The Video Vortex #9 flyer is out now

Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm  |  By: Serena Westra  |  Tags: , , , ,

The flyer of the 9th edition of Video Vortex is out now. Re:assemblies of Video will be held between the 28th of February and the 2nd of March 2013 in Lüneburg, Germany

Symposium; I don’t know where I’m going but I want to be there

Posted: December 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm  |  By: margreet  |  Tags: , ,

The expanding field of Graphic Design

18 december 2010
Paradiso Amsterdam
Wat tot de jaren negentig een klein ambachtelijk en cultureel vakgebied leek, blijkt in de 21e eeuw te zijn uitgegroeid tot een gedemocratiseerde discipline in het centrum van de moderne media. Met een wildgroei aan stijlen, ideeën, opvattingen en methoden maakt het grafisch ontwerpen deel uit van het bombardement van beelden om ons heen.
De wereld van visuele communicatie is een vrijplaats geworden voor tekst en beeld, voor dynamiek en verandering. De wildgroei van media en visuele stijlen veroorzaakt een bombardement van beelden om ons heen.

Graphic Design is een gebied waar ontwerpers persoonlijke fascinaties ontwikkelen, kleine en grote maatschappelijke discussiepunten opvoeren, kunst, vormgeving en wetenschap met elkaar verbinden en informatie vertalen naar beeld. I don't know where I'm going but I want to be there presenteert verschillende ontwerpers en disciplines die, direct of indirect, verbindingen aangaan met het grafisch ontwerpen. Niemand weet waar de grafische vormgeving heen gaat of hoe ze morgen zal heten. Wat we wel weten is dat ze in beweging is.

2e editie! Vorig jaar organiseerde het Graphic Design Museum het succesvolle symposium Me You And Everyone We Know Is A Curator. De sprekers, onder wie Bruce Sterling, Andrew Keen en Rick Poynor, verkenden toen nieuwe kwaliteitscriteria voor online artistieke productie. Dit jaar wil het symposium het uitdijende gebied van grafisch vormgeving in kaart brengen. Doe mee, ook en in het bijzonder als je denkt I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I Want To Be There.

Met Stefan Sagmeister, Alice Rawsthorn, Paul D. Miller alias DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, Dunne & Raby, Julian Roberts, KesselsKramer, Metahaven, Thomas Lommee, Lust, Ravioli, Sophie Krier, Mieke Gerritzen, Koert van Mensvoort.
Klik hier voor biografieën van de sprekers.


10.30 Deuren open, koffie & thee
11.00 Introductie / Koert van Mensvoort, moderator
11.05 Welcome to Graphic Design Wonderland / Mieke Gerritzen
11.15 What's going on? Design today / Alice Rawsthorn (UK)
11.45 Digital Anthropology / Lust (NL)
12.00 Thinking inside the box / Thomas Lommee, Intrastructures (B)
12.15 Graphic Detour / Erik Kessels, KesselsKramer (NL)
12.45 Pattern Landscapes / Julian Roberts (UK)
13.00 Lunchpauze
13.45 Sound Unbound / Paul D. Miller, alias DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid (USA)
14.15 Design for Wikileaks / Daniel van der Velden & Vinca Kruk, Metahaven (NL)
14.45 Between Reality and the Impossible / Fiona Raby, Dunne & Raby (UK)
15.15 Koffiepauze
15.30 Why designers need to learn to juggle / Sophie Krier (LUX)
15.40 Ravioli / Paul Griffioen (NL)
15.45 Design and Happiness / Stefan Sagmeister (Au)
16.15 In the rear view mirror / Koert van Mensvoort, Sophie Krier
16.30 Borrel

I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I Want To Be There T-shirt
by Experimental Jetset

I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I Want To Be There
Paradiso, Weteringschans 6, Amsterdam
Entree € 25,- / € 12.50 (studenten)
Voertaal Engels
Deur open 10.30 's morgens - -

Informatie: Graphic Design Museum t + 31 (0)76 529 99 00

Public Debate: Future of the Public Domain in Europe

Posted: November 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm  |  By: morgancurrie  |  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday session, 20.30– 22.30

Documents and sources on the Public Domain

Paul Keller from Kennisland opened the session with a bit of historical context: the 1990 Proposal for a Hypertext Project by sir Tim Berners-Lee. From the very beginning the internet has been a place of debate about what should and what shouldn't be in the public domain - an influential text was the discussion started by Eric Kluitenberg on the nettime mailing list Frequently Asked Questions About the Public Domain.
James Boyle's influential book from 2008, The Public Domain, has been the groundwork for anyone talking, thinking and/or reflecting on the subject since.
In the framework of the Communia project, the Public Domain Manifesto was published, which led to an official charter for the European Library Project Europeana: the Public Domain Charter.

