Gabriele Balbi at the Wired Next Fest: the digital one is now a permanent revolution

Gabriele Balbi at the Wired Next Fest: the digital one is now a permanent revolution

Gabriele Balbi at the Wired Next Fest

“The digital revolution? It appears as the last thing possible, we can't imagine others without the digital lever, ”. Thus Gabriele Balbi, guest at the Next Fest 2022 and protagonist of the panel "Myths and legends of the digital age", frames the common feeling on that great change that appears less and less like one of the many stages in history but ends up becoming almost the ultimate goal.

It cannot be denied that digital acceleration has allowed us many specific advantages, starting with a different access to information. However, also thanks to a certain narrative, the digital revolution begins to appear almost like an ideology, a secular religion characterized by some dynamics. Gabriele Balbi analyzes the theme in his essay The Last Ideology. A brief history of the digital revolution, trying to understand why the idea of ​​living in this peculiar structure is now so widespread.

According to the academic - professor in Media studies at the Italian Swiss University - the digital revolution is connoted by some mantras: "The disruption, its total and global being, the dimension of the future but also its permanence, therefore its being continues".

Even perceptions about the digital revolution, however, change over time: after the era of excessive optimism and magnificent progressive fortunes, a more critical, worried vision prevails in recent years. The scholar also confirms this: “I come from the academy and research has made a change, since 2005 we have begun to focus on the most critical elements. What Umberto Eco affirmed in his essay Apocalyptic and integrated is realized, but we do not fully understand both dimensions ”.

The theme is not only polarization but also, perhaps, a too inclusive vision: "The term digitization is too broad, even the good and the bad jumps if we go and see what we do with our smartphones, which fulfills different needs. In my opinion, focusing on uses can help not to generalize ".

In the essay there are also parallels, because the digital revolution, although not dwarf, nevertheless rises on the shoulders of other giant and living revolutions, due to its becoming ideology, myths and fetishes: “Among the great myths - confirms Balbi - there is the revolution itself, the fact that it is a rupture. Then there are all the characters around, with a fairly mythical dimension (for example: the evangelists), then the objects, the relics, appropriating the objects makes us enter the revolution ”. The potential parallels could be wasted between the protagonists of yesterday and today: "Bill Gates is the James Watt who emerged in continuity. Luther? There are heretics and many are journalists and academics. Marx? The fact that the digital revolution is seen as permanent. and disruptive he would have liked it very much ".

However, man does not live by ideology alone, there are geopolitical and economic factors to consider:" The digital revolution has spoken American for a long time, but not today. telephony is considered part of the digital revolution but if we look at the numbers most of the cards are in Asia, this leads us to a reconsideration of the world. We then have battles that are also played out with technologies that do not seem digital, as evidenced by the Chinese need to emancipate oneself from American submarine cables ".

However, all that glitters is not digital, as the case of the Arab revolutions at the beginning of the last decade demonstrates:" showed that they had little to do with Twitter and Facebook, if not marginally. But they went down in history like this ".

Freedom Fest getting bigger by the year

Sep. 19—SHUMWAY — Enduring Freedom Ministries continued its tradition of providing local families and those in need with clothes, groceries and a day of 'good old country life' over the weekend with Freedom Fest 2022.

The free event kicked off Saturday at the Shumway Freedom House Food Pantry and included live performances, a petting zoo, and a chance for families to get much-needed clothing or groceries at no cost.

Enduring Freedom Ministries Director Vickie Kight has been organizing Freedom Fest for well over a decade now and was surprised by the large turnout Saturday.

'This seems to be bigger every year. I don't know how,' Kight said. 'I bet you there's 500 that have crossed this line and ate, come and gone.'

Among those performing Saturday were gospel artist Hilary Beard, fiddler Victoria Kittle, Holy Hands Puppets and Riley Jenkins, who was back by popular demand with his tribute to Elvis.

According to Kight, some of the people at the event were deaf, which is why they had a sign language interpreter next to the stage so nobody would be excluded from the festivities.

Food at the event was provided by Lickin' My Chicken and Pullin' My Pork BBQ, and homemade ice cream was cranked and provided by Emil and Melissa Lagerhausen, who have been helping Enduring Freedom Ministries for years.

Children at the event could choose from a variety of fun games and activities, including launch the chicken, baguette Wiffle Ball and a bouncy house. The recent expansion of the sweetcorn field by the food pantry allowed families to pick their own corn.

According to Kight, the activities were all run by different nonprofits, allowing them an opportunity to educate and inform families.

Throughout the event, Kight would announce numbers for families to select groceries from shelves packed with donated items, and families who needed clothes were able to walk through racks of a variety of donations.

Kight said even through the COVID-19 pandemic the number of families attending Freedom Fest continued to grow.

'With COVID, we were busier than ever,' she said. 'Our numbers jumped up in the hundreds. We usually do about 1,200 a month but it jumped up to 1,500, 1,600. Now it's calmed down, but it's still growing.'

Kight explained why she loves organizing the event every year and why Enduring Freedom Ministries doesn't ask for anything in return.

'I think everyone here knows we do this because the Lord asked us to, and it's free. We don't ask for donations. We don't do any of that. It's just free. We want them to feel like family, everybody that's here.'

Kight said for the first few years Freedom Fest was more of a mission trip than the local family event it has become. However, she added Enduring Freedom Ministries still travels the country to help those hit by tragedy, which recently included a trip to storm-ravaged Mayfield, Kentucky.

'We took off and we took a whole bunch of toys for the kids,' Kight said.

Nick Taylor can be reached at or by phone at 618-510-9226.

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