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«Session 1A Digital Technology and the Intersection of Internet Activism Chair: Amanda Sparling As digital technology advances society is faced with ...»

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SLSA 2014 | SMU, Dallas, TX


Schedule of Panels

Final - Sep 21, 2014

Session 1 - Thurs 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Session 1A

Digital Technology and the Intersection of Internet Activism

Chair: Amanda Sparling

As digital technology advances society is faced with the tangible application of

widespread connectivity including both the positive and negative ramifications of

networked technology. Our panel includes three papers focused on how the

internet is used to rally individuals behind a cause, with each paper exploring a different topic within the realm of internet-based activism. Amanda Sparling's paper focuses on WikiLeaks and the dangers inherent in the extreme polarization of perceptions and reactions to internet activism, arguing that a more comprehensive understanding is needed, armed with laws applicable to the new digital age, in order to tap into the positive power of society’s high tech activists.

Amir Alabbas investigates how the internet is used to carry out the process of radicalization amongst young adults, and how it contributes to the rapid spread of terrorism. Norma Martin's paper explores the digital-repression case of Turkey banning Twitter in March 2014 along with the repercussions of social-media sites as targets for government censorship.

Amanda Sparling.

Fighting for Information Freedom As technology advances, the presence of networked technologies increase the speed at which information can travel and create vulnerabilities in secure systems, exposing information to potential security breaches which pose extreme risks for populations around the globe. However, the protection of information required by these organizations must also be balanced with limitations to the levels of control that powerful institutions can impose upon the Internet to ensure the spirit of the system remains uncompromised. The Internet is a system 2 which impacts people in every area of their life, increasing access to universal information, knowledge and communications around the world. This paper seeks to explore the dangers inherent in the extreme polarization of perceptions and reactions to internet activism, arguing that a more comprehensive understanding is needed, armed with laws applicable to the new digital age, in order to tap into the positive power of society’s high tech activists. Following the events of the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures I have studied how internet users from around the globe participated in the fight for information freedom, and demonstrated the disruptive authority of the internet. Much like the battle around WikiLeaks and its inflammatory disclosures, future whistleblowers and hacktavist organizations will face ramifications by some of the most powerful institutions in the world.

This paper will explore how WikiLeaks has exposed the inadequacies in the control and flow of data and that as society, technology and the political landscape evolves, so must the regulations and laws governing the Internet and information freedom.

Amir Alabbas.

The Internet and the Third-Wave of Terrorism Following the unfortunate events that took place on September 11th, 2001, there has been a worldwide interest in understanding terrorism, from how it starts to how it can be defeated. With the internet playing a major role in our lives, including the lives of teens and young adults, the scope of terrorism has grown. I argue that the internet has become a very influential tool for radicalization, and is the primary means in which youth get into terrorism. It is vital to investigate how the internet is used to carry out the process of radicalization amongst young adults, and also how it is used to spread terrorism. Through these understandings, we can obtain the necessary knowledge that would allow us to prevent terrorism from being introduced at an early stage of someone’s life. I have studied the different waves of terrorism that have occurred, specifically the terrorism related to Islamic extremism. I have also examined the shift of radicalization from offline methods to online methods. My targeted age group in which I focused my research on is peoples aged 10 to 25. In supporting my argument regarding the internet’s influence on radicalization and terrorism, I bring up examples from previous terrorist attacks in Europe and the current Syrian war that are parallel to my insights and findings. One of the biggest findings I came across is the fact that terrorist groups have increased in number 3 with the utilization of the internet, and thus have become out of control and nearly impossible to halt.

Norma Martin.

