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Xiaowei R. Wang

Tue, Jan 19, 2021    1:15pm

Blockchain Chicken Farms and Taobao Villages

Lecture by Xiaowei R. Wang, Creative Director, Logic Magazine

What happens when tech goes down to the countryside? Smart cities, digital urbanism, and the urban spaces of tech enabled surveillance have been well documented, but what awaits in the periphery, in the places that manufacture the hardware we use? Xiaowei looked at the flows between rural America and rural China, through online consumption culture and platform enabled e-commerce. From the religious performance of American multi-level marketing to the self-improvement tones of “Taobao Villages” in China, tech is carving out new spaces and behaviors in countrysides struck by neoliberal precarity. Xiaowei discussed China’s Rural Revitalization project, challenging our “metronormativity” (a term coined by theorist Jack Halberstam), and the ways the periphery influences our social and political lives as urbanites.

Xiaowei Wang is a designer, writer, and coder. The creative director at Logic Magazine, their work encompasses community-based and public art projects, data visualization, technology, ecology, and education. Their projects have been finalists for the Index Design Awards and featured by The New York Times, the BBC, CNN, VICE, and elsewhere, and their most recent project, The Future of Memory was a recipient of the Mozilla Creative Media Award. They are the author of the book Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech In China’s Countryside.