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Collaboration

Meridian Forums are a unique and innovative venue for shared learning and experimentation. It is a digital, multilingual forum with a global membership of more than 1,200 leaders in academia, government, and business. Its purpose is to generate ideas and guidance on important problems of our time. Collaborative work takes place in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese on a digital platform. All of the commentary is translated from its original language so that the entire forum discussion is available in all four of these languages. At the end of the discussion, forum summaries – again in all four languages – are made available.

Each forum welcomes participants from a wide variety of fields and perspectives. If you are not already a participant, write to Senior Program Coordinator Ariel Schwartz (ariel.schwartz@northwestern.edu) for information about membership.

 

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Active Forum: The Invisible Hand: Global Platform Companies, Art, and Digital Society

Led by:

Bronwen Morgan
Professor of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Alana Maurushat

Professor of Cybersecurity and Behaviour, Western Sydney University

Cameron Tonkinwise

Professor, School of Design, University of Technology, Sydney

The forum runs from June through mid-July.

Stop. Look. Listen. Departing from our customarily word-focused format, this upcoming forum is grounded in images and objects.

Works such as those by Korean artist Sunwoo Hoon convey the artists’ responses to the rise of global platform companies whose business models offer (apparently free) mass connectivity in return for the relatively invisible extraction of information and data. This forum prompts participants to engage with artistic representations of the entanglement of technology, policy, privacy, power, and capitalism.

What thoughts and feelings do these works of art evoke around issues of digital control and collective action? How do they help us think differently about the ways in which global platform companies – and particularly East Asian tech giants like Alibaba and Rakuten – shape self and society?

How might art be more effectively and deliberately deployed to inform and mobilise public opinion on this and other issues of pressing social concern? In what ways might art cross cultural boundaries more readily than conventional research outputs or public communication strategies?

The forum encourages contributors of diverse expertise and experience to reflect together on the dystopic possibilities and creative potential of “the invisible hand.”