In-between Manifesto

On: May 30, 2008
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About Rosa Menkman
I like to take photos, make movies and read about new media and art. Last year I graduated on internet art (wrote my master thesis on the internet collective Jodi). Now I am in the Research Master media studies. My blog my Flickr my my


By Lievnath Faber, Tim van der Heijden and Rosa Menkman.


We are the Interdividuals
We are the people that celebrate the in-between. Our manifesto is meant for everyone. One who is ‘in-between’ is neither an isolated individual nor part of a collective; one is in-between. Someone who is in-between is called an ‘interdividual’. Whereas Nietzsche spoke about ‘individuals’ becoming ‘dividuals’ in modern society (absorbed or literally divided through the mass), we define the self always in relation to the other and, therefore, speak about the ‘interdividual’.

We are not goal-oriented
We do have a goal, but we are not goal-oriented. Being goal-oriented equals reducing all your actions to a means to reach an absolute goal. However, there is no absolute goal or final point. The dominating goal of our times is progress; becoming better, stronger, faster, etc. This goal always remains at the horizon (of the better) and the distance to it always remains the same; there will always be another improvement. This perceived goal is in a constant state of development, improving itself constantly, never resting at a certain state.
Our goal lies within the realm of the here and the now. In this here and now, we aim to develop a consciousness of the mechanisms of this goal-oriented society.

We proclaim the ontology of the in-between
The twentieth century should be regarded as the century that proclaimed the death of the discipline. The end of art (Danto), history (Fukayuma), politics (Schedler), science (Horgan), philosophy (Heidegger) and religion (Feuerbach).
We think that this century ought not be considered as a final stage but as a new era, the era of the “inter” (in-between). Our goal is to celebrate the in-between and embrace the era of the “inter”, in which the keywords are ‘interdisciplinary’, ‘interactivity’ and ‘intermediality’, etc. In doing so, the manifesto sets out to create an ontology of the in-between.

We find interpretation more valuable than Truth
Contemporary conflicts, according to ‘thinkers of difference’, can only be solved when all perspectives are able to see themselves in the Other(s). Consequently, reality as a concept as well as a practice, cannot be defined within entities, but is defined within differences. Hence ‘reality’, ‘world’ or ‘truth’ is always in-between.
The ‘in-between’ is always multilayered. Therefore, an interpretation is eventually more valuable than the Truth – after all, the Truth is always a hegemonic dominant narrative based on a singular perspective. We believe that what one calls ‘truth’ is a construction of interpretations. This ‘truth’ is plural, multivocal and interconnected to other ‘truths’ and to be found in-between. After all, as the old expression goes, “the truth is always in-between”.
(Mulder was wrong, the Truth is not out there!)
Nonetheless, we should never be sure and risk rigidization and totalization of our concept of the in-between. We recognize that the ‘truth’ is always a constructed instability of meanings (although we must always stay pragmatic). Consequently, we are willing to constantly revise our statements in interaction with our environment. The manifesto should thus be regarded as an open invitation to explore and interpret the in-between.

We react to the spirit of our time (Zeitgeist)
First of all, we deal with the death of the discipline (as mentioned before).
Secondly, we take a stance against the binary and linear approach to life and the world’s non-existence of return. In the binary and linear system, technology is no longer a means but has eventually become a goal in itself. We want to become circular again (in the sense that there is an plurality of circles in-between the constructions of ‘truth’, ‘reality’, and also ‘time’) in order to embrace the eternal return of the ‘in-between’.
Finally, we feel that today, one is, without realizing, caught up in a linear flow of technology and its content. Flow is constructed within the capitalist world and the ‘society of the spectacle’. In this preprogrammed, patterned flow, one has lost control and one’s active choices are being suppressed by political powers at work. A part of flow is escapism. Although our society is completely based on escapism, it becomes harder to choose one’s own form. A characteristic of the flow is the freshness fetish, through which we perceive the need to be on top of every development.
We want to recapture our agency and regain the power of choice again, but underline that with the repossession of active choice comes the duty of responsibility. In order to recapture our agency, we must create an awareness of the flow.

We engage with the present through a dialectics of becoming
Although most manifestos are aiming for certain change, our manifesto is located between future and past and embraces the endless repetition and difference of the subliminal ‘now’.
We do not want to ‘become’ in terms of progress. After all, progress is not the equivalent of change. We want to change without progress; we want to become who we are in the HERE and NOW! We want to engage with the present, since the present is always in-between past and future.

We endorse the use of media in an intermedial way
A medium must always be used in an intermedial way. This means to evoke ‘tensional differences’ between media (a medium is always in relation to another medium), modes (a symbioses of text, image and sound) and frames (we celebrate montage not the frame). Subsequently, a medium must always be used in a self-reflexive and sensible way and should not decay into a multimedial spectacle or Gesamtkunstwerk. In doing so, the medium is able to break with its conventional use and, therefore, to break with the conventional ways of making meaning.

We become interdividuals through interesse
The interdividual is always and only becoming in relation to others. Interdividual relations are based on ‘asymmetrical reciprocity’. In order to become interdividual and engage in asymmetrical reciprocity one needs to be affirmative. Affirmativity means to connect to the forces that make you active and enables you to connect to the other. Therefore, affirmativity is characteristic for “interesse” since it enables it; one has to be affirmative in order to be(come) “interesse-ted”: being (esse) in-between (inter).
Only when one is not goal-oriented, having an ‘aimless walk’ (Dérive), one is able to ‘see’ and ‘be’ in the in-between. Therefore, there is always room for new meanings and new perspectives.

