Can you explain IAM’s manifesto and why it is important to think of the internet as culture?
Our manifesto is a tool to define and share the key principles and values of IAM. We published it some months after doing the first IAM Weekend in 2015, and embedded key ideas that emerge from gathering diverse perspectives in the same time and space to reflect on a big question: WTF is the internet? In a way it is a collective output from that first conference, but also a declaration of intentions and the materialisation of the purpose of IAM as a platform. It has seven simple yet ample principles designed to understand and embrace the internet as something that goes beyond technology or social media or memes.
We believe that if more people start thinking of the internet as cultures, as a reflection of what we are as humans, for better or worse, we’ll gain collective empowerment and balance better how power is concentrated in a few corporations and people. Just as humans invented the printing press and literature became a universal tool of expression and shared knowledge, we believe that this relatively young set of networks, devices and behaviour we now call the internet can become a universal meta-tool, where better tools of understanding, expression and reflection can emerge. We need to understand the internet as cultures, in plural – always in plural.
What talks and speakers are you most excited about this year?
As curators, this is a very difficult question to answer. Personally, I am mostly excited about the 300 or more attendees coming from around the globe, different professional backgrounds and overall curious minds. The speaker line-up is a reflection of that. We will have LaTurbo Avedon, an avatar artist and curator; Audrey Tang, a digital minister; Ingrid LaFleur, a former candidate for mayor of Detroit; the Feminist Internet collective, and 20 more perspectives. At the end what excites me is what will happen when all of us share the same time and space for three days, because in randomness we trust.
What do you hope people take away from IAM weekend?
A deep, strong and timeless desire to be yourself, to become a critical optimist, being hopeful about futures while actively aware of our privileges and with a better understanding of realities. People will take away better questions, but overall, more than what they take away, they will join a family. The IAM Weekend is just a starting point, where the journey begins and a healthy randomness is cultivated and celebrated, and where we can subvert the idea of being alone, together.
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