Our Friend the Computer


January 10, 2023 Our Friend the Computer Season 1 Episode 15
Our Friend the Computer
Show Notes Transcript

Virtual Tamil Eelam doesn’t connect itself to a physical label. Instead, it petitions to be recognised as a nation-state by publishing its heritage and cultural histories, diverse news, forums, distinct map designs and symbols, and suggestions for communal activities on websites that date back to the 90s. Ana describes how the Tamils have found creative uses of the web’s varying information dispersal techniques, and the girls chat about how that addresses their national sentiments as autonomous, legitimate and independent.

Follow us on Twitter @OurFriendComp
And Instagram @ourfriendthecomputer

Main research for the episode was done by Ana who also audio edited.
Music by Nelson Guay (SoundCloud: fluxlinkages)
OFtC is a sister project of the Media Archaeology Lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  

Skawennati, Mikhel Proulx, Dragan Espenschied, “Rhizome Presents: CyberPowWow and Panel Discussion”, December 10 2022, Rhizome, New Museum, New York
- Christopher Kulendran Thomas, “Another World”, ICA, London, October 2022 - January 2023
- Christopher Kulendran Thomas, “New Eelam: Bristol”, in collaboration with Annika Kuhlmann. Installation view at Spike Island, Bristol, 2019
- “Christopher Kulendran Thomas Talk (audio) at the 2017 Verbier Art Summit“, Verbier Art Summit, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIrHCy_2MXc, Published Jan 26 2021
- “Australia puts Tamil Tigers on terrorist list”, Irish Times, https://www.irishtimes.com/news/australia-puts-tamil-tigers-on-terrorist-list-1.408157, Published Dec 21 2001
- “3/ Serendipity”, @BaytAlFann, https://twitter.com/BaytAlFann/status/1604405373011886081, Published Dec 18 2022
- “Spatial conceptions of URLs: Tamil Eelam networks on the World Wide Web”, Jillana Enteen, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1461444806061944, New Media & Society Journal, 2006
- TamilNet (www.tamilnet.com)
- EelamWeb (www.eelamweb.com)
- Ilankai Tamil Eelam Sangam (www.sangam.org)
- “Tamilnet blocked in Sri Lanka”, https://www.bbc.com/sinhala/news/story/2007/06/070620_tamilnet, BBCSinhala, 2007
- Bruno Latour, “We Have Never Been Modern”, 1993, Harvard University Press
- Banadict Anderson, “Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism”, 1991, London, Verso

Okay. We're live. Hi, Camila. Helena. Hi, everybody. Welcome to our friend, the computer. Happy End of the year. Yes, it's the end of the year. Which means that I'm going to be editing tomorrow on the 31st, which I think will be fine, because there's nothing really to do on the during the day. Yeah, during. During the day. So, yeah. Just so sad about the. Yeah. No. Do you like Instagram round up you have pick your 1010 best photos of the year to post on the carousel on your Instagram. Yeah. Yeah. Do Spotify rant, listen to some songs, the Beyonce album and just reminisce. That was a fabulous year. So before we start, I'm so excited about this episode that you're going to you're going to tell us all about. But I yeah, I wanted to just talk really briefly about an event I went to and I did a little poster out Instagram, but I went to this like one day event that Rhizome put on at the new museum, and it was sort of centered around this like computer program, artistic project called Cyber Powwow. And it was so it was so good. It was this. So the whole event was really great. It was like a pop up exhibition and a panel discussion. But cyber powwow was this like chat interface exhibition platform, and I thought that you would love that, Ana, because you run an online exhibition platform and like a virtual world called Cyber Powwow, and it was started in 1997 in Canada by the Nation to Nation Collective, which consisted of Ryan Rice, Eric Robertson and Scarnati, who was in person at the event. And they described it as an Aboriginal determined territory in cyberspace. So it used this popular computer program called the Palace. Did you ever use a palace? No interface, I think I did. It. Was this like use graphical chat room. There was a bunch of them and that's where the palace was, Where those. Did you ever see those? I'm a slightly older than you. The dolls, like little avatars. No, not that either. Sorry. Maybe I should do an episode on Dolls. There were these little avatars that were kind of like, sort of, I guess, like, sexy, a bit like Bratz dolls. And they had different fashions, and you could like who? There were websites, offshoots that you could, like, create your own. But they were they got really popular on Palace chat rooms, but they had all sorts of different ones. And I can't remember what I when I used it, but they were sort of like Club Penguin, you know, like that style have our hotel like pre those ones. So it was a kind of a graphical like a, a graphic background, so like an image of something, a room, whatever. And then people that came in could like pop up on the screen as avatars, as little images with their name, and you could like chat. And yeah, it was a program that was used for all sorts of things, but Cyberpower