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From Freud’s unconscious to digital unconscious

DDK on Digital Unconscious

For the International McLuhan Galaxy Conference in Barcelona the Scientific Committee prepared a session titled Social Media, Networks and Life. This session was inspired by three aphorisms by McLuhan: (1)“The user is the content”; (2) “The more they know about you the less you exist”; (3) “This has become the main business of mankind, just watching the other guy (and) invading privacy. Everybody has become porous”.
We can add a fourth aphorism to this list – (4) “the more they know about you the less you exist”- and make a direct connection of this session in the conference to the four seminars on the Digital Unconscious that Derrick de Kerckhove will be giving in the Internet Interdiscipinary Institute, University Oberta de Catalunya in 2012 (see dates and hours below).

According to de Kerckhove, the Digital Unconscious is the sum of data available in a growing quantity of databases that individuals, institutions, companies and society in general are not conscious of, as mostly of the information about us is grasped only by a certain kind of software tools, not by society in a democratized way.  This fact is creating new conditions of identity building in which legal, psychological, design and control dimensions are implied.
Starting from the construction of a definition of the concept of Digital Unconscious as ‘everything that can be known about you that you don’t know’, the series will continue with a second seminar dedicated to the analysis of the top-down software tools that extract, monitor, spy, profile, expose and interpret data. The third seminar will analyse the social, legal and political issues that emerge from a situation of un-awareness such as the Right to Forget Debate, abuse in data collection, identity theft, labour spying, privacy invasion, censorship, the political power abuse and the importance of regaining control over “reputation capital”, as a return to the values present in cultures that develop interaction through “shame”.  The last seminar will address the possibilities to re-gain control over a scattered self and advance some possible legal and design means of bringing the unconscious into individuals and society’s awareness threshold.


First seminar: The definition of the Digital Unconscious (DU)
Date: February 9th
Time: 15.30-17.00
Place: W. Mitchell Room (7th Floor)
Second seminar: The tools of the Digital Unconscious
Date: February 22th
Time: 15.30-17.00
Place: W. Mitchell Room (7th Floor)

Third seminar: a-Busi-ve-ness and the “Right to forget” debate
Date: March 1st
Time: 15.30-17.00
Place: W. Mitchell Room (7th Floor)

More infos here: