Christiane on 28 Mar 2001 02:57:35 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Conference on Race in Digital Space

USC-MIT conference addresses rhetoric around "digital divide"
and expands perceptions of minorities' use of technology

What: 		Conference on Race in Digital Space
When 		Friday, 27 April, 12:00-7:00 p.m.
		Saturday, 28 April, 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
		Sunday, 29 April, 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
		Tuesday, March 13, 8:30am-12pm
Where: 		MIT Campus, Wong Auditorium, Building E51
Full Schedule:
Registration:  	Registration required. Contact Brad Seawell
		(617-253-3521, SPACE IS LIMITED

Most discussions of the "digital divide" erase the numerous contributions
of minority artists, activists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and scholars.
Researchers in MIT's Program in Comparative Media Studies and USC's
Annenberg Center for Communication will host a three-day conference, "Race
in Digital Space," to explore current issues and celebrate the
accomplishments of minorities using digital technologies, Friday, 27 April
through Saturday, 29 April 2001 on the MIT campus.  The conference is free
and open to the public.

"Cyberspace has been represented as a race-blind environment, yet we don't
shed our racial identities or escape racism just because we go
on-line," said Henry Jenkins, professor, director of Comparative Media
Studies at MIT, and co-organizer of the event.  "The concept of 'digital
divide,' however, is inadequate to describe  a moment when minority use of
digital technologies is dramatically increasing. The time has come to focus
on the success stories, to identify examples of work that has increased
minority access to information technologies and visibility in digital

Conference organizers hope the event will serve as a touchstone for
thinking critically about race in a wide variety of digital spaces. "We
need to think beyond the screen and the mouse," said Tara McPherson,
professor at USC's School of Cinema-TV and conference co-organizer.
"Digital spaces extend to a whole range of 'tote-able' street technologies
from cell phones and beepers to Gameboys, music equipment and more.  We're
interested in the way these forms constitute new publics."

Plenary panels will explore such issues as: E-Race-ing the Digital; How
Wide is the Digital Divide; Authenticating Digital Art, Expression and
Cultural Hybridity; and Speculative Fictions/Imaging the Future. Breakout
sessions, designed for focused conversations with smaller groups of
conference participants, will address: Art and Hactivism; Funding the
Arts-Creative Capital; Digital Business-From Netrepreneurs to Corporations;
Hactivist Workshop-Organizing the Million Women March; Hate Speech; Job
Opportunities and Training; and Community Best Practices.  A keynote will be
presented by Walter Massey, president of Morehouse College.

"The ways in which we represent ourselves and use digital media raises
significant issues," said Anna Everett, professor at the University of
California at Santa Barbara and conference co-organizer.  "We need to begin
exploring answers to such important questions as 'What cultural and social
baggage do we carry  into the digital domain?' and 'How have minority
communities deployed digital tools to comment on digital culture, to
reconfigure the history of racism, and to claim a more powerful voice in
shaping the future?'"

While the event is being planned within the academy, organizers have
invited a diverse group of speakers to address an equally diverse audience,
which will include scholars and teachers, professionals, artists, writers,
policy makers, social and cultural commentators, community leaders, and
young people. Confirmed speakers include:

Vivik Bald, (aka DJ Siraiki), Co-founder, Mutiny
Nolan Bowie, Senior Fellow, JFK School of Government, Harvard University
Karen Radney Buller, President, National Indian Telecommunications
Institute (NITI)
Farai Chideya, Editor,
Mel Chin, Artist
Beth Coleman (aka DJ Singe), Co-director, SoundLab Cultural Alchemy
Ricardo Dominguez, Co-founder, The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT)
Coco Fusco, Associate Professor, Tyler School of Art, Temple University
Jack Gravely, Office of Workplace Diversity, Federal Communications
Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky), Artist, Musician, Writer
Lisa Nakamura, Assistant Professor of English, Sonoma State University
Alondra Nelson, Ph.D. Candidate, American Studies, NYU
Mimi Nguyen, Ph.D. candidate, Comparative Ethnic Studies, U.C.-Berkeley
Elizabeth Nunez, Distinguished Professor of English, Medgar Evers College,
Alex Rivera, Digital Media Artist and Filmmaker
Kalamu ya Salaam, Poet and Community ActivistAna Sisnett, Austin Free-Net
Ana Sisnett, Executive Director, Austin Free-Net
Thuy Linh Tu, Ph.D. Candidate, American Studies Program, NYU
Jamille Watkins-Barnes, Business Consultant, Classic Business Development

Art Exhibition, Digital Salon, and Dance Performance
In coordination with the conference, a concurrent video show and digital
salon is being be curated at the LIST Center for the Visual Arts.  "The
exhibition will feature the work of innovators and visionary film, video,
new media, and website designers whose work deals specifically with the
intersection of race and technology," said Erika Muhammad, Ph.D. candidate
in Cinema Studies at NYU,  co-organizer of the conference, and curator of
the exhibition at LIST Visual Arts Center.

"In the ever-changing terrain of new media productivity, issues of race and
ethnicity ferment in digital space. Artists who tackle issues of race in
their work are faced with fresh challenges and opportunities as they build
and define what will be the most powerful networks on earth," Muhammad said.

Included in this digital salon, video program and soundscape are works by
artists who are building digital habitats and laying political foundations
through the use of hi-tech documents. Spanning the past 20 years, the
program will include experimental film and video,, CD-ROMS, websites
and aural mixes.

A performance event featuring DJs and live video mixing by Vivek Bald (DJ
Siraiki), Beth Coleman (aka DJ Singe), and Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky)
will be held for conference participants and students on the evening of
Saturday, 28 April 2001.  MIT Assistant Professor Tommy DeFrantz will also
perform "My Digital Body," an original dance piece developed for the event.

Pre-Conference Workshop
A pre-conference workshop for Boston metropolitan and New England regional
educators, artists, and technology center directors will be held on
Wednesday, 11 April 2001, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Bartos Theater, MIT Campus.
"We want to spotlight community 'best practices' and encourage conversations
among the dozens of Boston-area technology centers that support minority
communities," said Paula Robinson, founder of the Institute for the
Integration of Technology and Education and conference co-organizer.

All events are free and open to the public.  To learn more and register,

Organizers and Sponsors
The Race in Digital Space Project is organized by the University of
Southern California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in
conjunction with New York University and University of California at Santa
Barbara.  The conference is sponsored by USC Annenberg Center for
Communication, USC School of Cinema-Television, MIT School of Humanities,
Arts, and Social Sciences, MIT Program in Comparative Media Studies, MIT
Communications Forum, MIT Council for the Arts, MIT LIST Visual Arts
Center, MIT Program in Women's Studies, and the NYU Department of Cinema
Studies.  Major financial support has been provided by the Ford Foundation
and Rockefeller Foundation.  Microsoft is an in-kind sponsor.

- Exit Communication -

Christiane Robbins
Associate Professor / Director
Matrix Program for Digital Media
University of Southern California
Watt Hall 103
Los Angeles, CA  90089-0292

Tel:  213.821.1539
Fax:  213.740.8938


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