Webfare - From Data Warfare to Data Well-Being

Algo-r-(h)-i-(y)-thms, 2018. Installation view at ON AIR, Tomás Saraceno's solo exhibition at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2018.

internal event
internal event

Webfare - From Data Warfare to Data Well-Being

A workshop at THE NEW INSTITUTE, June 24-25, exploring "webfare" as a form of digital welfare.


From time immemorial, humans have been in the business of making deals, consuming goods, cultivating shared interests, and organizing their social lives. In this context, every social formation can be characterized in terms of its specific mode of value- production. In the 21st century, we are now facing a metamorphosis of value- production: the transformation of elements of our form of life into data. The promise associated with AI and other technological modes of accelerated surplus-value production raises a novel type of normative orientation which our workshop explores: Webfare, as Maurizio Ferraris has called this in his most recent book, is a form of digital welfare. It seeks to initiate a value shift which places value judgments and human needs instead of merit at the center of society.

In 21st-century Webfare, consumption and production might be considered as the two faces of the same reality. The possibility to create new economic value based on (cultural, aesthetic, ethical etc.) representations of our form of life is precisely what sets Webfare apart from traditional welfare: it recognizes the new value created by the Web and aims to use it for social well-being at large.

In order to create conditions for Webfare as a concrete vision for positive social change by technological means, we will delve into various contemporary modes of concrete value-production. At the same time, our goal is to articulate the different non-economic value systems that drive the creation of economic value. In this way, sociological self- conceptions of humans as animals which value their social lives and economic practices in the 21st century are brought into a novel constellation across cultures. The workshop therefore follows our vision to combine deeply integrated interdisciplinary and transcultural research into collaboration with already existing and near-future practices of digital transformation.


This workshop is a closed event. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Yasmin Guillén Lange. Press inquiries can be made here.

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