Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube

Friday January 18 and Saturday 19th, PostCS11, Amsterdam.


In response to the increasing potential for video to become a significant form of personal media on the Internet, this conference examines the key issues that are emerging around the independent production and distribution of online video content. What are artists and activists responses to the popularity of ‘user-generated content’ websites? Is corporate backlash imminent?

After years of talk about digital conversions and crossmedia platforms we are now witnessing the merger of the Internet and television at a pace that no one predicted. For the baby boom generation, that currently forms the film and television establishment, the media organisations and conglomerates, this unfolds as a complete nightmare. Not only because of copyright issues but increasingly due to the shift of audience to vlogging and video-sharing websites as part of the development of a broader participatory culture.

The Video Vortex conference aims to contextualize these latest developments through presenting continuities and discontinuities in the artistic, activist and mainstream perspective of the last few decades. Unlike the way online video presents itself as the latest and greatest, there are long threads to be woven into the history of visual art, cinema and documentary production. The rise of the database as the dominant form of storing and accessing cultural artifacts has a rich tradition that still needs to be explored.

The closing session on Saturday evening will explore the way VJs and media artists are accessing and using online archives. Under the banner of Video Slamming, this evening is all about the new ways of watching, using, and playing with moving images, such as scratching, sampling, mixing, (meta)tagging and recommending.

Read the complete introduction to Video Vortex here
You can find the program here


That night I will do a vj glitch.
Here is what the program says:

“My main interests have always revolved around inverting the default use of new media technologies, both hardware and software-wise. During my Video Vortex VJ set, I will try to make a collage of ways that this can be accomplished within the video medium, focusing primarily on the concept of the glitch. The English term ‘glitch’ means a malfunction or an error and is generally used to indicate a small defect within a technology.
Some of the glitches I will show happened accidentally, while others are triggered on purpose. For me a glitch is a form of machine poetry; a way to vocalize the internal workings of a technology.”


More of my glitch disasters can be found on my blog


The final speaker for the session Cinema and Narrativity was visual artist Dan Oki. In contrast to Jan Simons and Thomas Elsaesser, who drew on ‘old media’ to analyze the Web, Oki’s talk focused on how the database can benefit future cinema research and production.

He began, though, by giving his perspective on issues that came up earlier in the conference. First, on the video artists’ unwillingness to go online, he says the situation is similar to an earlier one, when filmmakers ignored video art. But it is not just a case of being afraid of the new. Nor is the problem compression (limits on video quality), but how the Web enforces its own spatial and temporal logics. He discussed the problem of sculpting time – this is of course key to cinema and video, from editing to exhibition, and artists will have to figure out how this changes online. (What Oki meant exactly by this I’m not sure, and would appreciate comments on that.)

Oki then turned to the concept of the database and its relationship to cinema. He argues that cinema is a database, whether digitized or not. Film theory generally takes the ‘shot’ as its starting point, but a better one may be footage: 35mm stills, sound files, and so on. He gives examples, including Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man (and I would add the equally excellent film, The Wild Blue Yonder) to show how great cinema can result from re-purposing footage. How can we use new media to nurture this kind of filmmaking? Oki says that cinema archives should be made up of footage rather than (just) films, allowing for splicing by future directors.

Databases can also help researchers make more sense of the history cinema. By importing film ‘metadata’ – cast, crew, locations, etc. – on a large scale, one can map aesthetic developments and innovation in cinema. This would help overcome the default option of attributing change to the singular visions of directors, or ‘auteurs’.

Oki’s two suggestions , archiving ‘footage’ rather than films, and creating databases for research purposes, are a useful translation of Manovich’s well-known theory of database as symbolic form into practical targets. It remains to be seen whether these will be taken up by archivists and get support from the right institutions. Then, the question will be where it will take cinema and film theory.

Danube Telelectures

For the Danube Telelecture series, Sean Cubitt ( “Immersion, Connectivity, Conviviality”) and Lev Manovich (“After Effects, or Invisible Revolution”) gave lectures and discussed the topic of Remixing Cinema: The Future and Past of the Moving Image. Cinema as a visual phenomenon has accelerated increasingly over the last decades. Technical achievements at the material level like new participatory models driven by the melting of Internet, Databases, TV and Cinema are setting new standards and bringing a new dynamic to the black-box of the movie theater.

Remixing, Coding, Remapping, and Recombination of visual manifestations are revolutionizing the narrative form of film – new societal phenomena, like the VJ scene, generate immersive viewing spaces and new forms of moving image distribution. The domain of video, film, computer and net-based installations stands on the threshold of a material revolution: do they bring a new aesthetic? Revolutionary possibilities in camera and projection techniques offer increasingly faster development cycles that also allow for innovative image languages. New historical perspectives of the cinematic revue coalesce with innovative interpretations of our visual consumer culture and foretell future developments. What can be expected … what are the consequences?

The lectures and debates are now available at

elfriendoDeleting your MySpace page is painful. You had friends, too few or too many. It had taken over your life, or you wish it had. Was your profile stale? Were you too active? The morning after International Delete Your Myspace Account Day elfriendo gives you a new look. – “Taking the work out of social networking”

elfriendo is a new MySpace related service, founded on 30 January 2008, on the occasion of the International Delete Your MySpace Account Day, as a remedy.

These days one hardly has time to fill in one set of fields before another update request comes in. elfriendo reduces the number of form-filling steps to a bare minimum, without sacrificing quality or depth. People used to neglect their profiles, leaving them stale and deficient. elfriendo offers fresh sets of interests and an active look for your profile.

elfriendo’s business is profilization – professionalizing, optimizing and automating your profile on MySpace, the world’s largest social networking site. elfriendo is a service that keeps your profile active fresh.

√ You can have a profile generated for you on the basis of just a few interests.

√ You can create a profile on the basis of another profile, and that person’s group of friends.

√ You can tweak your profile by comparing it to another profile’s network, raising or lowering your compatibility.

elfriendo is a Web 2.0 compliant European start-up company, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Yes! Take me there

What is elfriendo?
elfriendo is a MySpace related service. It’s designed for people who have no time to fill in a profile, or would like to save time blending in with other fans of a certain interest. You can use elfriendo to measure compatibility of profiles and interests, to make a profile based on your interests, or to have a profile makeover when you feel your profile is no longer properly representing you. The outcomes are suggested fields, ready for you to tweak and customize.