used this, but they used it as this kind of like graphical chat room, but also to create a space for like exhibition. So they would have these different rooms that you could enter by clicking a link. Yeah, I'm seeing a little window of what the, the palace window would look like and I'm seeing like little cartoon tapes in the background and it says, Click on a teepee to go to another room and see art. And then there's a person at the front that says, Choose a cool avatar and make your own. And then, yeah, yeah. Q Mm hmm. And then you could, like, talk with people within those spaces. And they mostly presented works by Indigenous artists and it was, yeah, it was great. I hadn't heard of it before. Rhizomes going through the process of restoring it and some of it's available now, but they're doing a lot more and I was able to play around with it on some of the old computers. They had a in like the Sky Room or whatever it's called. They had a like the top floor of the new museum. They had a presentation with with ephemera and then also some of some computers so you could access it and Yeah, and scavenger is such a wonderful artist and it was really great to hear more about her work. But specifically she, she gave me all this talk how like later projects of hers could be seen as linking back to cyber powwow, including she created like a sort of next version of it within Second Life and sort of plays around with ideas of avatars and things as well. Yeah, and it was just really nice to hear about her, sort of like this decades long interest in digital colonialism, saying creating spaces for like gatherings and community and even some questions around what it means and what it looks like to be indigenous within digital space and just a continue continuous investigation into this since the nineties, since the eighties, even I think she was doing stuff. But yeah, it was just really great. You should I'll put a link in the in the show notes so you can say what they have online but the end of the whole panel is the panel discussion is available now to they record it and I asked a question so you might oh what question did you ask? What did I ask. I think I was asking about it's a restoration, but I guess I was wondering about they wanted it to be accessible. And because it was such a interactive sort of community thing, I was kind of wondering when they're putting it online again, how they're viewing it. Like, is it just a is it like a an artifact, you know, from the past that now we can look at? Or are they hoping that it will continue and and continue growing? And something that's the question wasn't the answer was more that it was Yeah. More just like an artifact that it wasn't something that they were really considering as continually evolving because obviously, like I said, the, the sort of ideas and things have evolved since then. So to go back to this now, it's really great to look back on it. But yeah, and I think there's only so much you can do when you're trying to restore a website. Yeah, like even though you're making it visible and you're making the interactions a little bit more accessible, there's still other technological limits that won't allow people to kind of use it in the same way that people would have engaged in in the past. And it sort of felt a little like wandering through a deserted gallery or something because there weren't like these this, these digital spaces in cyber powwow would have been filled with people at the time chatting and, and, you know, activity and talking and discussions within the artworks. But when I entered it, there wasn't anybody else in there. So I just sort of clicked around and it was really great to see the artworks and experience what it felt like it was on. It was also on like a I think a XP, Windows XP. So it was very weird to bring back some old muscle memory of how to navigate Windows XP because I had to open the I was the first one to use it on the on that computer. So I had to like, open it. But yeah, it's sort of it was a strange feeling. I am. I am. Yeah. Really glad that they're doing it and it was fascinating. You should watch the panel discussion actually. And I think you would find it. I think I will. Yeah, if I have time. Another question someone asked that was really interesting was about moderation because it's a chat room. And firstly, was the chat room back then moderated? And secondly, will it be moderated in the new like the accessible version now? And the answer is I don't think they've decided what's going to happen with the current like iteration. But yeah, in the past they were like, we didn't know what motivation was that didn't exist. That wasn't the thing. If people came in and they were being like, you know, dickheads, we'd just kick them out, I guess like the people in that it wasn't that big of an issue, that they needed someone to actually make sort of like executive decisions. Yeah. So there was an, an executive, there was the people on the chat that were the mudder Raiders themselves, right? I think so, yeah. I like that. We all have a responsibility, Right. Mm. Cute. I will give that a watch. Yeah. And I feel like that links sort of slightly in with, with the topic that we're doing today. Yeah. I was wondering about the name of this because of the episode of the episode. Yeah. Because I wanted to call it Tamal Net, which is the main website that we'll be covering. But the thing is that will actually be covering quite a few different websites and we'll talk about the Tamil population and Sri Lanka and the history of it and the online presence that Tamil people have. But I kind of want to call it Tamil net just because it sounds a little bit more like, you know, this is a space. Yeah, I think if that's sort of the main the main website that we're covering, we could call it. