Taking Roots: Coding & Design for Platform Co-Ops

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Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 20184:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Global Taiwan Lecture Series



Before the 2018 Platform Coop Consortium (PCC platform.ccoop/2018, Sept. 28, 29) formal conference began, Huang SunQuan organized a two-day co-ops+hackathon (coopathon 2). Preceded by a series of panel discussions held in Taipei, Kaohsiung, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong, over forty interested programmers, artists, social innovators, and international tech organizations from greater China and other countries participated. The previous coopathon 1 was held in Shanghai in 2016. The aim of these coopathons is to figure out the collaborative possibilities of coders and cooperatives, addressing fundamental issues before more deeply thinking about the platform of cooperativerism, particularly in the Chinese context.

A difference exists between coops and hacker geeks, which extends beyond the pursuit of economic equality to differences in cultural and political values. Cooperativism asks for the participation of all or nothing at all, while the hacker geek model mostly pursues individual, ‘genius’ achievement. Coops are threatened by privatization, while the latter is an updated neoliberal version of the Californian ideology of accelerationism and solutionism (1995, Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron). The former pursues economic justice—that is, better relations of production; the latter pursues efficiently productive forces. Hackers don’t like doors that can’t be opened, but cooperatives hope the door will always open.

These two groups are more or less unaware of the commonalities they share. They both need a sustainable model, and they both rely on the results of sharing and mutual benefit. In this talk, Huang SunQuan will share some of his experiences of coopathons and some Chinese cooperatives which he deeply engaged in, discussing strategies for introducing a social aspect into coding and the design of platform coops.


Huang SunQuan (PhD, Building and Planning from National Taiwan University) is Professor at the China Academy of Art and Director of the Institute of Network Society, School of Inter-Media Art, CAA. He is an artivist engaging in architecture, media, social movements, and art, known for his long-term research and intervention in media, internet culture, and social activism.

Huang SunQuan was the editor-in-chief of POTS Weekly (established in 1994) and the director of Cultural Express from 2007 to 2009. He organized the first anti-gentrification movement in Taiwan under the slogan “Against City Government’s Bulldozers” (1997) and made the documentary film Green Bulldozer: the Rise of Your New Homeland. In 2004, he created one of the most influential blogs in Taiwan (twblog.net) and the Taiwan Independent Media Center (tw.indymedia.org) as part of the network of Global Independent Media Center (indymedia.org).

In recent years, he has undertaken a curatorial and artistic practice, running Monkey-Wrenching Art Center in the southern Taiwan. He has participated in the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (2007, 2013), “Memoscape” at Cube Project Space, “Juke Box of Kaohsiung” at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, and mounted a solo show, “U-topophilia”, at the Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, among other projects. Curatorial projects include “Treasure Hill GAPP (Global Artivist Participation Plan)” (2003, 2004), “Lulu Shur-tzy Hou Solo Exhibition—Look toward the other side-Song of Asian Foreign Brides in Taiwan” at the Kaohsiung Museum of Arts (2010), and a migrant workers exhibition at Kaohsiung Labor Museum (2011-2012), etc.


Shannon Garden-Smith
(416) 946-5372


Huang Sun-Quan
Professor and Director of Institute of Network Society, China Academy of Art

Tong Lam
Director, Global Taiwan Studies Program


Global Taiwan Studies Program

Asian Institute


Daniels Faculty University of Toronto, Master of Visual Studies

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