Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Philosophy

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Friday 9th March 2012

  • Queer Viral Practices in New Media Art and Theory

    by Micha Cardenas, Pinar Yoldas and Zach Blas

    In this panel, we will focus on queer new media art and philosophy that uses and intervenes into the viral to form a radical politics of revolt and utopia. Viral will be engaged with technically, philosophically, artistically, biologically, and effectively. Our aim is to show that while viral rhetoric and discourses have marginalized and controlled queer populations, the viral remains an allusive, volatile potential that can be experimented with toward creating new queer politics and worlds. Cárdenas and Mehrmand will discuss their current collaboration virus.cirus, an episodic series of performances using wearable electronics and live audio to bridge virtual and physical spaces that explores queer futures of latex sexuality amidst a speculative world of virus hysteria and DIY medicine. Blas will speak on new works from his ongoing Queer Technologies project that attempt to formulate a viral aesthetics based on a replicating difference of never-being-the-sameness against capital’s own modulating structure.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 9th March

    In Room 10AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

Saturday 10th March 2012

  • The View from Inside Rainn Wilson's Brainstem

    by Rainn Wilson

    The brainchild of actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight from NBC's The Office), SoulPancake is a movement to "Chew on Life's Big Questions" and tackle art, philosophy, creativity, and spirituality across multiple platforms. SoulPancake offers thought-provoking content and creative engagement opportunities to help people explore what it means to be human. Now, with more than 1 million page views a month, SoulPancake's website has crossed over into multiple platforms, from print to television to video and "real world" interactions. Wilson will offer the audience a thoughtful, funny look at how art and creativity can be explored in all forms of media. He'll share some of the challenges of building an online community; developing creative content; and the interactivity and social networking that fuels it all. Please note: Rainn will not be serving pancakes, but he does encourage the audience to bring and enjoy their own stacks of flapjacks.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Exhibit Hall 5, Austin Convention Center

  • The Wars of Tech

    by Steven Levy

    It's easy to get caught up with the horse races of Facebook versus Google or Microsoft versus Apple or record labels versus the Internet. But in nearly 30 years of covering technology I find that the major conflicts are those of philosophy, politics and power. You could almost view the past few decades as a spectacular cycle of fantasy novels with the Hacker Spirit as the protagonist and amazing supporting characters including Steve Jobs, Richard Stallman, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Stephen Wolfram, Whitfield Diffie, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg (all of whom I've spent considerable time interviewing.) And as our lives are more intertwined with the giant digital shift, these conflicts are ever more vital. Here's an attempt to deconstruct a revolution--and point to what's ahead.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage sketch note

Sunday 11th March 2012

  • Innovation Case Studies: Austin and Beyond

    by Adriana Cruz, Pike Powers and Tony Schum

    “Keep Austin Weird” is more than just a bumper sticker. It’s a philosophy that has become a part of the Austin technology industry mindset and has helped make Austin a center of innovation. Learn about the city policies and the regional economic development initiative developed by local leaders have helped to create an environment where companies thrive and where companies want to relocate and expand. Can similar policies be implemented in other cities (in the US and around the world) -- or is the Austin experience unique? To this end, what kind of strategies are other municipalities embracing to encourage tech innovation and entrepreneurship?

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Salon C, AT&T Conference Center

Monday 12th March 2012

  • Keith Bell Book Signing

    Dr. Keith Bell signs his book ‘Dr. Keith Bell's 76 Rules for Outperforming the Competition: A Philosophy for Excellence’ at the SXSW bookstore.

    At 1:35pm to 1:50pm, Monday 12th March

    In Ballroom G Foyer, Austin Convention Center

  • Greek to Geek: Classical Rhetoric & the Modern Web

    by Quinn Warnick, Jeff Swift and Matt Morain

    We study rhetoric and we think you should too. Here's why:

    Internet pundits obsess over the future of online communication. Every new tool and social platform spawns 1,000 predictions, most of them forgotten long before they pass the test of time. Amidst this frenzied speculation, it may be wise to slow down, turn ourselves around, and consider the past. The orators of ancient Greece and Rome established a framework that can help us make sense of contemporary problems in online communication--we'll show you how.

    Interested in Internet memes and the lifecycle of successful ideas online? Learn about the concept of kairos, which the Greeks understood as knowing how to recognize and seize the opportune moment for action.

    Need to understand credibility better for your online community? Aristotle had a thing or two to say about ethos, how to cultivate it, and how to assess it in others.

    In short, you'll learn why rhetorical theory might just be the conversation you've been missing.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Monday 12th March

    In Capital Ballroom, Omni Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

Tuesday 13th March 2012

  • Closer to One: Buddhism and the Internet of Things

    by Vincent Horn and Sara Ohrvall

    For millennia, eastern philosophers have talked about the “interconnectedness of all things;" the idea of an invisible web that links together beings and objects, organic and inorganic. For the first time in human history, this idea is becoming physically manifest as we begin to network more and more objects—and even our own bodies—with the help of WiFi, sensors, and RFID.

    These technologies are turning up in everything from grocery packaging to household devices to self-monitoring tools like the FitBit and JawBone Up, and pointing to a future in which the minute details of our lives will be coordinated online.

    But could all this connectedness make us better people? In this fascinating session, we’ll bring together a researcher examining the trends of quantified self and “the Internet of things” (Sara Öhrvall from Bonnier R&D), a top connected-product designer (Matt Rolandson of Ammunition Group), and tech-savvy Buddhism teacher Vincent Horn, who will shed light on what the networked future might mean for human spirituality.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 13th March

    In Room 616AB, Hilton Austin Downtown