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POINT ARENA, Calif. — A few months ago, a group of artists, writers, curators, and creative technologists received an email with a link to a video requesting participation in a summit held in the small coastal town of Point Arena, California. I was one of 30 individuals who received the message.

The World Wide West (WWWest) summit, the first yet, would revolve around “reachability,” or “technology’s promise to extend our reach,” and there would be excursions involved. Despite the relative lack of details, I was intrigued. I agreed to attend.

I arrived early Friday morning on July 17. The directions were extremely specific with a few turns off Highway 1 and an excruciatingly slow and awkward drive (5 mph) along a pebbly concrete road that led to the farm. I was relieved to see the distinct logo upon entering the property. I joined in on breakfast at the farmhouse where the other guests had already gathered, when, all of a sudden, we heard woman’s voice on the radio: “Attention. Attention. Please meet for orientation.” The organizers used the AM radio frequency 90.1 to create a World Wide West-dedicated radio station. The voice seemed to emanate in surround sound since there were radios all over the campgrounds.

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Welcome to World Wide West: A Summit on the “Side Effects” of Technology