As the internet connects makers, manufacturers and shippers across supply chains, a new form of producing and distributing global objects is arising, one that relies more on bottom up networks than top down oversight. When you look carefully, you see the signs of them: in the US, they might be t-shirts with hashtags on them, pussyhats at marches, and creative protest signs, and in Shenzhen, China, we see a plethora of hardware objects, such as selfie sticks, hoverboards and e-cigarettes, that rapidly reach global markets. What sorts of objects do new forms of hardware culture enable, and what role does the internet now play in all steps along the way, from ideation to sales to manufacturing to shipping? How might we now incorporate physical objects into our notions of internet memes? And what does this suggest about the future of object culture more generally?
An Xiao Mina is a technologist and writer who looks at issues of the global internet and networked creativity. As a Berkman Klein Fellow, she has been studying the impact of language barriers in our technology stack as the internet extends into diverse communities around the world, and she is building on her ongoing research on global internet meme culture and its role in politics and culture.
Mina leads the product team at Meedan, where they are building digital tools for journalists and translators, and she is co-founder of The Civic Beat, a research collective focused on the creative side of civic technology. She serves as a contributing editor to Civicist, an advisory editor to Hyperallergic, and a governing board member at China Residencies.
She has spoken at venues like the Personal Democracy Forum, ACM SIGCHI, Creative Mornings, the Aspen Institute, the International Journalism Festival, RightsCon and the Institute for the Future, and she has contributed writing to publications like the Los Angeles Review of Books, Fusion, the New Inquiry, Nieman Journalism Lab, the Atlantic and others.
Recently a 2016 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow, where she studied online language barriers and their impact on journalism, Mina is currently working on a book about internet memes and global social movements titled “From Memes to Movements,” publishing in 2018 with Beacon Press.