The Digital Divide

Stasi Headquarters. Campus for Democracy
Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin

The cultural logic of the information age is predicated on an inversion of the gaze: the screen, as Jonathan Crary argues, “is both the object of attention and yet capable of monitoring, recording, and cross-referencing attentive behavior.”(1) Data processing—with a reach that spans from the NSA, credit rating agencies, and health insurance providers to the sorting algorithms used by Google or Instagram—is predictive, modeling future actions on prior behavior. It uses the past as a standing reserve of information, waiting to be mined. As such, data handling (re)produces the same processes of racial ascription, immiseration, and exclusion that the digital revolution was meant to solve. Big data, Shoshana Zuboff argues, “is not a technology or an inevitable technology effect. It is not an autonomous process … . It originates in the social, and it is there that we must find it and know it.”(2) It is the aim of the conference The Digital Divide to look at the social in order to map the new social and political formations taking shape under the aegis of algorithmic governance.

1 Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (Cambridge, MA, 1999), 76.

2 Shoshana Zuboff, “Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization,” Journal of Information Technology 30 (2015), 75–89, esp. p. 75.

Curated by: Kader Attia and Noam Segal
Participants to be announced


This conference is part of the discursive program of the 12th Berlin Biennale. Taking the restitution debate as a starting point, it explores how colonialism and imperialism continue to operate in the present.