Creative commons have become the public domain mark, but meanwhile many answers prevail, such as who should take care of this public domain and what infrastructures can we revert to.

James Boyle: Problems of the Public Domain

In his Skype session, Professor of Law at Duke Law School James Boyle laid out three main problems in discussions of the Public Domain debate - and what could be a number of solutions to them:

On the conceptual level, an essential task is to make politicians, institutional bodies and citizens aware about the ecology of knowledge, whereby a key driver for creativity stems from the interaction of the free and the controlled: We get creativity by control over the realm of the free - in culture, science, politics, etc. More common, however, seems to be an understanding that takes a universal stand only for the free. Yet, one may neglect the balance between the two realms on basis of such a conceptualization. Boyle illustrates this giving the example of a lawyer who believed that every breach of copyright may be understood as a violation of Human Rights and who was shocked by the idea that some people may see this very differently.

The second problem seems to be a cultural one. In the first place, when the copyright terms were extended, we applied the most speech-restrictive set of laws on most of 20th century culture. Since there is no speech-enhancing part of copyright law that could allow access and translation, we are denying ourselves access to most cultural expressions - even to orphaned works. Currently, 90% of creative and scientific materials are commercially unavailable but their copyright is still extended - the benefit of royalties for authors applies only to a very small fraction of historically produced documents. More often, there is no benefit to anyone.

Meanwhile, with e-culture rapidly growing and researchers looking less and less at off-line sources, the pyramid of knowledge seems to have been inversed: books have become the realm of the inaccessible. While spatial distance rendered inaccessibility before, actors such as Google now redefined access as immediate and disconnected from spatial fixation of cultural expressions.

The choice of where to publish what is persistently laid in the hands of the author - and without the conscious choice of an author none of us will have access to a wok produced by a contemporary in our lifetime. Free culture, public domain culture, will not contain any work made by our contemporaries unless they actively stipulated it - it is copyrighted by default. In such a way, we have cut ourselves off from our collective heritage, while generative production was always made by remixing.

The last problem identified by Boyle is based on the realm of science. The public domain is an essential component of scientific undertakings. While there are assumptions that issues around copyrights function better in this realm due to the relevance of technological progress and the resulting shorter term for patents of 20 years (in comparison to copyright terms of lifetime + 70 years), this seems not to hold true.

Referring to Berners-Lee, Boyle points out that the web was envisioned for science. As a tool to link and share scientific material, forming sets of hypertext links: a web of connections that would enable human knowledge to flourish. What we are confronted with now however, is that it works great for consumption and personal interests, yet for science the web hasn't progressed very much: most literature is locked-up behind fire- or paying walls, which makes a dense set of connections to other online material impossible. Yet, the power of internet lies in these connections. Further, current copyright law regulates items which are not even covered by copyright law in the first place, such as footnotes. They are merely regulated by a technological accident, made exclusive by walls of payments.

Next to this, what we see is an expansion of the range of scientific subject matter. In the EU, the Database Directive had no empirical benefit to database industry while imposing economically inefficient structures on scientists and citizens. At the same time, we see an expansion of patent rights to cover new developments such as gene sequencing or synthetic biology, whereby fears exist that these expanded realms of intellectual property inhibit new scientific fields to grow. Could foundational truths established in new areas be protected under patent law?

Now what can be done to alleviate these processes? In the political sphere, orphan rights legislation could be feasible, since expansions of copyrighted material that is economically inaccessible is an embarrassment to cultural industries. Other stimuli lie in private hacks/privately created solutions such as general licenses in software, Creative Commons licenses expanding copyright by individual authors as open commons or maybe even Google books as an example for private initiatives. Playing into the political and privately constructed commons as alternatives, there seems to be an enormous role for public education. Initiatives such as the public domain manifesto and Communia are extremely valuable and in more domains, from music sampling over software development to libraries and the sciences, people need to realise what public domain means - and what it means if it's taken away from them.

Bas Savenije: Challenges for libraries in the digital era

On basis of James Boyle's talk, Keller notes that librarians may have become the keepers and custodians of material that is generally difficult to access, opening the podium for Bas Savenije, Director General of the Dutch Royal Library, Koninklijke Bibliotheek. In his talk, Savenije reflects on the changing role and challenges that libraries are confronted with in connection to current developments regarding the public domain.

