Empire of mind: the shape of internet companies influence on culture

Empire of mind: the shape of internet companies influence on culture.
Thursday 21 February 2019

Empire of mind: the shape of internet companies influence on culture is a panel discussion looking at the omnipotence of internet companies such as Netflix, Facebook and Google and their imperialistic impact on culture. The question of the debate asks: are these companies, founded on American values, staging a modern form of imperialism which is not about military force or land acquisition but more a soft power endeavour using culture to control the minds of the masses?

Empire of mind will be moderated by Mashable Australia’s Web Culture Reporter Johnny Lieu, with panellists Aim Sinpeng, Ariel Bogle, Justin Balmain and Sabella D’Souza.

About our moderator and panellists:

Johnny Lieu is a reporter who covers the intersection of culture of technology, splitting his time between the latest emojis to Facebook’s latest woes. He quietly wishes he still had his Bebo account.

Justin Balmain lives and works between New York and Sydney. He received his Masters of Art through the School of Media Arts UNSW (CoFA) and has exhibited widely. Significant group and solo exhibitions include Gertrude Contemporary, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Firstdraft Gallery, Minerva, Linden Contemporary Arts Centre, Yuill Crowley, MOP Projects, ALASKA, West Space, Substation and National Art School Gallery. Balmain has received support for his practice through the Australia Council for the Arts, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, NAVA and Copyright Australia. He was co-director of the artist-run organisation Firstdraft (2012–13), and a founding member of the art collective SLUSH.

Ariel Bogle is a technology reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) science unit. She writes and makes radio about technology, science and culture. Her work has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Australian Financial Review and Slate, among other places.

Sabella D’Souza is a Sydney-based artist whose performance based practice considers the notions of ownership, cultural identity and the use of public and private spaces, in particular, cyberspace. Sabella has worked in tangent with various online-curtorial teams and recently showed at the ICA in London with The White Pube. Her current research focuses upon autonomous women of colour collectives born out of a need for safer spaces online. Sabella is currently completely a combined Bacholer in Fine Arts and Arts in Creative Writing at UNSW Art & Design.

Dr Aim Sinpeng is an award-winning educator whose research interests centre on the relationships between digital media, political participation and political regimes in Southeast Asia. She is particularly interested in the role of social media in shaping state-society relations and inducing political and social change. She is the co-founder of the Sydney Cyber Security Network and a Thailand country coordinator for the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.Aim received a Teaching Excellence Award in 2017 and was named an ‘Emerging Female Leader’ in 2018 by the University of Sydney. Aim has served as the Expert Contributor for Varieties of Democracy and Bartelsmann Transformation Index, which measure degrees and types of democracy, and continued to consult for a number of international agencies. Her other scholarly works examine popular movements against democracy in democratising states, particularly in Thailand. Prior to her academic career she has worked for the World Bank, a Toronto-based investment bank, governments of Thailand and the Czech Republic and the New York State Democrat Party. Aim is also a regular commentator on Southeast Asian politics for the ABC, SBS, CBC, Channel News Asia, Al Jazeera, CNBC and Sky News.