Re: nettime the next layer or the emergence of open source culture

2007-02-24 Thread Armin Medosch
On Thu, 2007-02-22 at 11:07 -0800, Kimberly De Vries wrote:

 I don't mean you should hide it, but maybe mention/document some
 examples when you talk about various covert deals made between
 groups--just claiming they exist won't convince a reader who doesn't
 already agree, and I assume you would like to persuade them.

Sorry, but I dont get this any more. Where do I talk about 'covert
deals between groups' ? What I say is you dont need to roll out the
spectre of cybercommunism for the next layer to happen. If some
totally depoliticized geek writes some code for some open source
project thhis is still fine. He does not have to think that this
activity is political, in the bigger picture it still is. At the
same time there are coders who understand their activity as clearly
political and they write software with a pointed intention to create
free media tools, free networks, etc. maybe you dont know such people
but they do exist, even in the USA of here and today. case studies
will follow.

as to the question if capitalism is 'stronger than ever' I agree with
lotu5' remark that this does not sound quite right. I should have
expressed it more dialectically. What I wanted to say is that powerful
people/classes have better means of oppression than ever and that
computers play a big role in that. At the same time people are writing
tools for DIY media and use them and this is all great, I am totally
up for it. But although capitalism may be 'waffling' I dont expect
to see Chavez running the world economy any time soon. Therefore my
metaphorical ending. the ice age of capitalism is still on, full
stop. but open source culture is something more evolutionary than
revolutionary and is smart and adaptive and bottom-up. in that regard
I would like to propose the synthesis, not the division, between
the cocoa co-operative in nicaragua and the hacklab in berlin or
amsterdam. you can see it as one and the same struggle, or you can
stay home and pull the blanket up


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Re: nettime the next layer or the emergence of open source culture

2007-02-20 Thread Kimberly De Vries
On 2/17/07, Armin Medosch [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:

 hi nettimers, I wonder what you think about this ...

 The Next Layer or: The Emergence of Open Source Culture

 Draft text for Pixelache publication, Armin Medosch, London/Vienna 2006
 - 2007

 First we had media art. In the early days of electronic and digital
 culture media art was an important way of considering relationships
 between society and technology, suggesting new practices and cultural
 techniques. It served as an outlet for the critique of the dark side of
 computer culture's roots in the military-industrial complex; and it
 suggested numerous utopian and beautiful ways of engagement with
 technology, new types of interactivity, sensuous interfaces,
 participative media practices, for instance. However, the more critical,
 egalitarian and participative branches of media art tended to be
 overshadowed by the advocacy of a high-tech and high-art version of it.
 This high-media art conceptually merged postmodern media theories with
 the techno-imaginary from computersciences and new wave cybernetics.
 Uncritical towards capitalisms embrace of technology as provider of
 economic growth and a weirdly paradoxical notion of progress, high-media
 art was successful in institutionalizing itself and finding the support
 of the elites but drew a lot of criticism from other quarters of
 society. It stuck to the notion of the artist as a solitary genius who
 creates works of art which exist in an economy of scarcity and for which
 intellectual ownership rights are declared.

 In the course of the 1990ies media art was superseded by what I call The
 Next Layer or, for help of better words, Open Source Culture. I am not
 claiming that the hackers who are the key protagonists of Open Source
 Culture are the new media artists. Such a claim would be rubbish as
 their work, their ways of working and how it is referenced is distinct
 from media art. I simply say that media art has become much less
 relevant through the emergence of The Next Layer. In the Next Layer many
 more protagonists come together than in the more narrowly defined field
 of media art. It is much less elitist and it is not based on exclusivity
 but on inclusion and collaboration. Instead of relying on ownership of
 ideas and control of intellectual property Open Source Culture is
 testing the limits if a new egalitarian and collaborative culture.

Later on you acknowledge the historical root, which I think enriches
your discussion.  Here though, it sounds like you are saying that Open
Source sprang forth in the 90s, without precedent, which I think you
don't mean.  So you might want to add some line that foreshadows your
historical discussion.  --But on the other hand, this is me
deliberately reading as an impatient American, who expects everything
to be laid out step by step with absolute explicitness.  So clarifying
this small point may not be very important, depending on the intended

 In the following paragraphs I would like to map out some of the key
 components of Open Source Culture. It has been made possible by the rise
 of Free, Libre and Open Source Software. Yet Open Source Culture is
 about much more than just writing software. Like any real culture it is
 based on shared values and a community of people.

 Open Source Culture is about creating new things, be they software,
 artefacts or social platforms. It therefore embraces the values inherent
 to any craft and it cherishes the understanding and mastery of the
 materials and the production processes involved. Going beyond
 craftmanship and being 'open source', it advocates free access to the
 means of production (instead of just ownership of them). Creativity is
 not just about work but about playfulness, experimentation and the joy
 of sharing. In Open Source Culture everybody has the chance to create
 immaterial and material things, express themselves, learn, teach, hear
 and be heard.

 Open Source Culture is not a tired version of enforced collectivism and
 old fashioned speculations about the 'death of authorship'. It is not a
 culture where the individual vanishes but where the individual remains
 visible and is credited as a contributor to a production process which
 can encompass one, a few or literally thousands of contributors.

 Fundamental to Open Source Culture's value system is the belief that
 knowledge should be in the public domain. What is generally known by
 humans should be available to all humans so that society as a whole can
 prosper. For most parts and whereever possible, this culture is based on
 a gift economy. Each one gets richer by donating their work to a growing
 pool of publicly available things. This is not a misguided form of
 altruism but more like a beneficial selfishness. Engaged in a sort of
 friendly competition everyone is pushing the whole thing forward a bit
 by trying to do something that is better, faster, more beuatiful or
 imaginative. Open Source Culture