Bilwet Audio Archive and Theory on Demand launched!

Posted: January 20, 2010 at 11:23 am  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , , , ,

On the 19th of February, 2010, the INC launched two new online projects: the Theory on Demand Publication series and Geert Lovink's online radio archive. The Theory on Demand series, produced by Margreet Riphagen and designed by Katja van Stiphout, is a print-on-demand publication series that kicks of with four books. After an introduction by Geert Lovink, editor of the series, authors Joost Smiers and Marieke van Schijndel were present to talk about their book on (the abolition of) copyright. For more information, ordering and downloading the books, please visit: http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/theoryondemand/

The second festive event was the launch of Geert's audio archive. He explained how in the activist movement of the 80s, a lot was considered elitist, and so was theory. The Bilwet Agentur was launched as a place for theory, not to explain it to a broader public, but to let it flourish. In that spirit, Geert produced 200 hours of interviews with theorists from his own generation, most of which are in Dutch, some in German, others in English. Below please find Geert's introduction to this inspiring collection (in Dutch). Listen to the audio files on: http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/bilwet/
For more information about Bilwet please visit: http://www.thing.desk.nl/bilwet/

Welkom bij het audio archief (1987-2000)
Introductie door Geert Lovink

In de zomer van 2009 heb ik een bananendoos met audiocassettes tevoorschijn getoverd uit de berging en is Margreet (Riphagen) van het INC, met hulp van anderen, begonnen met het digitaliseren van het materiaal. Beetje bij beetje wordt dit materiaal opgeladen naar archive.org tot het archief van ongeveer 200 banden à 1 uur compleet is.

Het archief bestaat uit een aantal categorieën:
1. Het grootste gedeelte, ongeveer 120 programma's, bestaat uit een uur durende theorie vertelsessies, de Bilwet Portrettengalerij zoals die werd uitgezonden van 1987 tot 1993 op Radio 100 en Radio Patapoe (Amsterdam) en Radio Rataplan (Nijmegen). Het zijn geen interviews in de zin van vragen en antwoorden. De bedoeling was om een ruimte te creëren voor compromisloze theorie in de vorm van verhalen. Veel van de programma's hebben een geschiedenis achtergrond met een nadruk op het 18e- tot 20e-eeuwse Westerse denken. Natuurlijk volgde ik mijn eigen belangstelling en vandaar dat er een zekere nadruk ligt op Duitse geschiedenis, het fascisme en de periode rond de Tweede Wereldoorlog.

Dit is de post-bewegingsfase, de periode van pril postmodernisme en opleving van Theorie in het algemeen--zelfs in het kille en door crisis geplaagde Nederland. Ook toen al bestond een brede opvatting van theorie als een rijke praktijk van oneigentijdse ideeënvorming. Voor de Bilwet Portrettengalerij hoefde niets uitgelegd te worden aan het brede publiek. Het was 'extramuraal denken', aan gene zijde van de universiteit, ook al hadden sommigen wel een bepaalde relatie tot de academie. Het ging om het 'hekken zitten' zoals Hans-Peter Duerr het ooit noemde: met een been aan de rationele, formele kant van de filosofie en het andere been aan zijde van het wilde denken, de verbeelding en de droomwereld. De keuze voor de personen en onderwerpen kwam voort uit mijn milieu uit die tijd: post-weekblad Bluf!, Uitgeverij Ravijn, de redactieraad van de uitgeverij SUA, het jaarboek Arcade, de redactie van het tijdschrift Mediamatic en de underground scene van de vrije radio's zelf. Toch ging het niet om een politiek-correcte radicale theorie. Mijn radio was bedoeld als een positieve bijdrage aan het openen van de vastgelopen, introverte activistentaal en zocht de grenzen op van het ‘bewust irrelevante’ in vergelijking met de rigide mix van cultureel elitisme en populisme, toen al, in de officiële Nederlandse media. In biografische zin is dit voor mij een periode van freischwebende Intelligenz, professionele werkloosheid, post-kraakbeweging, in de overgang van theorie in de brede zin naar een speficieke, historisch georiënteerde (Duitse) mediatheorie.

