Thursday, February 28, 2008

24/7 DIY The Superhero Panel: Rheingold , Jenkins, Ito, Seeley Brown, Benkler

The 24/7 DIY video conference was exceptional. Really. It should be the new standard for what conference should be––particularly those humanists discussion media. The premise for media use was do-it-your-self, which meant all the participants on stage and in the audience were media activists of one shade or another. And that was rad. Dynamically, it created so many opportunities for rich conversation across the room. Not just shouting up at the big dogs. Now I am going to fly in the face of all the collective good will and blog the plenary session with the big dogs, Yochai Benkler, John Seeley Brown, Joi Ito, Henry Jenkins, and moderator Howard Rheingold. The subject as Rheingold put it to the panel was utopian visions of how a media public might be formulated in the next decade. Here are their opening remarks as best taken down by me on the fly.

I post comments in the order they were made, leading with HR, HJ, JI followed by post on JSB, JB & comments from Mimi Ito.

Next Gen Media Literacy: how to feel at home and know what you are doing

Caring comes from culture. It does not come from economics and not politics.
––Joi Ito

HR: How should we think about what to do to influence democratic governance? How should we imagine institutions of governance thinking in future? I would like you to participate in some magical thinking, as the outcome is not decided yet. What is your best vision of the best scenario by which we might be able to influence the outcome.

HJ: Media has a much longer history than history of youtube. Remember when media distribution was much more difficult. For example, look at kids using toy printing presses in mid 19th century, amateur radio, early SF [science fiction] fans of 1920s. Think of African American filmmakers responding to Birth of a Nation with their own films or the viding movement begun 30 years ago. What were they involved in fighting for. Patty Zimmerman in Reel Families describes amateur cinema as something transformative because it would bring about diversity, a larger public sphere, and a larger market place. But home movies were stuck in the home––no distribution system. My vision is for a future where everyone has the power to participate and diversity is central to that universe. Not we will build it and they will come. Education, law, politics––turn them loose in the streets. Make the connections between communities to make sure they learn form each other, so majoritarian principles don’t drown out the voice of the minority. We’re not there yet. Moved beyond technical issues to a lens that focuses on cultural and social change.

JI: I think about big problems like the environment. Economic and political interests that corrupt the system. We can’t solve it from top down. It’s too complex and there is too much corruption for it to happen top down. Human beings have a strong survival instinct. Revolution is not about force its about information, more about voice and less about votes. Global Voices. Providing everybody with a voice is the most powerful thing we can do. You can’t when we think about media politics, economics, and entertainment as seaprate. They all connect. Napoleon said something like, “I would rather control the country’s songs than laws.” We need to influence the hearts and minds of people. Stuart Brand’s diaries at Stanford, half of it is about girls and drugs. At some point there is a trigger that gets pulled. I fight for the open Internet and now mobile Internet. We don’t give up anonymity and free speech just because we are looking at the First World. Caring comes form culture. It does not come from economics and not politics.