Blog Post

-empyre- @ HASTAC

 

Renate Ferro and I would like to thank all our many special guests and members for their
energetic and informative posts regarding April's discussion topic on -empyre- soft-skinned space,
"Critical Making in International Networks."  Beginning the month with
incredibly important discussions of the value and challenges of critical
making for indigenous communities in Africa and Latin America, we then
learned of innovations in gaming and feminist networks and important
critical interventions in Romania, China, Japan, France, and Canada.  It
seems fitting that the month concluded with fascinating discussions of the
place of intellectual property in the contexts of hacking communities and
traditional knowledge in Latin America and elsewhere.
 
We are especially appreciative of the efforts made by those participants
who posted while traveling to or conferencing at HASTAC in Peru, since we
can attest to the challenges faced by Peruvian bloggers by inconsistent
network connections, if not sporadic wireless and blackouts.  Hosting the
final week from Peru brought home to me and Renate the cautionary tales of
Daniel Herwitz and Diana Taylor about the limitations of the reach of our
own extensive -empyre- network within the cultural realities of the
extensive digital divide.  It was fascinating, in this context, that
HASTAC's meetings spaces within the huge complex of the Peruvian Ministry
of Culture were not set up with wireless until an hour before the
beginning of the HASTAC conference -- kudos to the entire HASTAC conference team to work with the Ministry staff to wire the conference spaces.  Just as -empyre- was happy to
partner with HASTAC to foreground the challenges faced by critical makers
working in uneven international infrastructures, we honor those makers who
move forward with progressive projects that contribute to the work of
emergent social communities as they struggle with unstable networked
connections and national infrastructures.  We are particularly grateful to
Kevin Franklin for his ongoing heroic work with the Organization of American
States (the co-sponsor of the HASTAC Peru meetings) to push out the
networked infrastructure across Latin America as a means to enhance
cultural expression and participation.
 
We hope that you'll have a chance to rehearse this month's fascinating
discussion via the -empyre- archive,
stimulating reread the month's posts at the conclusion of the discussion,
which frequently foregrounds issues raised by posts made early in the
month.  As we move among the flowers of May pushing up through our ground
so exhausted by an interminable winter in Upstate New York, please join us
in celebrating the contributions of this month's special guests, which included so many HASTACers: Denisa Kera (Singapore), Marcus Bastos (Brazil), Kevin Franklin (US), Daniel
Herwitz (US), Diana Taylor (US), Calin Man (Romania), Michael  Simeone
(US), Joyce Rudinsky (US), Victoria Szabo (US), Elizabeth Losh (US),
Jentery Sayers (Canada), Nina Belojevic (Canada), Shaun Macpherson
(Canada), Katielynn McQueston (Canada), Zac Zimmer (US), Kevin Hamilton
(US), Nelly Todorova (France).
 
Best wishes for promises of May.
 
Tim and Renate
 
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