more FAQ

Both authors contribute strongly towards the definition of freedom, and misconceptions of freedom within a networked society.
Galloway argues that the founding principal of the net is control, not freedom. [Galloway, p142]
But it is a different kind of control than we are used to; it is a control that is based on openness, inclusion, universalism and flexibility. Protocol is theoretically based on a contradiction (rhizomatic versus hierarchical). In a ‘reality check’ this contraction also becomes visible: for Protocol to be politically progressive, it must be partially reactionary [Galloway, p143].
Galloway is proving the misconception of the Internet being an anarchistic free environment and shows that in order to be free it needs structure. Protocol is this shaping force, and can also be seen as management style for life. Therefore it is more political than just technical. Moreover, Galloway wants to demystify the net and show its ruling basics, which are more similar to life itself than we think.
Chun’s larger argument is that we need to analyze the dichotomy between control &
freedom. Cyperpunk represents both at the same time, thus gets beyond this contrast.
She is looking for representations that are more useful than the paranoic fantasies of total control or freedom. In doing so, she takes a broader, more encompassing view on the matter discussed. Chun argues that different and often-conflicting agoraphobic cover stories – which combine freedom and control – underpin representations of fiber-optic networks as public. All these narratives assume that individuals precede public spaces, so that vulnerabilities result from contact with corrosive public air.
Fiber optics expose and involve us with others before we emerge as users.
In Keenan’s words: fiber optics allow for publicity, and publicity functions as a language; language allows for presentation and representation.
Chun goes further, by stating that fiber optics are more than merely a language, they act as a language that cannot be seen or heard. Where classical media studies assume computer-mediated communication, it actually is on its own, only sporadically allowing humans to read it; it creates an archive that defies our senses.
Moreover, users are not operating individually; they are actually being used.
Chun phrases that cyberspace is a literary attempt to narrativize, map, to know this seemingly unwelcome public [Chun, p250]. Chun has stated ways in which control-freedom has thrived on a paranoid knowledge that focuses on the technological rather than the political, and that relies
on racial profiling [Chun, p290]. Freedom has more to it than its often-metaphorical meaning. Freedom exceeds rather than complements control and is a spacing that constitutes existence; it is not the lack of relation, but the very possibility of relation; it cannot be separated from fraternity or equality. Freedom does not produce anything; it is a self-initiating being. The dream of an ever-giving, never displacing well of generosity uncannily resonates with the Internet as infinite capitalism. ‘Freedom entails a decision of life and death’ because biopower has been made symbolic.
A link is made to Kittlers’ claim that humans no longer have a singular claim to language, but it is moving towards machines, where programmability replaces free will. Not willing to go that far, Chun states that we do have a role in creating machines and their languages in the future. In order to do so, we must reject current understandings of freedom that make it into a gated community and we must explore the democratic potential of communications technologies, that stems from vulnerability rather that control; we must seize freedom with determination.

In retrospective, some questions remain unanswered, like what kind of Internet is envisioned by both authors? Yes, we do have to take a different approach in looking at our (post?) control society, and it apparently is not the open, free place it wants us to believe it is, but what then needs to be done to make it an open, public space? Are fiber optics democratic space, and need they be? Where Galloway would state that the non-interpretative protocol will sort itself out, always looking for the ideal, universal state, these questions will answer themselves in time, Chun would state that a mayor shift/ review has to take place if we want the Net to become a true public space, and that in a public space, the value lies in vulnerability, where we need to decouple the political from the technical.

Protocol – How Control Exists after Decentralization” by Alexander Galloway.
Control and Freedom – Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics” by Wendy Chun.

I’ve finished a short piece on tagging as a form of classification, called Getting Things Done?

Why do tomorrow what can be put off until the day after?

I’ve been reading some classic texts on categorization and how the issue has been dealt with on the Web. User-generated tags, Clay Shirky writes, offer powerful, more “organic” alternatives to traditional forms of classification. Here I discuss tagging and some of the known problems with it, before relating the latter to a short case study on the ‘todo’ and ‘toread’ tags on
Continue reading here.

picture by Rosa Menkman
Moderated by Arie Altena, this part of the session the artists Jeffrey Shaw from Australia and the Dutch Marnix de Nijs talked about their work with video, ambient screens and immersive techniques. The session took off with a quote from Paul Ruiz, from the Poetics of Cinema.


Julian Maire - Digit Julian Maire - Digit

In the foyer of the Balie, Julien Maire performed his live piece “Digit”; the writer sits at his desk with a glass of wine and a pile of paper. There are no writing tools, no pen, no typewriter, no computer. The writer uses only his hands. While stroking his paper gently, words appear out of nowhere, leaving the spectator surprised, lost and somewhat disturbed.

The texts Julien composes make me think of a mix between Dada, Concrete Poetry and a new form of écriture automatique. As a spectator I don’t know if what he is writing has any meaning, but I can see him constructing cubes, drawing twirling sentences and destroying single words. It is a beautiful puzzling sight.

On his website, Julien Maire describes his relation with Burroughs’ cut up method and his concept of the soft machine. Julien refers to his own piece as soft cinema. I wonder if there is any connection to the concept of soft cinema Lev Manovich developed.



I (almost) finished the Video Vortex vlog. you can check it out here


InfoVis and Cognition
presentation on 21 February by Chaim + Felicia + Carolien

InfoVis and Data Art
InfoVis and DataArt – ppt pres
presentation on 21 February by Paulien + Minke + Erik

InfoVis starts with Data
presentation on 21 February by Laura + George + Tjerk

Visual Structures
presentation on 6 March by Piet + Rikus + Raoul

Views and Interactions
presentation on 6 March by Maarten + Daphne + Lies

presentation on 6 March by Bas + Bob + Fleur

New Media M.A. Director: Prof. dr. Richard Rogers
New Media M.A. Thesis Coordinator: Dr. Carolin Gerlitz

Staff Specializations

Richard Rogers
Prof. dr. Richard Rogers is University Professor and Chair in New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam. He is a Web epistemologist, an area of study where the main claim is that the Web is a knowledge culture distinct from other media. Rogers concentrates on the research opportunities that would have been improbable or impossible without the Internet. His research involves studying and building info-tools. He studies, critiques and builds on top of adjudicative devices online, such as search engines. He is founder of, the group responsible for the Issue Crawler and other Web research instruments, and also founder of the Digital Methods Initiative, Amsterdam, reworking method for Internet-related research. Rogers is author of Technological Landscapes (London: Royal College of Art, 1999), editor of Preferred Placement: Knowledge Politics on the Web (Maastricht: Jan van Eyck, 2000), and author of Information Politics on the Web (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), awarded the 2005 Best Information Science Book of the Year Award presented by the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST). He recently published The End of the Virtual (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009). His latest book, Digital Methods, is forthcoming at MIT Press.

See also:

Rogers homepage:
Digital Methods Initiative (DMI): Foundation:

Jan Simons
Dr. Jan Simons is Associate Professor in New Media at the University of Amsterdam. He has published on cinema, photography, new media theory, and game theory. His research focuses on the processes of convergence and divergence brought about by new media. His latest book is Playing the Waves: Lars von Trier’s game cinema. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007.

See also:

Simon’s homepage:

Yuri Engelhardt
Dr. Yuri Engelhardt is Assistant Professor in New Media at the University of Amsterdam. He holds an M.A. in medicine and a PhD in computer science. Engelhardt’s research interests focus on pictorial languages. His PhD has been published in book form, The Language of Graphics (Amsterdam, 2002).

