eventDecember 3 2020

Computing in/from the South: A Global Celebration

Launch event for Catalyst Journal Vol. 6 No. 2

Partner Event

On December 3, 2020, co-editors Sareeta Amrute and Luis Felipe Murillo curated a global launch celebration for their Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience special issue release: Computing in/from The Global South. Behind the scenes, the event was hosted through Rede Mocambos’ open source platform and Brazilian power infrastructures, with simultaneous Portuguese/English translation to encourage international participation. An open source chat link was also shared to encourage conversation among guests.

“[We’re here to] break the hegemony of computing platforms…” – Antônio Carlos (TC), founding organizer of Rede Mocambos, dedicated to the creation of technological alternatives, such as Free Software based data centers and community spaces for technological appropriation, for Quilombola and other traditional communities in Brasilia.

In the spirit of the volume, production choices exemplified alternatives to dominant corporate technology tools. Even during some intermittent issues with internet connectivity, enthusiasm and community-building remained steady throughout.

About the Special Issue

Computer expertise involves technical competence, infrastructures, interdependent economies, and distinctive political projects. Yet, most often, computing is examined from Silicon Valley outwards. In this special issue, we reverse this polarity by asking, what does computing expertise as political action look like from the South?

This special section explores distinctive manifestations of technical politics in the Global South, understood as a position in unfolding sociotechnical relationships as much as a geopolitical location. Through computer experts’ work and technopolitical imaginaries we ask:

  • How might new political forms incorporate the market logics of competitiveness, agility, autonomy, and risk while contending with non-liberal and, at times, anti-capitalistic dispositions?
  • How does shifting the dominant perspectives on computing afford an alternate view of progress and future societies?
  • How do models of technical innovation become tied to state practices, public policies, expert community-building, and the everyday labor of embodied technical work?
  • How do practitioners ‘of the South’ pursue feminist and queer, anti-gentrification and free/open-source projects that might both yield viable substitute models and intensify relations of debt and inequality for, and crucially, within, the South?