Savenije makes the observation that our current generation more and more seems to perceive that knowledge which is not digitally accessible is non-existent. Documents which are not yet digitalised may therefore be threatened to be forgotten. To counter this, libraries increasingly turn to digital content and digitalisation of their stock. Currently, about 4 mil. items are preserved by the National Library of the Netherlands which is aiming for their full digitalisation. However, Savenije points out that current calculations estimate that digitalisation until 2013 would cover approximately only 10%. What reasons hinder the digitalisation progress?

The first obstacle is the lack of financial funding for such undertakings, as grants are often made available only for specific purposes such as the digitalisation of parliamentarian papers of the Netherlands or newspapers for research purposes. On the European level, there is money available to build infrastructures or better access but when it comes to the actual digitalisation of books, there is a lack of funding.

A way of dealing with these circumstances is seeking for public-private partnerships, as recently happened with Google. This cooperation however was based on three conditions: 1) everything that is in the public domain in print, should be in the public domain digitally forever; 2) there should be no exclusivity of the documents to Google as a contractor and 3) there would be no non-disclosure agreements. On basis of this agreement, the digital material is now available for almost any educational or research purposes as long as it is not commercial. A dilemma remains: old manuscripts are not digitalised by Google due to matters of insurance for these vulnerable manuscripts. But public-private partnerships with companies that take care of these materials often run under different conditions that may create exclusivity.

A specialised company like ProQuest, taking care of such projects for example for the National Library of Denmark, grants free accessibility to the documents only per country - access from anywhere else is locked behind a paywall for 10-15 years. Yet without such commercial partnerships, it is questionable to what degree the necessary progress towards digitalisation can be accomplished.

A second obstacle of course is copyright. Solutions to legal regulations, e.g. around orphan works, are being developed in various EU-countries in the form of extended collective licensing. A case which helped to gain attention for this issue was the Google Books Settlement as it brought discussions about copyright and issues of open access for scientific information on the European agenda.

Digital born content presents another challenge to the workings of libraries, as it demands quite different approaches to collection and preservation. Is the traditional task of libraries to cover everything 'published', i.e. in an operational definition any document that is published with an ISBN number, still valid? With the Library of Congress' move towards tweet collection, should the National Library of the Netherlands collect tweets as well? Or would it rather be the task of the National Archive? How about scientific blogs? Common definitions of 'publication' do seem to fall short under the current wealth of data creation. Connected to this are the implications of the organizational diversity of heritage bodies facing these developments. Current publications sometimes work with annotated data models, integrating text and expressions of research-relevant data, audio and visual files in different media. How can the division of media over different organizations integrate multimedia? Since partial, media-based data collection would ruin the data, how does one arrange cooperation and build inclusive infrastructures?

Further, different types of libraries serving different parts of society are being funded by different sources. Being as a consequence different systems, how do the users of these libraries get access to data that is not available in 'their' specific library? An approach is needed that grants integrated access to data across territorial separation. It seems thus that the trend goes towards a National Digital Library with one common back-office where every library should provide access to their own community. While we have great examples such as Europeana, a big challenge is the envisioning of a 'Nederlandeana' that has a common infrastructure and responds to the changes across all domains induced by the Internet. Another issue remains securing the sustainability of such undertakings; however due to temporal reasons, this was not further elaborated upon.

James Boyle responds to the apparent dilemma of the increasing access to data connected to a shift towards integration of territoriality into the international public domain. How can one address these developments? According to Boyle, the first best solution would be to shorten copyright laws to about 8 to 17 years which seems to be optimal terms. However, that does essentially not remove territoriality. The second best solution then would be private or public-private initiatives, which would however also likely be territorial. An interesting case is that of Google, as the Google Booksearch Settlement may open up a market for competitors and thereby introduce new challenges for the public domain aside from territoriality. The adoption of the second best solution to Boyle seems more reasonable due to the potential of public licensing to achieve great things.

Bas Savenije adds that on a European level, the issues such as territoriality are being addressed several times per year in meetings of different National Libraries or Research Libraries. Conditions for public-private partnerships have been translated into a draft paper that is still being worked on. Responding to a question from the audience about the libraries' access to interface and search-functions developed by private partners, Savenije mentions that own data bodies are larger that the database of scans produced by Google and thus need to be developed independently: "I hope we can be as good as Google is in that".