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, cool. Let's call it that. Yeah. It's a little bit more catchy. Yeah. Let's call it time on that. But I guess this is like a disclosure that it's not just about Tamil net, but it's a big kind of amalgamation of, of websites and a whole network. But yeah, I mean I guess before I give kind of a detailed account of Tamil Ellen online, I'll just give a brief description of the Tamil history and Sri Lanka. The Tamil people are historically referred to as the small, like self-sufficient population in the north of the island of Salon slash Sri Lanka. But Tamil people are largely scattered around this area and are basically Dravidian ethno linguistic group who trace their ancestry mainly to India's southern state of Tamil Nadu. And when Tamils from southern India were brought to Sri Lanka during Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial occupation starting roughly in 1597 and lasted for 351 years, that number of the Tamil residents just boomed and this influx initiated resentment among the Sinhalese because the colonial Brits were pretty much boosting the Tamil people as better workers and gave them the sort of superior status. Do you know why they why they did that? I I'm not sure. I think it could be a motivational tactic, but I don't really know what the psychology was. It's I mean, none of this like British colonialism ever really makes sense. Like all that logic is rooted in extreme race racism. So, yeah, exactly. Yeah. The British then decided to create a single state of that area that they called Salon with the government located in Colombo, which was a majority Sinhalese area and became the capital even after the island's independence from colonial rule in 1948. The government wanted to rectify injustices that the British rule imposed and decided to kind of basically segregate and disenfranchize most of the Tamil population who did not speak Sinhalese nor practiced Buddhism. So they kind of considered to them to be this like reminder and symbol of colonial subjugation which prevailed for so long that eventually instigated, you know, violence between Tamil guerrillas and Sinhalese government troops in I think it was 1983 and thousands of people were killed during this event. Several ceasefires were called throughout the eighties. But disagreement and violence continued. Peace plans haven't been achieved and the country still remains unified. Although the Tamils want to become an independent state called Eelam. Situated in the north, I was first drawn to this history by an exhibition at the ICJ here in London by Christopher Callender, and Thomas called Another World. It explores the visions of the Tamil Eelam liberation movement as a prompt for alternative possible futures through the help of its virtual project. So what's what's the what's the virtual what's the virtual project? So the virtual well, I guess we'll get into that eventually later. Okay. But essentially the Tamil population managed to utilize cyberspace and they created loads of web sites which tried to create a sort of but narrative of recognition of Eelam as a state that this this exhibition is like a new, new. Yeah. So this exhibition is a new project, but it takes inspiration from Tamil Eelam online. Cool. And he does a lot of work around this idea of like new Eelam, which is like the cybernetic construction of a new type of citizenship. What? What is that? What's the new what's the new type of. So I guess that's the question. I guess a citizenship that isn't linked to borders, something that is a little bit more fluid, doesn't really have a geopolitical linkage. But yeah, I guess so. Like digital space. Using space is like a way. Yeah. Mm hmm. And creating this new sort of form of nationalism or even just exploring what nationalism really can mean. Bfsi It is a lot of work around that. And he's, he's quite an interesting artist, but yeah, so he's English and Sri Lankan and he even recites his Tamil family's emigration journey. In a talk at the 2017 Verbier Arts Summit. And he says this is a transcript. For three decades during the Sri Lankan civil war, the Tamil homeland of Eelam was self-governed as an independent place led by a neo-Marxist revolution. It was supposed to be an autonomous nation based on equality for all, irrespective of class, gender, race, faith or sexuality. But this idea was eventually crushed by an authoritarian president, so my family left that corrupt pretense of democracy to look for a better