Theory on Demand #11
Rasa Smite, Creative Networks In the Rearview Mirror of Eastern European History
This study explores the dawn of internet culture from an Eastern European perspective. Starting with a theoretical angle several networks are introduced and interpreted as complex socio-technical systems. The author analyzes the development of self-organized formations that started off as ‘virtual communities’, ‘creative networks’ that emerged from the early days of internet culture during the roaring mid 1990s until today’s social media. Along with translocal case studies of Nettime, Syndicate, Faces and Xchange, as well as other important facets of early network culture in Europe, the study looks into the local E-Lab initiative in Riga, Latvia. Describing the pioneering network culture of 1990s, this study reflects on the larger changes in the social structure of today’s society, 15 years later, that occur as follow-ups of these earlier socio-technical transformations.
Rasa Smite is an artist, network researcher and cultural inventor, working with emerging media since the mid-1990s. She holds a PhD in sociology from the Riga Stradins University and currently is Associate Professor and Researcher in the Art Research Lab at Liepaja University. Rasa Smite is founding director of the Center for New Media Culture RIXC in Riga (www.rixc.lv) and founder of Internet culture and networked art projects such as Xchange, Acoustic Space Lab and more recently the Renewable Network. Together with her centre she organizes the annual festival Art+Communication (since 1996), curates networked art exhibitions and publishes Acoustic Space journal series, introducing novel themes such as internet radio (1997), locative media (2003), electromagnetic waves as material and medium in art (2006), art and renewable energy (2009), techno-ecologies (2009) and the art of resilience (2012).
Translation (from Latvian): Linda Vebere. Copy editing: Miriam Rasch. Design: Katja van Stiphout. DTP: Margreet Riphagen. Printer: ‘Print on Demand’. Publisher: Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2012. ISBN: 978-90-818575-0-5.
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