Incommunicado 05: final program

Incommunicado logo
June 15: Opening Night
June 16-17: Working Conference
De Balie, Amsterdam
Organized by the Institute of Network Cultures, in collaboration with: Waag Society and Sarai.
Supported by: Hivos, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IICD.
Information and registration:

::Wednesday, June 15::

Opening Night
20.00-22.30 Main Hall

Situating the workshop agenda in the broader context of the UN Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) as well as the controversy over an emerging international civil society, the public event on Wednesday night will introduce the topics of the work conference to a broader non-specialist audience. Offering a working definition of info-development/ICT4D, the public event will raise some of the key conference issues, including the extent to which this field is indeed characterized by a shift from North-South to South-South alliances and the role played by info-development NGOs.

Chair: Tracey Naughton (Chair WSIS Media Caucus, South Africa)

With contributions by:
Soenke Zehle and Geert Lovink, introduction to the Incommunicado project
Nnenna Nwakanma (Africa Civil Society for the Information Society, Nigeria) : The mirage of South-South cooperation in ICT4D
Jeebesh Bagchi (Sarai New Media Initiative, India): Forgetting Development: Cybermohalla Practices and Information Networks
Bernardo Sorj (University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): Internet in the Slums
Anthony Mwaniki (One World, Kenya): Mobile Technology – A Tool For
Partha Pratim Sarkar (Bytesforall, Bangladesh): ICTs at the grassroots and intermediaries: who empowers whom?
Anriette Esterhuysen (APC, South Africa)

::Thursday, June 16::

Plenary Lecture 1: Introduction and Overview
10.00-11.00 Main Hall

ICT4D is widely considered a key element in processes of democratization, good governance, and poverty alleviation. This plenary will situate the rise of ICT4D in the context of the transformation of development as a whole, and outline individual workshop agendas.

Chair: Geert Lovink (INC, NL)

With contributions by:
Roberto Verzola (sustainable agriculture campaigner, Manilla): The emerging information economy. Respondant: Heimo Claassen (researcher, Brussels)
Monica Narula (Sarai New Media Initiative, Delhi): The Delhi decleration, a new context for new media

Workshop A1: NGOs in Info-Development
11.30-13.00 Main Hall

We have become used to thinking of NGOs as ‘natural’ development actors. But their presence is itself indicative of a fundamental transformation of an originally state-centered development regime, and their growing influence raises difficult issues regarding their relationship to state and corporate actors, but also regarding their self-perception as representatives of civic and grassroots interests. Following a survey of some of the major info-development NGOs and networks, this workshop will address questions related to the politics of representation pursued by these actors: why should they sit at a table with governments and international agencies, and who is marginalized by such a (multistakeholder) dynamic of ‘inclusion’ dominated by NGOs?

Chair: Anriette Esterhuysen (APC, South Africa)

With contributions by:
Loe Schout (HIVOS, NL): Internet connects world citizens, but does it breed new ones, too?
Maartje OpdeCoul (One World, NL): Evaluating ICT4D projects
Michael Gurstein (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA): Civil Society or Communities: The Contradiction at the Core of the Information Society
Maja van der Velden (University of Bergen, Norway): Cognitive Justice
Partha Pratim Sarkar (Bytes4all, Bangladesh)
Toni Eliasz (Ungana-Afrika, South Africa): What CSOs bring to ICT Policy Processes

Workshop A2: After WSIS: Exploring Multistakeholderism
11.30-13.00 Salon

For some, the 2003-5 UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is just another moment in an ongoing series of inter-governmental jamborees, glamorizing disciplinary visions of global ICT governance. For others, WSIS revives ‘tricontinentalist’ hopes for a New International Information and Communication Order whose emphasis on ‘civil society actors’ may even signal the transformation of a system of inter-governmental organizations. Either way, WSIS continues to encourage the articulation of agendas, positions, and stakes in a new politics of communication and information. Following the effort to actively involve civil society actors in WSIS activities, the idea of an emergent ‘multistakeholderism’ is already considered one of the key WSIS outcomes. This workshop will take a critical look at different approaches to the idea of multistakeholderism.