life in the West. And I have to emphasize that the war was a high tech and high velocity war with exceptionally, you know, well-armed freedom fighters who managed to withstand government force for decades, even though this was a relatively small population in comparison to the country. I also need to say that just for just disclosure, although my you know, research on this does come out of like a very positive fascination with the liberation movement, I don't condone violence in general, even though I do believe, you know, violence is necessary when fighting for rights in some cases. But the war, what is essentially become a civil war in Sri Lanka was traumatizing and awful. And I don't know what life was like for the people that lived through it. I can't speak for that. But, you know, people have died in the process. Families, children, innocent people. I do also think that the Western and Australian media that had their eyes on the conflict at the time were unfair to the to the Tamil Tigers, especially during a period when the topic of terrorism was so sensitive and kind of novel. Yeah, there's a lot to unpack there obviously, and will not get into this right now, but I guess like you must have probably heard things growing up in Australia, right, about the Tamil Tigers. Well, I was just going to bring it up very briefly like I was very young when this was happening. And, you know, I was I was looking over your notes for for this. And and it had been like a minute since I had heard the phrase Tamil Tiger. And and when I was reading about it, like I was thinking over it again and I yeah, I don't remember much of the actual discussion around it or even like seeing it on TV, but I did have this like vague sense that it was like a very dangerous thing. It was, yeah, there's like some weird memory sense sort of vibe that I have from my, like very early childhood. And it's interesting to hear you say about like the Australian media because that must that's it, you know, I mean, like my I don't really know how to explain it, but I guess Australia is so close to Sri Lanka as well that it's I can see why we would be having more like media around it. But yeah, yeah, a lot of the press that covered the stories were Australian, even if they worked for the BBC worldwide and it was broadcasted, you know, to Europe and America. But yeah, yeah. So a lot of the documentaries that I was researching that were produced were Australian and I would say they were quite harsh towards the representation of the intention of, yeah, what the Tigers were actually doing. But yeah, I mean it was also visually very shocking because like I said, you know, they were very well armed. Women were most definitely amongst the front lines as complete equals in the fight, and teenagers were sometimes the majority of the soldier population. And these fighters which called that, you know, Tamil Tigers, used video footage and news outlets to create a propaganda very efficiently, even though Western media remain to be very anti-Islam and kind of dub them terrorist. Yeah, I'm just looking it up now. Actually. I found an article in the Irish Times about Australia putting the Tamil Tigers on a terrorist list and this stressed out the Tigers and they were disappointed and shocked by the West's accusation of terrorism, especially with the event of 911. Like I mentioned, which happened around the same time that the guerrilla movement continued to be very active. Yeah, but the desire for national sovereignty remained strong, remains strong, and is even echoed throughout the Internet by its proliferation of the phrase Tamil Eelam. So land and self-governance has been refused to Tamils by Sri Lanka and international governing bodies such as the United Nations and the Sri Lankan government has suspended the entire Tamil population's rights as citizens, which led a large number of Tamils to flee the island for political asylum. Well, yet the Tamil diaspora grew even more so into nationally and together with their compatriots in Sri Lanka, constitute the stateless nation of Tamil Eelam. This is reflected in these scattered groups presence online where virtual Tamil Eelam commits itself to the establishment of an ethnically homogenous Tamil nation state. And Sri Lankan Tamils in diaspora have been present online since the early internet days, posting on Usenet groups and launching websites in or even before 1996. But what does Eelam mean? So Eelam is the name of the northern part of Sri Lanka where they tried to constitute that as a state geographically. So it's interesting that that's like the phrase being used. I guess that goes back to that idea that you were saying earlier about the like new forms of citizenship. But, you know, what does that mean to be from a specific, very specific place? But you're exploring that or establishing that through this like digital space? Yeah, because I think the desire for this citizenship is still kind of comes out for the right to inhabit a space, even though you might not ever fully occupy it. There's always this desire in the background or motivation in the background to have your own space and to have a home. The