[ISEA2011] Panel: Ruth Cat­low (moderator) – Re-rooting Digital Culture: Media Art Ecologies

Panel Statement

Chair Per­son: Ruth Cat­low
Pre­sen­ters: Tom Corby, Helen Var­ley Jamieson, Michel Bauwens & Paula Crutchlow

Over the last decade the aware­ness of an­thro­pogenic cli­mate change has emerged in par­al­lel with hy­per-con­nec­tive dig­i­tal net­works. In the con­text of en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic col­lapse peo­ple around the world are seek­ing al­ter­na­tive vi­sions of pros­per­ity and sus­tain­able ways of liv­ing. While the legacy of the car­bon fu­eled In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion plays it­self out, we find our­selves grap­pling with ques­tions about the fu­ture im­pli­ca­tions of fast-evolv­ing global dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture. By their very na­ture the new tools, net­works and be­hav­iours of pro­duc­tiv­ity, ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween hu­mans and ma­chines grow and de­velop at an ac­cel­er­ated rate. The rhetoric, aes­thet­ics, tech­nics and as­so­ci­ated eth­i­cal ques­tions of dig­i­tal cul­ture are fun­da­men­tally chang­ing so­cial re­la­tions as well as the na­ture of our ma­te­r­ial ex­is­tence. The ideas for this in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary panel have grown out of Fur­ther­field’s Media Art Ecolo­gies pro­gramme and will ex­plore the re­la­tion­ship be­tween dig­i­tal cul­ture and cli­mate change, de­vel­op­ing themes adopted in grass-roots, emerg­ing and es­tab­lished prac­tices in art, de­sign, ac­tivism and sci­ence. Pan­elists are artists and ac­tivists whose prac­tices ad­dress the in­ter­re­la­tion of tech­no­log­i­cal and nat­ural processes: be­ings and things, in­di­vid­u­als and mul­ti­tudes, mat­ter and pat­terns. They take an eco­log­i­cal ap­proach that chal­lenges growth eco­nom­ics and techno-con­sumerism and at­tends to the na­ture of co-evolv­ing, in­ter­de­pen­dent en­ti­ties and con­di­tions; they they ac­ti­vate net­works (dig­i­tal, so­cial, phys­i­cal) to work with eco­log­i­cal themes and Free and Open processes.

  • Ruth Cat­low is an artist and cu­ra­tor work­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion of art, tech­nol­ogy and so­cial change. As co-founder, with Marc Gar­rett, of Fur­ther­field a grass roots media arts or­gan­i­sa­tion, on­line com­mu­nity and gallery (for­merly HTTP Gallery) in North Lon­don, she works with in­ter­na­tional artists, hack­ers, cu­ra­tors, mu­si­cians, pro­gram­mers, writ­ers, ac­tivists and thinkers. Her cur­rent focus is on prac­tices that en­gage an eco­log­i­cal ap­proach with an in­ter­est in the in­ter­re­la­tion of tech­no­log­i­cal and nat­ural processes. Ruth has been in­volved with de­vel­op­ing net­worked par­tic­i­pa­tory arts in­fra­struc­tures such as Vis­i­torsStu­dio and NODE.London. Ruth has worked in Higher Ed­u­ca­tion for over 15 years and is cur­rently run­ning de­grees in Dig­i­tal Art and De­sign Prac­tice and de­vel­op­ing a new MA in Fine Art and En­vi­ron­ment at Writ­tle School of De­sign. furtherfield.org