Now we seems to be moving on to a panel discussion and/or Q+A with the first group of speakers.
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There's a camera above the door, facing the seating area of the lecture theatre is taking place in. I wonder if we're all being filmed and subjected to , and who has access to the camera feed, any recorded footage, and any resulting facial data?

It just occurred to me I also have a camera and I can post photos here instead of descriptions. Spot the social media noob 😏

The first panel at was 'Spiritual Life in the Network Society'. The second panel is 'Political Economy Criticism of Social Media'.

First speaker for panel 2 is talking about the use of bots and fakes to game the corporate social surveillance platforms. Case studies include and . "Developers' lives matter"

The second speaker for panel 2 talking about the . Ironic to be putting a photo of this on the fediverse 😏 She starts with a brief history its roots as a legal concept in Europe, beginning in the EU in 1953, with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, proceeding through its evolution in EU law, and then focusing on the .

It's good that the GDPR assumes children (under-16s) have an automatic right to data erasure.

She goes on to talk about legal test cases. Goggle Spain vs. and . vs. Beijing Netcom Science and Technology Co. Ltd. Quoting Lady on the limits of the interpretation, and the on the GDPR. Moves on to services like , , and , and encryption. Then focusing on relevant Chinese law.

My battery is about dead so that's me until I can find a power plug.

I've switched to the laptop to carry on the live postings on , but the battery on this is crap too.

I've logged into instead of in the vain hope my worn out old battery will last longer this way.

He seems to be talking about the general concepts of , , the and , and how the license relates to all this. "Why any software movement will fail", referencing , not sure what the proposition is here. He moves on to a critique of , and the proposition that , via decentralized tech like and , will allow users to monetize their own data directly, rather than mediators capturing that value.

"The marriage of democracy and capitalism is over". Quoting someone? Goggle, FarceBook, and the Amazone are both capturing far more value than they contribute and disrupting basic democratic rights in the process. In response to this, and the lack of action by most public authorities to do anything substantial about it, people move to the , , , and so on.

The arrival of # Netscape created an app environment within the web browser, which began to displace native Windows apps. Farcebook and others have begun to do the same things to the browser. In response, tools like offer "Post on Facebook, but not viewed by Facebook".

A lot more people in the audience for this session of than there were this morning.

The fourth speaker is based at the University of Melbourne and is rocking the pseudo-corporate dress code typical of the contemporary western academic. She must be relishing the opportunity to write and speak only in Chinese for a change, as all her slides so far have been entirely in Chinese characters. I'm totally lost. Can't blame her though, I certainly relish the change to speak, read, and write in English whenever I return to anglophone countries.

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The third panel at , is called 'Media Archaeology'. I really wish I could understand Chinese because all three of the panels today had fascinating topics. Mind you, even if I had been studiously working on my skills since before we got here, I imagine I'd still be struggling to follow academic lectures ;)

Still, I'll head back for what's left of panel 3 once my devices finish charging and interpreting what I can from the slides ;)

I got lost on the way back to venue yesterday so I missed the third panel. Today I couldn't get on the WiFi until now, so I took lots of handwritten notes. Watch out for a long blog post. Fingers crossed for more live-posting tomorrow.

Michael Goddard. Focusing on . Recycling of media modes using new waves of technology. "Claims to novelty" reflect cultural amnesia. Media technology develops in spirals rather than linear progression. Presence is the "holy grail" of VR. Part of a history of "audiovision", Zelinski. "post-cinematic", still primarily concerned with sight and sound. References 'Virtual Reality', 'Spasm'.

warns against the fantasies of disembodiment and lack of materiality of , citing the relationship between VR and . describes VR flashbacks from an artist project in 1991-3 that sound like psychedelic flashbacks, "alternate world syndrome".

In the 2000s mobile computing eclipsed VR in the public media imaginary, but higher processing power led to the current resurgence of VR. VR is limited as a kind of "". But returning to fine arts as a source of new VR aesthetics could break new ground. In those contexts, only part of the story is in the media, much of it is located in the theory that prompts it, and the conversations it provokes.

