freelance translator. freelance project manager, organisator. likes to build bridges.
interested in China, Chinese (digital) culture & new media art, social media, translation & more.

Digital Communities 2004–2014

From 2004 to 2014, I was the curator of the Digital Communities category at Prix Ars Electronica which is looking at the social dimension of the Internet. The call for entries says: “The Digital Communities category is open to political, social, cultural and artistic projects, initiatives, groups, and scenes from all over the world that are effectively utilizing digital technology to further society and to promote social responsibility. It is open to the initiators and propagators of these communities as well as the developers of the relevant technologies, and is meant to honor those whose work contributes to the establishment and proliferation of digital communities as well as to those efforts that promote better understanding and research.”

It was a fascinating project. The most interesting aspect was to go beyond the eurocentristic or western view of projects and include projects from regions which normally do not show up on our internet map, especially not at the time when this category started, in 2004: African or Asian countries. This meant that we had to find “scouts” guiding us – the International Advisory Board nominating projects – and members of the jury coming from a wide range of geographical regions.

In May 2014 I was talking with jury members Ian Banerjee from Vienna and Washio Kazuhiko from Japan on a fine spring evening at Café Palmenhaus in Vienna. I am not sure if it was the intensity of the jury deliberations of the previous days or the serenity of the surrounding imperial urban garden that inspired us, in any case, it was on that evening that we – Ian and me – felt a strong obligation to do something with the wealth of knowledge Prix Ars Electronica had collected about digital communities in the last years. It didn’t take long to make up our minds to edit a book about it – with or without funds. After getting an enthusiastic response from Gerfried Stocker, head of Ars Electronica, we embarked on the project.

The result is a digital publication – Digital Communties 2004–2014. Selected Projects from Prix Ars Electronica – which draws on the wealth of projects submitted to the Digital Communities category of Prix Ars Electronica and gives a glimpse of the remarkable variety of digital communities proliferating in the world today. It includes texts by Howard Rheingold, Joichi Ito and André Lemos, jury comments on the winning projects, follow-up interviews with some selected projects showing their development, as well as a cloud of keywords which reflects the complexity of the digital communities ecosystem.

Here is the download link: Digital Communities 2004–2014

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