The Dublin re:publica 2017 #rpDUB conference touches down in our humble auld town later this week and brings with it a hive of digitally minded discussions around where l society is dragging us. The conference takes in topics like housing, banking, and media as well as a million other more esoteric techy things. Rashers Tierney caught a few words with the organising team.
Okay, so what is this Re:publica thing? It seems like a pretty slick machine and kinda looks like it has landed out of nowhere in Dublin? The first question that pops into my head when I see such an enterprise is, and excuse my incipient paranoia about anything to do with the world of tech, but who’s funding you? It’s going for nearly ten years now, how hard is it to sustain a conference likes this?
re:publica is one of the largest and most exciting conferences about digital culture in the world. Since its foundation in 2007, it has grown from a cozy blogger meeting with 700 participants into a wide-ranging “society conference”, with 9000 visitors at the eleventh edition of re:publica in Berlin.
The digital society gives us strong tools to network, connect and develop a new and equal vision of the continent. We do re:publica in Dublin, Berlin and Thessaloniki this year. We want to know more about the similarities and differences in times of digital change. re:connecting EUROPE unifies re:publica Dublin and re:publica Thessaloniki, with our aim being to promote the development of a Europe-wide network of creative industries. This endeavour was made possible thanks to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.
At re:publica Berlin in May 2017, we launched the re:connecting Europe space as an idea forum for players and stakeholders from Dublin and Thessaloniki, followed by roundtables in both cities to involve the community. Within re:publica’s North-South axis, we want to do our part in establishing a platform for a networked digital society in Europe. We aim to bundle positive forces and create room for an active dialogue between and with the representatives of public interests, politics, science and society.
In 2016, we held the first international re:publica conference in Dublin. The idea ripened within our team since we are well connected to the cinema scene in Dublin. We experienced such tremendous response that we will be again in Dublin and as well in Thessaloniki where we like to talk about the digital society and network with all the interesting people thinking about that.
One of your contributors, one of the main folks involved in Mozilla pops up in a promotional video recapping on re:publica so far. He goes onto to say that a goal of the conference is to “make the internet more human.” As organisers would you still agree with that?
re:publica is a special place where people meet and exchange. We are watching the digital society and want to preserve a free and open web. Our aim is to build spaces where everybody is on eye-level. We strongly believe in diversity. In Berlin we have 50%+ female speakers. Digital society is not only technology and start-ups. It is us!
One example at re:publica 2016 has shown that we still need more humanity, mutual consideration and activism in the net: Kübra Gümüşay spoke about the need of “organized love” within the net since fundamental rights need to be protected.
We cannot accept racism and intolerance and all forms of discrimination. With this years’ motto “LOVE OUT LOUD” we emphasized this aspect even more. Since this mission is still in progress, we like to join forces internationally to move forward. So join in the conversation: Dublin, Thessaloniki and next year, from May 2-4 in Berlin
With books like I Hate The Internet becoming cult classics and signalling a growing scepticism of the techno-utopian dream among the public, as well as the vicious racism and misogyny that underlies much of the rise of Trump having festered within various online platforms for years – is this optimism about the internet not a bit misplaced or is there still something worth fighting for? Convince us!
In his novel the author Kobek illustrates the huge influence of American companies and politics and how they manipulate human interaction. As human rights seems to be undermined in some virtual places, we experience a lack of legally based regulations. But how much regulation is good – and to what extent? This topic will be discussed as well in “patterns for decentralised governance”.
Furthermore, as an internet user it is hard to distinguish between true, valuable news and so called “fake news”. This aspect has been strongly discussed within nine sessions at re:publica 2017 – but we still do not have a proper answer how to deal with fake news. Can we ensure a good information technology if journalists are replaced by social bots to generate content?
And how can we get out of our personal online filter bubble showing us only content in refer to our preferences? How can we develop free thinking if we are confronted with preconceived opinions?
The global infrastructure provides access for every citizen as well as democratic participation. This is also the case for racism or right-wing populism. The internet cannot be left to its own – we have to define net politics, civic rights and discuss the question of power. We have to differ and know in whom we can put our trust. That’s why we cannot stop to fight for freedom in cyberspace.
One of the aims of the conference is to connect people across borders and link up communities that might not have yet come into view of each other because of these wondrous things we call borders. Has the conference birthed or provided a springboard to any interesting groups or projects over the course of its history?
With every re:publica we aim to strengthen our network. As many aspects of digitisation have reached broad sections of society, culture and work environments we link up our community to experts to learn about innovations or launch projects. The interchange of ideas happens in the scope of workshops, net political dialogues or meetups.
Projects from both Ireland and Greece were presented at the re:connecting EUROPE Space at re:publica 2017 in Berlin. Our community was able to get to know each other, network and exchange ideas. The connections formed at the space will be carried back to both Dublin and Thessaloniki in September.
The Global Innovation Gathering (GIG) maker space was a part of the re:publica for the fifth time this year. The GIG brought together over 40 makers, hackers and entrepreneurs from around the world with a special focus on tech innovations from Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The makerspace, hosted in cooperation with the FabLab Berlin, was home to numerous workshops where participants could do some soldering, get informed about hardware or make their own interactive love letters.
In our science fiction track at re:publica in Berlin the German Frankfurter Buchmesse talked about SciFi as a visionary state of mind predicting a lot of ideas about living together in societies. Out of their session the Facebook group My god …what if? developed keeping the discussion alive.
In addition, we dare to look beyond Europe and want to think together with you, what could actually mean a re: publica in the Arabian or African area. A network is only as strong as its nodes, so let’s get re:connected!
Probably the most vital talk at the conference is the one on taxation and the one on the housing crisis.That said, seriousness aside and having tried Virtual Reality for the first time at Boomtown back in early August – I’m looking forward to the talk about The psychedelic experience in the digital age. That should be a hoot. Are there any particular talks you think are essential this time round?
A lot. We have more than 20 hours of programme dealing with hate speeches, digital climate developments and the digital citizen in Ireland. We’d like to welcome everyone to our public discussion Housing crisis in a tech bubble on September 7, 2017 -16:15 to 17:15 pm.
Jilian York, a well-known cyber activist, will be in Dublin and Thessaloniki presenting Cryptolunch: a workshop about the means of encryption and security in the digital space. As well on board are our re:publica speakers: Mushon Zer-Aviv with his talk AudioSpatial Storytelling & Speculative Tourism and the cyber activist Tanya Lokot with Stories of Protest: Identity and Networks across Europe and beyond. We’d like to invite as well to our Women in Tech Meetup presented by Sarah Leahy on September 7 at 3.00 pm.
Apart from our programme in the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin we have a variety of side events going on, like the THE #rpDUB TWITTER GAME and a Dublin Walking Tour on September 7, 5.30pm–7pm – please register for the walk.
The participatory artwork create your EUROPEANPA55PORT by David Blackmore will challenge notions of national identity using transnational European identity as an alternative. With members of the public taking part by working with their own passport covers, this piece will instigate, develop and maintain a conversation surrounding the relevance of national and European identity as BREXIT approaches.
Let’s get the party started! We invite everyone to join us for networking & drinks for our party programme. We could name every single session we do. You have to check our programme!