Lucie Guibault: The European Dimension

European directive on copyright: recent discussion on public domain - including the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

The digital agenda plays decisive role in stimulating discussion of the public domain. The piling up of rights may be counterintuitive and counterproductive, which is why the European Union plays an important role in a new wave of public domain discussions - focused in the thematic network COMMUNIA, which discusses what the public domain means for science, for the public and for the general interest.

A working group has been working on an adaption of the public domain manifesto, which is meant to take a bold and provocative stand against copyright law. When attempting to define what copyright law is, we notice that lots of writing on the public domain is US-based (Duke University, et al.). Communia puts it on the map of the European discussions.

The manifesto proposes a split between structural public domain (both works whose protection has expired and all works that aren't copyrightable) and voluntary sharing of information (creative commons, ...). It proposes the adoption and development of the public domain mark and includes a number of general principles:

  • We should be able to freely build upon all information that is available out there: Public domain should be the rule and copyright the exception.
  • Most info is not original enough or copyright protectable so should freely flow.
  • What is in the public domain should remain in the public domain
  • Copyright is a right limited in time.

Simona Levi: Citizens' and artists' rights in the digital era

Simona Levi, Director of Conservas and involved in the annual oXcars, shares her point of view on public domain issues with a stronger focus on the position of contemporary producers of cultural goods and reflects on the immediate challenges and contributions of the artist in relation the public domain. Levi is connected to the FCForum, a platform and think-tank which understands itself as an international, action-oriented space to build and coordinate tools that enable civil society to answer to urgent political changes in the cultural sector. The FCForum brings together voices from liberal culture interest groups, yet explicitly also reaches out to the general audience to prevent the absorption by institutional bodies. In 2009, the FCForum set up the first Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge, a legal companion supporting work in the cultural domain by addressing copyright legislation in the digital era.

In 2010, the main focus of the forum was how to generate and defend new economic models for the digital era. Issues of the public domain are thereby especially approached from the understanding of the artists' work being seated in shared spaces. The current charter 2.0.1 'Citizens’ and artists’ Rights in the Digital Age' has particularly a practical focus, trying to challenge and influence political decision making on local and European level. While the points addressed in the charter are obvious and logic to those working in the artistic field, they may sadly not be to political bodies.

Some of the points mentioned by Levi are then:

  • Copyright terms should not exceed the minimum term set by the Berne convention (30 years), on the long term it should be shortened to about 8-17 years.
  • Jurisdiction should allow every publication to directly enter into the public domain.
  • Results of work and development funded by public money should be made accessible to everyone.
  • Research funded by educational institutions should be made accessible to the public.
  • There should be no restriction on the freedom to access, link or index any work that is already freely accessible to the public online, even if it not published under a shareable licence, an issue touching on the issue of private/non-private copying legislation.

According to Levi, another problem is posed by the legal framework around quoting, which is not allowed in many parts of Europe if the goal does not serve pedagogical or investigative reasons. Even if content creators support the quoting of their work, these limitations remain in power.

One major problem is connected to collecting societies. The problem here lies in the fact that there is few control on these bodies. They collect financial support in a public manner, yet redistribution of this money for their members works in a problematic way, since only a fraction of these members can vote on these decisions, based on royalties brought into the organization. This means that artists with a lower ability to bring financial assets into the group are essentially excluded from decision making. As a last point, Levi notes that they restrict the application of free licensing in the cultural industries and thereby silence potential interests of the artist in engaging with the pubic domain.


Charlotte Hess: Protection of access in knowledge - In need of a movement.

Charlotte Hess, Associate Dean for Research, Collections & Scholarly Communication at Syracuse University Library and internationally renown commons theorists, briefly reacts to the different positions that have been mapped out by the previous speakers.

While she recognizes that there is still a much to do about issues such as open access, it seems that Europe however is on a good track concerning these developments. In 2001, the first conference ever on the public domain had been organised by James Boyle and Hess points out how important and influential his contribution also through his work on the intellectual enclosure movement had been. What is needed for now seems to be a movement similar to the Environmental movement, something that could draw together all sorts of different people to protect our access to knowledge.

While much of the issues we are facing in this context are based in the realm of law, there certainly is also a general lack of awareness, neglecting negotiating and fighting any of the legal restriction. Yet, in a world where the dominance of corporations is so strong, the youth needs to be encouraged to go into the political arena instead of being swallowed by corporate entities.

Marietje Schaake is a member of the European parliament on behalf of D66, member of the committee on culture, media and education and co-founder of the Intergroup on New Media of European Parliament members.

