29 July 2011

Proposal for TINA's Critical Animals panel


I've made a proposal to join a Critical Animals panel discussion at the This Is Not Art (TINA) festival later this year. The brief is for a paper and 20 minute presentation with 2 other panelists, discussing technology and archives... this is what I've pitched:


Leigh Blackall 

Leigh first saw the then 5 year old Internet Archive project when local Novacastrian Adam Bramwell showed their Way Back Machine in his talk, Tools and Techniques at the National Young Writers Festival of TINA 2001. Little did he realise at the time, the significance of this introduction. 

Early in 2005, Archive.org began hosting the not-for-profit community benefit project, Ourmedia.org, and at the same time a for-profit, commercial venture called Youtube was started. A number of other commercial and non commercial ventures also came online, offering seemingly free and unlimited online publishing services to anyone and everyone.  

Both a capital rich business model, and a new or renewed perspective on community benefit has emerged, based on the affordance of storing almost anything and everything that anyone wants to say or show online. This phenomenon has altered cultural expression, and is challenging our libraries and archiving sector. What we have now is supposedly social and participatory media on an international scale, with questions being asked around regulatory mechanisms like copyright; or social concerns around culture and localism; or the business and political problems of broadcast media, and ultimately what the new roles for centralised galleries, libraries, archives and museums are.  

What is the role of our Australian libraries and cultural archives in the face of this increase in cultural expression, and greater access to collections online and off shore? Why are our organisations seemingly reluctant to appreciate this challenge, leaving projects like The Wikimedia Foundation, Project Gutenburg, The Internet Archive, The Open Library, Google Books and Amazon to pressure new roles for them instead? What are some examples of Australian initiatives to date, and what are some ideas for our future directions? These are the sorts of comments and suggestions that Leigh will bring to this panel. 

Leigh is a researcher, developer and commentator of things networked and social media. He is currently focused on a body of work around networked and social learning, that increasingly intersects with questions of culture, technology, and social studies. He is based at the University of Canberra, where he is employed to contribute to developmental work, and directional thinking.

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