Digital Colonialism

Contemporary practices of extraction

25 January 2024
19:30 — 21:00

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


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