Digital Media Hub for Perth, WA
The dynamic and visionary Lynda Dorrington of FORM in Western Australia is making a bid for a digital media hub in Perth. They recently took one step closer to making this a reality when they were shortlisted for Federal Funding (one of three projects). They are currently seeking expressions of support. This is what I wrote:
Few could deny the impact of digital media as they pervade our lives and connect us with others near and far. Many see this as an essentially democratising tendency. But online communication has one distinct and perhaps unexpected disadvantage: search engines are just too good. Consequently, it is now an effortless task to connect with like-minded people without ever encountering those who hold different views, have ideas that challenge our own or view life from different cultural perspectives. Thus, the virtual public space is constituted by a network of special interest groups that operate like tribes.
Physical public space is different. The Greek agora and the Roman forum established the concept of a public space as ‘a meeting place for strangers’. In a contemporary multicultural democracy we need to re-imagine digital culture in relation to physical space. And this is best achieved through initiatives such as the Foundry Digital Media Hub; a public space dedicated to digital production and communication. Here the undoubted strengths of digital media can grow from the fundamental dynamic of human connection. A place where the denizens of the web are also the citizens of the local community, in all their richness and variety.
Digital media are tools just as the adze and the wheel are tools. It is how they are used that matters. While The Foundry Digital Media Centre will no doubt create wealth, for me that is secondary to the way it will keep the means of engaging in the global digital conversation close within the living human environment of the community and the vital diversity of those who are its members.
If, like me, you feel strongly that this kind of initiative is essential if our expressive cultures are to keep up with social and technological change to really engage the wider community, then please do consider writing in support of this project. I guess this is mainly for the Australians among you (ie: voters) but international voices are always welcome.
You can visit the Foundry Digital Media Hub website here. From there the blue splodge takes you to information on the planned hub and the pink splodge to the interface for registering your support… (shades of The Matrix, perhaps?)
The Foundry Digital Media Hub is part of the Midland Atelier initiative.
FORM is a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for and develops creativity in Western Australia. Lynda Dorrington is its talented and entrepreneurial head, and if anyone can achieve this ambitious goal, she can!
Image © photo by Jarrad Seng; director: Tim Brade