We celebrate the perceived accident [via the destructive qualities of the void]
Every technology has its own accidents. Although many people perceive these accidents as negative experiences, we would like to emphasize their positive consequences. We feel that in this day and age we need systematically distorted communication, because this opens up possibilities for discussing technologies and their internal politics. A way to create this systematically distorted communication lies within the technique of the void.
The void is not only a means to perceive, it is especially a lack of meaning, often a place where a medium is used in an inversive way and where the message of the medium is destroyed. In this space one is triggered to reflect upon the conventional frames, to criticize the flow, which we have taken for granted and through which we are conditioned to take part of the spirit of our time.

We make meaning through imagination [via the constructive qualities of the void]
The void is often a place where meaning is intentionally ruined.
We understand the concept ‘ruin’ both as a noun and a verb, a process (to ruin) and an object (the ruined picture). As a counter-reaction to this ruin, we use our imagination. The ruins’ formal fragmentation signifies that its meaning is ‘open’ to interpretation and meaningful engagement. Through systematic use of the void one is triggered to perceive the world differently by means of one’s imagination. By increasing the degree of imagination, and therefore one’s degree of interactivity, one is able to avoid the flow and the framing of media and grasp more of its internal politics. Moreover, through the void one can go ‘beyond representation’. The void obliges us to start making meaning actively. We need techniques of the void in order to reterritorialize our environment and, therefore, ourselves. Thus, imagination is a crucial part of the constructive function of the void. We state that the void is a deconstructive power, which one can use to enter the realm of the in-between.

5 Responses to “In-between Manifesto”
  • June 27, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I’ve used Baudrillard’s theories extensively in my MA thesis and I’ve read this manifesto with interest. However the paradox is, that the in-between itself can become a goal. Continuous development is (harder, better, faster, stronger), how contradictory it may sound, in itself a goal. For discussion purposes (I’m not being deterministic with this standpoint here), I’d really like to hear views on “the in-between is simply another goal”.

  • June 30, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    A very interesting question, Twan. Actually, the manifesto is full of such “paradoxes”, as we have attempted to be(come) ‘in-between’. Your statement that be(com)ing in-between is a goal in itself is true, as this is something we are aiming for. However, it should be noted that this goal is never rigidely fixed or based on a future prospective. The state of in-between is based on the principle of “becoming”, a concept used by immanent philosophers such as Hericlates (“Pantha Rhei”), Nietzsche and more recently Gilles Deleuze. Briefly stated, it means that everything around us is moving and, therefore, can never exist in a fixed state. As humans we try to organize the ever moving chaos around us by categorizing it (this is were for example language comes in). Moreover, in modern society, technology has become a means for establishing this even more deterministically. Throughout this deterministic “flow”, it might be argued, technology has become a goal in itself. Think about, for instance, how new media and digital technologies have shapen our daily environment. This is of course were Jean Baudrillard, among other theorists, comes in as he claims that this environment has become a ‘simulacre’, a hyperreality with no reference to reality anymore. With our manifesto, however, we have attempted to go beyond this rather cultural pessimistic argument by revealing a way of dealing with the flow. Although there is no way out, since there is nothing outside the flow (Baudrillard would say ‘simulacre’, Deleuze would say ‘plane of immanence’), the only manner to do this is to escape without escaping, to break without breaking, indeed, to be(come) in-between. Using the void, see the last points of the manifesto, is technically speaking a means to do this. This brings me back to your question: Indeed, be(com)ing in-between is a goal in itself, but a goal which is based on the subliminal ‘now’, the present, (which is already becoming all the time) instead of a future or prospect. Therefore, the in-between is indeed “simply another goal”, but, as has hopefully become clear by now, a different one then those which are part of the deterministic flow.

  • July 1, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Although I’m not a Deleuzian expert, I do see your point on the continuous state of being. Perhaps most interesting about this is that wherever you “start”, you have already reached your goal of being in a constant state of development. Whatever your goal might be, you’ve already reached it. That is perhaps the most interesting thought of the manifesto you have put forth. Although this might be hard to grasp for “us humans” in general. Society is filled with images of “alpha and omega”, “first to last” and let’s face it. We can’t really think about anything, without instantly thinking about its end. In the grand scheme of things: the human can’t think of an endless (spatial) and everlasting (timial) universe. It can perhaps reason the existence of eternity in some form, but never realise it really, because a human’s own life ranges from the cradle to the grave, from beginning to end. Everyday when we look in the mirror, devoid of any technological device, we see either growth or decay as we see ourselves. The best example of this in new media-form is perhaps the rise of “one photograph-a-day-movies on youtube”. We see the curse of time: decay. And not only within ourselves, but also in technological gadgets that we carry everyday. So in conclusion, with a focus on continuous development and the in-between, there is the constant decay of what is behind us; an instant decay of what was new just a second ago. Our mirrors make us face this reality, every morning, because it is an integral part of being. Can we escape “the goal”, even if we see it in nature itself, new endings and new beginnings, growth and decay, all around us, everyday?

  • July 6, 2008 at 9:27 pm

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  • September 8, 2016 at 3:57 am

    […] Faber, Lievnath, Menkman, Rosa, and van der Heijden, Tim. “The In-Between Manifesto”. Masters of Media. Online at […]

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