Interview met Koen Damhuis over Facebook, Generatie Y en de huidige samenleving

Posted: May 24, 2012 at 11:23 am  |  By: Serena Westra  |  Tags: , , , ,

Afgelopen woensdag sprak Serena Westra van het Institute of Network Cultures met auteur Koen Damhuis over zijn boek ‘De Virtuele Spiegel: Waarom Facebook ons Ongelukkig maakt’. In zijn boek werpt hij een sociologische blik op de positie van zijn generatie, Generatie Y, die in de huidige samenleving steeds meer moeite heeft met de hoge prestatiedruk en de vele (schijnbaar) succesvolle vrienden.

Koen Damhuis door Serena Westra

Koen Damhuis door Serena Westra

Koen, veel mensen vragen zich af hoe het jou gelukt is om zo jong al een boek te schrijven en uit te brengen. Hoe heb je dit gedaan?
Eerlijk gezegd heb ik nogal veel mazzel gehad. Ik had simpelweg een artikel gestuurd naar de Volkskrant, omdat dit onderwerp mij erg bezighield, en tot mijn verbazing werd het toen geplaatst. Nog surrealistischer werd het toen er plots twee uitgevers op mijn dak kwamen die interesse hadden in een boek.

Hoe ben je bij dit onderwerp, Generatie Y en Facebook, terechtgekomen?
Na zelf in het buitenland te hebben gestudeerd – waar ik uiteraard de tofste foto’s op Facebook zette – zag ik, terug in Nederland, al mijn virtuele vrienden juist naar de meest geweldige buitenlandse bestemmingen vertrekken – of het nou voor studies, stage of gewoon vakantie was – net toen ik me begon af te vragen wat welke richting ik in hemelsnaam in mijn leven op zou gaan. Het wierp voor mij de vraag op waarom zij, en ikzelf, al die gelukspropaganda met elkaar wilden delen.

Heeft het boek iets te maken met je studie of waar je verder mee bezig bent?
Momenteel doe ik geen onderzoek naar sociale media. Ik vind het fijn om weer iets heel anders te doen. Al eerder ging mijn bachelorscriptiescriptie bijvoorbeeld over de politiek-filosofische clash tussen Sartre en Camus. En nu doe ik onderzoek naar de sociaal-politieke scheiding in de Franse samenleving tussen hoog- en laagopleidingsniveau en de democratische consequenties hiervan.

Kun je nog een keer duidelijk toelichten waarom Facebook ons ongelukkig zou maken?
Nou ja, in feite zou deze stelling moeten zijn: ‘waarom wij ons via Facebook ongelukkig maken.’ Ik leg uiteindelijk in mijn boek uit dat de schuld vooral bij onszelf ligt: met die gelukspropaganda van zo-even jutten we elkaar op, als ware het een wapenwedloop van geluk, status en succes.

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Interview door Henk Verbooy van IK: Internet als stofzuiger

Posted: March 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm  |  By: margreet  |  Tags: , ,

Door: Henk Verbooy

www.ikmagazine.nl

Zonder cloud computing en social media zou Het Nieuwe Werken (HNW) niet of nauwelijks mogelijk zijn. Maar moeten we er blij mee zijn? Gewapend met die stelling en die vraag ging IK (Intellectueel Kapitaal) naar de Hogeschool van Amsterdam voor een interview met mediatheoreticus, netcriticus annex activist Geert Lovink.

Zonder internet zou onze maatschappij er anders uitzien. Beter? Slechter? Wie zal het zeggen. Maar zonder twijfel anders. Het Nieuwe Werken (HNW) is zo’n verandering. Maar HNW is nog niet uitontwikkeld, het bevindt zich nog in het hype-stadium; wat dat betreft is het nog te vroeg onze zegeningen te tellen. Kritisch blijven kijken is dus de boodschap. Vooral naar cloud computing, want daarmee geven we heel veel uit handen. Te veel?
Ik ben geen marxist maar ik ben wel erg verwant aan het techno-determinisme. Zonder cloud computing en social media zou HNW dan misschien niet mogelijk zijn geweest, maar belangrijker is de laag eronder: de overgang van telefoonnetwerk via breedband naar glasvezel plus mobiele infrastructuur. Dáár ligt de basis. Zonder die infrastructuur zou HNW niet kunnen bestaan. In de laag erboven, waar we cloud computing en social media vinden, hebben we keuzes waarover we kunnen discussiëren. In de laag eronder is niet zo heel veel te kiezen, behalve welke provider je neemt, wat voor pakket.