See also:

Engelhardt’s homepage:

Thomas Poell
Dr. Thomas Poell (1973) is assistant professor of New Media. Previously, he has published on the historical struggles over the democratization and centralization of the Dutch state. Currently, his research focuses on the role of specific new media, such as blogs, Internet forums, and social network sites, in contemporary political conflicts.

See also:

Bernhard Rieder
Dr. Bernhard Rieder is Associate Professor of New Media at the University of Amsterdam and a collaborator with the Digital Methods Initiative. His research focuses on the analysis, development, and application of digital research methods, as well as on the history, theory, and politics of software and in particular on the role algorithms play in social processes and in the production of knowledge and culture. He currently participates in the EMAPS project, an EU-funded study of the applications of electronic mapping, led by Prof. Bruno Latour. He also works on a long-term investigation into the historical and conceptual foundations of information processing techniques that process, sort, filter, and connect information on the web.

See also:

Carolin Gerlitz
Carolin Gerlitz, MA (UdK Berlin) MA (Goldsmiths) is Assistant Professor of New Media at the University of Amsterdam and is member of the Digital Methods Initiative. Her research explores the various intersections between new media and economic sociology. Currently, her interests focus on digital sociology, web economies, issue mapping, digital research methods, social media, brands, evaluation, topology and futures. She also works as post-doctoral researcher at the Issue Mapping project and as visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London.

See also:

Sebastian Scholz
Sebastian Scholz, MA (1977) is a lecturer in New Media and Television at the University of Amsterdam. His current research interests focus on relations of visibility, knowledge and media, the ‘newness’ of new media and the history and theory of (popular) television programmes. He is finishing his PhD on scientific productions of visibility by use of ‘epistemic images’, titled „Topologies of the Visible“. Scholz got his MA in Media Studies from the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany with a thesis on transforming visual cultures of surveillance and control. He recently co-edited a book on the German crime series “Tatort” and published on (micro)photography, film, scientific visualization and pornography.

See also:

Erik Borra
Erik Borra, M.Sc. (1981) is PhD candidate and docent Digital Methods for Internet Research at the University of Amsterdam, as well as Digital Methods Initiative’s lead developer. He holds an M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence. His research focuses on rethinking the Web as a source of data for social and cultural science.

See also:

Within the project ‘Diagnosing the Condition of Iraq: The web view’, DMI tried to diagnose the social conditions of Iraq via a web analysis. The Iraqi websphere consists largely out of news, blogs and commercial and governmental sites. In an early stage of our analysis it became clear to us that there is no evident interlinkage between these different Iraqi sites, and that they form isolated webspheres. This is a result of the history of the Iraqi web, which has been formed within three periods. The development of these three periods of the Iraqi web are forced by shifting convictions, beliefs and power relations. Every time a new shift occurred, it seems to have cut through the existing web, amputating or even destroying its former. With the help of historical web footage and standard Web-state forensic metrics, these cuts (invisible lines within an invisible matrix of powers) can be traced back. This study discloses a fragmented, shattered and isolated webspace, lacking interconnectivity of the different webspheres and characterized by anachronistic forms of code and design. This isolation is also evident by the lack of backlinks to Iraqi websites from elsewhere on the Web.[1]One can conclude that these strategies of amputation, that could be understood as censorship, expressions of denial, repression of memory or just as digital erosion didn’t end with the downfall of the Saddam regime and the new installation of the Interim Iraqi government in 2004, but still seem to form an integral part of whole Iraqi websphere, including the new .iq domain.

Another finding of our research in September was the fact that, although ICANN gave Iraq officially permission to use the .iq country code on the 5th of August 2005, this was hardly used. most of the websites (we counted 18 in total at that time) were registered in America (15 out of 18). Moreover, non of the found websites were actually registered in Iraq. I made a 18 second gif that shows all the websites that we could find back then. Last month I did the same research over and found out that the .iq web has been growing. I found 28 websites, of which 16 were registered in the US, 5 were private/non available and non still were registered in Iraq).

My project, which I named, can be understood as an attempt to represent the history of the Iraqi web. This representation however, will always be interwoven by a notion of absence, brokenness and loss (as is illustrated by the list of disappeared urls in appendix 2). The history of the Iraqi web cannot be presented as a whole because it will never be a totalized product. There is no permanent history, but a history that shifts and is actively written and rewritten by acts of censorship, restructuring and developing of the .iq domain (and other Iraqi webspheres). From this point of view, the Iraqi web contains a paradoxal tension between linearity and non-linearity. on the one hand the Iraqi web answers to the intrinsic qualities of the link that structures the web as non linear and on the other hand the web is structured via strict lines of power, boarders, laws and many more lines that cut it. creates a place for dialogue between the history of the different webs. It can be understood as intentionally ruined. This ruined state of the archive is a repercussion of the cutting lines of power of the Iraqi websphere as a whole. In this context the concept ruin is to be understood as both a noun and a verb, a process and an object. Ruin thus means a mode of working but also simultaneously, underlines the constructedness of, a constructedness in which the surfer can participate through making meaning and choosing his path. is a place where history becomes embodied, like in a monument. To commemorate the impossibility of actually ‘being there’; it ‘stands in’ for the past. The monument pays attention to the past-ness of the past, or acts as a reminder of absent content, domains and websites.[2] Unlike many monuments, doesn’t glorify its content, but commemorate an unimaginable past of breaking powers. I would therefore like to connect to what Andreas Huyssen calls an anti- or counter.[3]

In S/Z (1970), Barthes described an ideal text that consists of that are linked to each other with different paths or series and which are open ended. In this text, the networks are many and interact, without any one of them being able to surpass the rest. The text is a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one; the codes it mobilizes extend as far as the eye can reach, they are indeterminable […]; the system of meaning can take over this absolutely plural text, but their number is never closed, based as it is on the infinity of language.[4] In this text the reader can construct his own meaning, by choosing his own path. Therefore, the constructed meaning (of for instance the architecture) is never ‘true’. To Barthes, the goal of the ultimate text is not to be consumed, but to be produced.[5] A writerly text, in which the reader can produce meaning.[6] If we accept Huyssen’s suggestion of ‘the city as a text’, we could also try to understand the Iraqi web as a text. Barthes’ concept death of the author could be transformed into the death of the website creator.


Stead, Naomi. The Ruins of History: allegories of destruction in DanielLibeskind’ Jewish Museum. Open Journal Volume 2: Unsavoury histories, August 2000. p.1.

Huyssen, Andreas. ‘Monument and Memory in a Postmodern Age’, in: Young, James E. ed., Holocaust Memorials. The Art of Memory in History. Munich – New York: Prestel, 1994. p. 15.

Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Paris: Seuil, 1970. p. 5-6.

Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Paris: Seuil, 1970. p. 5-6.

Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Paris: Seuil, 1970. p. 5-6.

