At IAM Weekend 19, several speakers discussed the importance of rural communities, and why brands should open their minds beyond Western metropolises.
Creative director of Logic Magazine, Xiaowei Wang, examined the places in rural China and Mongolia in which the internet is physically made; places that are typically overlooked for their innovation. In her talk, she shed light on the areas of Mongolia in which copper is mined for iPhones, the rural Chinese consumers who are live-streaming for a living, and the country’s thousands of Taobao villages – communities that are dedicated to producing products for the online shopping site. ‘In China, the labour of clicking feeds [a] family,’ Wang said.
Applying this concept to the Americas, activist Alejandro Mayoral-Baños spoke about his grassroots organisation Indigenous Friends. The platform, which hosts networks based in Canada and Mexico and is currently in talks with Facebook, acts as an alternative social media platform for indigenous people, reconnecting aboriginal youth with their land and people.
According to Mayoral-Baños, this traditional knowledge has been undermined by academia over the years. ‘It’s important for knowledge that indigenous people can use digital tools in conscious ways, in order to decolonise this technology.’