[iDC] let's first get things done - the darmstadt delegation

Seda Gurses seda at nyu.edu
Sun Sep 28 17:47:58 UTC 2014

Hello hello,

It has been delightful to follow the ello/end of facebook/let’s reimagine social networks discussions and to read your introductions.  
Given the relevance of these matters to what we would like to bring to DL14, I will take a moment to introduce the darmstadt delegation [0].

The darmstadt delegation came together on the basis of a shared experience of troubling differences in the politics, values and practices of “activists" heavily using networked technology for their struggles, and of "techno-activists" who struggle to develop progressive and alternative technologies. We observe that, loyal to a utopia of a globally functioning interwebs, techno-activists usually organize around universal values: information must be “free”, secure, “privacy-preserving”, accessible, etc. In comparison, those who bring their political struggles to the interwebs may express political differences across a broader spectrum, situated in local and/or global contexts. However, pragmatic decisions due to time pressure and lack of resources often mean that these struggles may integrate themselves into proprietary and conservative technical infrastructures. As a consequence, during “sneaky moments of first getting things done", many organizational matters are delegated to "techies" or to technological platforms. 

If we believe the mantra that our tools inform our practices and our practices inform our tools, we may want to radically reconfigure these divisions of labor between “activists” and “progressive techies". But how? Where do we start? What are ways to resist those sneaky moments in which we pragmatically submit ourselves to "specialization of work" that reproduce hegemonic divisions of gender, race, class and age, and that reinforce ideological differences between activists for social justice and activists for just technologies?

The darmstadt delegation follows in the steps of numerous initiatives which are working on crossing divides while developing technical alternatives for current day struggles. Most recently, we see ourselves in conversation with the numerous initiatives that have aligned around backbone409 [1], interference [2], transhackfeminist camp [3] and the internet ungovernance forum [4]. We are excited to have the opportunity to continue some of these conversations with you in the context of DL14. Due to unforeseen constraints, only I will be physically present at the conference. For those who would like to discuss more, I encourage you to get in touch with all of our delegates, listed also in cc.


[0] Currently active delegates are Femke Snelting (ConstantVZW, Belgium), Jara Rocha(Objetologias, Bau School of Design, Spain), Miriyam Aouragh (University of Westminister, UK) and Seda Gurses (New York University, USA).
[1] http://backbone409.calafou.org
[2] http://interference.io
[3] http://transhackfeminist.noblogs.org/call-for-proposal/
[4] https://iuf.alternatifbilisim.org

More information about the iDC mailing list