One of the foundational values of the Internet was being a space for the different – a place of rich cultural diversity where the whimsical and obscure were celebrated and you could experiment with your identity without fear of being stigmatised. It may seem that the web is no longer what it used to be – that social media and centralisation brought along with it cultural homogeneity, online bullying and prejudice. But in the heart of the Internet, the weird and wonderful is still pulsating – and we want to celebrate it.

This session features writer and researcher Joanne McNeil, artists Paolo Cirio and Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and curator and founder of the Internet Cat Video Festival Scott Stulen.

Touchback: tbk.io/fe-ww

Session One – 14.00 – 14.40
This journey starts with the celebrated explorer of “the Internet of Dreams”, the writer and critic Joanne McNeil. Joanne brings us stories about broken and lost iPhones, strange unexplainable YouTube channels, news clips for bots, and the charms of pressing the block button. She is followed by two of the most accomplished figures who offer the world visions for a different kind of Internet.

Matthew Plummer-Fernandez documents our daily encounters with algorithms in his popular Algopop Tumblr, and crafts his own algos and bots; some of them are learning to be art critics, while others have decided to follow every single user in Twitter. Italian artist Paolo Cirio refuses to take the rules of the web for granted; in his projects he has created fake dating websites out of public Facebook profiles, or collected 60,000 news articles from behind paywalls. We’ll also host a Lightning Talk with one of the teams from FutureEverything Moscow, Dissolve, who will talk on their app that aims to allow you to leave digital space and observe your digital identity live a life of its own.

14.00 – Joanne McNeil

14.40 – Lightning Talk – Dissolve

14.45 – Matthew Plummer-Fernandez

15.10 – Paolo Cirio

15.30 – Q&A with Joanne McNeil, Matthew Plummer Fernandez and Paolo Cirio

Session Two – 15.50 – 16.10
Our final destination is the weirdest and most wonderful film festival that has its roots placed firmly in the Internet. It is, of course, The Internet Cat Video Festival. Scott Stulen, who founded it in 2012, will bring us the jewels of their collection.

15.50 – Scott Stulen