Mistakes Were Made
Mistakes Were Made was a one-day event I designed and produced that explored the past and present margins of computer history. The event was held twice, on April 17, 2014 and April 15, 2016, and was hosted by NYU’s Media, Culture, and Communication Department.
I wanted the event to bridge the gap between academic and tech culture in NYC, so I omitted conventional intros and speaker bios and instead used a streamlined format: a pair of lectures followed by a discussion moderated by MCC faculty member Finn Brunton. Each lecture pair functioned as a “duet” on a common theme between an early-career computer historian and an active member of computer culture’s fringe.
Speakers over the event's two year run included Stephanie Dick, Ramsey Nasser, Jason Scott, Kevin Driscoll, Stacy Horn, Joy Rankin, Erica Robles-Anderson, Peter Sachs-Collopy, Marisa Bowe, Martha Poon, Tega Brain and Eden Medina. Video of the talks can be found here.
The event drew over 100 attendees from academic, archival, and creative technologist communities. It unified an emerging group of thinkers who are challenging accepted technology narratives and trying to piece together a more expansive picture of computer history. In doing so, the event highlighted what matters most to me as a historian: not just learning from the past, but writing histories that imagine better futures.
Mistakes Were Made was supported in various years by NYU MCC's Program Series, the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing, the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU; NYU Steinhardt; Information Futures, and the NYU Humanities Institute. The event would not have happened without the help and hard work of Dove Pedlosky, Carlisa Robinson, Jamie Schuler, Helen Nissenbaum, Matt Hockenberry, Xiaochang Li, and R. Luke Dubois.