In the closing part of the Public Debate, she discussed what the European Parliament can do for the public domain and what the sentiment in the parliament is towards the public domain. Overall, due to heavy lobbywork, the suggestion is raised that counterfeiting and breaches of copyright are to be the next war after terrorism. Currently, the odds are against reform of copyright law - there's a strong lobby in favor of keeping and strengthening the status quo and a severe lack of knowledge about public domain issues.

A lot can be done though, to influence the existing wave:

  • present facts & studies about the impact of new technologies
  • have artists proclaim their trust: conservative lobby currently seems to defend creativity
  • present data: seeming neutral helps alleviate the image of being "squatters of the internet who want to kill innovation"

We need to find a way to open up a polarized climate where it's safer to choose the establishment, if we want to secure an internet and knowledge culture that relies on principles of the public domain.

Active Archives

Posted: November 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm  |  By: morgancurrie  |  Tags: , , , ,

by Caroline Goralczyk

Michael Murtaugh,  writer, web designer and creator of the Active Archives, presented his project that is aiming at setting up multi-directional communication channels for cultural archives and therewith challenging its traditional uses. Founded in 2006 in Brussels, Active Archives is offering new ways of making platforms for cultural industries by questioning the notions of authorship and enthusiastically working with free software to promote new ways of instant publishing on cultural archives.

As Murtaugh points out, most of the interesting cultural archives have understood the act of instant publishing by putting up websites that mirror regular information brochures, announcements and text publishing that is based on a linear communication process where information is just passed on directly to the user without actively involving him. With understanding the web more as a space for collaborative writing, prototyping and the development of new ideas, the goal of Active Archives is to make cultural archives go beyond their task of simply preserving culture and making it accessible to users.

To illustrate how Active Archives can be used, Murtaugh introduces the audience into the project called 'Active Archive Video Wiki' which is designed to open the 'black box' of online videos by giving users the possibility to write with video and create new compositions with online elements. By referring to the world wide web as the 'wiki wiki web', Murtaugh also draws attention to the inconvenience of reading on the Internet. With finding new ways of working with videos and making archives more readable to users, his project uses free software to improve the interactive use of online material. Also, Active Archives works like a browser that is convenient to handle as users can copy URLs and then add them to the archive instead of uploading it to the repository.

Death Knell for Open Politics

Posted: November 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm  |  By: morgancurrie  |  Tags: , , ,

Open source, open government, open culture - as Nate Tkacz, PhD at the University of Melbourne points out in his talk, the ubiquity of 'openness' as a master category of politics in network cultures turns into a multidimensional, and even more into a political term in the debate on the free and open. With referring to historical notions of openness, Tkacz makes some critical statements on the function of the open with particularly discussing it on the basis of Karl Popper's work on 'The Open Society and its Enemies".

Nate Tkacz's research interest lies in investigating the political dynamic of Open Projects, which are projects influenced by the principles and production models of Free and Open Source Software, but translated into different domains. When making the reference to Popper, he introduces the thought of the 'open' being connected to politics and mass understanding.  Karl Popper, who referred to the open society as an entity contrary to totalitarianism, finds a close relation to the economics of Friedrich Hayek, who claimed that a decentralisation of markets was crucial as the inability to be certain of knowledge required openness as opposed to planned economy.

While 'openness' became a political term and open source the model of making things and grounding ideas, there is a problematic distinction between the concept of the open and lived open society. As neoliberalism ushered in with the 1980s and the ideas of open competition, open standards and open markets were more than ever on the fore, the concept of this openness also applied to the Internet which finally turned this hype of liberalism against the model of intellectual property that would close down environments and be contradictory to the 'open'.

When outlining different types of 'open', Nate Tkacz asks the question which is central to his talk: How is it even possible to criticize the 'open'? When thinking of open being oppositional to totalitarianism and connected to open systems of life, this question seems paradoxical when trying to criticize it. However, the term can be used in different ways and by different movements. To illustrate the political nature of the open, Tkacz portrays several groupings that are all based on transparency and the idea of the free and open: Google, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Lawrence Lessig with the idea of free culture, Hardt and Begri and the Tea Party as an Open Source Movement. In conclusion, the paradoxical nature of the open is that the open society is not open anyway, but it is also a side of politics and conflicts.

by Caroline Goralczyk

A contribution to a critique of free culture: From Anti-Copyright to the Creative Anti-Commons

Posted: November 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm  |  By: morgancurrie  |  Tags: , , , , , , ,

Dymitri Kleiner is a software developer working on projects that investigate the political economy of the internet, and the ideal of workers’ self-organization of production as a form of class struggle. Born in the USSR, Dmytri grew up in Toronto and now lives in Berlin. He is a founder of the Telekommunisten Collective, which provides internet and telephone services, as well as undertakes artistic projects that explore the way communications technologies have social relations embedded within them, such as deadSwap (2009) and Thimbl (2010).

