Commons Conversation Revisited: Julien Mailland

30 Oct, 2019

Commons Conversation Revisited: Julien Mailland

On October 21st, BCNM welcomed Julien Mailland to host a Commons Conversation titled "On the Fringe of Minitel: Alternative Uses of a State-Sponsored Communication A Participatory Masterclass." As an Assistant Professor at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, Mailland teaches within The Media School and released his first book, “Minitel: Welcome to the Internet.” Additionally, he co-founded the Minitel Research Lab, USA with Kevin Driscoll with a mission to explore and utilize creative uses of Minitel technology.

During the talk, Mailland explored more of the background of Minitel and its French origins in the 1980’s, focusing on its early technological impact, connecting France around 15 years before the internet came to the United States. He also drew on bigger issues surrounding Minitel and technology, bringing up concerns with privacy, freedom of speech, etc. in addition to highlighting larger uses of Minitel; while Minitel computers were useful for buying concert tickets or banking, it also served as a crucial meeting place for organizers and activists to come together and discuss “fringe topics” or even share resources, as did the LGBTQ+ community during the AIDS epidemic. To effectively convey his research and information regarding Minitel Technologies, Mailland made the discussion more interactive, inviting everyone to use their laptops to try out live, Minitel-inspired chat rooms online.

2019 Commons Conversation: Julien Mailland