The Fourth Annual Conference of Network Society:
Netizen 21: Beyond Personal Account
Academic Hall, 218 Nanshan Road,
Convener: Prof. Huang Sunquan
Institute of Cultural Innovation and Visual Communication, China Academy of Art (CAA)
The Institute for Collaborative Innovation in Chinese Visual Studies, CAA
The School of Inter-Media Art (SIMA), CAA
The Institute of Network Society, SIMA, CAA
Prof. Gao Shiming, Prof.Guan Huaibin, Prof. Yao Dajuin, Prof. Lu Xinghua, Prof. Huang Sunquan
After participatory culture and web2.0, once again individuals meet for various proposes in different assemblage forms like reddit, 4chan and “friendship” on Wechat and Facebook. We are willing to provide all details of our life, pictures, and GPS locations. Our solitude is designed thus it matters a lot whatever form the togetherness is. We all learn how to be a collective “autoicon”, like the skeleton of Jeremy Bentham now still sitting in a cabinet with glass window, attracting tourists who visit University College London. Perhaps, we are much unluckier since the internet is our life; this life and afterlife are all transparent. Human becomes branches of media conversely. Around the world there are near 51 billion people “voluntarily” give out their data to database encrypted with algorithm where only few authorized persons have full access.
In the previous Annual Conference of Network Society, “Forces of Reticulation” (2016), “Another Walk with Lefebvre: Critique of Urbanism and Everyday Life in the Algorithmic Age“(2017), and “Intelligent Urban Fabric“(2018), INS connects worldwide scholars and activists to construct criticism toward current network society and explore a network of practices together. Entitled “Netizen 21: Beyond Personal Account”, The Fourth Annual Conference of Network Society is going to explore the history of network society in China over the past two decades. Here, “21” refers to both the 21 years since the term “Wang Ming (网民)” (Netizen) being coined, and internet users in the 21st century.
In the middle of 1990s, China officially connected to the international internet and internet giants were just fledgling business then. With the first wave of dot-com bubble, netizen become a popular term whose definition seemed quite simple according to the Cambridge Dictionary: a person who use internet. As we always celebrate the promise made by new technologies, people at that time had not yet recognized the political connotation and responsibility in the word “citizen” coined with “net”. In July 1998, China National Committee for Terms in Sciences and Technologies (CNCTST) gave “Netizen” its official Chinese translation “Wang Ming (网民)”. (While in Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is usually translated as “Wang Yo (网友)” which means friends on the internet literally.) Around 2000s, Tencent QQ, blog and forum turned the main usage of internet in China from searching into socializing. It raised the curtain of an era of user-generated content. In the following ten years, one significant change is that the mobile internet access outstrips those from personal computers. The pace and intensity of all internet usage dramatically increased. The way users receive information shift form text reading to live streaming and even short video watching (e.g. TikTok and Kwai) that fills up every idle moment. Through this process, the commonality in early network community is gradually replaced by self-performance of individuals. The network that once empowered citizens in cyberspace with passion and proactivity (which could be found in independent media and network activism), now becomes channels uploading data automatically for unicorns to make money. The more instantly information spreads, the more completely time and space are compressed. Our life time shrinks; always-online social media is somewhere without society. Eventually, in accelerating society, netizens end up as personal accounts whose owners are exhausted and distracted.
Since 2008, the number of Chinese netizens has surpassed the American ones. Therefore, it is impossible to neglect China while conducting research about network society. It could even be said that China has become the world’s most fierce battlefield between network technologies and the society. We need more theoretical perspectives to see through Chinese phenomena and further to tell a global story using local language.
Facing the 21-year history, The Fourth Annual Conference of Network Society is constituted of four panels:
Panel 1: Spiritual Life in Network Society
Georg Simmel draws the life in 19th century big city: busy yet lonely people looking for a sense of identity and independence through fashion. Today, it is our turn to capture the symptoms of “society of informational capitalism” which includes “cognitariat” and “precariat”. The former are intellectual labours who lose their soul and the later survive through gig economy. Trapped in the “shrinking of present tense” in an accelerating society, how should we think about ourselves, the culture we belong to, and the relationship between its representation and the world?
Panelist: Franco “Bifo” Berardi、Wang Kai
Panel 2: Political Economy Criticism of Social Media
“Why Marx was right?” (Title of Terry Eagleton’s 2011 book) Does it sound like a cliché-ridden rebuttal? Marx is always there, yet few take it serious. Every day we diligently share our food, cat and affair, voluntarily doing an unpaid job. Therefore, should we accuse Facebook and claim for our wages? Or, should we learn from Chinese internet celebrities and Kwai live streamers as a model of creative worker in this generation? Does the realization of P2P transaction an antidote to the survival issue and identity crisis of cultural labor? Why are people willing to pay for the internet access but not the content they find on the internet? Why do we easily accept that all contents should be open to everyone but the benefits are taken by a minority? Perhaps, the question should be asked in a more direct way: how do Facebook and WeChat make their money? and how does the labor value be calculated?
