August 1, 2009

Is the Internet making us more ethical?

Ethics of cultural collaboration from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaRita J. King, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council and CEO of Dancing Ink Productions, talks about the ethics of cultural collaboration in this 10-minute video interview immediately after her appearance at the 140 Character Conference on Twitter in New York on June 17.

twitter-greenOur conversation was generally at a 50,000-foot level, looking at the Internet and its role in the development of an ethical culture. Rita uses the model of a Johari window, a square divided into four parts: How I see myself accurately; how I see myself inaccurately; how others see me accurately; and how others see me inaccurately. Participating in the digital culture shakes all those things up, she says, and new technologies are enabling people are able to parse out how they feel about the rituals and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation “which both illuminate the human spirit and shackle us to outdated systems.”

During the panel and in our conversation, Rita questioned whether the efforts in the West to help the street demonstrators are helping or hurting if the tactics are based on deception, such as changing one’s Twitter profile to say you live in Tehran as an expression of solidarity. “Is it putting people on the ground in Tehran in jeopardy if they can’t find each other? Deliberate deception seems like a step backward to me. … And that’s symptomatic of other things that will continue to manifest in the digital culture,” with a debate over how best to achieve a social good.

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March 13, 2009

Mashup culture and social media


JD LasicaJust left the final session of Remix/Mashup 2009: The Future of Creative Production and Ownership at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, which explored the implications of mashup and remix in the world of Web 2.0. They reached out to me last fall and I couldn’t resist flying out — this was the first conference I’ve come across devoted to the video mashup, a media form that straddles art, politics and entertainment.

I’ll leave it to the attorneys and law students in the audience to dissect the proceedings, but here are a few high points:

• I was deeply impressed by the keynote presentation by Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, a multimedia artist, filmmaker and writer (“Sound Unbound”). Above is a photo I shot of him. (Feel free to remix; it’s under a Creative Commons license.) Some snippets from his keynote: “Artists no longer work in the bubble of a recording studio. The studio is the network.” … “The 20th century was the era of mass production. The 21st century is the era of mass customization,” with collective memories now dispersed and giving way to singular experiences culled from cultural motifs while plugged into an always-on ubiquitous network that lets us transform any media in digital form to our liking.

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