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Theorizing the Web: Day One


For full description and panelist bios, please visit Theorizing the Web Program pages.

New Money (12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m.)

Panelists: Angela Cirucci, Ricky Crano, Marika Rose, Gwera Kiwana. Moderator: Guy Schaffer

Unpaid affective labor, social debt through social media metrics, and Silicon Valley’s courting the apocalypse fuels today’s post-rational techno-capitalist economy.

Ways of Knowing (12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m.)

Panelists: S.E. Hackney, Jason Farman, Nicholas A. Hanford, Sylvia Gutierrez. Moderator: TBA

Knowledge creating is a matter of organization as well as content, an endless negotiation with what is already known and the forms in which that knowledge circulates. Knowledge work means not only creating new ideas but assessing the containers and habitats in which they might take root and flower.

Image Layers (12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m.)

Panelists: Abdelrahman Hassan, Hannah Barton, Siân Brooke, Maggie Mayhem. Moderator: Seth Barry Watter

As images circulate, they provide a grammar for political expression. Even when they are only barely tweaked, they can take on whole new meanings and contexts in connection with previously shared content.

Ethics of Connection (1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.)

Panelists: Joshua McWhirter, Benjamin Haber, Caitlin Turner, Anna Jobin. Moderator: Michael Lachney

Networks aren’t neutral: They perform an implicit moral function in how and when they link their members and serve as ethical actors in their own right.

I, Human (1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.)

Panelists: Noah Hutton, Maya Indira Ganesh, Abie Hadjitarkhani, Jacqueline Feldman. Moderator: Yotam Shmargad

The imperfections of humanity are often most visible when we strive for perfection, as the development of artificial intelligence has demonstrated. Does AI examplify how our digital creations are extensions of ourselves? 

Disrupting Disruption (1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.)

Panelists: Renée Reizman, Elisabeth Friedman, Lior Zalmanson, Chloe O’Neill. Moderator: Joelle Woodson

Silicon Valley’s politics and economics of disruption also produce opportunities for both resistance and retrenchment. 

Invited Panel: Get Ready for Some Game Theory (3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m.)

Panelists: Austin Walker, Naomi Clark, Stephanie Jennings, Michael Thomsen. Moderator: Jeremy Antley

Games allow us to enter new worlds and become new characters, but they are also generators of threshold spaces where questions of identity and authenticity are debated by designers and players alike. 

Select All (3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m.)

Panelists: Krista Schnell, Lindsay Weinberg, Jack Kahn, Jürgen Geuter. Moderator: Wesley Goatley

Collecting ever more data into ever larger sets does not make for more objectivity. Nor does it water down the effects on those being surveilled. Instead it makes them more governable and vulnerable, subject to the values are encoded into the means of ever larger data collection and ever more hidden interpretation.  

Don’t Trend on Me (3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m.)

Panelists: Sara Lillo, Jess Maddox, Jozie Nummi and Thaddeus Atzmon, Brian Justie. Moderator: Amanda Hess

The web was long hailed as inherently democratic, yet the current moment is marked by antidemocratic politics and manipulated media reaction. How are communications technologies fueling the rise of populist authoritarianism? How might they be used to stabilze political discourse? What of “2016” as a cultural and political style?  

Food/Social Break (4:15 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.)

Keynote Panel 1: Weblandia (6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.)

Panelists: Ava Kofman, Kate Losse, Sharon Zukin, Kyle Chayka. Moderator: David Banks

In the web’s early days, commentators often predicted a radical decentralization of work and play. Video chat and email, the thinking went, would render offices, cities, and commuting moot. But cities are more desirable than ever as urban life becomes more predictable, less gritty, and more individualistically oriented. Fueling this transformation is the convergence of the city and the smartphone. Mapping, ride hailing, and image-sharing apps are among the many recent innovation that simultaneously require cities’ unique characteristics of density, scale, and diversity to function, but also impose a sort of orderliness and control that was once only found in post-war suburbs. This panel will explore the homogenizing, commodifying, and revitalizing forces that digital networks bring to bear on our built environments.

Keynote Panel 2: Where Truth Lies (7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.)

Panelists: Tara Isabella Burton, Alexa O’Brien, Aaron Cantú, Jay Rosen. Moderator: Natasha Lennard

Fake news and post-truth, alternative facts and filter bubbles: our moment’s politics are both too chaotic and too predictably on the nose. On Brexit and Trump, journalists and experts had their expectations refined down to a decimal point, but their odds-making produced more confusion than certainty. Meanwhile, the lack of a basis for shared knowledge has allowed hoaxes and propaganda to proliferate. We are fresh off a campaign that was run, covered, and won like a reality show. What of this chaos epistemology, a tactical approach that has long been part of web culture but is now installed in the seat of power? Do we want to strengthen knowledge-producing institutions? Build new ones? What does it mean to produce and consume news information when the very shape of the world is contested, and any fact feels impossible? We will grapple with these topics on this panel, with a special focus on the role of social media.

Party (9:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m.)

Drinks, pizza, and music

Tickets: Registration is pay-what-you-wish and includes access to both days. Register here.(Members may contact [email protected] with questions regarding online reservations.)

All tickets include same-day admission to the Museum (see gallery hours). View the Museum’s ticketing policy here. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.