Turkey Bans Twitter: A Case of Digital Repression in the Crosshairs of Internet Freedom Prevailing archetypes of government censorship in cyberspace are China, North Korea and Iran. However, in recent months, mostly democratic-styled governments in Ukraine and Turkey are just as active in their use of digital repression tactics. The free market of ideas always has limitations on public access of information because governments have tried to control the words and thoughts of their citizens for centuries. Nowadays with an IP address, a domain name and/or technology devices that unlock password encryptions, governments can download an entire digital network of political activists within seconds, monitor people’s digital footprint across multiple platforms at a glance, or block thousands of global websites deemed “undesirable” with a keyboard click. Socialmedia sites are often targets for government censorship, and authoritarian-style governments, such as Iran and China, are masters. But what does digital repression mean when it comes to censorship in regards to Internet freedom of a democratic government? What are Internet freedom fighters doing to circumvent the censorship tactics of such governments? What is the role, if any, of global technology companies when it comes to the conflicts between Internet freedom fighters and a government’s digital-repression tactics? All three questions are explored in the digital-repression case of Turkey banning Twitter in March 2014.

Session 1BMetacritical Humanities

Adam Zaretsky.

Bipolar Flower Bipolar Flower, Bipolar (manic-depressive), Double Dipped, Zinc Fingered (ZF), GMO Arabidopsis Thaliana plants. These are plants who have been ‘whole genome fracked’ in a bipolar duet of two artificial transcription factors (activating and repressing) competing for the 524 GTA GAG GAG binding places on the arabisopsis genome. Inserted in the lab of Dr. Ir. Bert van der Zaal (in 4 collaboration with David Lourier and Neils van Tol), by means of floral double dipping, the vector Agrobacterium tumefaciens has infected buds with protein therapeutic interrogative alterity. These buds became bipolar flowers from which the seeds to the plants you see in front of you have been born. The plants are named after their floral wombs and the romantic birth defects they carry from our heavy-handed work. The competition inside the plant’s genome is for the up or down regulating of expression patterns of all 524 of GTA GAG GAG downstream genes in the Arabidopsis thaliana (mustard weed). These genes are either turned on and off or regulated up and down according to the chance play of falling activation and repression domain inserts running heedless in an intensive virulence minuet claiming limited space in the plant’s resultant bipolar disordered (mood, energy, and ability to function) mixed episode gene expression, decanalization swinger response mechanisms. Due to up regulation of atavistic genes and resurgence (ancestral gene recapitulation) of deep time traits unrepressed by suddenly down regulated paternalist genes (upstream), the Biopolar Flower may no longer be accurately classified simply as a plant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0L5hQjJZ6o Chris Wildrick.

Dinosaur Aesthetics: Fluid Public Perceptions of Dinosaur Appearance and Behavior The public’s idea of what dinosaurs looked and acted like comes from scientific and popular culture sources, both of which have varied widely. Since everything we know about dinosaurs is based on fossils, and since fossils rarely preserve animals’ exteriors, our scientific knowledge of dinosaur aesthetics is an epistemological challenge in itself; the scientific conception of dinosaur appearance and behavior has evolved over time, based on new discoveries.

Meanwhile, dinosaurs in popular culture sometimes reflect the current science, but are often decades behind, or they are simply re-imagined from scratch in order to maximize their entertainment value. There is a complex and dynamic web of cause and effect between dinosaur scientific discoveries, scientific illustrations, and pop cultural depictions. I have been doing public interactive projects about people’s knowledge and perception of dinosaurs for many years, in tandem with scientific, art, and education venues. Recent examples of my projects on this topic include surveys of the public’s knowledge of dinosaurs’ relative sizes and time periods; games that pit various dinosaurs against each 5 other in battle; diagrams of dinosaurs’ aesthetic family trees; a survey of dinosaur name pronunciations in children’s books; and creative projects in which people tell stories about or make drawings of dinosaurs, based on various prompts. In this talk, I will present the results of several of my interactive projects, examining the fluid cultural dynamics behind the public perception of dinosaurs, as artifacts of our science and imagination. www.chriswildrick.com/paleontologymain.html

Session 1CActivism Performed: Fluidity of Genre in Text and Theater

Amanda Horowitz.