Download hier het volledige artikel Internet als stofzuiger

Interview with CPOV Researchers Johanna Niesyto and Nate Tkacz

Posted: November 30, 2010 at 10:47 am  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: ,

The Signpost recently interviewed Wikipedia researchers Johanna Niesyto and Nathaniel Tkacz from the "Critical Point of View" (CPOV) initiative. That initiative organized three conferences about Wikipedia this year, in Bangalore, Amsterdam, and Leipzig (see brief Signpost coverage of the second and third conferences). Via e-mail, we talked about these conferences and other activities of CPOV, the state of Wikipedia research in the humanities, criticism of Wikipedia, and the relationship between Wikipedians and those who research their activities.

Read the full interview by HaeB on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2010-11-29/Interview.
CPoV Wikipedia Conference CPoV Wikipedia Conference

Wird Facebook auseinanderfallen?

Posted: September 28, 2010 at 4:26 pm  |  By: admin  |  Tags: , ,

Ute Leimbach from Future Zone Orf.at did an interview with Geert Lovink during the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz from 2 - 11 September 2010. The interview (in German) you can find here: http://futurezone.orf.at/stories/1663738/

Der Netztheoretiker Geert Lovink setzt sich seit den 1980er Jahren kritisch mit neuen Medien und dem Netz auseinander. ORF.at hat mit Lovink über Offenheit im Internet und der Gesellschaft, Onlinebezahlsysteme, die radikale Transparenz der Whistleblower-Plattform WikiLeaks und die Zukunft Sozialer Netzwerke gesprochen.

Towards a Radical Archive: De Balie’s Eric Kluitenberg

Posted: September 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm  |  By: morgancurrie  |  Tags: , , , ,

Eric Kluitenberg is a well-traveled theorist, writer, and lecturer who has produced media events in The Netherlands, Moscow, and Estonia, and also currently heads the media program at De Balie, a cultural and political hotbed in Amsterdam. I've had to the luck to attend some of Eric's events, such as 2010's Electrosmog fest, and witness Eric speak eloquently about the digital commons in a lecture inspired by his 2008's Economies of the Commons conference. That event's essential question - how will we support our cultural archives in the digital age? - seems largely unanswered, or at least in an unfolding state, and Eric has taken an active role to see that the cultural heritage sector is represented in the fall out.

When I approached him for an interview, Eric asked to focus the discussion on the Living Archive project at De Balie, an work-in-progress that neatly exposes the role played by theory in the technical design of online archives. The Living Archive, in its very architecture, stresses the importance of ephemera, dissenting messages and mutable, collaborative scaffolds to produce conversations around the objects we transmit into the future.

MC: What is the Living Archive? Does it exist yet?

EK: The Living Archive is a really a theory, founded on the problem that most traditional archives are organized through selection, inclusion and exclusion. There is a strong tendency in these traditional models to leave out what is called ephemera, for instance flyers or temporary productions, like the Prelinger Archive’s industrial films that’s made for one particular purpose then expected to disappear. Ephemera are considered noise, irrelevant, and as a result, a large aspect of living culture is often excluded.

This is the topic of The Order of Things by Foucault, who says that dominant powers ultimately determine the structures of discourse and consequently what should be preserved in the archive. Everything that falls out is automatically irrelevant. This classical notion of archiving excludes too much, a problem increasingly recognized within the archiving world itself and even more pressing now that digital media allows countless people to put weird stuff online. The official archiving world doesn't have an effective way to deal with all this ephemera. Foucault also critiques the archive as a static collection of dead phrases no longer a part of living culture, because it’s already enshrined in a system of power. You have to dig out the power structures underneath, figure out who created the rules, the political motives and material conditions behind it all. That's why he calls it archeology. A static archive is a completely closed thing, in contrast to the multiple, dispersed discourses of present, living culture. To Foucault there are dominant forces that try to control this dispersal and order it in a particular way, making the archive immutable.

The Living Archive, then, is a theoretical model that makes discursive practice its active component. It refuses the canon of collected statements that Foucault critiqued and doesn't accept any kind of necessary outcome. It emphasizes active discursive production, a continuous discussion and debate about everything in the archive, using the archive as a material for the discussion itself.  Wikipedia is an example of this, maybe the best at it so far.

Obviously you can't store everything. Discrepancy operates on many levels. An artist found this wonderful quote of Nietzsche: “in order to imagine it is necessary to forget.” It’s a classical archival problem: if you store everything, you lose the space for imagination or thinking or reflection, or active, living culture. So there is a healthy tension all the time.

