Arrived at the first day of #Netizen21, the Institute for Network Society annual #conference (#INS). 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.
The first speaker at #Netizen21, 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.
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 #Stanislavski 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 #AI applications, and a #Rasabox? A tool for recognising emotions in human faces based on a #vedic 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?
Fourth speaker seems to be talking about #geotagging of notable architecture. She quotes #ManuelCastells. A photo of a set of sails above a city. #SailPunk? 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 #PeterHall and others. A video of lit-up city nightscapes with massive group dancing.
What would you call a #FlashMob 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.
Fifth speaker is talking about "Computer Vision Syndrome" and quoting #AnneFriedberg. 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 #JosephPieper and #TheInvisibleGorilla. Then moves on to "trees blindness" and tree walks. Then to teen use of#SocialMedia and discourses of #DigitalNarcissism.
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.
The first panel at #Netizen21 was 'Spiritual Life in the Network Society'. The second panel is 'Political Economy Criticism of Social Media'.
The third panel at #Netizen21, 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 #Mandarin skills since before we got here, I imagine I'd still be struggling to follow academic lectures ;)
Michael Goddard. Focusing on #VR. 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 #HowardRheingold 'Virtual Reality', #ArthurKroker 'Spasm'.
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 "#BubbleVision". 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.
#LuXinyu. #NewMedia dominated in China by 4 huge companies: includingTenCent and AliBaba. Users as #DigitalLabour, 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 #LongTail theory
#AliBaba acquires stake in 2013 in #SinoWeibo. Like Titter, the #IPO of Weibo has pivoted it from a digital public square into an e-commerce promotional space. AliBaba and WeChat are converging on similar #UX and affordances. #SharingEconomy as"#DigitalCommunism" becomes a cover for fraud and labour precarity, socializing the costs of reproducing labour. Similar to "democracy" as a cover for classic #NeoLiberalism.
Future #MediaArchaeology scholars will have significant things to say about the development of the #NewChina as a producer and product of #NewMedia. The #DigitalUtopia is still in a class conflict with #SurveillanceCapitalism, and the outcomes of that struggle will have a huge impact on the future of the political-economic project that is modern China, and in turn on the unfolding of the globalized human society of the 21st century.
#SakuradaKazuya. Privacy violation as the rent extracted for using "free" net platforms. Referencing both anarchist and marxist understandings of the basis of exchange of labour and its products in society, "networkers", not "netizens". References Japanese anarchists publishing in late 19th and early 20th century. Some were keen on using #Esperanto for cross-cultural communication. Working in typgraphy, the new media of their time.
Japanese Anarchist Federation active after #WW2, dissolved in the student struggles of the 1960s. Like many anarchists in the post-war period, Yamaga (?) was active in peace movements and wrote for various newspapers inside and beyond the anarchist movement. He was also a keen artist. Famous for being jailed for translating and publishing banned works by western anarchist writers.
Anarchist library and archives located near Mt Fuji. Much of their collection is flyers and pamphlets published before and during WW2. Many Japanese anarchists worked for publishing companies, allowing a lot of materials to be printed and bound. A lot of Yamaga's work can be found at that library, including drawings depicting his early life and political events. Much of this information is still not reflected in official histories.
Discussion for panel 3. Michael mentions experimental audiovisual creators whose work doesn't fit into conventional media categories like "cinema" or "TV". Prof. Lu mentions media as the shared imaginary of a national conversation. All societies have inequality of speech between most people and those in power. So what role will new media play in that conflict. Sakurada Sensei asked about anarchist media online, they definitely exist 😏
Michael asked about #AngLee 120 frames per second cinema, points out that more realism is not necessarily an advantage. Sceptical of attempts to build "empathy machines". Prof Lu points out the paradox of privacy rights concepts vs. consent to use personal data by opting in to platforms. Is the data property? If so, whose is it? References #DataSovereignty issues of private corporations holding data on millions of Chinese people.
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 #StarWars products - movies or merch - without the artistic experiments that prefigured cinema VFX.
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