[-empyre-] A call to artist and humanist to engage the cyberinfrastructure and grand challenges

Kevin Franklin kevinfranklin.edd at gmail.com
Sun Apr 6 02:17:30 EST 2014

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my experience as a maker
in international networks.  In 2002 I was among a small group of
researchers from different disciplines and institutions that formed the
Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory
(HASTAC) and began an experiment in conceptualizing social movement as
research network to improve the human condition. I say social movement
because there remains no project driver, specific goal or unified approach
to HASTAC at large... instead there is a common belief that power inequity
(for example the sciences vs the arts and humanities) can marginalize
people and their ideas and the resulting imbalances present problems in the
core algorithm of the global cyberinfrastructure.  It has always been clear
to HASTAC leaders that entire domains, disciplines and geographic regions
(the Global South) have been left out of the equation. In other words... a
major digital backbone (the cyberinfrastructure) for knowledge production
and analytical systems is flawed because it remains exclusive and lacks
diversity at all levels. This is a simple problem requiring complex
solutions and sustainable energy sources. HASTAC was smart in its efforts
to address this by shaping itself as a network of networks. It would in
fact be very difficulty to put the social movement called HASTAC to rest.
HASTAC research groups tend to be ad hoc and have quick as needed life
cycles. Initiatives are both large and small and many focus on wildly
different targets. As a network HASTAC can change and adapt quickly, if one
node of the network goes down another can pick up or reframe the activity.
It runs on chaos not order and embraces diversity of all kinds.  Through
the Advanced Research and Technology Collaboratory for the Americas (ARTCA)
HASTAC's sister network and a conceptual outgrowth, we are exploring how to
balance the inequity between North America and Latin America in the
development of hemispheric cyberinfrastructure. Using methods gleaned from
HASTAC. ARTCA has been able to leverage the Organization of American States
(OAS) a network of 35 countries across North, Central and South America;
RedClara, the Latin America High Speed Network; and the Extreme Science and
Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) to build yet another social
movement as research network and link those networks to HASTAC. In ARTCA we
are mixing politics, languages, cultures, disciplines, technologies and
peoples across geographic borders to explore what the mix will produce. To
solve the worlds grand challenges, climate, energy, food, water, land,
urban environments, etc. we must embrace extreme diversity and connect data
and people networks in ways yet to be imagined. Artist, humanist and social
scientist have critical roles to play, my question is what do you (artist
and humanist) think those roles should be.

Dr. Kevin D. Franklin
Executive Director, Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social
Senior Research Scientist, National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Research Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
Adjunct Associate Professor, African American Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Phone: 217-418-9500
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