The digital nature of archives has unique potential to challenge older ideas of the repository. Can you talk about how the material properties of digital media make this the case?

If you store things in a digital format, you can always reprocess them. They remain in an unclear state – is the text ever finished? You could see this as a threat or a chance to make materials publicly available to be worked upon. That's why Wikipedia is important - not only can you work on the documents stored in the system, you can also track the document history. In that sense Wikipedia, with all its shortcomings, is the most sophisticated model of the living archive. The process is revealed as open-ended, rather than left to a professional clan of archivists who have their established systems and abhor the idea of public participation.

What specific archiving projects are you working on at De Balie?

When I first came to work here, there was no archive whatsoever, only a huge pile of flyers and announcements stored in big folders in the basement. We introduced a database driven website in ’99 to kick start a digital archive. Around that time we also began streaming live events, and when the technology became available, we created the online video archive.

The real aim is to capture live discussion and debate as it unfolds over the years. So we created a web-based annotation system allowing you to annotate who is speaking in the videos and link the videos to web resources or to articles in De Balie’s site. As a theme runs over years, the results cluster around dossiers. There’s still an editorial hand that makes certain selections, but this whole process started a living archive trajectory.

Another project is the Tactical Media Files, a documentation resource for tactical media practices worldwide. Today we do not have active discussion deciding what to include and exclude, but we want to open it up to a collaborative editorial model. Many people can be invited to edit, creating a collective editing open forum.  If you can fuse a documentation resource combined with an active, open discussion extended in time, a form that Wikipedia allows, then you would get closer to a living archive.

As these archives challenge traditional notions of authorship and hence copyright and power structures, do you think the economic structures of traditional institutions will evolve as well?

That’s not for certain. It’s important to look at this from an historical perspective. Consider the history of radio. Technically any radio receiver can be turned into a signal; Brecht recognized the enormous potential of decentralizing and distributing two-way space, later echoed in Howard Rheingold’s early euphoric description of the Internet as a distributed structure and virtual community. But legislation turned radio into one a one-way medium, and it became an authoritarian instrument, like in Rwanda, where violence was largely organized by radio. In the same way, copyright legislation can very easily and effectively be turned into a tool of extreme censorship, used to push the Internet the way of radio. This open space could be shut down by regulation, and the Internet becomes the next mass medium with some paraphernalia on the edges for people to play around with. Dissident, sub-cultural, and political messages would be without a decent audience.

On the other hand, the question of sustainability isn’t immediately addressed by open access and copyleft practices. If you want to move this discussion forward, even beyond less restrictive copyright policy, it becomes inevitable to consider the economic sustainability of these resources. But for the most part, we’re completely without a clear solution. State funding is not in all cases forthcoming or desirable. Donation models only work for famous projects, but even Wikipedia has trouble sustaining itself. The advertisement model still doesn't go far. Becoming another commercial media operator is not good for the independence of a message.

One exciting model is the open source area where, because of their self-motivated activity, people move into well-paid jobs or become supported by institutions. So there is derivative economy.  But this for me is the main problem: one the one hand, copyright turning into the ultimate censorship instrument, and on the other, the absence of a clear sustainable revenue model to support our digital archives.

When Libraries Embrace the Digital Future: Interview with KB's Irmgard Bomers

Posted: September 2, 2010 at 11:01 am  |  By: morgancurrie  |  Tags: , , , ,

There was once a time, it seems so long ago now, when libraries were the place to go to find out how to train your dog, where your family lineage came from, the history of your neighborhood dive bar, and so on. Now, we simply plug in and rummage through the Web’s stunning panoply of digital archives, personal ephemera, bit torrents, blogs and social networks - and never mind the legality of all our downloading. Even as a student, I was more likely to turn to squarely 2.0 resources - Google Search, Google Books, Amazon - before visiting my school’s online card catalog. And I’m in the majority. By 2006, 89 percent of undergraduates in the United States began their research on the Web. [1] So what role can libraries now play in the congested online space?

Librarians are acutely aware of the Internet’s competitive environment, and in reaction are tailoring their services to suit all of us who use it. The picture isn’t so bleak; most librarians describe a relationship with the Web that is mutually beneficial. Basically, the Internet does a fantastic job of fulfilling one of libraries’ most crucial goals: making information more accessible. Libraries are happy to offer their digitized collections for indexing by major search engines; they’re also simplifying their electronic catalogs so they can be harvested and linked to contexts outside their own websites, for instance sharing bibliographic data with the Internet Archive’s Open Library. In return, libraries offer degrees of constancy and control so often lacking in the chaotic flux and ephemerality of the Web. Major libraries are positioning themselves as conservators of digital information, creating impressive and resource-intensive digital archiving programs, and their bibliographic metadata has become a critical resource for scholars verifying and authenticating online documents.