. dominated in China by 4 huge companies: includingTenCent and AliBaba. Users as , digitalization turns humans into productive capital. Beyond media political economy of selling attention to advertisers. Wealth flowing to BAT companies from the poorer segment of the society. Public vs. private provision of utilities. Critically refencing theory

acquires stake in 2013 in . Like Titter, the of Weibo has pivoted it from a digital public square into an e-commerce promotional space. AliBaba and WeChat are converging on similar and affordances. as"" becomes a cover for fraud and labour precarity, socializing the costs of reproducing labour. Similar to "democracy" as a cover for classic .

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So what fine arts contributes to the aesthetic development of new media, like cinema in the 1960s, is an exploration of process and the possibilities of what can be done with new creative tools and experiences, outside of a tunnel vision focused only on producing marketable products. There would be no products - movies or merch - without the artistic experiments that prefigured cinema VFX.

is talking about the campaign and how it came out of an existing movement. corporations tried to convince regulators to share ownership with their users, as tech companies have done with workers, but ? Exit options, acquisition or IPO. What about an option.

Building accountability into startups and avoiding user-serving companies becoming zombies to investors. Strategies:
* user buyout: a trust or co-ops buys all shares on behalf of users. User representation and/or shared profits. gave shares to user trust.
* federation: as cooperative of user businesses. Voluntary ( etc.) or through AntiTrust action.
* tokenization: ownership is traded as crypto-tokens, under company control, or permisionless.
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The Young Scholars forum at took up day #1 of the conference and the fourth panel is finishing up day #3, also focusing on Platform Capitalism.

Speaker #1 is talking about how different standards of beauty between China and the west might actually represent a difference between political-economic ways of understanding beauty. Referencing . Avantgarde looks vs. classical beauty standards. Difference as beauty. References . Declining western hegemony surfaces in changing fashion. Referencing . Net imagery challenging hegemony of beauty magazines and other institutional fashion media.

Speaker #2 a social media analysis of "whining" comments as a form of political participation, an alternative to street protest. He seems to be proposing the creation of feedback tools for companies, like video game platform companies.

Speaker #3 is , talking about 'Imprisoning Platforms'. is right, in that people are suffering, but there may be "no universal grammar of suffering". "Platform" is often used as a euphemism for "monopoly". So "the platform is like a prison", no easy way out, "but jail is an authentic place" as opposed to unrealised dreams of freedom. Like the "prison of language", maybe we have no choice but to "accept the prison" of the net, and the loss of control over our attention?

Speaker #4 is talking about independent music in "" digital platforms. Cloud Music. Cross-cultural vs. exclusively Chinese platforms. Comment threads as "collective memory and individual emotions/ nostalgia". "ruin and becoming", minority rapper and comment thread discussing politics of their people. as a precedent, or "fringe" youth. Music platform comments make space for .

, the use of memories of defeated state socialism to close down postcapitalist visioning.

Speaker 5 is talking about to livestreaming platforms. 58 year old livestreamer used filters to look like a young woman. Referencing , et al, to discuss compression of time while online. Art can create platforms of perception to shape possible or likely ways for people to think about their worlds. Tech platforms do this by using filters and dopamine pumping to shape users' "long-term desires".

Referencing , , "visualization of ugliness". Rule-based framework. , four colour coding system for user comments. Coding can be visualized and navigated as a map of the discourse. "New kinds of systemic authorities and institutions" to protect users from addictive platform owners. launches a social charter for the web.

Overall French pomo seems to be much more influential than I expected in this segment of the Chinese academy.

How does and FB's pivot to "privacy" represent not a break with Platform Capitalism, but a change of strategy or even just PR? Even if they are cynical moves, how might movements use them as a lever?

How might we cultivate personal and collective habits of taking a , to look at layers of wider context, nested inside each other. For example, we want federated platforms. Why? Because we want freedom to communicate and deliberate. Why? Because we believe the can be leveraged to solve otherwise intractable social problems. Why?

The main geographical boundary on the net is linguistic, not territorial. The Great Firewall is very much an exception. Mostly, users cluster on platforms on the basis of common languages, and to a lesser degree, timezone.

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@strypey
Hi Strypey,

Here's a question. Is any business model based on #webTechnology and #automation really a sustainable #business? Think #Uber.

Especially now that we have ways to create #distributedSystems with #immutableDatabases (like #blockchains). ;)

@dsfgs how many existing P2P apps have you tested? The concept is great but there are serious engineering and UX challenges to be overcome.

@strypey
A good few now :)

Yes they can and are being actively improved over time, but it's not disrupting the services.

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