Chair: Neeltje Blommestein (IICD, NL)

With contributions by:
Lisa McLaughlin (Mass Communication and Women’s Studies, Miami University-Ohio, USA)
Introduction: Issues in Multi-stakeholderism.
Ralf Bendrath (University of Bremen, Germany): Experiments in Multi-Stakeholderism—Lessons learned from WSIS.
Beatriz Busaniche (Fundacion Via Libre, Argentina): WSIS and Multistakeholderism: Could we call them “best practices”?
Ljupco Gjorgjinski (Center for Dialogue and Democracy, Macedonia): multistakeholder partnerships–cybernetic Governance for the information society
Stijn van der Krogt (IICD, NL): The Polder model applied to ICT4D in the South– lessons learned from IICD’s multi-stakeholder processes
Sally Burch (ALAI, Equador)
Paul Maassen (HIVOS, NL): Civil society as a stakeholder: the dilemma of constituency
Ned Rossiter (University of Ulster, UK): Post-Representation & the Architecture of Net Politics
Nnenna Nwakanma (Africa Civil Society for the Information Society, Nigeria): Partnerships and Networks: the African Civil Society Perspective

Workshop A3: Open Source, Open Borders
11.30-13.00 Cinema

Chair: Jo van der Spek (radio maker, NL)

Some of the organizations active in the WSIS process lost their accreditation because participants used their visa to say goodbye to Africa. Widely reported, the anecdote suggests that media and migration form a nexus that is nevertheless rarely explored in the context of ICT4D. In this session, we will survey some of the work on migrant and refugee media. It will also introduce the agenda of the wireless bridge project, a sister event of the incommunicado work conference that will take place in Tarifa (Spain) later in June.

Florian Schneider (, Germany)
Roy Pullens (researcher, NL): IOM and border control as info development
Nnenna Nwakanma (Africa Civil Society for the Information Society, Nigeria): An Anecdote of a would-be illegal immigrant.

14.00-16.00 Open Sessions

Main Hall:

14.00-15.00 Solomon Benjamin (urban researcher, CASUM-m, Bangalore
India): case study on ICT and real estate in Bangalore (including video documentary, produced for Incommunicado 05)

15.00-15.30 Francois Laureys (IICD) in conversation with Sylvestre Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso)

15.30-16.00 Sally Burch (ALAI, Ecuador): Social movements, communication and ICTs

Salon: E-Waste
E-Waste: Special session on electronic waste, organized by Waste, advisors on urban development and development.
In this session, a highly diverse group of people from the development, ICT, recycling, finance, insurance, and waste management worlds consider strategies and approaches in relation to preventing, reusing or recycling WEEE, or waste from electronic and electrical equipment in
the Netherlands. The impulse behind the session comes from a twinning project between Stichting WASTE, in the Netherlands, and the NGO ACEPESA, in Costa Rica. The goal of the session is to arrive at ideas for interventions in both the Netherlands and Costa Rica.
Session organisers: Anne Scheinberg, Kiwako Mogi, Stichting WASTE,
Gouda (
Session chair: Jeroen IJgosse, WASTE.
Confirmed Discussants:
Portia Sinnott, Micro Services Plus, California, Joost Helberg, Vereniging Open Source Netherlands, Stephan Wildeboer,OS-OSS, Angela Jonker, Flection Netherlands
dhr Herben, Province of Limburg, Netherland


14.00-14.20 Kim van Haaster (INC researcher, NL), The University of the Future: Software Development in Revolutionary Cuba.

14.20-14.40 T. B. Dinesh (, India): Observations on the impact of IT on Society, in Bangalore.

14.40-15.00 Toni Eliasz (Ungana-Afrika, South Africa): on lacking ICT capacity among small development organizations and networks

15.00-15.20 Enrique Chaparro (Fundacion Via Libre, Argentina ): on the hidden prices for ICT4 aid.

15.20-15.40 Oliver Vodeb and Jerneja Rebernak, art & ICT4D, a presentation of the Memefest 2005 competition.

15.40-16.00 Jo van der Spek and others: info solidarity with Iraq (

Plenary Session 2: After Aid: Info-Development after 9/11
16.30-18.00 Main hall

What is the status of aid in the promotion of ICT4D, and how have ICT4D actors responded to the politicization and securitization of aid, including the sale of security and surveillance technologies in the name of info-development? To what extent does info-development overlap with new info-infrastructures in the field of humanitarian aid (ICT4Peace)? Are global trade justice campaigns a response to classic development schemes?