2. Door mijn betrokkenheid bij Berlijn, Duitsland en Oost-Europa had '1989' en de val van de Muur een belangrijke invloed op mijn radio activiteiten. Vanaf herfst 1990 verhuisde ik voor een tweede keer naar Berlijn en bracht ik steeds meer tijd door in Hongarije en Roemenie. Tegelijkertijd bezocht ik Californië, India en Japan voor de eerste keer. Het begon vanaf 1990 moeilijker te worden om een wekelijkse uitzending te produceren voor de Portrettengalerij. In de winter van 90/91 nam ik een serie persoonlijke radioverslagen op vanuit Berlijn, geheten Germanofobisch Programma. Ook deed ik verslag uit Boekarest en Calcutta. Ook de oorlog in Joegoslavië ging een rol spelen (92).

3. Voor mijn werk als redacteur van Mediamatic, en het verschijnen van het boek Bilwet- Media Archief (begin 1992) kwam ik steeds vaker in contact met collega mediatheoretici. Dit hield ook verband met de aanschaf van een computer (in 1987), een modem (in 1990) en mijn groeiende betrokkenheid bij computer netwerken en cybercultuur. Dit zijn de hoogtijdagen van multimedia, cyberspace en virtual reality. De onderwerpen verschuiven naar het maken van interviews die ik niet alleen uitzond maar ook ging uittypen. Vanaf midden 1993 was ik niet langer bij de sociale dienst en kon als 'zelfstandige mediatheoreticus' radio bijdrages maken voor VPRO radio, in nauwe samenwerking met Bart Schut. Dit viel samen met de mijn eerste internet account bij Hacktic (later xs4all), en de oprichting van de Digitale Stad, Desk.nl en nettime. De rest is geschiedenis, zoals men wel zegt. De zaak kwam in een versnelling terecht. Mijn radioactiviteiten gaan steeds meer in het teken staan van internet, tactische media (N5M) en nieuwe media (kunst). Deze fase culmineert waarschijnlijk in het grote interview-radio archief dat ik maakte tijdens de Documenta X in Kassel tijdens het Hybrid Workspace project. De interviews uit deze periode zijn bijeengebracht in mijn boek Uncanny Networks (MIT Press, 2002). Eind jaren 90 verbleef ik steeds minder in Amsterdam, stopte met bijdrages te maken voor de VPRO en Radio Patapoe, reisde steeds meer in Azie en verhuisde uiteindelijk naar Australie. De laatste interviews, opgenomen op cassette, dateren uit 2000.

OUT NOW! Urban Screens Reader

Posted: December 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , , ,

Urban Screens Reader
The Urban Screens Reader is the first book to focus entirely on the topic of urban screens. In assembling contributions from a range of leading theorists, in conjunction with a series of case studies dealing with artists’ projects and screen operators’ and curators’ experiences, the reader offers a rich resource for those interested in the intersections between digital media, cultural practices and urban space.

Urban Screens have emerged as a key site in contemporary struggles over public culture and public space. They form a strategic junction in debates over the relation between technological innovation, the digital economy, and the formation of new cultural practices in contemporary cities. How should we conceptualize public participation in relation to urban screens? Are ‘the public’ citizens, consumers, producers, or something else? Where is the public located? When a screen is erected in public space, who has access to it and control over it? What are the appropriate forms of urban planning, design and governance? How do urban screens affect cultural experiences?

