Permanent Records

Sonnabend DiagramToday I presented last year’s bioport Part II paper to the 2nd annual Cultural Studies conference at Teachers College.

Permanent Records: Personal, Cultural, and Social Implications of Pervasive Omniscient Surveillance

I think the distilled version of this model if far more digestible and accessible than the papers.

One of my co-panelists is doing some really interesting work with urban
youth in the bronx, and gathering incredible interview materials about
the perceptions of surveillance by these youth, and their forms of
resistance. These stories might help convey the violence of a
surveillance society.

The conference format was a bit disappointing. I can barely believe academics still read their papers to each other at conferences – there are so many things that Open Source does right, including, knowing how to throw a great conference. Even the variety of presentation formats is an idea that needs to spread – BOFs, lighting talks, presentations and posters all create different spaces and dynamics for interactions between participants. The traditional model is so intimidating that it seems like many people are discouraged from participating.

More importantly, the social justice issues and governance models that are being explored by F/OSS projects are really important for the Cultural/Critical studies folks to be considering. It is also shocking how disconnected they are from the freeculture movement, and its theoretical roots. Arguably, the freeculture movement is a shadow struggle, mirroring the struggles for sustainability, and against globalization and the logic of capitalism being conducted in the physical world. But, it may also represent the actual ground on which that struggle is being conducted.

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