Symposium celebrating the legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog
On November 9, 2006, Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, will join panelists Kevin Kelly, Howard Rheingold, and Fred Turner at Stanford University’s Cubberley Auditorium to discuss the “extraordinary impact of the Whole Earth Catalog and American counterculture on contemporary computing and everyday life.” Turner, author of the recent book From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Catalog, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, will moderate the panel discussion from 7:00 to 8:30 pm to be followed by a public reception with the panelists. More info on the symposium is available at Stanford’s Web site.
Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Network formed a group of artists and entrepreneurs who worked to bring together the disparate worlds of high technology and back-to-the-earth hippies of the ’60s and ’70s. Through their innovative adaptation of modern technologies they transformed the instruments of the military-industrial complex into tools with which to forge the new, positive, sustainable culture envisioned by the radical social movements they they embraced. Between 1968 and 1998, via such familiar venues as the National Book Award–winning Whole Earth Catalog, the computer conferencing system known as the WELL, and, ultimately, the launch of the wildly successful Wired magazine, Brand and the Whole Earth network were able to broker a long-running collaboration between San Francisco flower power and the emerging technological hub of Silicon Valley that has remained a powerful influence on American attitudes towards technology ever since. Thanks to their vision, counterculturalists and technologists alike joined together to reimagine computers as tools for personal liberation, the building of virtual and decidedly alternative communities, and the exploration of bold new social frontiers.
To learn more about Brand, the Whole Earth Catalog, and digital culture read the introduction and an excerpt from chapter four of Turner’s book.