Scott McQuire, Meredith Martin and Sabine Niederer (eds.), Urban Screens Reader, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2009. ISBN: 978-90-78146-10-0.

contributors: Simone Arcagni, Alice Arnold, Giselle Beiguelman, Liliana Bounegru, Kate Brennan, Andreas Broeckmann, Uta Caspary, Sean Cubitt, Annet Dekker, Jason Eppink, Ava Fatah gen. Schieck, Mike Gibbons, M. Hank Haeusler, Bart Hoeve, Erkki Huhtamo, Karen Lancel, Hermen Maat, Meredith Martin, Scott McQuire, Julia Nevárez, Sabine Niederer, Shirley Niemans, Nikos Papastergiadis, Soh Yeong Roh, Saskia Sassen, Leon van Schaik, Jan Schuijren, Audrey Yue.

Order now!
Order a copy of the Urban Screens Reader by sending an email to: books (at) networkcultures.org, download a pdf here or go to the Urban Screens Reader page for more information.

colophon: Editors: Scott McQuire, Meredith Martin and Sabine Niederer. Editorial Assistance: Geert Lovink and Elena Tiis. Copy Editing: Michael Dieter and Isabelle de Solier. Design: Katja van Stiphout, Printer: Raamwerken Printing & Design, Enkhuizen, Publisher: Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2009. Supported by: the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in collaboration with Virtueel Platform, the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, the School for Communication and Design at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, MediaLAB Amsterdam and the International Urban Screens Association. The editors would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Australian Research Council LP0989302 in supporting this research.

The Urban Screens reader was launched at the Urban Screens 09: The City as Interface event on 4 December 2009. Urban Screens 09 was organized in Amsterdam by the Institute of Network Cultures and MediaLAB Amsterdam in collaboration with the International Urban Screens Association, and curated by Sabine Niederer (INC). www.networkcultures.org/urbanscreens/09/

The INC reader series are derived from conference contributions and produced by the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam. For more information about this publication series, please go to www.networkcultures.org/readers.

Urban Screens Reader – Call for Papers

Posted: February 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , ,

Following three successful Urban Screens events in Amsterdam (2005), Manchester (2007) and Melbourne (2008), the preparations for an Urban Screens reader have started. This publication is produced by the INC, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, School of Culture and Communication, and is to be launched in December 2009.
Read the call for papers and the style guide.
Please note: the deadline is 3 April 2009!

INC @ Transmediale Berlin

Posted: January 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , ,

The INC has a bookstore at Transmediale, Berlin this year!

We are looking forward to seeing you there, at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (downstairs, until Thursday eve, 29 Jan 09).

Read all about our publications on www.networkcultures.org/publications.

Animal Spirits: About the dark side of the Web

Posted: January 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: ,

On 20 January 2009, the new INC-NAi publication Animal Spirits, by Matteo Pasquinelli was launched at Waag Society. The program kicked off with a word of welcome by the host Lucas Evers, head of the e-culture programme at Waag Society. He pointed out that this launch was taking place in the heart of the Dutch creative industries, and welcomed all critique!
INC founding director Geert Lovink presented the 'Studies in Network Cultures' series, of which he is the editor, and introduced Matteo's publication, the third book in this series.

Left: Sebastian Olma, middle: Matteo Pasquinelli, right: Geert Lovink

Next, philosopher Sebastian Olma responded to the book and asked Matteo some questions about his approach and asked what the 'dark side of the Web' actually is? Matteo gave the example of what he refers to as war pornography, the violent imagery of Abu Ghraib, and the field of internet pornography. Sebastian concluded that Matteo's important contribution is that he regards the negative forces (Spinoza) as something that can be productive.

Merijn Oudenampsen
Urban sociologist Merijn Oudenampsen pointed at the local Dutch situation, saying that here the right -wing populist media have claimed the legitimacy of the underbelly of society. He explained this underbelly as the consumptive beast that wants to go to war and buy a plasma television. He stressed that the right -wing media has found a way to work with this, in their topics and imagery. In response, the left-wing activists have taken up therole of rationality, saying no to consumption. Matteo encouraged the audience to be productive and consume more. The launch ended with a lively debate with the audience, followed by drinks.


