Special Events

Hacking Politics: Symposium

Special Events
19 Oct, 2018

Hacking Politics: Symposium

Civic Data Solidarity Panel: SFMOMA | October 18 | 6 PM
Conference: Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley | October 19 | 10 AM

We often describe asymmetrical and unanticipated actions in a technological context as “hacking,” yet what is being hacked in our current moment is not just infrastructure, but the structure of civil society. From our political structures and infrastructures, through the political process, to the larger framework of civil society, we live in an era when the intersection of media, technology, and politics is producing profound, and profoundly unpredictable, effects.

In the shadow of the the 2018 midterm elections, join the UC Berkeley Center for New Media, SFMOMA’s Public Knowledge Initiative, the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and Boalt School of Law, in collaboration with For Freedoms’ 50 State Initiative, for a symposium, Hacking Politics. Together, we will we explore how our political system has been — and might be — manipluated, transformed, and even remade in ways its framers could never have imagined.

Confirmed speakers: Burak Arikan (Artist), Erica Baker (Senior Engineering Manager, Patreon), Ingrid Burrington (Artist), Maciej Ceglowski (Pinboard, The Great Slate), Ruth Greenwood (Campaign Legal Center), Lawrence Norden (Brennan Center’s Democracy Program ), Nate Persily (Stanford), Gireeja Ranade (Microsoft Research), McKenzie Wark (The New School), Hank Willis Thomas (Artist).

Register today!


10:10 AM:

Welcome, Nicholas de Monchaux

Nicholas de Monchaux is a Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Chair of the Berkeley Center for New Media.

10:30 AM:

Political Structures & Infrastructures

Panel One Speakers:

Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program

Lawrence Norden works on a variety of issues, from money in politics to voting to government dysfunction. During his time at the Brennan Center, he has authored several nationally recognized reports and articles related to law and democracy, including Securing Elections From Foreign Interference (June 2017), Five to Four(January 2016) and America's Voting Machines at Risk (September 2015).

Ruth Greenwood, Senior Legal Counsel, Campaign Legal Center

Ruth litigates a variety of redistricting cases, with a particular focus on ending partisan gerrymandering and promoting minority representation. Ruth represented plaintiffs in both the Gill v. Whitford and LWVNC v. Rucho partisan gerrymandering cases that went to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Ingrid Burrington, Writer

Ingrid Burrington writes about the Internet, politics, and art, and has been published in The Atlantic, The Nation, ProPublica, San Francisco Art Quarterly, Dissent, and elsewhere. She’s given talks at conferences both in the U.S. and abroad, and her art has been exhibited in galleries in New York, Tokyo, Leipzig, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and many other cities.

Moderated by: Sara Dean, Assistant Professor, California College of the Arts

Sara Dean is an architect and design strategist in the Bay Area. She is Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair in graduate design at California College of the Arts, and Chief Designer at Modern Empathy. Her work considers the implications of emerging digital technologies on public engagement and equity. Focused on civic and environmental adaptability and emergency, this works spans spatial and digital media, with a commitment to open-access data and crowd-production.

12:00 PM: LUNCH

The Sutardja Dai Hall has a Yali's Café on Floor 2. Just a few blocks down, there are a plethora of restaurants on Euclid Avenue, including Abe's Café, Northside Café, Urban Turbann, Nefeli's and more!

1:30 PM:

Political Campaign Processes

Panel Two Speakers:

Nate Persily, Professor at Stanford Law School

Nate Persily's current scholarship examines the impact of changing technology on political communication, campaigns, and election administration. He has served as a special master or court-appointed expert to craft congressional or legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Maciej Ceglowski, Founder PinBoard and Tech Solidarity

Maciej Ceglowski built and maintains PinBoard, a social bookmarking site that is ad-free, pay-for-service, emphasizing privacy. He is also the founder of the grass-roots organization Tech Solidarity, which aims to better connect tech workers with the communities they live in. In 2018, the organization began backing a great slate of candidates up for election.

Gireeja Ranade, Assistant Teaching Professor, UC Berkeley

Gireeja Ranade is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the EECS department at UC Berkeley, having recently moved here from being a Researcher at Microsoft Research. She is broadly interested in various parts of AI, including control and communication. More recently she has worked on understanding the impact of disinformation in the US.

Moderated by: Ed Wasserman, Dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Ed Wasserman writes and speaks widely on matters related to media rights and wrongs, technological change, and media ownership and control. His academic specialties include plagiarism, source relations, confidentiality and conflict of interest.

3:00 PM: Coffee Break

We'll have coffee and tea ready for you in the atrium! Don't forget to bring a reusable water bottle for the water fountains on the 2nd and 3rd floor.

3:30 PM:

Civil Society

Panel Three Speakers:

Burak Arikan, Artist

Burak Arikan is a New York and Istanbul based artist working with complex networks. He takes the obvious social, economic, and political issues as input and runs through custom abstract machinery, which generates network maps and algorithmic interfaces, results in performances, and procreates predictions to render inherent power relationships visible and discussable.

Erica Baker, Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon

Erica is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech, and expanding access to tech education. Erica is on the Board of Directors for Girl Develop It, the advisory Boards for Atipica and Hack the Hood, and is a Tech Mentor for Black Girls Code.

McKenzie Wark, Professor at The New School

McKenzie Wark is the author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, 50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International and The Beach Beneath the Street, among other books. In Molecular Red: Theory for the Anthropocene, 2016, Wark creates philosophical tools for the Anthropocene, our new planetary epoch, in which human and natural forces are so entwined that the future of one determines that of the other.

Moderated by: Deena Chalabi, Associate Curator of Public Dialogue at SFMOMA

Deena Chalabi's projects and programs explore the meaning of contemporary art and culture, and its impact on public life, emphasizing collaboration and connections between people, places and ideas, locally and globally. Deena helped found Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar. She has organized symposia about art and cultural exchange in Doha, London, Liverpool, and Tokyo, and her writing has appeared in Bidoun, ArtAsiaPacific, The New Inquiry and the International Journal of Visual Culture.

5:00 PM: Keynote

Hank Willis Thomas, Artist

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Musée du quai Branly, Paris; and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Netherlands. Major group exhibitions of his work include the 2017 inaugural show at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, and the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY, among others. Thomas’ work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), and For Freedoms. In 2017, For Freedoms was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform.

6:00 PM Reception

Please join us for a reception to informally continue the conversation!

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