With this motto, IMA the Institute of Media Archeology is launching a new series of projects dedicated entirely to digital media archeology. We will be examining the digital tools we take for granted, focusing specifically on their use in the artistic context.
Do we live in a digital dictatorship? Do we as artists critically reflect on and take a stand against the giant monopolies, in particular the BIG FIVE: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft and the platforms and tools provided by them? If we resist, will we be shut out more and more or do alternatives exist? How can we learn how to work with alternative hard- and software in the areas of both production and distribution? Are we prepared to invest time and energy to turn our backs on this world and the countless amenities it offers? What do we stand to gain? Autonomy? And will we be able to sell a younger generation on an exit scenario as a sexy move?
The world is hurtling at an incredible pace toward an absolute monopolization by the global digital players. A state unprecedented in the history of mankind. Companies worth billions in the digital economy – Google,Facebook, and co. from the USA and Alibaba from China – are staking their claim for world dominion, which in China is already
closely bound with a monolithic political power. The gold – data. The outcome – complete control, a need-generating apparatus calculated by algorithms and the total loss of privacy. All of us as “happy users” and as consumers contribute to this process through our daily input. Those who resist are being increasingly shut out of this society. If I refuse to have a Google, Facebook, or Apple Store account, I am denied the use of many practical apps; I can’t even use the app for my bank account anymore. That’s what I call a digital dictatorship.
And what does art have to do with all this?
As the Institute of Media Archeology we feel a commitment to critically examining the media and consequently the digital world. Artists pose sociopolitical questions and through their artistic production they have the potential to make people more aware of existing problems.
We need a system change, a democratization of the digital world, away from the dictatorial monopolies and toward a more conscious approach to and greater transparency of this “new land”. We want to help shape the future. Art is the will to shape.
And what better time than NOW to tackle these questions – in our home offices, in online conferences – and in the process, to really ask ourselves which tools we want to use to resist this monopolization. Definitely NOT Google Docs or Skype. And we do not plan on throwing our streaming data into the voracious maws of YouTube or Twich either.
28 – 29 August DigiDic Symposium
At the end of August we will meet face to face with experts – in the fields of media and economy (St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences), design and communication (Joanneum University of Applied Sciences – people involved with the Austrian cultural servers mur.at and servus.at, whose contribution to resistance, incidentally, is considerable – and artists in and around the IMA. This symposium is intended to promote exchange and develop strategies of resistance in the form of artistic projects.