The Emerging Means of Production: Anticipating the Next Digital Divide

November 15, 2016, at the Ford Foundation (New York, New York)

As more cultural content moves online and into the digital realm, will organizations that can acquire and monetize these new “means of production” capture market share before others even enter the market?  This debate investigated the economic and representational complications that may result from this gap.

Participants in the third debate of the "Generation Elsewhere: Art in the Age of Distraction" series included:

  • Simone Browne, Associate Professor, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin;
  • Madison Cario, Artist and Director of the Office of the Arts, Georgia Tech; 
  • Marco Castro Cosio, Artist, Designer, and Curator;
  • Matthew Pratt Guterl, Chair, American Studies and Professor, Africana Studies/American Studies/Ethnic Studies, Brown University;
  • David Kyuman Kim, Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies, Connecticut College; and
  • Sydney Skybetter (moderator), Choreographer and Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University.

Professor Guterl framed the event with a discussion of the relationship between power, media, and representation over time.


Simone Browne
Associate Professor, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Simone Browne is an Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches and researches surveillance studies, digital media, and black diaspora studies. Her first book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness examines surveillance with a focus on transatlantic slavery, biometric technologies, branding, airports, and creative texts. She is an Executive Board member of HASTAC. She is also a member of Deep Lab, a feminist collaborative composed of artists, engineers, hackers, writers, and theorists.


Madison Cario
Director, Office of the Arts, Georgia Tech


Madison Cario is Director of the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech, which endeavors to embed creative experiences into the lives and learning of Georgia Tech students, the broader campus community, and the Atlanta community. Since 2014, she had led the campus in an historic change to deepen and broaden the arts experience, focusing on initiatives at the nexus of science, arts, engineering, and technology. Initiatives include developing a student engagement program, developing relationships with arts organizations across Atlanta, commissioning new work, presenting performances that feature new intersections of art and technology, and developing a visual arts curatorial program. She has created strong connections with student arts groups, faculty, and alumni, developed the Office’s first strategic plan, and secured new funding for programming.

Ms. Cario serves as a National Dance Project advisor and is on the Board of Directors at Dashboard, T. Lang Dance, and the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta.  She recently received the Georgia Tech Award for Staff Performance in Entrepreneurship and the Georgia Tech Diversity Champion Award.

Ms. Cario is a frequent panelist and keynote speaker. Previously at The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, she served as Director of Student Engagement, Special Artistic Initiatives, and Operations and Facilities. She holds an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in Rhetoric and Communication from Temple University, and a certification as an Electrical Engineer from the United States Marine Corps. Ms. Cario co-directs a 22-year-old dance-theater company and has been a lighting designer and technical director for dance companies across the country for almost two decades.


Marco Castro Cosio
Artist, Designer, and Curator 

Marco Castro Cosio graduated from New York University's interactive telecommunications program and has worked as a curator for digital art shows and festivals in New York and Mexico. He was manager of MediaLab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where helped the museum think about art and audiences in new ways and meet dozens of brilliant and creative people at the forefront of these issues. Previously, he worked as the first Visitor Experience Manager for the Queens Museum, where he also led workshops on developing interactive experiences for diverse communities. As an artist, his work nurtures urban communities in practical and playful ways, like his Bus Roots project, which outfitted empty city bus roofs with lush gardens. Mr. Cosio contributed to the Rio +20 series; spoke at the TEDx conference in Cape May, New Jersey; is a member of the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership; and is a Philips Innovation Fellow. 


Matthew Pratt Guterl
Chair, American Studies and Professor, Africana Studies/American Studies/Ethnic Studies, Brown University


Matthew Pratt Guterl teaches, talks, and writes about the complexities of race and nation in American life in the departments of Africana Studies and American Studies at Brown University. He has a PhD in American History from Rutgers University, which he earned in 1999.

