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Distributed September 8, 2004
Contact Mary Jo Curtis

September 10-11, 2004
Watson Institute To Present Symposium, Exhibit on Global Networks

The Watson Institute for International Studies will host a symposium, “The Power and Pathology of Networks,” as part of its Information Technology, War and Peace Project, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 10-11, 2004. Public radio commentator Christopher Lydon will moderate the opening session on Sept. 10 at 1:30 p.m. The symposium is free and open to the public, except where an admission fee is noted.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Watson Institute for International Studies will host a symposium, “The Power and Pathology of Networks,” Friday and Saturday, Sept. 10-11, 2004. The program, part of the Institute’s Information Technology, War and Peace (InfoTechWarPeace) Project, is free except where noted and is open to the public.

As the title suggests, participants in the symposium will examine the potential for global networks to create harm as well as benefit, with important implications for security. The program will open with a roundtable session on “Network Powers and Pathologies,” featuring public radio radio personality Christopher Lydon as moderator and notable network experts from the military, business, arts and dot-com worlds. The session is set for 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. on Sept. 10 in Brown’s Leeds Theatre, 77 Waterman St. During the two days, network theorists, media critics, industry experts, social scientists and artists will:

  • assess the dangers of interconnectivity (networked terrorism, computer viruses, pandemics) against its vaunted benefits (global interdependence, increased transparency, higher productivity);
  • examine the complexity of networks producing immune responses, cascading effects and unintended consequences that defy human control; and
  • consider new forms of global security and governance needed to manage the power, allocate the resources and reduce the risks of networks.

As part of the symposium program, the Watson Institute will observe the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon with a screening of After 9/11 at the Avon Cinema, 260 Thayer St., on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 5:30 p.m. Produced by the InfoTechWarPeace Project, this innovative documentary tracks the emergence of an Age of InfoTerror from the 9/11 attacks to the war with Iraq. Tickets are $6 at the door.

In conjunction with the symposium, the Watson Institute will also host an international multimedia exhibition titled “I love you [rev.eng],” which will open Sept. 10 and remain on display through Oct. 4. The exhibition considers the phenomenon of computer viruses and computer security through unique multimedia installations, visualizing processes normally hidden within the black box of a computer. There will be an opening reception with Franziska Nori, the exhibition curator and director of, on Sept. 10 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Watson, 111 Thayer St.

Earlier versions of “I love you [rev.eng]” received wide acclaim across Europe after showings at the Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt, Germany (2002) and the transmediale.03 in Berlin, Germany (2003). After its appearance at the Watson Institute, the exhibition will travel to the Museum for Communication in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The symposium and the accompanying exhibition are the inaugural events for InfoTechWarPeace’s year-long investigation into the global risks of interconnectivity and new forms of global governance to identify, manage and reduce those risks. Throughout the academic year, the project will sponsor a series of seminars, keynote lectures and Web interventions. The symposium and exhibition have been funded through the support of the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Cisco Systems and the Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Research in Culture and Media Studies.

For a full schedule of events, biographies of participating exhibition artists and a documentary trailer, visit or or call (401) 863-2809. For more information about the work of InfoTechWarPeace, visit or contact Annick Wibben at [email protected] or by phone at (401) 863-3473.


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