Horizontal Ideas for Open Ended Bodies Horizontal Ideas for Open Ended Bodies is an in-progress ebook and lecture series. The book includes parts under the following titles: 1. We Are Lesion: A Socio-Political Fairy Tale 2. Im A Ballad 3. Vampires Reproduced in Consumer Desire 4. Stomach of a Hacker 5. Jane Doe Rape Kit For the SLSA conference I will be presenting the introduction, and in-progress state of the project. The work as a whole explores the body as a polysemic device, a linguistic tool or policy that marks an intersection/opening with deep political implications. The individual body: a subjective geography of flesh under constant self-surveillance. The social body: an economic whole swayed in participatory desire. And a body of artworks/texts: an abject form that is always speaking of it's own making.--To be at the center of any one of these bodies is to be simultaneously at the center of all three. -- I’ve designed the work to take you through divergent pathways and parts. Treat this book like a kit, all parts are individual, active, and together assemble a heterogeneous body (the third body of the polysemic device). The writing I’ve included is not limited to one trope- you will find an amalgamation of project statements, scripts, notes, found imagery, video and theoretical texts. I’ve collected all these forms with the intention to collapse the micro-body with the macro-body into the lateral, digitized space of the e-book.

Anne Marie Stachura.

Art, Activism, and Health in the Borderlands: The Theatrical Interventions ofFrontera Líquida 6 “Through art we reframe experience, offset prejudice, and refresh our perception of what exists so that it seems new and worthy of attention…Learning to think like an artist and an interpreter is basic training for our volatile times. Together with professional artists, interpreters are cultural agents when we explore art as ‘our greatest renewable resource’ for addressing the world’s fundamental challenges of disease, violence, and poverty.” Doris Sommer, The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities. Founded in 2006 by Edna Ochoa, a Mexican playwright and Spanish professor at the University of TexasPan American, the theatre group Frontera Líquida (Liquid Border) strives to make theatre productions accessible to the largely low-income, predominately Spanish-speaking community of the Rio Grande Valley on the U.S.-Mexico border. As a project in engaged public humanities, the work of Frontera Líquida aims to open a space for public dialogue about issues of importance to the local community outside of the university; as such, it relies on techniques of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to invite spectators to participate in the creation of the event. This paper analyzes the work of Frontera Líquida regarding women’s health in the Rio Grande Valley, situating this project within the history of artistic political interventions in Latin America and theories developed by the Situationists. In Frontera Líquida’s project, the “liquid border” between the artists and the public allows the community to consider solutions to concrete problems.

Sofia Varino.

Becoming Water: Performing Fluid Urbanism with Harmattan Theater Harmattan Theater, where I am associate director, is a New York based environmental theater collective devising site-specific performances concerned with global water politics and climate change. In this paper, I use the concept of fluidity to analyze five of our recent projects, drawing in particular from Jane Bennett's Vibrant Matter (2010) and Fluid New York (2013) by Harmattan's artistic director May Joseph. Employing a critical framework informed by performance studies, environmental theory, hydrology, and interdisciplinary water research, I examine how our performances re-imagine the water-bound city as a multi-layered environment where geographical, biochemical, and historical events collide in real time. Paying special attention to the element of slow, flowing choreography in conjunction with improvised live sound, I discuss 7 in detail works presented between 2011 and 2014 at the cities of Amsterdam, New York, Lisbon, Cochin, and at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. I highlight the scenic elements of music and choreography, conceived to generate a vivid flow between the past and present time, to contrast the concrete materiality of performance with the multiple archives these five works simultaneously interrupt and re-enact. Shaped by the waterscapes that contain and support it, the fluid city then appears as a performative environment, a site of interaction and mobility, of regeneration and becoming, of aesthetic activity and civic engagement. Dynamic encounters with landscape and architecture continuously produce the daily embodied experiences of collective urban life, as city dwellers become actants, playful participants in this permeable, volatile habitat.

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