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Netherlands is particularly unsentimental in its embrace of digital technologies. A 2009 report predicts its digital resources will be increasing much fast than print, in order to offer “everyone everywhere access to everything published in and about the Netherlands.” [2] This summer I spoke to the KB’s Irmgard Bomers, Head of Users Services, about some of its current projects including web archiving, copyright negotiation, and semantic web.

Digitization is radically changing the role of the library. How do you frame your services in relation to all the other resources the Internet can offer?

Digital information is a competitive environment, and libraries’ position in this field currently is uncertain. We have legacy as a physical space, and our digital services have traditionally operated in a closed environment. Now we must adapt our position to the Internet. Digitization can offer the KB a position into this future, so digitized information of digital objects will become our standard instead of physical books.

A primary theme for us is access. In the future if there is both a physical book and an ebook, we’ll acquire the ebook. That's why we have a big digital preservation program running, to assure that if we choose not to keep the physical object, we can give access to the digital version forever.

Beyond digitizing works ourselves, we can coordinate the digitizing output of several Dutch and national libraries within Europe and projects like Europeana. There will be better results if more of us work on these initiatives together. At this moment, for example, Google Books digitized 300,000 volumes of Dutch books from other collections, so we'll negotiate with them to reuse this content and bring it into a Dutch context. We don’t see ourselves as competitors of Google, because we can use the output they provide, and its search platform makes our services apparent. But libraries can also build a platform that brings a wider audience to digitized content and help customers navigate it. There's much more interesting content than you can find instantly on Google.

The KB seems to be particularly open to digital technologies. How many books total do you have in your collection, and how many total have become digitized? What other digital services are you now offering?

We have 4.2 million total books, and we want to have 10% digitized in 2013. We think that 80% will be done here and with our collaborators and 20% by other initiatives. Just last weeks we introduced the first million pages of newspapers in Netherlands, and we’re planning another 7 million pages in the next year. We want to offer digitization-on-demand next year.

We’re collaborating with a national program called Metamorphosa that restores and preserves digitized materials from cultural heritage organizations in the Netherlands. And we’re experimenting with web archiving as well; we’ve harvested 1000 Dutch-based websites to see if it can be preserved forever. Like the Internet Archive, this will be an interesting resource to let us chart the development of the Web over a century.

We’ve also worked over the last two years to structure our data architecture, and it’s now open and harvestable. We’re moving towards the semantic web, to standards for an open environment, and we’ll collaborate with other public and scholarly libraries in Netherlands as they reuse this data. We have plans to build standards for a digital publication platform that makes visible all digitized published content for reuse in multiple environments, such as audiovisual archives like Sound and Vision and image archives like Memory of the Netherlands. This project is similar to Europeana’s role for Europe’s cultural heritage, though we’ll work at a national level.

Preserving this data is a unique selling point. Libraries have a long history, and we can offer the insurance that this data will be available within two hundred years. Whereas we don't know if Google’s will exist in 100 years

What about the library as a physical space? Do you see its role diminishing?

Libraries do have a footprint in society, and they should combine both hard and soft channels. Apple didn't have its Apple store at first, but now they see the importance of a visible existence in society. The physical library is still a valuable meeting place. Usage is going up in all aspects, both at the physical stacks and with our digital services. We have 5 million visits online per year, and we want to quarter it to 20 million in four years. We now have longer opening hours at our building, seven days a week from 10am. Since then the number of visitors is growing with 10% per year.

Ideally, what would your digital library look like if there were infinite resources to make anything possible? How does copyright, for instance, make a dent in your goals?

Our vision is in the end to have everything digitized and available 24 hours a day, but it's an imaginary goal. From a market perspective we should mostly digitize where the demand is, but then we have to deal with DRM. That's one of the changes within libraries, because historically you want to offer everything for free. If governments give you money to offer items for free, you can only digitize old material. But demand is for newer information, so we digitize both.

And then we have to think about how we can charge for it and redirect money to the rights holder. We’re negotiating for example with newspapers for this, and we’ll talk to publishers and rights holders. It is never a problem to show any material on-site. We have 15 million digitized articles in our electronic depot, but most aren’t online the public Internet. In order to make it available, we’ve invested in an identity management infrastructure, so in the future we are able to see the background of a user and then differentiate in prices - that's new for libraries. Though the service wouldn’t force you to identify yourself. It's the customer’s choice.

