The Tactical Media Files

On: November 1, 2008
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About Paulien Dresscher
Before receiving her MA New Media at the University of Amsterdam in 2007, Paulien Dresscher gained her BA Video Art and Media at the Minerva Academy in Groningen in 1994. Since then she is working as an independent artist, editor and filmmaker and is teaching at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Since 2009 she is E-Culture adviser of the filmfund.nl. Currently she is enrolled at UvA's international research master Media Studies program. Paulien Dresscher is living with her husband and daughter on a sailing ship in the center of Amsterdam.

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Yesterday at the Balie in Amsterdam, Erik Kluitenberg and David Garcia launched The Tactical Media Files. The Tactical Media Files is a new archive that stores mainly material gathered from the Next 5 Minutes festivals organized in Amsterdam between 1993-2003 together with related material. Tactical media operate at the intersection of art, politics, media and technology and want ‘to give voice to the voiceless and create space in the public domain for dissenting opinions and marginalized social and cultural groups, in and across different societies’ according to the post on nettime.nl.

The presenting of the site was rather informal. About 30 quests were gathered at de Balie and Kluitenberg explained some of the backgrounds and motivations of the initiative. With this website Kluitenberg and Garcia created, together with their colleagues, an open source documentation web-resource to archive documentation related to the subject of tactical media. The archive consists right now about 2000 videotapes from the first three editions of the Next 5 Minutes. The site is a pretty straight forward website. It has news, ongoing events and featured items. The video archive is the heart of the site and all sorts of material can be found. Varying from interviews, documentaries, aids awareness commercials combined with gay porn, poverty relations between the USA and South-America and how to build a radio transmitter. Besides this, the Balie is trying to reconstruct the websites from the Next 5 Minutes.

For the site’s users it is not possible to upload material, they just can download the material. The Balie is going to work with several editors though, who decide on what will be uploaded. All the material can be edited and tagged so linking is easy. You can search on events and on categories (connections made by the editors) but also in alphabetical order or keywords. This web of relations can be traced and picked out again on description or on the level of annotation of individual parts. The user can add descriptions of each fragment afterward.

The choice for a not totally open structure of the web, is based on the ubu website. According to the makers of the site Ubu.com it is such a good site because it is not completely open. Kluitenberg is following this path and prefers to works with contributing editors who are interested in the material. And, it is definitely not Youtube.

A very happy and enthusiastic David Garcia thanked Erik and De Balie ‘who took stuff back from the grave’. It is not about nostalgia but it is about memory as David argued.

This is the Amsterdam cultural memory for so many years. The first hurdle is to bring this material together for a new generation of activists: politics is not only about problems but also about the expressive means of communication. These tactical media in front of us are new cultural relations. It is time to be strategic about how networks work and we need institutions to continue to remain tactical

The physical archive of the Tactical Media Files/Next 5 minutes will be located at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and will be available for public consultation on request.

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