On February 28th 2008, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) organized The Mobile City conference, in collaboration with the research programs ‘Mew Media, Public Sphere and Urban Culture’ (University of Groningen) and ‘Playful Identities’ (Erasmus University Rotterdam). The conference concerned the interplay of physical and digital spaces, and the influence of locative and mobile media on urban culture and identities.

As I entered the spacious hall of the NAi, the first thing that caught my eye was a table filled with Lego. The colorful interlocking plastic bricks and accompanying array of gear, figurines and other parts stand for imaginatively exploring scenarios and possibilities in a serious form of play. Contemporary cities are the realization of a vision that was once upon a time played with, perhaps even on a table filled with Lego. Similarly, Locative Media could be seen as a modern form of serious play, fostering creative thinking, as users build metaphors of their identities and experiences using new media technologies within a presented scenario. On the one hand, Locative Media offers new tools for designers to envision future planning; on the other hand designers will have to think differently about cities as the technology implicates mobility, practices of everyday life, politics and aesthetics.

Continue reading at INC Weblog

This Thursday Anne Helmond will be giving a lecture on ‘The Widgetized Self‘ a term coined by Nancy Baym. Blogs are increasingly connected to search engines such as Google and Technorati through the blog software. This leads to practices that focus on identity building through the engines. What does the increasing popularity of widgets mean for the identity of the blog and the blogger? What role do blog software and blog templates play in identity construction?

The lecture is part of the Mediamatic Beauty Parlour lecture series which deals with self presentation on the net.

I will present our MacBook Reading Club. Digital camera technology advanced ego-photography and ways for self presentation. The web cam advanced camera technology as medium of selfpresentation further. The camera is always directed at the self. The image where the face is shot from a slightly upper angle is known as the “Youtube angle” or “MySpace angle”. With the built-in cam and Photobooth software, the first thing one does when installing a new mac is taking a snapshot of the self. MacBook Reading Club takes advantage of Photobooth and the build-in camera. MacBook Reading Club is a new phenomenon in ego-photography, and introduces the “MacBook Reading Club angle”.

Reading together

Admission is free and the presentations will be in English. Hope to see you there!

General information:

Place: Mediamatic, Amsterdam
Date: Thursday the 27th of March
Time: 18:00 hours
Language: English

More info on the Mediamatic page.

Victorian Circus, one of the most prominent new media festivals, thinks it is high time to explore THE FUTURE. Besides interesting lectures, brainstorms and debates you will be surprised by futuristic installations and films. As the cherry on the cake there will be an exclusive Dutch première of the documentary/film TechnoCalyps by Frank Theys. Come, the future is yours! But for how long?


[this post is in Dutch, as the entire conference was held in Dutch, dealing with e-culture in the Netherlands]
opening session

Cultuur 3.0 conferentie,
8 april, Club 11, amsterdam.
Virtueel Platvorm.

De conferentie cultuur 3.0 wordt geopend door de nieuwe directeur van Virtueel Platform, Floor van Spaendonck, Dick Rijken en Paul Keller (Digitale Pioniers). De openingsboodschap is een trieste: na het nieuws dat Steim, Mediamatic en Waag Society niet meer in aanmerking komen voor subsidie vanuit de gemeente Amsterdam, wordt de Cultuur 3.0 conferentie welhaast en noodkreet naar bestaansrecht.

Waar het thema zich focussed rond de demystificatie van e-cultuur zal er worden gekeken naar vooral de breedte waarin deze term zich bezigd en hoe er in verschillende sectoren wordt omgegaan met e-cultuur. Het doel van een dergelijke doorsnede is het vergaren van inzicht in alle processing van expressie en reflectie in dit domein. In alle lagen van de samenleving wordt er massaal gedaan aan e-cultuur. In elke huiskamer staat minstens een computer; de Time-person of the year is “you”. Hier gaat e-cultuur over. Naast het bieden van inzicht in de breedte van het veld, is het even relevant ‘onze’ eigen labs en doelen van deze labs te laten zien. Dit vakgebied begint bij de labs en zij zullen door moeten gaan in het vernieuwen en onderzoeken van het internet; het is nu niet afgelopen, het internet is nog niet af.

De dag is ruwweg op te delen in twee delen:
opleidingen en ontwikkelingen binnen e-cultuur en economie plus fondsen binnen e-cultuur, met Paul Keller en Floor van Spaendonck als hosts. Elke spreker krijgt vijf minuten om zijn of haar verhaal te doen.

Over Virtueel Platform
VP is klaar voor een nieuwe start waar het vroeger begon als lobby tussen politiek en media is VP nu een kenniscentrum van formaat, met plannen om verder te groeien naar sectorinstituut. VP wil zich richten op profesionalisering van de sector (zie nieuw beleidsplan vp) Met een nieuw team gaat hier aan gewerkt worden. nogmaals, de aanleiding van cultuur 3.0 is noodkreet. Iedereen wil digitaliseren, maar toch heerst er nog veel ongebrip. Demystificatie van de sector: er zou geen expertise zijn. Die is er natuurlijk wel, alleen nog niet helder verwoord. Nieuwe taak van VP.
overview conference
eerste panel: kunst & labs: wat zijn de innovatieve kunstvormen?
Susuan Jasco
is curator bij Montevideo. De functie van Montevideo is het conserveren en onderzoek doen naar open source, database, art production, preservation of media art. Naast ‘artist in residence’ zijn er ook artiesten die in het veld van nieuwe media actief zijn. Via bijvoorbeeld de foundation, zijn er middelen beschikbaar. met als doel “to provide time and means to work in professional context”. Innovatie in de kunst in lijn staan met de innovatie binnen technologie. Er worden projecten gescreend.

Lucas van der Velden.
In Eindhoven is er vanuit de gemeente een ‘nieuw’ initiatief : Strp S. Dit is een plek met veel ruimte en veel nieuwe creatieve industrie, gevestigd in oude Philips fabrieken. Van der Velden e.a. hebben het idee dat er behoefte is aan een culturele kant bij deze creatieve industrie in Eindhoven in de vorm van een Medialab. Het doel is om praktijk- onderzoek te doen naar de haalbaarheid van een Medialab via het realiseren van projecten. Deze projecten moeten zich gaan richten op de integratie van meerdere media. Vooral de relatie tussen media en architectuur bestaat er nog een gat, volgens van der Velden. Hij doelt hier op navigatie, tracking etc. De plek is interessant omdat o.a. Philips’ NatLab daar zat. Tot in de jaren 60 zorgde Philips voor een kunst-elan. Moet er een nieuw poem komen en moet dat in Eindhoven?

