Digital Backyards Forum DIGITAL BACKYARDS | Berlin, Sapporo and Beyond

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  • DIGITAL BACKYARDS | Berlin, Sapporo and Beyond

    „Digital Backyards“ has been initiated by The aim of the conference is to explore bottom-up innovation in the digital realm. It approaches this global issue through a regional lense.

    What are alternatives to Google and Facebook?

    The starting point for the conference is a critical account: The awareness towards the digital monopolism of companies based in Silicon valley is growing all over the world. But what are alternatives to Google, Facebook and Co.? The conference „Digital Backyards“ claims: The answer can not be yet another centralized internet giant to rival Google and Facebook. A real alternative would be to empower diversity.

    The resources for alternatives to an increasingly centralized internet landscape lie dormant in regional diversity itself: tinker garages, corporate hotbeds, grassroots hubs, institutional labs, hacker bedrooms, editorial outposts etc. In those digital backyards various stakeholders in the field of knowledge production have been pursuing their innovative work over the last decades. However its potential has not been exhausted yet. What can be done about this?

    Why do we network in the first place?

    The conference invites open minded bloggers, entrepreneurs, artists, researchers, cultural workers, journalists and programmers to explore synergies between their work. Here they discuss: Why do we network in the first place? What do we see as emerging trends? What are up and coming web services? What is the potential of decentralized strategies? How can digital backyards catalyse networking cultures in a sustainable way?

    The motivation is to think and network beyond the given (e.g. infrastructures) and the dominant (e.g. cultures). With this motivation the conference explores dormant potentials of peer-production in communities and decentralized networks. Since those networking cultures give rise to something as essential as “grassroots commons”, the conference investigates what can be done about their sustainability.

    History and Outlook

    The kick off event took place in Berlin in October 2012. The second edition was hosted by SMAL in Sapporo, Japan in January 2013. The conference usually takes place during three days, partioned into a semi-private Networking Lounge and Public Talks.

    The spontaneous proliferation of the conference enables a fruitful process of cross-regional learning from: Insights from the debates in Europe are shared in Japan/Asia and vice versa. And beyond… In the course of the journey an archive of regional bottom-up cultures comes into existence.

    Berlin conference:


    Sapporo conference:


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