Big Data, Data Literacy, Blockchain or Data Commons - behind these more or less clearly defined terms lie phenomena that mark the current peak of a rapidly advancing development: Over the past decades, the digital transformation has penetrated increasingly deeply into our everyday lives in order to gain a foothold there. This has been followed by a fundamental change in the media, with constantly growing data streams digitally linking what was previously unconnected, making the invisible visible, and globalizing the local. While the media public sphere exploded via the Internet, the world became a village in which distances were eliminated and knowledge was made available to all users at any time. The extensive digitalization has given us a global brain that brings us closer together, while our existence seems to take on increasingly hybrid forms.
As users we are no longer just recipients: As produsers we produce information and emit a large variety of data. Under the buzzword Big Data, we enrich ourselves with ever new possibilities of digital practices. At the same time, it has become a slogan for new forms of observation and far-reaching possibilities of manipulation: Bots influence elections on social networks, we encounter new forms of exclusion, and new monopolies of power are emerging.
Thus, the digital transformation of society has two sides: Hardly anyone will question the opportunities and success it has had on knowledge transfer, communication or production relations. Nevertheless, many facets of this historically unique upheaval are indicative of this: We have not digitized a better world. New power structures have been created and cemented over the years. We have created new forms of interaction, and at the same time perverted some of them. Knowledge is available to us anytime and anywhere. And its misuse is equally ubiquitous. Where until recently the world seemed to be moving closer together as a result of the extensive digitization processes, our democratic values and our social coexistence are increasingly being put to the test. But there are alternative approaches: concepts of data literacy or ideas such as Big Democracy promise more competence and transparency as well as an unprecedented degree of social participation. What does our data reveal, and where do we give it away? How can we find answers to these questions with the means of art and stimulate new immersive experiences to engage with the thematic field - for the POCHEN Symposium 2021 we will attempt to approach this challenge.