Waag society
Heeft in de afgelopen jaren aardig wat projecten opgeleverd en interventies gemaakt. De Waag wil haar activiteiten typeren als “creative research”. Waar in de academische wereld het dogma ‘publish or perish’ bestaat, gaat het Waag Society om maken, waar het dogma ‘demo or die’ van kracht is.
De methode is een iteratief ontwerpproces, waar samen werken met kunstenaars, academici en bedrijven een standaard is. Binnen de projecten staat de gebruiker centraal. Op zoek naar innovaties door middel van een grid van domeinen, waarbinnen de Waag actief wil zijn.
Een ander doel is het bieden van faciliteiten en ‘testbeds’ zoals fablab. Een groot probleem binnen innovatieplatforms en creatieve industrie is: hoe blijf je relevant? “IPP creative” is opgestart om ruimte te maken om onderzoek te doen en een soort neutrale plek te zijn om dit uit te zoeken.

tweede panel: onderzoek & ontwikkeling, opvallende modellen

Arie Altena, Frank Mohr Instituut
Rapporteerd vanuit Groningen en begint met de vraag: wat is nieuwe media kunst? Zijn doel is om studenten op te leiden om op een betekenisvolle manier kunst te maken die nu de cultuur vormen. Hierbij staat nieuwe technologie en de invloed van deze technologie op cultuur centraal. Wat is het om nu te leven? Hoe kan het anders? Belangrijk in dit veld is dat je als kunstenaar je eigen plek en mix van technologie maakt en toe-eigend. Het gaat om dingen maken. Het is zelden zo dat je alle facetten van een project als kunstenaar kunt doen. Vanuit de wereld van de kunst die dingen wil maken, zul je moeten samenwerken. Er is binnen nieuwe media kunst behoefte aan samenwerkingen tussen kunst en technologie. Het gaat om opnieuw leren denken – in reflectie en estethiek.

Alex Verkade
Is werkzaam bij buro ‘de praktijk”, waar methodes worden ontwikkeld voor regulier voortgezet onderwijs. Er wordt ook gekeken naar mogelijke toepassingen van cultuur en nieuwe media, maar ook bijvoorbeeld werkzaam voor de Nationale Wetenschapsquiz en wetenschapscommunicatie. Een recentelijk interessante reeks projecten gaan over afstandsonderwijs. Hoe kun je dit verbeteren? Er wordt geprobeerd onderwijsverbeteringen en leergedrag via e-cultuur aan te pakken door gebruik van data mining etc. Niet alleen de technische kant van onderwijs maar ook distributie speelt hier een belangrijke rol, waarin nederland een beetje achter loopt in vergelijking tot andere Europese landen. Er wordt druk gezocht naar partners die hierin kunnen helpen (oproep).

Anne Nigten
Is werkzaam voor V2. Ze bespreekt het model van de “Patching zone”, een nieuw initiatief vanuit v2. Dit is voortgekomen vanuit v2 lab onderzoek en het gaat over electronische kunst, waarbij projecten in samenwerking met wetenschappers en technici worden uitgevoerd. Ideale kunstvorming voor samenwerking op het gebied van onderzoek en ontwikkeling. V2 lab is daar een geruime tijd mee bezig geweest. Leerpuntje is dat de eigenheid van een onderzoek en de werkwijze/methode sterk afwijkt van r&d in bijvoorbeeld het bedrijfsleven of de wetenschap (open deur?).
De term Art&D is in het leven geroepen door Nigten (in plaats van R&D). Onderscheid zich omdat het geen reflectie is op theory, maar reflectie op zichzelf. It’s about remixing and patching. Kunstenaars putten vanuit verschillende gebieden en “patchen” dit tot iets nieuws, waarbij het vaak gaat om interactieve kunstwerken en het gedrag van gebruiker. Uitkomsten art en d. vaak werkende prototypes als uitkomst. Proof of concepts maar dan stapje verder.
Opleidingen vertonen vaak een gat omtrent samenwerking (ID Eindhoven is hier een tegenvoorbeeld) Complexe vraagstukken kunnen vaak niet anders dan transdisciplinair worden aangepakt. Behoefte aan ruimte om dit te doen is sterk: een aanvulling voor opleidingen = de patching zone. Gericht op hedendaagse complexe problemen, bijvoorbeeld rol van publieke ruimte, sociale interactie. Ook bijdrage leveren aan cultuurlokaal. Zie

derde panel: de gebruikers: eCultuur, wat is de meerwaarde?

Jan van der Sluis Stimulanz – live events.
Over informatie en organisatie van informatie in de zorg – crossmedialiteit. Laat een moeilijk leesbaar ontwerp zien van het in elkaar schuiven van verschillende dimensies in informatie. Van der Sluis brengt de term ‘life events’, wat er op neer komt dat er evenmenten zijn waarbij zorg noodzakelijk is, door wie dan ook. In hoeverre kun je deze live events gaan delen en invullen door middel van e-cultuur middelen? Er heerst in de zorgsector nog een grote achterstand als het neerkomt op de mogelijkheden die e-cultuur kan bieden. Implementatie en overtuiging is moeilijker dan het lijkt in de zorg.

Macha Roesink.
Verteld over het Museum De Paviljoens in Almere. De tentoonstelling ‘at random- netwerken en kruisbestuivingen’ staat centraal. Waarom ze hier nu staat is vogens haar omdat het woord “netwerken” in de titel van de tentoonstelling staat. Bij het Museumpaviljoen gebeurd echter nog veel meer zoals bemiddeling tussen actuele e-cultuur en onderwijs, maar ook het ontwikkelen van lesprogrammas bij tentoonstellingen. Het project Skybrowser van Luna Maurer wordt besproken als voorbeeld. (meer info hier).

museumgoudA – Ranti Tjan
Tjan is directeur van het museum Gouda, dat zich bezighoudt met kunstgeschiedenis en beeldende kunst. Als voorbeeld voor het integreren van museu met e-cultuur geeft Tjan een voorbeeld van 40.000 objecten -goudse beelden – die door middel van een per ongeluk meegenomen erfenis in Australie is beland. De eigenaar is op zoek gegaan naar de herkomst en makelij van deze beelden door brieven te schrijven. Met de komst van het internet is zijn informatiezoektocht extreem uitgebreid, vooral via internet verzamelaars en kenners. Dit geeft materiaal voor meerdere collecties. De vraag hierbij is hoe kun je opnieuw, met deze middelen, kunt verzamelen en hoe je de amateur-expert verzamelaar in dit proces betrekt.
Over de “patching zone” van v2, die ook hier is toegepast, zegt Tjan dat het een poging is om medewerkers opnieuw te laten kijken naar media, vooral op het gebied van de rol van conservator.

vierde panel: Internationale samenwerking: grenzelose projecten
SICA – Beate Gerlings
Internationale samenwerking, oke, maar wat is de ‘state of the union’ in e-cultuur, vraagt Gerlings zich af. E-cultuur is erg breed; er is nog geen duidelijk beeld.
Bij SICA gebeurd er vanalles, zoals de “dag vd grenseloze nieuwsgierigheid”, met daarbij de vraag hoe je echt kunt samenwerken in een interantionale context. Hoe zorg je voor echte crosspolonation in een tijd van een verschuivend wereldbeeld en een verschuiving van machtscentra. Door ander kanten op te kijken dan bijvoorbeeld New York en Berlijn, maar naar plekken als Shanghai Sao Paulo en Delhi krijgen we meer inzicht in wat er in de kunst allemaal te doen is. Maar is dit wel voor de nieuwe media sector? Ja, zegt Gerlings. Naast het hele digital divide verhaal is er vooral in het opzetten van e-cultuur erg veel te doen. Internationalisering ondersteunen is ook een doel van bijvoorbeeld VP. Virtueel en zintuigelijk volgen van internationale trends. Sica heeft als taak om interessante trends te spotten. Veel naar China en India om contacten te leggen, vooral om de link vanuit beeldscherm naar echt wereld te maken. Ook is er toegang tot europese subsidies voor dit soort projecten (oproep).

