Seminar 1: The Walled Garden

The Global Village is a term popularised by Marshall McLuhan to describe how electric technology will link the world to form a global network, or 'village'. However, McLuhan's sense of the Global Village was not as a Utopian vision, but rather an increasingly tribal site of conflicts, divisions, and factions. The term is now widely used as a metaphor to describe the internet.

Web 2.0 is a term that is used to describe a second generation of the the internet which presents various opportunities for people to colloborate and share information online.

Today, Web 2.0 raises the fundamental issue of 'walled gardens' within the global village - areas that have been segregated in order to control the flow of information, restrict access to content, or for commercial gain.

A "walled garden" is a term that evokes notions of commodification - images of land segregated for commercial purposes, and presided over by some implacable, faceless authority, may spring to mind. Used in technology, this analogy describes areas or services that have been segregated for commercial purposes, control of information provided for users, or restriction of access to content.

In this film, the panel debates the phenomenon of the walled garden and the chance other 'plants' have of surviving in the radically evolving digital landscape.

The panel:

Jon Dovey; Professor of Screen Media and Director of the Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC) at UWE. Before becoming an academic, Jon worked in media practice producing documentary and experimental works located within the independent film movements of the 1980s, most notably founding the original mash up scratch video team Gorilla Tapes in 1984. He is currently an AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellow at the Pervasive Media Studio 2010-2011.

Stacey Spiegel is a Canadian artist, artistic director, and new media theorist. In 1997 Spiegel joined with Hoinkes to start I-mmersion, a studio exploring the potential of interactive films, theatres and classrooms. In 2007 Spiegel was named the Artistic Director of Rockheim, the new National Rock and Pop Museum in Norway.

Sy Taffel is a PhD researcher based between the University of Bristol department of Drama: Film Theatre and Television and the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE. His PhD research involves utilising an ecological approach to digital media in order to explore the politics, ethics and materiality of hardware, software and content.

Mark Cosgrove has been Head of Programme at Watershed since 1994. He is also Artistic Director of Encounters Short International Film Festival, and has been on several film festival juries including the The Europa Label in Cannes International Film Festival, International Film Festial Berlin, and Venice Film Festival. He produces monthly film podcasts and blogs / twitters @msc45 from festivals he attends.

McLuhan's Message is a Watershed Project in partnership with the Digital Cultures Research Centre at the University of West of England. Curated by Simon Poulter.

Posted on Thu 6 Oct 2011.

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