He has written, co-authored, or edited five books on American culture, on race and race-relations, on inequality and difference, and on struggles for justice and structures of oppression. His most recent effort is Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe (2014, Harvard), which focuses on the civil rights heroine’s late-in-life adoption of 12 children, to be raised in a castle in the rural French countryside. Earlier works focused on scientific racism and racial classification, Southern slaveholding in the Caribbean, and the cultural history of racial profiling.

He has recently begun two new large-scale projects: a global life of the queer, cosmopolitan, human rights icon and revolutionary, Roger Casement, and a book on class passing, which is also, in a way, a history of racial passing and cross-dressing.

Dr. Guterl has an ongoing collaborative research partnership with a friend and fellow academic, Caroline Levander. The work they do together departs a little bit from his own specialization—and from hers as well.  They have written Hotel Life (2015, UNC), which is a broader kind of cultural critique, aimed right at the heart of contemporary American life, wherein they have tried to do for hotels what Foucault once did for prisons.

He sometimes writes about contemporary American culture for the New Republic, and about life in the modern university for the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education.

David Kyuman Kim
Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies, Connecticut College


David Kyuman Kim is a cultural critic, a philosopher of religion, and scholar of religion and public life, race, and the Asian American religions experience. Dr. Kim joined the faculty of Connecticut College in 2003. He has also taught at Harvard University and Brown University, most recently in 2009 as inaugural Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the Cogut Center for the Humanities. From 2005-08, Dr. Kim served as the inaugural director of the Connecticut College's sixth academic center, the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE).

Oxford University Press published his first book, Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the Spirit of Politics. The Philosophy of Religion section of the American Academy of Religion hosted a highlighted panel on Melancholic Freedom during the 2008 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. The panel featured comments by Judith Butler, Tavis Smiley, and Cornel West, with a response by Dr. Kim. Dr. Kim has discussed the book during an appearance on “The Tavis Smiley Show.”

He is co-editor, with Philip Gorski, John Torpey, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, of The Post-Secular in Question (New York University Press) and with John L. Jackson, Jr., of Race, Religion, and Late Democracy, a special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. He is also co-editor (again, with John Jackson) of the Stanford University Press book series RaceReligion. His current book project is The Public Life of Love, an examination of the status of love in politics, public life, religion, and the arts.

Dr. Kim has been in creative collaboration with his Connecticut College colleague and world-renowned choreographer David Dorfman. He served as a creative consultant and scholar-in-residence for David Dorfman Dance’s disavowal, a piece inspired by the life and legacy of the abolitionist John Brown; "Prophets of Funk/Dance to the Music," an exploration of the music of Sly and the Family Stone and issues of the prophetic and funk; Come, and Back Again, a movement meditation on memory, family, and loss, and; Aroundtown, a dance-hope poem on the fragility and precarity of community. All of these works have toured across the United States and Europe.

Since 1989, Dr. Kim has sung with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Kim has served as the Acting Program Director of and Senior Advisor to the Programs in Religion and the Public Sphere at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). He was also long-time Editor-at-Large of the SSRC’s blog on secularism, religion, and public life, “The Immanent Frame.” Amongst the features Dr. Kim launched on “The Immanent Frame” were the discussion series “These things are old” on Obama, civic virtue, and debates about American common good with essays by William Ayers, Lawrie Balfour, Romand Coles, Gary Dorrien, Todd Gitlin, Jennifer Herdt, Martin Marty, David Morgan, Ann Pelligrini and Janet Jakobsen, Jon Shields, George Shulman, and Hent de Vries, among others. In 2009, the SSRC’s Program on Religion and International Affairs commissioned Dr. Kim to conduct the dialogue series “Rites and Responsibilities,” a forum on authority, accountability, sovereignty, and the public life of religion in an age of globalization. Participants in the forum include Richard Barrett (the United Nations Al-Quaida-Taliban Monitoring Team), Noam Chomsky (MIT), Jean Comaroff (University of Chicago), Robert Hefner (Boston University), Sidney Jones (International Crisis Group), Sayeed Naqvi (Observer Research Foundation), Michael Sandel (Harvard University), Jeffrey Stout (Princeton University), Tariq Ramadan (Oxford University), and Cornel West (Princeton University).


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