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.
#NathanSchneider is talking about the #BuyTwitter campaign and how it came out of an existing #PlatformCooperative movement. #SharingEconomy corporations tried to convince regulators to share ownership with their users, as tech companies have done with workers, but #DemocraticManagement? Exit options, acquisition or IPO. What about an #ExitToCommunity 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. #NIO gave shares to user trust.
* federation: #VISA as cooperative of user businesses. Voluntary (#ActivityPub etc.) or through AntiTrust action.
* tokenization: ownership is traded as crypto-tokens, under company control, or permisionless.
The Young Scholars forum at #Netizen21 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 #PierreBourdieu. Avantgarde looks vs. classical beauty standards. Difference as beauty. References #WilliamJGoldman. Declining western hegemony surfaces in changing fashion. Referencing #HansBelting. Net imagery challenging hegemony of beauty magazines and other institutional fashion media.
Speaker #3 is #LeonChung, talking about 'Imprisoning Platforms'. #KarlMarx 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 #CaoXuefei talking about independent music in "#PostSocialist" digital platforms. #NetEase Cloud Music. Cross-cultural vs. exclusively Chinese platforms. Comment threads as "collective memory and individual emotions/ nostalgia". #Pharmakon "ruin and becoming", minority rapper and comment thread discussing politics of their people. #QQmusic as a precedent, #Feizhliu or "fringe" youth. Music platform comments make space for #PurpleProse.
Speaker 5 is talking about #AutomatedAddiction to livestreaming platforms. 58 year old livestreamer used filters to look like a young woman. Referencing #Foucalt, #Deleuze 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".
Overall French pomo seems to be much more influential than I expected in this segment of the Chinese academy.
How might we cultivate personal and collective habits of taking a #StepBack, 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 #WisdomOfCrowds can be leveraged to solve otherwise intractable social problems. Why?
A questioner challenges the use of medical language like "addiction" to describe media, and asks whether if this is a legitimate frame, is internet addiction a public health issue? Shen Jie answers that this discourse is already out there, and suggests it may be a useful metaphor despite its limitations.
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