idea that can transcend and a space to connect and collect together. Yeah, if you're if you're so separated, just like one location to yeah. To feel the mass of the of the group. And I think also what Christopher Callender and Thomas writes about a lot is especially the phrase new Elam kind of refers to like this new world. So even though it might not be physical, it's kind of this creation of like a new sovereign nation and also like there's a little fun fact here. Okay. So the ancient fairy tale place of Sarah and Deb, which appears in 1001 nights, was also the old Arabic name for the island of Sri Lanka. Oh, yeah, that's it's like an ancient fairy tale place. And and yeah, and the English word for serendipity means a fortunate discovery, which was coined by Arthur Horace Walpole in 1754. So you can kind of see a wonderful rom com with John Cusack. Oh, what serendipity. Okay, I'll watch it. I really like it. One of my best friends, it's like one of her favorite absolute favorite films is it's set in Sri Lanka. It's set in York. That's my fun facts. You know, so you can kind of see like the importance of the discovery of Sri Lanka in the colonial context, just by the like etymology of the word serendipity. Yeah, Yeah. And it used to be the name for Sri Lanka. So basically, yeah, since the Sinhalese, you know, they kind of assert the insignificance of Tamil presence before Colonial occupation, the Tamils really persist through online documentation that the island contained these like two coexisting kingdoms and that they have one of the earliest written alphabets and they contain manifestos and lengthy attestations of their distinct traditions, heritage and culture, along with proposing daily activities that help to kind of claim for for land and recognition. And many sites also include pastimes for families and kids and forums for discussion of the topics that could be of interest to Tamil Eelam advocates or supporters. Wow. And these opportunities to share news and participation architectures of the site allow visitors to believe in this communal decision making and nation building process. So yeah, basically like virtual Tamil Eelam really like perpetuates this insignificance and passion for diasporic citizenship in a way. So it's it's kind of like preserving and archiving what once was sort of the physical reality or the kind of like physical culture, but creating this like living online version that continues to grow and change, plus envisioning possible futures from that. It's amazing. Exactly. Yeah. And this is all reflected in the project's use of the website, where they also use the inherent conditions of the Internet's medium. You know, the the network information, communication and global interconnection to kind of build this idea of a new world. Wow. So. So when was this Where was this started? Basically since the dot com boom. So kind of just like early noughties, anywhere between 2001 to 2006. So I would think as Tamil Eelam was banned in 2005, then towards the end. But there's a study that came out in 2004 called Cyber Cafes in Sri Lanka, Tamil Virtual Communities. That is the city of well, the what in Colombo and focused on the emergence of basically just like an unprecedented number of cyber cafes and net two phones. And yes, it basically this correlates with the boom of cyber cafes. Yeah. And the Internet and phones that enabled Internet surfing basically correlates to that and also to how active the Tamil Tigers were as well. Hmm. Because some of the websites would also document what was happening on the ground. But this isn't all like this isn't all Tamil Tiger stuff, right? It's like Tamil. No culture. Yeah. And things. And then some of the sites were more explicitly about kind of the fighting, the freedom fighting. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Mm. Yes. So the main sites are Tamil net trauma dot com which I can't reach. Evan web Eelam webcam which the domain name now seems to be up for sale so that looks to be down and Elan K Tamil Eelam Sangam which is Sangam dot org which still is up and running. So yeah, a lot of the website analysis I got is from spatial conceptions of you are ls the Tamil Eelam networks on the worldwide web. That's a great name. Spatial conceptions of URLs. Yeah, it's written by Julianna and Tina for the New Media and Society Journal for Northwestern University in 2006. And yeah, basically just got a lot of this information from her because I do not have access to most of the websites, unfortunately. But like I said earlier, they tend to mostly just chart out the kind of pre-colonial period where Tamils and Sinhalese peacefully coexisted on the island and sometimes even demonstrating what society would have been without colonial domination at all. Sometimes the site will also argue that their online presence is a legitimacy in and of itself for the kind of recognition of both their ancient past and right for autonomy. And they declare that the virtual, not just the geopolitical occupation is just as important for the independence project. So they kind of envision like a solid network that facilitates a constant and engaging dispersal or