Symposium – Practicing Sovereignty

Symposium – Practicing Sovereignty

(following the decision by the Berlin senate to cancel all public academia events as public health measure)


March 12, 2020

6.00 p.m.: Opening evening
– Greetings and introduction by Bianca Herlo
– Keynote by Adam Greenfield: Leaving The Twenty-First Century: Excursions After Late Capitalism
– Exhibition opening with reception

March 13, 2020

9:30 Opening by Gesche Joost


10:00 Panel 1 – Digital sovereignty: term, concept, limitations 

Depending on the perspective, the understanding of and conception of “digital sovereignty” can significantly differ. In this opening panel we want to investigate the different aspects of the term and also critically question its viability. With talks and discussion by:

Thorsten Thiel, Julia Pohle, Max von Grafenstein, Bianca Herlo

Moderator: Paola Pierri


11:00 Coffee Break


11:30 Keynote by Renata Avila: A Digital Green New Deal: Our Response to Converging Global Crises


12:30 Lunch break


13:30 Panel 2 – Reclaiming data sovereignty 

The panel discusses “data sovereignty” as the right and skillset of people to control their data. This stands in direct relation – as an act of resistance – to aspirations of intelligence agencies and private-sector corporations to collect and exploit individual data. Personal data sovereignty thus refers to the control of individuals or groups over their data and, ultimately, over the practices, software, devices and infrastructures they use to gain this control. It is both a practical necessity and a motive for tech activists, hackers and artists developing disruptive practices oriented towards social justice. Such actors often subversively deploy the same operational methods of platform capitalism – as a strategy of exposure, opening up the black boxes of tech giants and states in order to spark a profound and well-informed public conversation. The panel gathers scholars, activists and artists which subversively investigate notions of data sovereignty. With talks and discussion by:

Tatiana Bazzichelli: Exposing systems of power & injustice
Adam Harvey: 
Joana Moll: The hidden life of a user
Claudio Guarnieri: Agency for all, privacy for nobody
Danja Vasiliev: Virtual Dark Networks

Followed by an open discussion.

Moderator: Daniel Irrgang


16:00 Panel 3 – Datafication and democracy

Automated decision-making, predictive policing, social scoring: computational datafication and automation are changing structures and procedures not only of private enterprises but also of governments and public institutions. At the same time, fueled by digital means and tools, citizens are increasingly demanding access to government information (freedom of information, open government) and to actively partake in political decision-making. With these new possibilities, liberal democracies seem to be at a crossroads: Is the sovereign – the people – becoming a mere “datapoint” in an opaque machinery of computation whose results and decisions she can neither comprehend nor challenge? Or could the democratic sovereign actually become more sovereign by new means of involvement and by redefining technical infrastructures as public infrastructures – to be governed by the people for the people? With talks and discussion by:

Kersti Ruth Wissenbach: Sovereign acts of resistance – Coping with contexts in data activism beyond liberal democracies
Fieke Jansen: H2020 – The creation of a market of untrustworthy AI?
Arne Hintz: Participation and the datafied citizen: Democratizing the scoring society
Liat Lavi: Distributing Intelligence

Followed by an open discussion.

Moderator: Philipp von Becker


18:30 Final Statements / Open Round Table


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