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Symbols of our Collective Identities in Digital Space: Logos, Icons, Flags, Slogans

April 10, 2021 at 8:00 pm BST

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In his debut Interintellect salon, Dominic Duffin will lead an exploration of symbols of collective identity, collective identities in digital space, and how our symbols of identity map to these new digital geographies.

Many collective identities can make up an individual’s unique personal identity. Our membership of these collectives may be out of accident of place and culture of birth or residence, out of deliberate choice, or based on some inherent characteristic of the individual.

Collective identities based around physical geography, such as nation-states, cultural nations, or regions with strong local pride, typically have a flag as their primary symbol. Many people have conflicting or complementary geographical identities. Californian and American; British and European; Welsh but not British. Our identity is complex, and not all identities are equally accepted by others. Flags can also represent collective identities around ideas or movements.

Like nations have flags, companies and organizations have logos or emblems, mottos or slogans. These can also be symbols of collective identities. These are constructed communities, often around values or products, that we have chosen to associate with, perhaps by taking a job, buying a certain company’s products, or joining a club. Companies and organizations have traditionally also had ties to physical geography, but they only encompass a section of the populants of that geography.

We use symbols to express our identities in many different places, printed on the clothes we wear, stickers on our laptops, objects on our desks, flags flying from our windows. Many of us will have multiple such symbols representing a range of collective identities that make up our unique whole.

The online world has created a new kind of virtual geography. In virtual worlds, multiplayer games, Zoom calls and internet forums, we have a type of constructed geography. Like a physical geography, the collective identity can encompass everyone in the space, but it is also a constructed community, where everyone has made an active choice to be there. In time these virtual geographies could come to have resemble virtual nations, or at least virtual cities. How should we design the symbols of these geographies, and how do our identities mesh in digital versus physical space?

This salon is the first of a track: Culture and Identity in Digital Space.


Good to check out pre-salon:

Bitcoin becomes the Flag of Technology

The nation state goes virtual: why citizenship need no longer be determined by geography


What Objects Tell the Story of your Life?

The Commission’s Report on the Guiding Principles of Flag Design

Case Study: Identity and Design Development for a Digital Currency


Pre-salon activity:

Think of one or two objects or symbols that represent a part of your identity, whether related to the digital world or not.

Time zones:

12 noon San Francisco

3 pm New York

8 pm London

9 pm Berlin / Johannesburg

11 pm Dubai

Save the date:

May 8, 8pm London time: Our Spaces on the Internet: Personal Websites and Social Media.


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