exchange of information. Mhm. And I just want to look at the domain name. One of the most popular sites, Tamil net to kind of explore the motives of the Eelam project. So first of all, it uses Tamil, which points to the South Asian ethnic group specifically, but most Tamils actually reside in India where they are not that concerned with the independence struggle in Sri Lanka. And then it uses the word net suggesting the electronic and electronic network and then dot com which explicitly isn't using a domain name extension that associates itself with the geographical location because, you know, LK would be the Internet country code domain for Sri Lanka. I wonder if that's also got something to do with like the timing of it that it was so early on in like internet right. That that maybe the dot com might have been the only option at the time because I feel like the country codes came a bit later. Yeah that's true. And that is actually interesting in and of itself. I feel like with this to sort of think about if, if that, if that was the case, I have done my research, but the fact that they're entering and choosing to establish themselves within this virtual digital space that at the time perhaps really didn't have connections to specific locations or there was nothing to denote a different country. And then I wonder how that would that feeling shifted just generally even when different country codes started to come in? Yeah, that's true. I guess there's like the point of view from the marketing side where it's like you want to use a country code just to stand out somehow or if it's relevant in some way. But yeah, I you're right. It was definitely like an early time for the internet and they used you could tell how like the use of the domain names and the use of the websites themselves were still kind of being explored. Like even though they used news media mostly for the websites to kind of keep things relevant and up to date. The sites also hosted various kind of like fun techie features like online stores and games and desktop backgrounds that people can download for free. I have a few things to say that I feel like I don't know what to say first. Yeah, I was going to say that I miss those downloads. I miss I've started. Maybe like I've been making some for my art practice because they're just they're fun, like computer backgrounds and things that you could download from websites that was often like a free thing. And then they say something else. What was it? Oh, also, I guess just like the the use of you were talking about the participation architecture of websites and that that is like. So it's a way to be interactive and engaged with a website. Before that, interactivity was really like an established concept on websites. That ability to kind of download something you got from a website and then use it in your either your digital world or even your physical world, depending on what the download is, is like a fun concept. Yeah. Yeah. I wonder why we've like moved away from, from that. I think people just don't want clutter as well. Yeah, but also I think that that's you know, we talked last episode actually before about, I don't know, we might have cut it out there. We got it. Yeah. I think we could end up having tones and phones used to feel really customizable and because they were all there with lots of different types of phones and people were really into those like downloadable ringtones that you'd like purchase or like little things you could like. I don't know, I feel like and we were saying I think that it was coming back. But I do think that the sort of early Internet, early phone life was kind of a customizable vibe and that people enjoyed downloading things to change stuff up. And yeah, you'd download little icon packs to change the the folder icons on your desktop. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Things like that. Yeah. There's so many little tricks like that that early websites really love to play with. Like it's even just the idea of posting news like general news and current affairs to websites is quite interesting as well because so the site's kind of in assist visitors to come back by letting them in with you know obviously like the the the relevant news up to date news articles but also like with these consumer tactics and some of the desktop background designs have Wayne waves on them which is quite interesting because apparently waves represent resistance committed by the Tamil Tigers as well as like an esthetic reference to the former island of Salon. Yeah, and most of the sites are written in English, but they encourage learning the Tamil language and how to write Tamil script on a computer and on the internet. Well, right. So it was sort of like it was for the Tamil diaspora to have like a place to collect and to to feel connected. But it was also to kind of teach other people about their culture and wow, yeah, yeah. Anyone that was interested, literally anyone. Yeah. And the representation of maps is interesting too. For example, the homepage of Islam dot com showed a map at the top of the main page, which was like a heart shaped island with a dark pink