Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Transmediale 10 - Ushahidi And Wolfram|Alpha"

This years media art and politics festival was titled "Futurity Now". This refers to the concept of atemporality presented by speakers such as Bruce Sterling or Alexander Rose. They somehow refuse chronology and propose concurrence as the new world view, struggling to get rid of the ghosts of postmodernity. Main claim was that we do not live in a multi-cultural but in a multi-temporal society.

More interesting to me was the panel discussing the "Ideologies and Futures of the Internet", with the keynote from Conrad Wolfram (Wolfram|Alpha) and interesting presentations from Joy Tang and Juliana Rotich about the use of mobile technology in Africa.

The final panel, "Liquid Democracies", went even further than the first one and explained how network cultures show that there is no longer an outside world, that we live in an age of aspatiality and atemporality - but with a lot of neofeudalism going on within the net. The next talk opposed this, describing the collecitve as control authority using social media to generate micropublics.

The most promising project presented is the F/OSS based crowdsourcing site Ushahidi. It is a platform that allows anyone to gather distributed data via sms, email or web and visualize it on a timeline. This is especially helpful for crisis response and in my opinion quite promising as a counterweight to the lies that come to the world public via the filters of embedded journalism.