Kleiner’s latest project however was the writing of “The Telekommunist Manifesto”, a book published by the Institute of Network Cultures of Amsterdam and launched in the Economies of Commons 2 conference at De Balie, Amsterdam, on Friday the 12th of November, 2010. Even though, Dmytri Kleiner introduced himself as a hacker or an amateur writer and not as an academic, his work stimulated an interesting and rather intense discussion.

In his talk in the session “Critique of the “Free and Open”, Kleiner follows the track from Anti-Copyright to the Creative Anti-Commons and presented it to the audience as a tragedy in three parts, which are described below.

Kleiner opened his talk claiming that copyright was not created to empower artists. Instead, it was created by the bourgeoisie to embed cultural production in an economic system that encourages the theft of the surplus value. In this context, the notion of “author” was invented just to justify the making of property out of cultural works.

Further on, he presented the three parts of the “tragedy”:

ACT 1: ANTI-COPYRIGHT- A proletarian movement

Anti-copyright is a proletarian or anti- capitalist movement, embraced by labor struggles, that opposes mightily to the existence of the individual author. It is based on the ideal of a common culture with no distinction between producers and consumers. An ideal that makes it incompatible with the needs of dominant Capitalism. Consequently, Anti-copyright could never be seen as nothing more than a threatening, radical fringe.

ACT 2: COPYLEFT – Invasion of the Bourgeoisie

Copyleft on the other hand, an alternative form of dissent to copyright that emerged with the development of Free Software, is fully compatible both to the contemporary economic system and to Bourgeois capitalism. The reason is simple: Software is capital. Producers depend on it so that they can produce and make profit out of the circulation of the generated consumer goods. Free software’s sustainability is based on the fact that it is largely funded by corporations, since it’s cheaper and more flexible compared to software developed from scratch.

ACT 3: THE CREATIVE COMMONS –The author reborn as Useful Idiot

Both Anti-copyright and Copyleft celebrated the death of the author. In the Creative Commons model however, that was boosted by the success of the Free Software Movement “the author is reborn as useful idiot”. He can’t reserve “all rights” as copyright suggested, but only “some rights”, including the options of “Non Derivative” and “Non Commercial”. The paradox of the Creative Commons, as presented by Dmytri Kleiner, is that the consumer is deprived from his right to become a producer and that the “Free Works” are not actually free, but private. Thus, the “Commons” turns into an “Anti-Commons”, where free sharing encounters constantly the barrier of incompatible licenses.


Developing his thought on the Creative Commons, Dmytri Kleiner claims that it is not an example of Anti-copyright or of Copyleft but a case of Copy-just-right: the model is based on content distribution but the “mechanical royalties” are being eliminated. However, he comes up with the antidote: Copy-far-left.


Copy-far-left, acknowledging that neither Anti-Copyright not Copyleft can provide a sustainable solution for economic support of cultural producers, brings a new perspective: the Non-Commercial clause used by some creative commons license can be sustained but with limitations. Copy-far-left suggests that commons based commercial use should be allowed explicitly to Co-operatives, Collectives, Non-profits and independent producers and not to profit seeking organizations. That way, free licensing remains a source of funding, while consumers regain the right to become producers, as long as they don’t become exploiters.

In his epilogue, Dmytri Kleiner points out that in order to have a free culture we have to assert a free society. Cultural workers have to work in solidarity with other workers on that big idea.

By Ilektra Pavlaki

Hans Westerhof: Paying the Cost of Access

Posted: November 13, 2010 at 7:04 pm  |  By: morgancurrie  |  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hans Westerhof, deputy director at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and program manager of the Images for the Future project spoke about the cost that access bears on archives in a digital world in the panel Materiality and Sustainability of Culture.

The traditional archive of Sound & Vision consists out of 21 vaults, spread out over 5 floors in a building that opened in 2006. In the digital domain, the institute collects over 1 petabytes a year in both daily broadcasting ingest and the results of the Images for the Future project. The physical archive is contiuously starting to look very different: servers are replacing vaults (13-15 PB exected in 2014).