field symbol symbolizing the nation. And he writes that the outline suggests a version of Tamil Eelam removed from the physicality of its location and a common form of representation that Tamils abroad deploy. And to be honest, even when you just Google image search Tamil map, the map of Tamil Nadu comes up, which is just the alleged origin, you know, of Tamil people, as I mentioned in the beginning. So that represents just a fraction of the population, let alone completely ignores Sri Lankan Tamils and. ELAM So are there any sites that like specifically address like the diaspora sections of the diaspora, like Tamils that live in like specific other countries, or is it all kind of a group groups sort of together under the one? Yes. So the Lanka Tamil Eelam Sangam, which is also known as the Association of Tamils of Eelam and Sri Lanka in the U.S., defines citizenship by identification rather than placement. Placement like location. Yeah. Okay. Even though they are aware of their U.S. borders. So the website makes it clear kind of standpoint that Tamil ex-patriots who reside in liberal democracies are, and I quote, the only voice through which the voiceless Tamils can speak. And the Eelam web website letter states our people are strength and shows images of demonstrations in Europe like France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and North America as well. And this kind of like, you know, portrays the limitations of location by depicting the nation as like a network and that it's the participants that form Eelam web. So the the Christopher Calandra and Thomas show that was a ACA that work is it so we've been talking about the like the original websites and community that sort of came up in the 2000s of nineties twins. But his work in that show, that's like is it using that as an archive to create new work or it like responds to it how how are they linked and what's he trying to do it just responds to it But he he's making like a virtual project. Yeah. As well. Yeah. But I think he's also invested in like this idea of kind of subverting rentier and subscription models to create like housing. He, I think he wanted to make at one point this, this housing for people where you're just paying for a subscription and then it gives you like a house and you might move and you might exchange it with other people. But he kind of believes in the fact that after a long period of time, the subscription service will be able to pay itself off and then people will eventually have like free housing. So he's kind of like interested in these techie new rentier things that can liberate us and actually execute quite leftist desires. But interesting. Yeah. So yeah, he also underpins the kind of construction of identity through the idea of exit or expats in the speech I mentioned earlier. And he says the economist Albert Hershman makes the argument that the possibility of exit gives power to the exercising of Democratic voice. And his biggest example of this is actually that of America. Yeah. And in April 2005, the editor of Tamil net Dama Linga Sivaraman, was abducted and killed by unknown gunmen. What? According to the BBC News Sinhala, his body was found near the parliament. Inside the high security zone. The police is yet to find the assassin. This followed Tamil net to be blocked by all major internet service providers in Sri Lanka on the orders of the government. Well, Telnet was that suspicious? Yeah, I mean, it was instrumental in the self-determination of Eelam and the government obviously saw its power and wanted to shut it down once and for all. So even though Tamil Net wasn't the one that was specifically looking at like fighting or anything like that, it was more just a I guess establishment or a demonstration of, of culture that was that was enough that it was dangerous to them, to the government. Well, they were also posting what was happening on the front lines. Yeah. So they were covering lot of the footage. They had a lot of video footage of that too. So but yeah, I mean, these were just updates of what was actually happening. Again, not really sure who killed him. Basically a former member of the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam, which is a former Tamil militant group that had become a pro-government military group and political party, has been accused of the murder. But the Tigers accused the government and Colonel Karuna Amon, more specifically, a politician who's also like a former militant who is basically fighting the tigers for 20 years. They they yeah, they they essentially blamed him. Well, but, you know, the results of Tamil Eelam online is still a global network which amalgamated international links to create a type of sovereignty through the virtual even though they never really occupy an entire space. Eaten also writes that this type of national participation and information dispersal for a recognition of a kind of autonomous population are reminiscent of the efforts of Pollard's The Basques and Nash and Black nationalists making connections to Africa. She also states that with this example, we can kind of begin to rethink, like the concept or kind of