What do you feel is lost for a reader when translating from analogue to digital? What can be gained?

What can be gained by digitization is that it's much easier to access texts and make combinations. What you see with digitization are more channels and opportunities to use information. With digital newspapers it's so much easier to search in text and make combinations. But some people love the smell of books. This will be available for anyone who takes the effort to visit the library. It will never come that far that we won't store books anymore.

[1] Koninklijke Bibliotheek. “Strategic Plan 2010‐2010.” The Hague, 2009. PDF

[2] Spiro, Lisa and Geneva Henry. “Can a New Research Library Be All Digital?” The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship. Washington D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2010: p 22.

Interview with designer Hendrik Jan Grievink

Posted: August 20, 2010 at 10:25 am  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , , , ,

CPOV researcher Juliana Brunello interviewed the Amsterdam-based graphic designer Hendrik Jan Grievink about his Wikipedia-related work.

What was the compelling reason for you to get involved in a project concerning Wikipedia?
As a designer, I dedicate myself to inventing new ways of understanding the world through images. I use existing images in almost every project: the Fake for Real memory game I showed during the conference is a good example of this. This is a game that pairs images to make a statement about simulation in ourl world. Another example would be the Next Nature book (to be published early 2011 by Actar, Barcelona). This book talks about what we call ‘culturally emerged nature’, or ‘the nature caused by people’. Through hundreds of images and observations we analyse the influence of technology and design on our daily lives. These projects can be looked up on respectively http://www.fakeforreal.com and http://www.nextnature.net

A lot of images that we use are created by ourselves (co-editor Koert van Mensvoort and me) but even more come from all kinds of sources: some traceable, others not. We strive to credit all authors and would love to pay them a good fee for using their material – if this was possible, which it isn’t. Paying for all visual content would quadruplicate the costs of such a publication, which would make it impossible to get published. As for the credit part: we will always credit artists for creative images, but for small or generic images – even commercial ones, we’re not going to do this, it’s just way too time-consuming. Also, a lot of the times it’s realy hard to trace back the origins of an image in today’s copy/paste culture.

When I heard of the Wiki Loves Art contest I was immediately sympathetic to the initiative, because I think these kinds of best-practise projects are crucial to change the way people (in this case: museums and cultural institutions) think about intellectual property. They have to realise that limiting the availability of resources limits cultural production in a very direct way. Next to that, I am interested in everything that signals new forms of cultural production and the crowdsourced archiving of images certainly does that.

Read more

MediaLAB & INC projects: Urban Screens and Open Courseware

Posted: September 2, 2009 at 10:42 am  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , ,

Our colleagues at the MediaLAB Amsterdam are ready to kick off their new year. This year, there are four thematic strands: Locative Media, Media and Education, Transmedia Storytelling and Urban Screens. The INC works with the MediaLAB on two projects: Open Courseware (in the Media and Education strand) and Urban Screens. If you are interested in joining the MediaLAB as a student or project partner, please contact: G (dot) Gootjes (at) hva (dot) nl.

To learn more about the MediaLAB, you can watch an interview with Gijs Gootjes (in Dutch), or visit their website http://international.medialab.hva.nl/(English) or http://medialab.hva.nl/ (Dutch).

On December 4, the INC will organize an Urban Screens event in Trouw Amsterdam, in collaboration with MediaLAB Amsterdam and the Netherlands Architecture Institute. For more information, see www.networkcultures.org/urbanscreens or contact Sabine (at) networkcultures (dot) org.

The beasts within: creative cities and the intelligent unemployed

Posted: January 16, 2009 at 1:22 pm  |  By: margreet  |  Tags: , ,

Interview with Matteo Pasquinelli by Klubradio

http://backyardradio.de/files/mp3/matteo.pasquinelli034.interview.mp3

Surfing the waves of crisis - from energy, to environment to the current financial crisis, Pit Schultz and Matteo Pasquinelli talk failed metropolis, cyberpunk and underground culture. A history lesson for urban survival in the future, they discuss notions from J.G. Ballard, digital sub cultures and parasitic cybernetics.  Matteo bids a dirty farewell to media culture!

Matteo Pasquinelli is a writer, curator and researcher at Queen Mary University of London. He edited the collections Media Activism (2002) and C’Lick Me: A Netporn Studies Reader (2007). With Katrien Jacobs and the Institute of Network Cultures, he organised the Art and Politics of Netporn conference (2005). He lives in Amsterdam.

Podcast Produced by www.Klubradio.de