Alex Adriaansens, V2
Begint zijn presentatie met een foto van Mao die het werk van Duchamp onderzoekt. Dit is een voorbeeld van het doel van internationalisering; uitdaging en exploratie. Het onderzoeken en vormgeven van onszelf en onze omgeving; trial and error, DIY en methode. De inzet van technologie om onszelf te begrijpen is er altijd al geweest, waarbij media en technologie extenties van ons lichaam zijn (McLuhan). Internationale uitwisselingen zijn onderdeel van onze dagelijkse praktijk. Connectiviteit, verbondenheid en verantwoordelijkheid. Kunst, NGO’s, Copyright etcetera gaan allemaal over internationalisering. Dit wordt daarmee dan ook een belangrijk beleidspunt. Niet te verwarren met globalisering – internationalisering gaat over kennis delen.
Nederlandse e-cultuur instellingen zijn klein, wat kenmerkend is. Deze schaal heeft voor- en nadelen. Innovatie en onderzoek is gericht in fijnmazige netwerken waardoor het heel moeilijk is om een kritische massa te bereiken. Wel zijn deze netwerken dynamisch en flexibel en goed vernetwerkt. Kunst, vormgeving en e-cultuur zijn discipline-overschrijdend. Daarom zijn deze instellingen zeer geschikte partners voor buitenlandse projecten, vooral door hun unieke aanpak. In nieuwe economische regios werkt men vaak vanuit andere (hierarchische) achtergronden. Internationaal samenwerken gaat over delen van manieren van samenwerking. E-cultuur in nl is eigenzinnig en helder, experiment als basis voor praktijk. Tweewegverkeer, geen export. Residencies, workshops, presentaties… nl e-cultuur is hier al goed mee op weg. Belangrijk thema. E- cultuur houdt niet op aan de grens.

nimk, Gaby Wijers
Wijers begint, zegt ze zelf, met een aantal open deuren als statements. E-cultuur is vluchtig. Technieken zijn vluchting. Archieven, collecties en beheer zijn zijn het enige geheugen, het enige middel tegen vluchtigheid.
Bij het NIMk, lopen verschillende onderszoeks projecten over het archiveren van mediakunst en daarmee zijn ze pioniers. Het ontwikkelen van technieken en modellen om die kunst weer te presenteren is het doel, bijna altijd in samenwerking.
In 2010gaat het “inside installation project” getoond worden, mede mogelijk gemaakt door het culture 2000 fonds. NIMk in dit soort projecten het voortouw. Wijers laat nog een project zien; het Gama project. Gama is een e-content + project, waar 19 partijen bij participeren, waaronder onder andere Ars Electronica. Het doel is om archieven te bouwen; in november zullen de eerste resultaten zichtbaar zijn. NIMk heeft op dit moment een hele grote collectie mediakunst, ook voor distributie. Op 215 locaties in 36 landen.

vijfde panel: Creatieve industrie: tussen cultuur, economie en maatschappij

Picnic – Monique van Dusseldorp
Van Dusseldorp begint haar verhaal over kennismaken en conferenties. Zijn er mensen al actief aan het netwerken? Want daar gaat het om.
In amsterdam is er een grote mate van creatieve industrie en allerlei bedrijvigheid rond e-cultuur.
Er is nog geen blauwdruk over hoe hier mee om te gaan. Nu en hier op het punt van wat het hier en nu. Het PICNIC event is een grote bijeenkomst over e-cultuur en amsterdam als “creative capitol” – gematched voor industrie. Wat is een congres? Het brengt mensen bij elkaar om mee verder samen te werken en contacten te onderhouden. PICNIC is een platvorm, waar dit jaar ook “specials” worden geintroduceerd: themas binnen het gehel spectrum waar nog intensiever op wordt ingegaan. Er zijn nog mogelijkheden om voor de aankomende PICNIC en special aan te dragen (oproep).

Willem Velthoven, Mediamatic
Vertelt over “social rfid” en mediamatic als het eerste sociaal netwerk binnen en cultureel kader. De Kate Bush party wordt genoemd (kate komt niet) maar ook het El Hema project, een samenwerkinsproject waar mensen uit 17 landen elkaar vonden via eigen netwerken en dat van Mediamatic. Je sociale todo-lijst via netwerk is de badge die je gekregen hebt aan het begin van de conferentie. De fotos zijnop basis van je meta-datauitgezocht. Wat heb je met deze mensen gemeen? Ga het uitvinden! Ook kun je via je RFID badge bellen op twe plekken in 11; waarom? Hygienisch netwerken (dus wel praten, niet ontmoeten). Ook het friend-drinkstation wordt genoemd, dat vorig jaar op PICNIC erg succesvol bleek. Ook het iTea – en phototbooth project worden genoemd. Ook is er een dating service binnen het cultureel netwerk. Mocht je het allemaal teveel vinden, dan kun je gelukkig op de Mediamatic site bij je profiel, alle ‘social’ events uitzetten.

submarine channel, Bruno Felix
in 2000 begonnen als alternatief voor de publieke omroepen. Online festival met 1 keer per jaar een fysiek festival. Estetische kant wordt bekeken, maar ook de kanten als marketing en distributie: hoe bereik je mensen online. Over de eigen producties die submarine maakt, zegt Felix dat het risicovol is. Bijvoorbeeld het Minimovies project. Dit zjjn documentaires in serievorm in afleveringen van 5 minuten. Je krijgt 2 afleveringen en een trailer. Daarna kun je de rest van de serie kopen voor 1 dollar (iTunes model) hoe kun je online maken en distribueren?De documentaire My SeCondLife is van Submarine. Deze is via youTube bekend geworden en pas daarna via de normale omroepen uitgezonden.

Een discussiepunt is: er is veel te doen in Amsterdam rond nieuwe media ; hoe is dat ontstaan, terwijl er geen beleid voor bestond? Mensen willen graag hier, in amsterdam, bezig zijn met nieuwe media, De stad trekt het aan. We (amsterdam) deden altijd al illegale dingen voor de rest van europa, misschien komt het daar vandaan?

Financiering/fondsen: eCultuur, een vak apart?