conditions of possibility for nation state or national membership. Also, I think it's just kind of like to include, I guess there's this quote by Bruno letter, which goes, the network practice is more supple than the notion of system, more historical than the notion of structure, more empirical than the notion of complexity. The idea of network is the Ariadne thread of these interwoven stories. So here again, I guess we can see how, like the online network provides us with really a more accurate expression and building of national identity and virtual. Tamil Eelam also provides the Internet with a better definition of itself too, because it kind of goes against this like Cartesian idea of cyberspace, which is known as this other space, you know, this other world that is mutually exclusive to the physical. And since the word diaspora is frequently referred to as an imagined community, it kind of really goes to show that the online and offline work in tandem because of this idea of the network, really. So yeah, that's the story of Tamil Eelam online. That's amazing. Thank you so much. And we are coming close to an hour, so yeah, thank you so much for listening and asking all the right questions as always. Yeah, I mean, even I would just like my brain is also pow wow. So it's it there was something with cyber power as well that I didn't mentioned before but that they would have it was like a gathering online where people could enter this space and see the show. But then there was also they had physical gatherings, they call them gatherings the physical. Yeah. Like events and, and things that they didn't really see as being different. The virtual or the the digital versus the, the physical reality. And it yeah, it's really interesting concept to think about a particularly in like early Internet days we talk, we talk so much about like what is it? How if we negotiate and renegotiate, dated the relationship between computers and humans and the role that computers play in our lives, that serve our lives as our physical. But so much is now played out in the digital world. And yeah, it's really interesting to look back, particularly at this. The Tamil Tamil net to think about like what that meant in the early 2000s and how that continues today. Yeah, and I mean it's kind of examples that like these that really show that the Internet is inherently connected to land. Yeah. And it's connected to our idea of place and home and idea of like nationalism, citizenship and the rights of land and how occupy and the spaces that you occupy. It all works on the Internet as well. And just the idea of like colonialism online and the concept of decolonial ization online. And in in that panel discussion, it came up about the vocabulary of particularly early Internet computer programs and this idea of, I guess, colonialism. But it's they were referencing browsers like Explorer, Navigator. Yeah, Yeah. And even referencing, you know, I think it's like Apache, like early Mac programs and things that, that this naming really references a colonial mindset or this like the Explorer going into this to this new land and and within that sort of fraught unexplored like that those topics not being really looked at critically in the early days like why are they just picking these these names how does how the different cultural, cultural groups or indigenous groups exist within those spaces in a way that is get connected with with the physical land and these. Yeah, I do know it's a no, but that's interesting where in the beginning they tried to show the internet as this like Wild West that should be occupied and explored and conquered. Yeah, but it really goes hand in hand with the idea of cyberspace and this other world that needs to be surfed, that needs to be navigated and explored, scrolled through all these very physical metaphors are certainly put on to this thing that they think is like an abstract alien space, but in reality it's just cool. Yeah. And it's this thing of like, okay, yeah, reusing the same language. Yeah. And then taking language from indigenous groups because for some for those those names, well it's like, yeah, those names have in this like Western mindset of that era. Yeah. Have some weird like denote other thing and it's, it's like Yeah. Would just use it. Those things are things that we should be critically analyzing anyway. It's just that yeah, it's just weird that this whole like language like set of expectations around like new spaces got all mixed up and then maybe we haven't been I mean, obviously people are, but as a, you know, overall haven't been kind of looking at it enough and thinking about, oh, maybe we set this whole thing up. Not with the best. Uh, yeah, language or words or of thinking around what is digital space. Yeah, that's interesting. Right. Well, thank you so much and thank you also will be will be back in a month. Yeah. And I hope you'll have a lovely new year. Yeah. Oh, my God. Happy New Year, everyone. I guess this Happy New Year will be coming in the New Year, but shortly after so yeah, hopefully everyone's having a good start and we'll see you in the next one. See you soon. Bye. Bye, y'all.