<synthesis> Fwd: Open Call - Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet

Krystian Woznicki kw at berlinergazette.de
Thu May 27 14:01:17 CEST 2021

*Excavations: Governance Archaeology for the Future of the Internet*

After a full year of almost every facet of life porting online, the
stakes of governing online communities and infrastructures have never
been higher. As a contribution to current digital policy conversations,
this project invites artists, tinkerers, and technologists to bring
explorations of human governance practices, from ancient civilizations
to contemporary social movements, from the slums of emerging megacities
to Indigenous communities—all into dialogue with the governance of the

In comparison to present and historical democratic institutions offline,
online communities have an impoverished set of tools available for
democratic governance (_Schneider 2020_
<https://ntnsndr.in/ImplicitFeudalism>). Excavations: Governance
Archaeology for the Future of the Internet is interested in what might
be learned from pre-digital mechanisms across diverse societies and
cultural practice. Ancient Athens’ system of lotteries for public
offices, for instance, could help us better regulate algorithms today
(_Carugati 2020_
There is a long record of practice and research on governance in the
social sciences that bear valuable insights. For this exploration, we
propose to conduct _media archaeology_
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_archaeology>on a wide range of
historical, present-day, and fictional governance practices and to
radically expand the repertoire available for governance in online and
offline communities alike.

Excavations will employ a research-creation model based on the exchange
between the social sciences and art practice, in the context of online
community governance. How can communities govern platforms in the age of
algorithmic governance? Who is accountable to whom, and how? How is
labor distributed between code, bot, land, and flesh? How is identity
negotiated between what is fluid and verified? What are instances in
which freedom of expression is in conflict with regulation?

This project aims to open the spaces between the visible and the
layered, nuanced particularities of specific communities and platforms,
through a collaborative excavation of what it means to make and be
community on the Internet today. We hope to explore governance
challenges including, but not limited to:


    Accountability for how platforms organize work and personal data


    Participatory design and consent


    Building and sustaining communities


    Resolving rule violations and conflicts


    Overseeing algorithmic decision making

We invite creators to explore possible futures for Internet governance,
drawing inspiration from non-digital sources of experience including:


    Indigenous practices exploited, ignored, or suppressed by colonizers


    Historical democratic practices that have been absent from more
    recent governance norms


    Emergent innovations in subcultures past or present


    Imaginations of future governance from science/speculative fiction


    Rituals of community in conversation with rituals of justice systems

Practice-based researchers are invited to apply for our multimodal
cohort, which will develop and co-create online explorations into a
public conversation and exhibition. Chosen practitioners will receive a
$1,000 stipend to develop Web-ready explorations, in collaboration with
other members of the cohort. Explorations can range from documentary to
speculative, including provocations, proposed frameworks, visualizations
and maps, prototypes, reenactments, identity corrections, interventions,
musings, and anarchives (_Zielinski, 2015_
The cohort will meet online in both synchronous and asynchronous form
from July-September 2021 on a regular biweekly basis, in which each of
the chosen projects will be developed in a collaborative process of
iterations, mutual feedback, and collective work. The result of this
process will be an exhibition at global digital policy venues, a public
conversation, and a collective web space. 


Deadline:June 15th

Notification of Acceptance: July 1st

Cohort Residency: July-September

Public Conversation: December 2021

Apply _here_

/This is curated by Federica Carugati of (King’s College London), and
Darija Medic and Nathan Schneider (Media Enterprise Design Lab,
University of Colorado Boulder), with support from the Eutopia
Foundation and in collaboration with DiploFoundation./

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