Chair: Ravi Sundaram (Sarai, India)

With contributions by:
Enrique Chaparro (Fundacion Via Libre, Argentina),
Glen Tarman (Trade Justice Campaign, UK): Join the band: ICTs, popular mobilization and the global call to make poverty history
Steve Cisler (librarian, USA): Outside the Church of ICT
Shuddha Sengupta (Sarai, India): Knowing in your Bones: Politics, Anxiety and Information in Delhi, 2005

20.30: Screening, co-curated by De Balie

::Friday, June 17::

Plenary 3: ICT4D and the Critique of Development
10.00-12.00 Main Hall

The critique of development and its institutional arrangements – of its conceptual apparatus as well as the economic and social policies implemented in its name – has always been both a theoretical project and the agenda of a multitude of ‘subaltern’ social movements. Yet much work in ICT4D shows little awareness of or interest in the history of such development critique. Quite the contrary, the ICT4D debate, whose terms are reproduced in the members-only loop of a few major NGO networks like APC, OneWorld, or PANOS, along with a small number of states and influential donor organizations, remains surprisingly inward-looking, unable or unwilling to actively challenge the hegemony of an ahistorical techno-determinism.

Even many activists believe that ICT will lead to progress and eventually contribute to poverty reduction. Have development skepticism and the multiplicity of alternative visions it created simply been forgotten? Or have they been actively muted to disconnect current struggles in the area of communication and information from this history, adding legitimacy to new strategies of ‘pre-emptive’ development that are based on an ever-closer alliance between the politics of aid, development, and security? Are analyses based on the assumption that the internet and its promise of connectivity are ‘inherently good’ already transcending existing power analyses of global media and communication structures? How can we reflect on the booming ICT-for-Development industry beyond best practice suggestions?

Chair: Kees Biekart (ISS, NL)

Contributions by:
Ravi Sundaram (Sarai New Media Initiative, India): Post-Development and Technological Dreams: An Indian Tale
Solomon Benjamin (urban researcher, CASUM-m, Bangalore India): E-Politics of the New Civil Society
Jan Nederveen Pieterse (University of Illinios, USA): Digital capitalism and development
Tracey Naughton (Chair WSIS Media Caucus, South Africa): Putting Lipstick on Pigs

Workshop C1: ICT corporations at the UN
13.00-15.00 Main hall

The controversial agreement between Microsoft and the UNDP, issued at a time when open source software is emerging as serious non-proprietary alternative within ICT4D, is generally considered in terms of a public-private partnership, to be assessed on its own terms. But it should also be considered in the broader context of rising corporate influence in the UN system, from the almost-no-strings-attached Global Compact, widely criticized as multilateral collusion in corporate ‘bluewashing’, to the Cardoso Panel on UN-Civil Society Relations and its controversial definition of civil society.

Chair: Soenke Zehle (Incommunicado, Germany)

With contributions by:
Lisa McLaughlin (University of Illinois, USA): Cisco Systems, the United Nations, and the Corporatization of Development
Michael Gurstein (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA): Critiquing Apple Pie: What We Can Say and Not Say About the UN These Days
Manuel Acevedo (consultant, Spain): ICT4D partnerships at face value: experiences from the multilateral trenches
Steve Cisler (librarian, USA): PPPP: problems of public-private partnerships

Workshop C2: FLOSS in ICT4D
13.00-15.00 Salon

Pushed by a growing transnational coalition of NGOs and a few allies inside the multilateral system, open source software has moved from margin to center in ICT4D visions of peer-to-peer networks and open knowledge initiatives. But while OSS and its apparent promise of an alternative non-proprietary concept of collaborative creation continues to have much counter-cultural cachet, its idiom can easily be used to support the ‘liberalization’ of telco markets and cuts in educational subsidies. What is the current status of OSS as idiom and infrastructural alternative within ICT4D?

Chair: Paul Keller (Waag Society, NL)

With contributions by:
Dorkas Muthoni (Linux Chicks Africa, Kenya): Chix Presence: A strategic partner in increasing the efficiency of FOSS for the benefit of society
Felipe Fonseca (MetaReciclagem, Brazil): MetaReciclagem: technology re-appropriation and collective innovation”
Ednah Karamagi (Brosdi, Uganda)
Bill Kagai (FOSSFA, Kenya)
Nnenna Nwakanma (Africa Civil Society for the Information Society, Nigeria)
Enrique Chaparro (Fundacion Via Libre, Argentina ): ICT are not (just) tools
Seppo Koskela (Applied Linux Institute, Helsinki): Free Software, ICT4D and Finland – the Short Story.
Sylvestre Ouéadraogo (executive President of Yam Pukri Burkina Faso)
Alexandre Freire (Digital Cultures/Ministry of Culture, Brazil)

Workshop C3: Culture and Corporate Sponsorship in the ICT4D Context
13.00-15.00 Cinema

Introduction: Solomon Benjamin (Bangalore)
Open informal discussion.

