Digital Earth is a two-day symposium focusing on the materiality and immateriality of the digital reality we live in – from data centers to software interfaces, and rare minerals to financial derivatives. Earth is dug, excavated, and ripped apart to extract the fundamental materials that keep the computational machine running – oil, coltan, sand, rubber, lithium form the material basis on which digital reality is built. At the same time, digital technologies enable new modes of circulation and extraction of information and data.
Algorithmic regimes regulate the movement of goods and people around the world in relatively smooth fluxes enabled by increasingly sophisticated surveillance systems. These algorithmic regimes generate, track and accumulate such a mass of data that is already referred to as the ‘digital twin’ of Earth. The existence of a physical planet and its ‘datafied’ counterpart generate a discrepancy between the reality on the ground and what is recorded and broadcasted - often leading to violent socio-political, economic, ecological and cultural frictions.
Responding to the themes of the Digital Earth fellowship, this symposium brings together artists, architects, and scholars to share knowledges, reflections, and practices. Looking into the ways digital technologies shape our understanding of time, reconfigure processes of materialisation, and govern our landscapes, Digital Earth Symposium, examines how they mediate and regulate our world while acknowledging the human agency among these all-pervasive processes.
The event is organised by Ashkal Alwan and Digital Earth, and supported by Hivos.