Volume 3, Dossier 1: Decolonizing the Digital/Digital Decolonization (II)

This is Part 2 of a 3 Part Dossier. The other parts are available here:

How are networks of cultural memories and political practices being digitally re-mapped? These works interrogate the contemporary political geography of the digital, including its historical and geo-political antecedents. As they examine the consequences of routes of commerce and cultural exchange, they position themselves amongst a different set of coordinates. Technologies of transportation and travel become densely laden with colonial trajectories of meaning. These are re-routed through analytical, visual and autobiographical tellings.

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This piece mobilizes the notion of the “grid” to manifest intertwining histories of communication, capitalist expansion and social transformation. In the piece, which is both an Internet artwork and site-specific media installation at the Caltrans (California State Transportation Department) headquarters in Los Angeles, “transportation” becomes an index for histories of local and global routes and their archives of visual, cultural, political and spiritual cargo. Renée Green is an artist, filmmaker and writer. She is Dean of Graduate Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Through a video artwork (in three parts) that operates across visual codes and cinematic genres, the artist traces intersecting histories of his life, his family, U.S. imperialism, the Panama Canal, and the invasion of 1989. The multiple narrative threads evoke the prismatic legacies of the colonial, cinematic panoramas of the canal, now told from their other side. The Panama Canal is, like all modern technologies, simultaneously a transit route, a route of commodity exchange, and a route of communication. It is both an image and a carrier of images, the sign and signified. Enrique Castro-Ríos is an artist and scholar based in Panamá.

In this conversation, two transnational scholars working in the ever-nascent field(s) of new media theory discuss the importance of inter- and trans-disciplinary inquiry into questions of race, gender and geo-politics in and through the Internet. Included is an analysis of why this discussion has been so sparse, and how it might be further seeded. The conversation provides a conceptual link between media theory and racialization, as well as the intersection of geo-politics in both, and suggests some nodal points amongst diverse thinkers and practitioners of global media interventions. Geert Lovink is Associate Professor and founding Director of the Institute of Network Cultures at the University of Amsterdam. Lisa Nakamura is the Director of the Asian American Studies Program, Professor in the Institute of Communication Research and Media Studies Program and Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Daphne Taylor-García performs a decolonial reading of key moments in the discursive construction/destruction of indigenous women, which occurs at the conjuncture of the “discovery” of the Americas and the rise of the printing press. Early mass produced images of indigenous peoples are one moment of a powerful discursive operation. These representations of indigenous gender frame the “Indian” in relation to his/her refusal to perform colonial constructions of gender. Daphne Taylor-García is the President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California – Santa Barbara. Please note that this website was designed specifically for this dossier.