Digital Earth is “a global research network of artists and scholars who map out, picture, and grasp how technology in the 21st century shapes geopolitics”, whose “aim is to gather and exchange global knowledge on current and emerging technological developments”. The collective has been around for a while now, but has recently been active in releasing lots of lovely new content.
DE offers paid fellowships for 6 months, for multidisciplinary artists and practitioners to investigate the impact of digital communications technology on given social and socio-cultural phenomena. The current crop of fellows are investigating topics such as the impact of smartphones in Africa, the state of hypermedia in contemporary society, and the concept of “excess” in an increasingly consumerised Chinese society.
Its project, Vertical Atlas, roams the Middle East and Africa investigating topics such as megacities, how physical production in one place (Congolese cobalt mining) affects digital consumption in another, and colonialism through mapping. The model used in Vertical Atlas is Benjamin Bratton’s Stack theory of user/interface/address/city/cloud/Earth - indeed, Bratton is one of the mentors in the DE fellowship programme.
Also, recent content from DE includes a lot of rather rich insights - such as this interview between Jussi Parikka and art duo Geocinema.
Digital Earth is supported by a number of organisations including those wonderful people at the British Council. Check it out for yourself here.