Mondriaan Stichting – Gitta Luiten
Ontwikkelingen in e-cultuur hebben veel invloed op projecten en hoe daar nu mee wordt omgegaan binnen Musea. Het kruipt overal in. Nadeel is dat het wel meer kost. Voordeel is dat er zo weinig mogelijk criteria worden gesteld. Veel regels afschaffen. Er zijn veel ideen maar vaak geen tijd/ geld om het goed voor te bereiden. De kwaliteit moet ondersteund worden en de programmering wordt belangrijker.Er zijn 3 peilers voor het versterken en ontwikkelen van professionele cultuursector.
Over de interregeling: hoe gaat het geld verdeeld worden? Het is duidelijk dat er vooral meer geld moet komen. In Den Haag moet het door gaan dringen dat dit soort projecten kostbaar zijn.

Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds – Hans van Straten
De eerste kunst/media ervaring van van Straten was het Deaf festival. Binnen het Prins Berhard Cultuurfonds zijn er 5 sectoren en themas. Echter, er is nog geen apart speerpunt voor e-cultuur, binnen het Fonds. Maar aanvragen kan altijd (oproep)! Bijvoorbeeld de Waag krijgt steun vanuit het Fonds. Als je echt wilt weten of je project in aanmerking komt, ga naar www. Ook zijn er regionale afdelingen en projecten.

Kunstfonds – mediaproducties
Het gaat om maken in plaats van regelingen en beleid. Toch is er een beleid gemaakt, war het speerpunt ligt bij het leggen van verbinding tussen de electronische wereld en kunst. Toen (20jr geleden) radio en tv, nu ook internet. Deze drie media zijn aan het convergeren. Veel zelf initiatief om projecten op gang te brengen. De workshop stifo@sandberg wordt ook door het Kunstfonds gedaan. Er is net een boek verschenen met de resultaten (new cultural networks). Hoe nu verder?
Tradionele media naar steeds meer mengvormen; tegelijkertijd meer aanvragen over e-cultuur. bestaat dat wel? Jeugd 2.0 om te kijken wat e-cultuur is. Vooral jong publiek zit al in hele andere distributiekanalen. Belangrijk om over na te denken. Beleid of niet? Wat moet je hier doen? Al doende leren, iets minder beleid, meer richting cratieve industrie. Het grote geweld in deze sector zit in gaming, niet in kunst. Toch een brug slaan. Moeten dit vekennen, vooral serious gaming. Samen met VP conferenties en projectn formuleren om iets te laten zien + moeite waard. Ondersteuen van concrete plannen en de mensen die ze maken. Vergroten van publieksbereik. Zoeken naar nieuwe wegen om kunst en nieuwe wegen te verbinden.

Nederland fonds voor film
Begonnen met experimentele film. Interregeling . Fondsen nagedacht over prioriteiten. Bij het filmfonds bezinnen over wat we moeten nu met die e-cultuur. Loopt teveel via de experimentele kant. Besloten om speciaal loket in te ramen voor e-cultuur. De grens ligt bij het narratieve. binnen dat kan alles. beleidsplan op

Een discussiepunt is: alle sprekers zijn enthousiast over e-cultuur, maar wel allemaal aparte gedachtes en projecten van e-cultuur.
De Digitale Pioniers (Keller) Er is een statement/regeling – je moet naar een bepaald kunststroming. De Digitale Pioniers doen dat niet en zien toch e cultuur als iets op zichzelf en zijn maatschappelijke relevantie als op zichzelf staand. Veel jonge makers willen juist niet via fondsen of een bepaalde kunst werken. Daarvoor zijn de Digitale Pioniers.

Performance van STEIM: begonnen als lab voor electronische life performance. Performance by dj sniff.
steim performance

Wrap-up door Floor van Spaendonck
Dit was een korte doorsnede/scan van wat er aan e-cultuur gaande is binnen Nederland. Op het scherm zien we een start van een mapping- project gedaan door voor VP. Het eerste screenshot wordt aangeboden aan de wethouder van Amsterdam, Carolien Gehrels.
Wethouder Gehrels zegt afsluitend:
Ingewikkeld verhaal vanuit de Gemeente. Er is een groot belang aan cultuur, en er is een wens bij de wereldklasse te horen. E-culture en kunst in cultuur, Amsterdam als laboratorium functie. Dit is een belangrijk deel van het beleid als college. Atelierbeleid en broedplaatsen. Wij, bestuurders, zijn beleidsmakers, geloven wel in beleid. Je moet aanvoelen wat er gaande is en wat de passies zijn van de stad. Dat zijnde mensen die iets neer kunnen gaan zetten. De creatieve industrie groeit in Amsterdam. Belangrijk dat amsterdamse talenten zich thuis voelen. toekomst is aan u.

A youtube clip:

Today I went and saw a new opera from the hands of Lars Boom (who also writes for Endemol), Marcel Sijm and Caroline Ansink, conducted by Jussi Jaatinen. Now, I don’t consider myself an opera person, but I was lured to this opera by the promise of extensive use of digital projections. As the picture below shows: I got what I was promised. (more…)

efashion-day @ mediamatic. 17th of april, 2008.

After an introduction on Elfriendo, Leah Buechley gave a presentation on computational textiles or e-textiles. Buechley defines these as handcrafted, personal computers.
She starts with showing the work of Nikki S Lee , an artist who tries to blend in with different subcultures, mainly by wearing their clothing style. After this Buechley shows some random images about fashion. This as an introduction on changing fashion styles over the years. With Leah Buechley, a new style is born.
She shows the listeners her bracelet that lights up when she shakes her arm. And when she puts her hands on the figures of her sweater, it starts to make a beeping sound. This wasn’t really working like it was suppost to be because, ‘her battery was running low’.
When Buechley started experimenting with wearables, not much had been done in this field. The electronics that she used were big and unflexible. They were also hard to attach to fabrics. This is why Buechley came up with the idea of making the e-textile contruction kit. This is a little computer chip with some input and output devices. This made it easier for other people to experiment with wearables. Buechley also posts the descriptions of how she works on her blog. With this she tries to ‘spread the word’. But she found out that her tutorials were to hard for other people to follow. So, after the contruction kit, she invented the Lillypad Arduino. A round piece of fabric with all the electronics in is already. She used the existing Arduino software to make it easier for people to program the application.

Buechley is now teaching young adults in making wearables. She also looks at things beyond the work that the participants make. It is surprising to see that often girls do the workshop and not boys. They also find it really nice to work with electronics, which brings it more out in the open in stead of staying a niche with a bit of a nerdy feel to it.
Buechley concludes her reading with the remark that electrinics and programming should be mixed with the more arty and popular side. This to make it more accessible for all people.

Amsterdam, May 2008

By Michael Stevenson, Rosa Menkman, Jasper Moes, Erinc Salor and Esther Weltevrede (MA mediastudies, University of Amsterdam) with Geert Lovink

Bruce Sterling’s Dead Media Project, now expired, was on to something. In the rush to discover and define the new, there is never patience for what is being replaced. A pet project still sporadically referenced on Sterling’s blog, the idea was to document the ‘spiritual ancestors’ of today’s media.