But what really weighs upon the budget, is not necessarily the storage costs (however we, as archives, have a firm disadvantage when it comes to negotiating server costs, as this is a new terrain to us), but the cost of access. Broadcast professionals and public users expect immediate digital hi-res downloads, which brings along:

  • robot tape-arms
  • proxies for all hi-res videos
  • software for creating proxies & restore
  • management system for data files

Sound and Vision is working hard at other ways of access through user generated content and metadata (wiki, openimages, waisda, collaborations with wikipedia) and education programs which tend to be project-based (academia, ed-it).

We can control the cost of access in numeorous ways, but the bottomline is that by going digital we create a lot more (re)use, which is a costly success.

We (the cultural heritage institutions) need to become better at:

  • going digital (get real, get digital, understand and own the subject matter which is often new to our institutions)
  • collaborating ( think and act beyond institutions boundaries, share platforms, create economies of scale)
  • negotiate (with service providers & private companies)
  • improve on arguing the value & benefits of our case (we're creating monetary value for others and should start thinking within the framework of people that can help us out)

Johan Hoorn: Mutual blackboxing

Posted: May 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm  |  By: julianabrunello  |  Tags: , , , , ,

For: A wedge between private and public
Symposium in interactivity and public space
22 April 2010
SESSION 3 - Object

Report by Juliana Brunello

Johan Hoorn is a computer scientist and technologist whose work consists of affective computing, which means programming human things, or robots as a third body as one might say.

He and his team look deeply into the relation between humans and machines. As he points out, there is a human agency as well as a machine agency, which is called artificial intelligence. For technologists, the user is the black box, not the machine; as it is very hard to define what the user will do with a certain technology.

He agrees to the statement that there is morality embedded in design. Empirical research has shown that this is the main factor that will bring users to actually use a thing. It is not only necessary to look into the skills of a person, but also to look at the skills of a machine in order to understand its character. This overcrossing is put into the robot, so it has also features of its user. This way, the object will respond to the human. They also implement goals of into the robot. The AI will adapt to the user, and the user will adapt to the AI.

Inside the black box of the machine there is code, which is the implementation of what designers have though. The designer does push forward what he wants you to do, but he believes that this is relative.

The machine/robot is tested with humans. The humans are in charge of diagnosing the machine's system. Black boxes are redesigned if necessary, in order to make a machine that is more human-like. In this sense, it is the artist's role to deconstruct and find the meaning of that robot/avatar

Ronald van Tienhoven: Entities, Animism and Interactivity

Posted: May 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm  |  By: julianabrunello  |  Tags: , , , , ,

For: A wedge between private and public
Symposium in interactivity and public space
22 April 2010
SESSION 3 - Object

Report by Juliana Brunello

Ronald Tienhoven first assures us that he is not a true theorist, but an artist. His theoretical thinking is however very well developed, as we could witness during his speech.

He starts by saying that networks, things, interfaces, etc., are entities, they are (like) living things that can be cuddled or hated. In other words, they are just as ubiquitous as we are ourselves. In the old days, people thought of stones as being entities. Nowadays there is a new kind of animism. Thus one could say that there is a continuity in the interaction between things and people.

Tienhoven suggests we should not think of technology vs. human beings, but as a kind of interaction between both, as words and as phenomenon.

He shows us then an example of actor network theory in form of a video. It is a commercial about a couple who won the lottery and bought a yellow mercedes. For the car to go over a speed bump, the 'wife' needs to get out of the car with her purchases. He explains: Winning the Lotto makes the network of money to 'touch' them. They are in a new kind of fate that comes together with new problems.

Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz

This book is also about animism. Objects have a kind of inherited quality and each one takes its own context with them into new situations. It implies a certain kind of interaction. They are energies that interact with each other. In one part, the protagonist pulls the wings off of a fly and puts into this girl's shoes, as a form to get rid of his love for her. The erotic qualities of the shoes disappear by means of that fly. The meaning of the shoe changes due to the new interaction between shoe and fly.

Cronicas de bustos domecq, 1967, written by Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jorge Luis Borges:

In this book there is a story about a man who decides to stop writting, he just tells stories in the bars in Buenos Aires.This way, he does not make the object 'book', but inflicts other people with his stories, which he consciously doesn't tell in a good stylistic way, so that society will be the one polishing it in order for it to become a 'beautiful flower'. Tienhoven explains: An artist can make/write a scenario to the point where nobody else is able to participate. Interaction becomes only a wishful thinking of the artist.

Statue of Carlos Gardel:

People interact with this sculpture by putting a cigarette between the statue's fingers. "He is a chain smoker for the whole day". On the one hand, this could have been anticipated, but this was not the case. This interaction was not pre-conceived by the artist who made the sculpture. Tienhoven sees a latent space that is filled with possibilities.

