Contemporary practices of extraction
Location: IMPAKT Centre for Media Culture
Digital Colonialism, unlike its historical counterpart, is not confined to a specific global region; instead, it utilises technology as a tool for exploitation and profit generation. Big Tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon are at the forefront, capitalising on the extraction of data, turning our private information into profitable advertisements. In addition to data mining for profit, big-tech companies exploit weaker judicial foundations in developing countries, extracting natural resources such as Cobalt and Lithium necessary for digital technology. This form of extraction not only harms the environment but also adversely affects the lives of those residing in these regions.
In this event, IMPAKT will present an informative exploration into the realms of Digital Colonialism, a contemporary form of oppression that transcends geographical boundaries. Through a dynamic setup, the speakers will shed light on the intricacies of Digital Colonialism, its impact on global communities, and how art and technology can serve as instruments of resistance against these oppressive forces. Join us for an evening that delves into the roots and manifestations of Digital Colonialism, featuring insights and discussions from experts in the fields of technology, art, and activism. The event will highlight the global reach of Digital Colonialism, emphasising the damaging consequences in both the Global South and Global North.
We kick off the event with an introduction by our moderators Inte Gloerich and Gerwin van Schie followed by a wide range of short presentations. Our panel, consisting of artists, activists and scholars in the field, will guide us through different aspects of Digital Colonialism. They will address crucial questions, such as: How do big-tech companies profit from the extraction of our data and natural resources? What are the environmental and social implications of this form of colonialism in the Global South? And, most importantly, how can art and technology be harnessed as tools for resistance? Together, we will explore strategies to expose and confront the extractive, capitalistic, and exploitative practices of Big Tech companies. Join us in this conversation as we seek to inform ourselves on the pervasive forces of Digital Colonialism.
Speakers: Abdo Hassan, Chloë Arkenbout, Gabriel Pereira and Evelyn Wan
Moderators: Inte Gloerich (PhD researcher at Transmission in Motion at Utrecht University) and Gerwin van Schie (Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at Utrecht University).
Image: New Extractivism (2020) by Vladan Joler
Abdo Hassan― Speaker
Abdelrahman (Abdo) Hassan is a creative technologist, AI strategist, Digital Anthropologist, and Poet based in Amsterdam. Currently working as a Digital Ethicist and Responsible AI Specialist at IKEA; He lives at the intersection of software, critical theory, data, and poetry. He has led many initiatives across industry, academia culture, and civil society to help build power-sensitive critical literacy of technological progress, In his latest project Everyday Data (H)activism, he explores the idea of joyful resistance through a community lead practice.
Chloë Arkenbout― Speaker
Chloë Arkenbout works as a researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam and is the co-editor of the three Critical Meme Readers; Global Mutations of the Viral Image (2021), Memetic Tacticality (2022) and Breaking the Meme (to be published in 2024). In addition, they work at the Communication & Multimedia Design program at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences where they mainly help students to critically reflect on their digital designs, in the context of the society they live in and the future they would like to see. She is also a member of the university’s research ethics committee where she works on subjects such as social safety.
Gabriel Pereira― Speaker
Gabriel Pereira is Assistant Professor in AI & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He is also concluding his Visiting Fellowship at the London School of Economics (LSE), supported by the Independent Research Fund Denmark International Postdoc grant. His main research interest is the critical study of data and algorithms. Gabriels PhD thesis focused on how computer vision operates hegemonically, as well as what forms of contestations and refusals are possible.
Evelyn Wan― Speaker
Dr. Evelyn Wan is Assistant Professor in Media, Arts, and Society at the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She is the Programme Coordinator for MA Arts and Society, and teaches a range of courses on contemporary performance practice, cultural and critical theory, and research methodologies. Her research is conducted through the lens of decolonial media studies and performance studies, where she studies the biopolitics and necropolitics of historical technological inventions and contemporary emerging technology.
Inte Gloerich― Moderator
Inte Gloerich is a PhD student working on socio-technical imaginaries in blockchain art and design at Utrecht University. Her work involves the politics, artistic imaginations, and (counter)cultures surrounding digital technology and the digital economy. Inte works as a project coordinator and researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She also teaches in the MA in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam, where she got her own MA degree, as well as in the BA in Media & Information. She co-edited MoneyLab Reader 2: Overcoming the Hype (with Geert Lovink and Patricia de Vries) and State Machines: Reflections and Actions at the Edge of Digital Citizenship, Finance and Art (with Yiannis Colakides and Marc Garrett). She is about to embark upon a PhD trajectory focusing on blockchain imaginaries in art and design.
Gerwin van Schie― Moderator
Gerwin van Schie is an Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at Utrecht University. In 2022, he concluded the NWO-funded PhD-project “Datafication of Race and Ethnicity in the Netherlands: Investigating Practices, Politics and Appropriation of Governmental Open Data”. In this research, Van Schie focussed on how Dutch immigrant populations are ‘datafied’ by various societal institutions. Van Schie critically reflects on bias and injustice caused by the data sources, and practices of algorithmic applications based on CBS statistics by employing a critical data studies approach with a postcolonial perspective.