It’s telling, though, that the Webby version of media archeology takes paleontology as its reference point. Sterling and co. stood ready with shovel in hand to deal with the ‘centralized, dinosaurian one-to-many media that roared and trampled through the 20th century’. The basic conviction underlying the new media frenzy around Virtual Reality and Cyberspace (and now Web 2.0) – one of violent dislocation from Before, on to an unknowable After – remained intact. Pre-history means no history.

If there is room for lament today, perhaps attention should turn to the new media entrepreneur, always gearing up for another revolution. The weight of the burst lingers in the knowing Youtube favorite, Here Comes Another Bubble, and in the rants of Andrew Keen. But are the media theorists any better off? Continually pressed to explain the ‘new’ in new media – something the entrepreneurs do well enough on their own – it is hard to avoid radical stalemate. Inherent in the term new media is a contradiction: the new is registered in the future tense – new media are always what will happen, whether it is replacing ‘mainstream media’ or each other – but will also one day be old, obsolete. New media theories easily suffer from the same flaws as their object of study, outdated while simultaneously framed in the future. The solution is not to avoid Google, blogs or whatever comes next, but to reconsider the role of media theory when its object of study is always on the verge of another transformation.

Coordinates include media archeology and mass psychology, as outlined below. Things to avoid are classical historicism and the cult of the new. The aim is to investigate the foundation of new media without recycling ordinary chronologies. In the age of cross media it is no longer useful to know that radio came before film and television before photography. This is the problem of the media archeology approach. Whereas knowledge of ancient (and superior) models and concepts existed, and unlikely futures were sketched, there is a great danger of misusing history to compensate for the all too fluid present.

What critical new media practitioners need is displacement. We do not necessarily need a general Web 2.0 or YouTube theory. In many cases it is too early for that. Nor do we need general philosophy classes that teach Marx, Deleuze and Freud, which are then applied to the object in need of theorization. This is an old school approach with which new media studies have suffered too long. Instead of mechanically utilizing general concepts from the field of theory and implanting them into Web 2.0, games, social networking sites and so on, we propose another method in which theory disrupts and disconnects the constant cry for new approaches.

Uncontemporary Media Theory is the outcome of a tutorial, taught by Geert Lovink. The aim was to bring us out of a comfort zone and force untimely perspectives on the present. It was a Dead Media Theory Project, but different. The alternative offered is a canon that mixes media archeology with sore-thumb themes, putting new media in an old light.


Store. Search. Digg. Increased awareness of the technological conditions for archiving comes at a time when these over-determine our capacity to remember. What we can still rescue, Friedrich Kittler writes, are stories of what has become. From McLuhan we know that a new technology inscribes itself in those that came before it. Kittler adds to this a sense of what is at stake: media dominate, and make their presence felt, lest they fall to the wayside. Archeology is not so much concerned with history as it is with the ‘site’, a place of occupation and the ‘where’ of traces and past events. Archeology focuses on the mess of media, critiquing linear histories while examining technical conditions governing what is sayable, knowable.

No war without representation. This is the key lesson of the development of media in the 20th century and today. Visual technologies, from searchlights to aerial photography, were deployed to construct and ultimately capture the enemy. Illusion, misinformation and simulation feature prominently in what Paul Virilio calls the logistics of perception, and in the “the deadly harmony that always establishes itself between the functions of eye and weapon” (Virilio, 1984: 69). War remains embedded in new media, whether glaringly – as in the recruitment game America’s Army – or under the surface, as with the tracking and tracing technologies that make up locative media. Today’s networked communications were brandished during the Cold War (Edwards, 1996) and its fallout (Turner, 2006). Genealogies of new media may also take their cue from studies of war sciences (Galison,1994; Hayles, 1999). The liberating potential of new technologies is well-known, their shady pasts less so. How can we learn from these and forge alternative understandings of the present?

Against theories of technological dissemination we could place theories of mass accumulation. New media are still defined in opposition to mass media, both in terms of technical flexibility (speed) and the meanings attributed to this (ideology). The crucial project for new media is to rid itself of the old, but attempts to imagine new forms of the mass – networks and mobs – have only led back to an uncomfortable maxim: the repressed always reboots. It’s hard to move on. One problem, dealt with by Canetti and later Marshall McLuhan, is to see media not just as channels for information but more importantly as substitutes for crowd sensations – differently translated functions of touch, release, seize and incorporate. What can a crowd perspective tell us about the desire to break with the old, about the ongoing mass production of ‘newness’?

Course Description

The course that produced this text, along with a few earlier posts, centers on three core works on media, mass psychology and war. Crowds and Power (1960) is Elias Canetti’s magnum opus, a study of the human condition from the perspective of crowd behavior. For Canetti, the fundamental drive guiding human behavior is to become more, while surviving all the others. In Male Fantasies (1987-1989 [1977- 1978]) Klaus Theweleit draws on Canetti and post-Freudian psychoanalysis to understand how collective trauma, gender relations and a fear of the unruly mass formed essential characteristics of fascism. Theweleit’s former colleague Friedrich Kittler has established the discipline of media archeology. His book Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (1999 [1986]) combines technological histories with contemporaneous reactions by ‘so-called Man’, chronicling the technical severance of acoustics, vision and writing from the body.


Primary Literature

Canetti, Elias. Crowds and Power. New York: Viking Press, 1962.

Kittler, Friedrich. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Trans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999 [1986].

Theweleit, Klaus. Male Fantasies. Volume 1: Women, Floods, Bodies, History. Trans. Stephen Conway et al. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987 [1977]

Theweleit, Klaus. Male Fantasies Volume 2: Male Bodies: Psychoanalyzing the White Terror. Trans. Erica Carter and Chris Turner. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989 [1978]

Secondary Literature

Cramer, Florian. Words Made Flesh – Code, Culture, Imagination. Piet Zwart Institute: Rotterdam, 2006. (pdf)

Cramer, Florian. Various Essays and Articles. (link)

Edwards, Paul N. The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.

Ernst, Wolfgang. Art of the Archive. Künstler.Archiv – Neue Werke zu historischen Beständen, hg. v. HelenAdkins, Köln (Walter König) 2005, 93-101 (pdf)

Erns, Wolfgang. Various texts. (Medientheorien=>Publikationen Ernst=>Ernst on Media (in English))

Galison, Peter. “Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Wiener and the Cybernetic Vision,” Critical Inquiry. 21, 1: 228-266.

Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999

Liu, Alan. The Laws of Cool. Chicago, UCP: 2004

Lovink, Geert. Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Reich, Wilhelm. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1980.

Sloterdijk, Peter. Sferen. Trans. Hans Driessen. Amsterdam: Boom, 2003 [1998/1999].

Theweleit, Klaus. Buch der Könige. Orpheus und Euridike. Frankfurt: Stroemfeld, 1988.

Turner, Fred. From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Virilio, Paul. War and Cinema: The Logistics of Perception. London: Verso, 1984.