The audience

Special thanks to Sebastian Olma and Merijn Oudenampsen for their contributions, to Lucas Evers for hosting the event, and to Barbera van Kooij and Willemijn from NAi Publishers for their presence and the book stand.

Animal Spirits can be ordered online on www.naipublishers.com (in NL: 19,50 euro).
Going to Transmediale 09? Visit the INC book stand @ Transmediale next Tuesday -Thursday.

Listen to the interview with Matteo Pasquinelli by Pit Schultz here: http://backyardradio.de/files/mp3/matteo.pasquinelli034.interview.mp3, or read: http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/weblog/

Book launch ‘The Internet of Things’ by Rob van Kranenburg

Posted: October 2, 2008 at 11:23 am  |  By: margreet  |  Tags: , , , ,

Network Notebook #2
Rob van Kranenburg, The Internet of Things. A critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID. Report prepared by Rob van Kranenburg for the Institute of Network Cultures with contributions by Sean Dodson.
cover Network Notebooks 02backcover network notebook rob van kranenburgDesign by Léon & Loes

The Internet of Things - Network Notebook Launch
Date and time: Tuesday 28 October 2008 at 17h00
Location: Waag Society, Theatrum Anatomicum, Nieuwmarkt 4, Amsterdam
Free entrance, send an email to society@waag.org if you want to attend the launch.

The Internet of Things is the second issue in the series of Network Notebooks. It’s a critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID by Rob van Kranenburg. Rob examines what impact RFID and other systems, will have on our cities and our wider society. He currently works at Waag Society as program leader for the Public Domain and wrote earlier an article about this topic in the Waag magazine and is the co-founder of the DIFR Network. The notebook features an introduction by journalist and writer Sean Dodson.

The launch includes short presentations from Martijn de Waal, Eric Kluitenberg and Denis Jaromil Rojo, and a discussion, led by Geert Lovink.

In Network Notebook #2, titled The Internet of Things, Rob van Kranenburg outlines his vision of the future. He tells of his early encounters with the kind of location-based technologies that will soon become commonplace, and what they may mean for us all. He explores the emergence of the “internet of things”, tracing us through its origins in the mundane back-end world of the international supply chain to the domestic applications that already exist in an embryonic stage. He also explains how the adoption of he technologies of the City Control is not inevitable, nor something that we must kindly accept nor sleepwalk into. In van Kranenburg’s account of the creation of the international network of Bricolabs, he also suggests how each of us can help contribute to building technologies of trust and empower ourselves in the age of mass surveillance and ambient technologies.

Table of Contents:

  1. Forward: A tale of two cities Sean Dodson
  2. Ambient Intelligence and its promises
  3. Ambient Intelligence and its catches
  4. Bricolabs
  5. How to act

This issue is free available in print and pdf form.
To receive a copy of The Internet of Things send an email to books (at) networkcultures.org.

The Network Notebooks series is edited by Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer. Network Notebooks #2 is supported by Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Waag Society.

For Network Notebooks 01 by Rosalind Gill see:  Technobohemians or the new Cybertariat? .

http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/portal/publications/network-notebooks/

Press: Please contact Rob van Kranenburg at Waag Society, email rob (at) waag.org.

Please add yourself to the Frappr map when you have ordered a copy of 'The Internet of Things'. This will show everyone where the notebook has travelled. Thanks in advance!

Get Your Frappr GuestMap!
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First cover glimpse of ‘The Internet of Things’

Posted: September 18, 2008 at 11:54 am  |  By: margreet  |  Tags: ,

cover Network Notebooks 02The Internet of Things is the second issue in the series of Network Notebooks. It's a critique of ambient technology and the all-seeing network of RFID by Rob van Kranenburg. Rob examines what impact RFID and other systems, will have on our cities and our wider society. The notebook features an introduction by journalist Sean Dodson.

At the moment the notebook is at the printers and we are expecting some issues soonish, to spread around. Early birds can pick up a notebook at the PICNIC Book Shopduring PICNIC from 24th till 26th of September in Amsterdam.

