WORLD-INFORMATION CITY PROGRAMME AT BANGALORE COMPLETED +++
INFOPAPER ON IP AND THE CITY RELEASED
"The globalized IT industry in India is an international island of
privilege in a sea of local despair", said Indian writer and critic
Arundathi Roy at the World-Information City conference, the concluding
session of a one-week programme of events that took place at Bangalore
14 - 20 November, 2005. Speaking a short distance away from Bangalore's
IT corridors, Roy stressed the parallels between the technologies of the
colonial period, roads and railways, and the contemporary expansion of
IT into the rural areas. Corporatization of agriculture, public
subsidies for the IT industry, slum clearance and biopiracy combine into
a scenario of extreme violence: "Since 1994 something like 26,000
farmers have committed suicide. And in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi,
400,000 people will simply be evicted over night".
Surveillance expert David Lyon views Bangalore call centers as the sites
of "social sorting", the automatized hierarchisation of social standing
according to criteria of profit generation, as in database marketing.
Clouded by a rhetoric of service and privacy, political accountability
is being eroded by invisible streams of data.
However, as Bangalore-based feminist and historian Lata Mani pointed
out, "The logic of capitalist globalisation is not the only logic at
play. The sheer magnitude of the cultural and class difference between
the smash and grab globalisers, and their culturally Other neighbours
who vastly outnumber them make the former dependent on the hospitality
of the latter" - a statement that finds an empirical grounding in Solly
Benjamin's work on urban land conflicts, also presented at the conference.
With unheard of stories from the grey area between the global and local
economies, young researchers from Sarai Media Lab analyzed the cultural
fissures of IP legislation, the language politics of Multiplex cinemas,
and tactics of underground cable networks.
Examples of the latter were presented in villages of Karnataka and in
Bangalore, where Shaina Anand's "World-Info TV" went into operation in
one neighbourhood of the city, meeting with great interest of the local
population and of commercial cable operators.
Many of the artworks that formed part of the World-Information City
Exhibition addressed cultural and identity conflicts surrounding the
rise of the information economy, be it in the form of installations,
objects, performances, or films accessible to the public at different
points of bustling Bangalore
In the city's streets, the World-Information City campaign caught
passers-by by surprise through its infiltration of the city's
ad-dominated visual infosphere with billboards, posters, stickers, and
even flower arrangements, questioning the politics of IP in places
usually dominated by unquestioned commercial imperatives.
With this mix of locations, media and technologies, World-Information
City was able to catch the attention of a vast audience even outside of
the closed spaces of the conference and the various exhibitions,
workshops and performances. Featuring well over a hundred speakers and
artists, dozens of collaborating organizations, institutions and
individuals, World-Information City was the largest of all
World-Information.Org presentations. "It lead to a great expansion of
networks and to many new insights, opening new paths of enquiry and
pointing the way for future projects", said World-Information.Org
director Konrad Becker.
A documentary video of World-Information information city will be made
available on the internet and be announced in a separate communication.
++ INFOPAPER ON IP AND THE CITY RELEASED ++
In connection with the programme at Bangalore, World-Information.Org
released an info-paper on intellectual property and the city. The paper,
produced with the financial assistance of UNESCO, brings together
concise and to-the-point contributions on the politics of intellectual
property and urban change. Authors include Joseph Stiglitz, Saskia
Sassen, Mike Davis, Peter Drahos, James Love, Lawrence Liang, Solly
Benjmain, and other scholars and activists. The paper was specifically
produced for distribution at the WSIS in Tunis, as well as for
World-Information City Bangalore. It is available as pdf-download at the
site stated further below. Requests for hard copies should
be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
++ LINKS ++
World-Information City Bangalore
Infopaper IP City Edition Download