Gravito Ergo Sum
Venue:Stockholm School of Economics
Since the development of the Internet Protocols, the distributed network has been emblematic of a resistant and resilient structure that works against centralising forces in society. As the global popularity of the Internet has grown, network effects and preferential attachment have led to the emergence of a few large entities that concentrate services, attention and power. These processes are mirrored in other areas of human activity with relatively transparent network architectures such as financial markets resulting current wealth distribution, market dominance discrepancies and the rise of mega-cities. These agglomerating tendencies act as attractive forces that are at odds with both the early distributed principles of Internet network design and distributive social and political structures. These tendencies mirror the tendency of matter to clump together in physical systems that occurs through gravitation and are explored through a gravitational metaphor. The parallel is developed by exploring past and present theories of gravity and their metaphorical use in social and political discussion from colonialism to network marketing. How will new theories of emergent gravity – that privilege information and density of potential micro-states – refine or challenge our view of social and political agglomeration?
Julian Priest is an artist living and working in New Zealand and exhibiting internationally. He works with participatory and technological
forms and recent work explores relationships to a variety of infrastructures including time, energy, security, and communications. He was
co-founder of early wireless freenetwork community Consume.net in London. He became an advocate for the freenetworking movement
and pursued wireless networking as a theme in arts, development, and policy. He worked with independent research framework
Informal and co-founded policy intervention OpenSpectrum UK to advocate an open spectrum in the public interest, in Europe and the
UK. He has lectured at the Banff Centre, Whanganui School of Design, and A.U.T University. He is director of The Greenbench and is a
member of the Aotearoa Digital Arts trust board.