Education/Activism

Note: more programming is being announced every day, and everything here is subject to change.

Keynote: Michael Wesch

Dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society.

Dr. Wesch is not only a fascinating speaker, with deep insights into the budding online video culture—he’s also a talented videographer. His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences. If you haven’t already seen The Machine is Us/ing Us, we strongly recommend you spend the next few minutes watching and be amazed. Or visit his YouTube channel to watch his illuminating talks (especially An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, presented at the Library of Congress in 2008).

Panel: Speaking with Video


Details TBA.

Panel: Cameras Everywhere: Opportunities and Challenges in Human Rights Video


Once upon a time, video cameras were rare. Now they are ubiquitous—as are the opportunities to share, use, and re-use video. What are the limits and possibilities of an ethics of openness when it comes to human rights footage?

Videos (particularly mobile and online video) make it possible to document and publicize human rights struggles – from monks marching for freedom in Rangoon and Lhasa, and the election protestors in Tehran, to individual voices speaking out against injustice on YouTube and other online spaces. But despite the growing circulation of images of human rights violations, of victims and survivors, there is limited discussion of crucial safety, consent and ethical concerns – particularly for people who are filmed.

Issues around consent, representation and re-victimization and retaliation have emerged even more clearly in an open and networked online environment, as have concerns about intentionality and authenticity. Video is being reworked, remixed and recirculated by many more people. New possibilities for action by a global citizenry have arisen, but these carry with them substantial challenges, opportunities and dangers.

Presenters:
Sam Gregory — WITNESS
Gabriella Coleman — NYU
Nathan Freitas — The Guardian Project
Steve Grove - News and Politics, YouTube

Panel: Public Spaces, Private Infrastructure


This session explores some of the problems facing users and operators of private and proprietary online video platforms. Sites like YouTube certainly seem like public utilities--they are indespinsable global public forums, host to world-changing media affairs and previously impossible mass dialogues. But of course, they're not public--they're businesses with a range of fiduciary and legal obligations. What tensions arise from this state of affairs? How can we balance concerns about free speech with the commercial and political imperatives on those who run video platforms? And is a truly public media possible?
Presenters:
Ethan Zuckerman -- Co-founder, Global Voices, Senior Fellow at Harvard Berkman Center
Lawrence Liang -- Lawyer, public intellectual, Alternative Law Forum Bangalore

Seminar: Open Video Archives*


Details TBA.

Seminar: The Aesthetics of Antisocial Internet Video (NSFW)


In this seminar, researcher Jennifer Chan shares the outcome of an investigation of subversive online videos involving bizarre and explicit exhibitionism. Why do we watch viral videos that involve pain and destruction? What are the ethics of displaying and inducing discomfort to a cyberpublic? What can this mean to the morality of viewership in private and public contexts? How is obscene and unproductive matter—dubbed “Not Safe For Work” on the Web—recycled into a culture of desire? I question our libidinal viewership arising in niche communities on 4chan and YouTube that respond to these videos.

We will look at pre-existing amateur viral videos that involve performance of discomfort (i.e. “swap.avi” and “1 guy 1 jar”) as well as non-sexual, object-based YouTube fetish videos.

The hour-long meeting involves a viewing of video excerpts, followed by an introduction and informal discussion. Our goal is to understand aesthetic and discursive formations between reality TV, web pornography and user generation in relation to art. We'll also aim to provide an intelligible lens for understanding the viewership of seemingly trivial and distasteful amateur video. Be warned: this session will feature explicit and disheveling visual material, and participants are not obliged to stay throughout the session.

Presenter:
Jennifer Chan, Syracuse University MFA Art Video Candidate, video artist

Workshop: Turning Ethics into Action with Human Rights Video


This workshop will brainstorm and identify practical technology solutions to protect people who create, are featured in, share or watch human rights video. The workshop will begin with a short screening of five well-known human rights videos that illustrate key challenges where innovative solutions are needed.

For example: we'll look at footage from Iran and understand problems with safety, consent and risk to people filmed; material filmed during the Saffron Revolution in Burma and safe transmission of footage, and footage from Tibet where there is no context or metadata about where/when it was filmed or information on how the creator of the footage wanted it to be used.

The workshop session will enable participants to prototype initial ideas and solutions that can be directly expanded upon in a practical one-day hackathon immediately after OVC —facilitated by the organizers of this workshop—in which we'll build-out concrete tools and outcomes. The facilitators are pre-circulating information for the workshop on various mailing lists so that people can consider some of the challenges in advance, and to attract participants who will provide substantive input.
Presenters:
Sam Gregory — WITNESS
Gabriella Coleman — NYU
Nathan Freitas — The Guardian Project


Workshop: Rapid Media Creation for Crisis


This session will focus on the use of collaborative storytelling strategies to create media that drives international attention to an issue in real-time. Among the case studies:

Digital Democracy TV films with local community organizations. The footage is uploaded after filming and immediately transmitted to a small team in New York. In real-time, notes are sent, questions answered, and compelling stories created. With a team on the ground during the Haiti Earthquake, this model was ineffective—leading to the creation of new working models.

Joanne Teoh, Asia-based TV journalist and Web documentary maker, shares experiences with video-based advocacy in combination with litigation, research, organizing, and monitoring. Her presentation showcases grassroots video advocacy at ground zero of the Asian tsunami (2004), cyclone Nargis (2008) and the Sichuan earthquake (2009).

Core conversation: Processing Meetings


Details TBA.