What is the aim of Western cultural organizations in the context of ICT4D projects? Think of the hip design event Doors of Perception in Bangalore and Delhi, our own Waag-Sarai Platform, Beijing and its new media arts inside the Millennium Dome, or the German media festival in Chiang Mai (Thailand). What is the agenda of these organizations? Is the ‘electronic art’ they are exporting merely paving the way for the big software and telecom firms to move in, or should we reject such a mechanic, one-dimensional view?

Workshop D1: New Info-Politics of Rights
15.30-17.00 Main Hall

Recent framings of ICT as an object of civil society politics have resulted in the coupling of ICT with the notion of “rights”: issues of the spread, use and adaptation of these technologies are increasingly defined in terms of human, civil, communication and information rights, et cetera. This session questions the choice, perhaps the tactical optionality, of making ICT-related issues into matters of rights. The rights-frame formats ICT for particular modes of the institutional processing of issues. At the same time, ICT and the discourses knitted around this object themselves can be seen to spread the rights frame. Considering that counter-cultural engagements with new media were previously framed as tactical undertakings, the question is whether the rise of “rights” does not thwart the potential of a creative, aesthetic, affective politics of the tactical. Or is the case that networks have a better use for rights than institutions? This is the context in which we ask: what are rights for, how are they used by NGOs, when does the coupling of ICT with rights work, and when does it fail?

Chair: Richard Rogers (GovCom/University of Amsterdam, NL)

With contributions by:
Soenke Zehle (Incommunicado, Germany): Politics of Info-Rights meets Tactical Media
Jodi Dean (HWS Colleges, USA)
Noortje Marres (University of Amsterdam, NL): Why is this happening to ICT? Info-rights as a special case of issue hybridisation
Magela Sigillito (Third World Institute, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Thomas Keenan (Bard College Human Rights Program, USA): On some dilemmas in claiming rights: persistence, elasticity, instrumentality
Ned Rossiter (University of Ulster, UK): organised networks and the situation of rights

Workshop D2: Digital Bandung: New Axes of Info-Capitalism
15.30-17.00 Salon

We are witnessing a shift from in the techno-cultural development of the web from an essentially post-industrialist euro-american affair to a more complexly mapped post-third-worldist network, where new south-south alliances are already upsetting our commonsensical definitions of info-development as an exclusively north-south affair. One example of this is the surprising extent to which a ‘multilateral’ version of internet governance has been able to muster support, another is the software and intellectual property rights reform (WIPO Development Agenda). info-development, that is, has ceased to be a matter of technology transfer and has become a major terrain for the renegotiation of some of the fault lines of geopolitical conflict – with a new set of actors. But does this really affect the established dependencies on ‘northern’ donors, and if so, what are some of the new alliances that are emerging? What is this new ‘post-Bandung’ movement?

Chair: Ravi Sundaram (Sarai, India)
Open informal discussion

Workshop D3: Nuts and Bolts of Internet Governance
15.30-17.00 Cinema

One of the few areas where WSIS is likely to produce concrete results is internet governance (IG). The IG controversy revolves around the limits of the current regime of root server control (ICANN/US) and possible alternatives, but it is also significant because it signals the repoliticization of a key domain of a technocratic internet culture that long considered itself to be above the fray of ordinary info-politics. The sense that IG has info-political implications and should be subject to discussion beyond expert fora is, however, much more widespread that actual knowledge of the techno-cultural dynamic actually involved in governing the internet. This workshop with be a nuts-and-bolts session for non-techies.

Chair: Reinder Rustema (Internet Society, NL)

With contributions by:
Enrique Chaparro (Fundacion Via Libre, Argentina)
Danny Butt (Independent Consultant; Researcher, New Zealand): Cultures of Internet Governance: From global coordination to trans-cultural dialogue”

Plenary 4: Closing Session
17.30 – 18.30 Main hall

Moderated by Soenke Zehle and Geert Lovink
Plus: WSIS Awards, Dutch nominations, announced by Jak Bouman

Video Session
Rethinking ‘underdevelopment or revolution’ through ICTs.
Live videoconference with San Francisco, coordinated by Sasha Constanze Chock

18:30-19:00 Cinema

This session is focused on appropriation of ICTs by social movements that don’t fit into the public private development industry framework. Rather than consider the success or failure of strategies to patch ICTs into a ‘development’ framework that means binding peripheral locations and populations more tightly to service of the metropole, we’ll discuss ICTs and revolutionary activity in Brazil, Korea, Bolivia, and elsewhere. With remote participation from, amongst others, Dongwon Jo from MediACT in Seoul, Dorothy Kidd from University of San Francisco, Pablo Ortellado/Indymedia Brazil and members from ERBOL and CMI Bolivia.