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090909: Neutrality

August 7th, 2009 · 34 Comments

An Archive of Neutrality

Originally uploaded by gregoniemeyer

The latest installment of the wildly interdisciplinary 0n0n0n conference series, 090909, is dedicated to the process of creating neutrality. 090909 is sponsored by BCNM, the Berkeley Center for New Media as an effort to make sense of the world of new media by process and issue, not by discipline and subject.

Always appealing, never attained, net neutrality, climate neutrality. Neutral forces such as Wikipedia, the Red Cross, and the U.S. Judicial system, struggle to preserve spaces and processes that are free of bias, free of exploitation, and free of partisans.

Neutrality is essential yet elusive, fundamental, yet fragile. Neutrality appeals to our innate sense of fairness, but where is the neutral country, the objective reporter, or the unbiased judge? Where is the neutral medium, the one that does not distort, judge, exclude, repress or omit? What happens in the absence of neutrality? What practices can help us track and fight bias in a medium as complex as the internet? Can the net even be neutral? Which methods, companies and agencies increase net neutrality, which ones corrupt it? Why is neutrality a value in the first place? How can we keep new media (phones, internet) fast, clear, and neutral? Considering our impact on the environment, how can we become climate-neutral?

On Wednesday, September 9, 2009, we would like to invite you to join our discussion by giving a presentation about processes that create neutrality in your practice. What concepts, what processes of neutrality do you use to ensure that your website works for any browser, that your media are free of distortion, that your stories are objective, that your decisions are fair? Is neutrality vital? Can neutrality be immoral? Does neutrality even exist, or is it just a fancy idea?

We would like to feature you as a speaker for a short presentation, between noon and 7 pm, at UC Berkeley’s new Sutardia Daj Hall, in our BCNM research space. We’ve structured the afternoon in three parts, as follows:

1. History, Theory, Ethics: What is the history of the idea of Neutrality? Can we analyze when it exists and when it fails?
2. Bounday Issues: Can an impartial search engine produce a neutral space? Do opposing views produce a neutral space? Is there any neutral medium?
3. Logs, Aesthetics, and General Journals: What tools account for neutrality in Internet Technology, Law, Art, or Business?

If you’re ready with an idea to illuminate neutrality, please send us your abstract by Sunday, August 23, 2009. We will read your work and contac you about a speaking time by September 1, 2009. Please email your name, affiliation and abstract to

You can also find out more about our day of neutrality at

Tags: 0n0n0n · Art · Climate Change · Theory

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