The Cloud and the Crowd

Timothy Choy
Anthropology and Science & Technology Studies
UC Davis

Cori Hayden
UC Berkeley

Anne Walsh
Art Practice
UC Berkeley

From the ubiquity of cloud computing to the crowds that have redefined contemporary mass politics (the Arab Spring, Occupy), innovations in media platforms, data collection, and digital labor are redefining the ways that collectives are imagined and produced. This multicampus research group examined these shared trajectories of technology and sociality, approaching the cloud and crowd through the visual arts, performance studies, art history, ethnography, and literature. It addressed the historical and aesthetic entailments of the 21st Century cloud and its reformatted utopian crowds; the implications for artistic creativity and labor implied in these transformations; and the political atmospheres emerging both around and through clouds and crowds. Outcomes included two scholarly meetings to deepen multi-campus collaborative networks; site visits with artists and other practitioners to build bridges beyond the university; and a crowd-sourced, group-curated website that will foster public engagement and offer curricular resources for the academic community.