Faculty Academy 2012

David Darts

Keynote Address

When I Hear the Word Culture, I Reach for My Source Code: The Struggle for Freedom and Control in the Digital Age

Thursday, May 17; 1:00 in Monroe 116

The open source and copyleft movements combined with advances in digital technology and networked communications have the potential to radically transform and improve society. They already have. In some cases profoundly. These changes are happening now in diverse ways and across multiple fields and settings. But all is not well in our rapidly evolving digital age. The revolutionary child of digital technologies also has an evil twin who is actively plotting a more sinister future. One of lockdown and control. One of ubiquitous surveillance and censorship. And one where private business interests and state agencies assert increasing control and dominance over mass communications, digital technologies, cultural production, and democratic participation. The contest between these two systems, one open and one closed, one private and the other public, promises to be a battle of epic proportions. A fight that will define our future and help determine our understandings of freedom and openness in the 21st Century.

Biography

David Darts is Chair of the Department of Art and Art Professions and Director of the NYU Steinhardt MA in Studio Art Program in Berlin, Germany. His research focuses on the convergences between contemporary art and media, technology, education, and democracy. Darts’ research and writings about contemporary art, education, emerging technologies and creative citizenship have been published in a number of top scholarly journals and books.

Darts’ PirateBox is a self-contained and mobile digital collaboration and file sharing system. Inspired by pirate radio and the free culture movement, PirateBox utilizes Free and Open Source software to create mobile wireless communication and file sharing networks where users can chat and anonymously exchange images, video, audio, documents, and other digital content. The project has been featured in over 100 international online and print publications, including New Scientist, Ars Technica, and Wired Italia.

Darts is also Curatorial Director of Conflux , the annual art and technology festival for the creative exploration of urban public space. Since 2009, Conflux has featured lectures, performances, workshops, and exhibitions from over 250 public space scholars and artists. Conflux has received significant media attention including stories in the New York Times and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.