Panelist: Lv Xinyu、HAMANO Satoshi、Cleve V. Arguelles、Nishant Shah
Panel 3: Media Archeology
“New media” seems old-aged to contemporary media study. Criticism of social media largely comes from authors outside the academy like some outstanding journalists, old hippies who are close to the Silicon Valley but in a critical distance, or few hackactivists. The production of academic research and theory is left far behind; software study has not yet dominated the stage. From Marshall McLuhan’s performative and manifesto-like confession, to the research approach proposed by Matthew Fuller et al.——evil media, a self-driven media that has nothing to do with the spectator——have we found the possibility to overcome? Is media archeology a way out? Could we understand how Wechat Friends’ Circle and Kwai work as we see Tianya Club or Rongshuxia (Tianya is an internet forum and Rongshuxia is a portal site of internet literature. Both were founded in late 1990s in China.)? Or maybe we should think conversely that only through the analysis of the current we would realize the meaning of the past. As Marx said: “Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape. The intimations of higher development among the subordinate animal species, however, can be understood only after the higher development is already known.” Then, what did we miss and misunderstand when the internet emerged?
Panelist: Michael Goddard、Shan Xiaoxi、Sakurada Kazuya
Panel 4: Platform Capitalism
Our work, life and even relationship are dominated by mediators that control the technology. The platform is the media, market and corporation. Besides, as a dominator, it watches the now and future life of humans housed in a transparent cage. The platform takes over the reins of community building, buries independent media, Amwayizes blogosphere, and instrumentalizes netizen. In an accelerating society, we have to run faster in order to stand at the same place. Could “precarious rhapsody” become a kind of resonance? Could online community become something like a cooperative? Could social movement surpass the power of fans’ union of World of Warcraft? Is it impossible to cross the social media abyss?
Besides the invited keynotes, we call for young scholars and activists worldwide to submit papers on the four panel topics. “Young Scholars’ Forum” welcomes you to present your latest research and practice and interact with international scholars participating the annual conference.
|时间||KEYNOTE SPEECH 主题演讲||YOUNG SCHOLARS' FORUM
|09:10-10:50||Panel 1: Spiritual Life in Network Society
Moderator: 陈天琪 Chen Tianqi
|叶甫纳：I am the fairest one of all – just check my phone: MY Magic Mirror
|Chen Xiaoqiong：Digitalization of reproduction - An Ethnographic Inquiry|
|11:20-13:00||Lunch Time 午休|
|Panel 2: Political Economy Criticism of Social Media
主持人：曹澍 Cao Shu
|Zihui (Katt) Gu&Yuan He：Yesterday is dead, so forget it: The Right to be forgotten in China’s Cyber Governance Regime|
|Han (Suji) Yan&Zihui (Katt) Gu：The Continuation of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) Movement and Data – The New Form of Labor|
|15:00-16:20||Panel 3 Media Archeology
主持人：陈旻 Chen Min
|未来主人（康康&马汀滢）：The Insatiable: On Chinese Mukbang (吃播)|
|2019/11/23||Keynote Speech 主题讲演|
|10:00-10:10||Welcoming Speech 欢迎致辞|
|10:10-10:30||Conference Origins & Perspectives|
|Panel 1: Spiritual Life in Network Society |
Moderator: Prof. Huang SunQuan
|10:30-11:00||Franco “Bifo” Berardi ｜PUT AN END TO NAZI-LIBERALISM NOW |
|11:00-11:30||汪凯（Wang Kai）｜ A Brief History: Parody Culture in Chinese Internet|
|Panel 2: Political Economy Criticism of Social Media|
Moderator: Prof. Yao Dajun
|14:00-14:30||单小曦 Shan Xiaoxi｜A Critical Review on The "Chinese phenomenon" of New Media Literary Production 新媒介文艺生产“中国现象”及其批判性考察|
|14:30-15:00||Cleve V. Arguelles｜Is youth really wasted on the young? Emerging politics of digital citizenship among young Southeast Asians 青年是否正在虚度青春？东南亚年轻一代数字公民的新兴政治|
|15:00-15:30||濱野智史 HAMANO Satoshi｜|
|15:45-16:15||Nishant Shah｜Not quite human enough: Digital Futures of Being Human 人性未满：人类的数字未来|
|Panel 3: Media Archeology|
Moderator: Prof. Wang Xingkun
|9:30-10:00||Michael Goddard｜Immersive Media, Virtual Reality and the Media Archaeology of Audiovision 沉浸式媒体，虚拟现实和视听媒体考古|
|10:00-10:30||吕新雨 Lv Xinyu｜新媒体时代的未来考古 Future Archeology in New Media Era|
|10:45-11:15||櫻田和也 Sakurada Kazuya｜Trans-Asian grassroots beyond the border: a hundred years. |
|Panel 4: Platform Capitalism|
Moderator: Prof. Huang SunQuan
|14:00-14:30||Nathan Schneider｜Startups Need a New Option: Exit to Community 新创企业需要一个新选择：退向社群|
|14:30-15:00||Olivia Solis｜Exploitation Forensics 剥削取证|
|15:45-16:35||panel 4：Platform Capitalism
主持人：刘益红 Liu Yihong
|陈哲洵：“吐槽” 媒介功能 网络平台|
|沈洁：Automated Addiction and its possible transformation on Chinese Livestream Platform|