Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We live in an age of new technology, expecting any day to wake up to yet another jaw-dropping device or a discovery that simply changes everything about the way we live and work.  The rate of innovation in the modern age can be breathtaking, but technological advances have jolted humans into new and unfamiliar territory since the dawn of humankind.  On the next WorldCanvass, we’ll contemplate the larger implications of the adoption of new technologies—how do they change the ways in which individuals interact, the sharing of information, the movement of people and ideas from place to place, and what does all of this mean to the shape and form of a culture?  WorldCanvass guests will discuss “Encountering New Technology” at FilmScene on February 9, beginning at 5 p.m.  The program is free and open to the public.

Expert guests from the fields of communication studies, journalism and mass communication, computer science, and religious studies will embrace the topic from multiple vantage points.  Our first panel will discuss current public reactions to digital and social media, comparing today’s reactions to ‘the new’ with ways in which people greeted what we now think of as old technology when it first appeared. We’ll ask: What’s new about new technology? Why does newness matter? How was newness important historically at the advent of now-old technologies, like rail, steam, and the telegraph?

In the second portion of WorldCanvass, we’ll consider whether technologies are more than tools. How, for example, does their presence, even when not in use, shape the world around us? What kinds of social value get activated through these technological objects? When comparing personal communication and computer-mediated communication, what’s the same and what’s different?

And in the third segment, our guests will share revealing stories of technologies as they’ve moved around the world.  What does their movement tell us about globalization? How has the internet affected youth activism?  And how do new technologies affect cultural production, the creation of content, and the notion of a perceived national or cultural point of view—in other words, are today’s technologies shaping us into one, homogenized mass?

WorldCanvass: Encountering New Technology

Part 1—5:00-5:25 p.m.

The ‘new’ in new technology

Jenna Supp-Montgomerie—assistant professor, joint appointment in the UI Department of Religious Studies and the UI Department of Communication Studies

David Dowling—associate professor, UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Part 2—5:30-5:55 p.m.

The material lives of technology

Andrew High—assistant professor, UI Department of Communication Studies

Juan Pablo Hourcade—associate professor, UI Department of Computer Science

Part 3—6:00-6:25 p.m.

Technology, cultural production, and globalization

Brian Ekdale—assistant professor, UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Jenna Supp-Montgomerie—assistant professor, joint appointment in the UI Department of Religious Studies and the UI Department of Communication Studies

The program, which is produced by UI International Programs and takes place at Iowa City’s non-profit cinema arts organization FilmScene, 118 East College Street, is free and open to the public.  Concessions will be available for purchase and audience members are invited to enjoy a social hour from 4:00-5:00 p.m. preceding the show.

WorldCanvass is recorded before a live audience for later broadcast on UITV, YouTube, iTunes, and the Public Radio Exchange. Podcasts can be downloaded for free from iTunes and past programs are available through IP’s website.

WorldCanvass is a production of UI International Programs in collaboration with FilmScene and University of Iowa Video Services. For more information on WorldCanvass, contact Joan Kjaer at joan-kjaer@uiowa.edu or visit the WorldCanvass web page.

Related story:  Program tackles questions of technology