Diepenheim 52,13N. 6,33E

This is a project he did together with Arno van der Mark. Here Mark tries to re-invent and re-define the notion of city planning. Everything that goes underground of a city, like sewer systems, are built first, and this way they limit the creativity and possibilities of city planning. If one tries to add some notes onto the landscapes, where things are available, then interesting things might happen in respect to the freedom people get, like building their hauses in clusters or appart from each other. This is, in his opinion, a very important notion concerning interactivity, that there is a space that can be filled up, without being preconceived by the artist.

Yvonne Droge Wendel: Objects and Things

Posted: May 4, 2010 at 12:23 pm  |  By: julianabrunello  |  Tags: , , , , ,

For: A Wedge between private and public
Symposium in interactivity and public space
22 April 2010
SESSION 3 - Object

Report by Juliana Brunello

The Moderator Klaas Kuitenbrouwer started the third session of the conference by introducing some of the thoughts that Willem van Weelden had for his keynote speech, but could not attend due to illness. His conference would have been about the essentialism hidden in Bruno Latour's actor network theory Kuitenbrouwer picked some phrases that Weelden told him over the phone: in the actor network theory of Latour there is an endless opening of black boxes, which turns out to be an endless process. Weelden refers to it as "a road to hell". In our hyper-capitalist society there is also less and less margin in which ambiguous objects, like interactive art in public space, can exist as well as responded to. His speech will be published on the website later on.

The third session, having 'lost' their theorist, ended up having a more artistical approach. The first speaker was Yvonne Droge Wendel , a visual artist from the Object Research Lab. Her presentation was mostly "improvised", what made it all more interesting.

Wendel introduced her project, which central questions are: What is an object? What is a thing? She points out, that this is quite impossible to answer, so instead, she tried to collect definitions for both terms during some of the meetings she organized on the theme. In order to do that she invited people from different disciplines, like material engineers and philosophers, and discussed these questions with them for a longer period of time. It was interesting for her to see how a kind of translation has taken place among the disciplines throughout the discussion.

(During her speech there was a grey ball rolling around the conference, seemingly aimless - one of the projects of the artist, controlled by remote control.)

The Swiss Army Knife and its morality: One comes with cork screw (for higher officers); another comes with bottle opener (for the lower ranks). Ronald van Tienhoven: Since soldiers drink beer, they only need the bottle opener, and only the Swiss Army Knives have a cork screw, because they are the ones who drank wine. Wendel: Each object has embedded in it a kind of morality. If one has/wants a certain skill, it gets embedded in the process of designing the object. Tienhoven: another example would be to have a second staircase for the servants. Modernism took a long time to become emancipated, as one can see in city planning, architecture and production of Swiss Army Knives.

Starting point of Wendel's research, as Kuitenbrouwer points out, is that a thing is not defined, it is always something in contextualized and in relation to each other. The basis of it is the actor network theory. The interpassivity theory builds upon a fundamental difference of human subjects on the one hand, and technological subjects on the other hand. Humans and technologies together form networks as functioning entities (Latour). The object is never a thing by itself, it always 'does' something. An object is always relational. How these relations work is a question Wendel tries to answer in her project.

It is also about bringing the ideas of what objects are in general. E.g. why city planners would put a beautiful sculpture in a neighborhood and think it would do good, but that a bad sculpture would not do any harm? Is it possible for objects to be bad? Where do we start talking about things or objects? Molecules, something one can touch, an aspirin within the body? What about the temporal aspect?

"The mercedness of a Mercedes car can only come out on a good highway". Wendel emphasizes that you cannot say you have a good bicycle if you don't have a good road to ride it. There is always a relation among objects.

At the lab, Wendel and her team are trying to translate the discussions into materials. They are also trying to come up with new ideas for different objects this way. Every time someone makes things, it is made for a specific purpose. She thought therefore that it would be interesting to make objects with the purpose of thinking about things. They are not made for any other use.

They use the same color for all the objects they create, so that they don't have too many qualities. By reducing them to their inner relational qualities, one can start thinking on how many qualities one object has to have in order for them to be able to discuss 'things'. These objects have also specific aspects, like the Tracer, a curtain that depending on how it is positioned can be a square or a rectangle. Other example is a de-skiller object and a slime mold by Sher Doruff.

She finalizes by pointing out that each discipline has its objects that they use for discussion. There are human things and thingy things. A bicycle lock relates to another object, making it a thingy thing. The social sciences for instance look at human things.