Another issue in this series is: Network Notebooks 01: Technobohemians or the new Cybertariat? by Rosalind Gill.

Edited by Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer.

Supported by Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Waag Society.

This issue will be free available in print and pdf form.

Zero Comments in Italian and German

Posted: September 7, 2008 at 11:03 am  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , ,

Geert Lovink's most recent book 'Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture' (Routledge 2007) has now also been translated into German! zerocomments_smaller.jpg
Left: Zero Comments: Teoria Critica di Internet. Bruni Mondadori, 2008.
Right: Zero Comments: Elemente einer kritischen Internetkultur. Transcript Verlag, 2008.
Read more about this on Geert's blog.

Delusive Spaces book launch

Posted: April 29, 2008 at 2:48 pm  |  By: sabine  |  Tags: , ,

On April 8, writer, journalist and former director of De Balie Chris Keulemans presented Eric Kluitenberg's new book Delusive Spaces. Below is the full text of his presentation.

"The first time I realized this was not just another postmodern Internet geek, dressed in black and locked behind his computer, was on a summer night in Belgrade, 1997. One of Radio B92’s young activists was walking me towards their provisional studio. She asked me for names of people she could invite to give lectures about tactical media to their crowd. ‘And not,’ she said in that quasi-cosmopolitan, blasé little tone so typical of savvy Belgradians at the time, ‘not the usual suspects like Geert Lovink and Eric Kluitenberg.’ Wow, I thought, if Geert and Eric are already so famous here that they’re regarded as old news, that a girl like this even pronounces their complicated names as if she discusses them every day, these guys must have made quite an impression in parts of Europe that were still hardly familiar in Amsterdam back in those days.

If there was ever a place where it was attractive to believe that the physical and the digital were two different and separated spaces, it must have been Belgrade in the late nineties. In between the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, Milošević’ oppressive regime was omnipresent. You could smell the atmosphere of fear, hatred and intimidation in the streets. B92’s ability to create an expanding network of alternative music and information, through radio and internet, was impressive. While the real world of politics and everyday life was uglier than ever, the new media scene in Belgrade seemed to be the perfect example of how digital revolutionaries could thrive and really matter in their virtual oasis. This was the dream, at the time, of media activists all over the world.

Eric Kluitenberg was an early sceptic. His new book, Delusive Spaces, includes a few texts from that period. ‘To consider these domains, the physical and the virtual, as distinct is simply absurd,’ he wrote at the time in a text on the so-called new freedom, ‘and it does not assist with understanding what the emergency of these technologies actually signifies for the individual or for society.’ His wake-up call came early and it was serious. ‘It is much more straightforward to see the embodied and electronically mediated as two aspects of the same experiential, social and political reality. In other words, to assume one ‘hybrid’ reality that consists of both physically embodied and electronically mediated elements. Such an approach foregrounds the hybridization of most common spheres of everyday life, where the contradictory logics of physical existence and electronic mediation continuously affect and confront each other.’

This tension between his scepsis about the liberating myth of technological progress and his irrepressible belief in the potential of new alternatives is the driving force behind this book. And an impressive book it is. Impressive, inspirational and, I hope, influential.

Eric is, as many good listeners and avid readers are when they turn their insights into a book, a generous writer. He salutes the media activists from the Baltics, the Balkans and elsewhere who have inspired him along the way, sometimes simply by their heartfelt shouts coming from an audience during one of the many workshops and events he organized or addressed over the past years. And he pays respect to the great thinkers and artists of earlier times who influenced his analysis of media, culture and technology. Not just by quoting and interpreting them, but by arguing with what they have to tell us today. Even if you would read the book just for the critical dialogue with the likes of Lewis Mumford, Marcel Duchamp, Michel Foucault and Jean-Francois Lyotard, it would be more than worth your while. Thanks to this book, I will never be able to think of archives again without thinking of Foucault, of machines without Mumford, of the unholy trinity of capitalism, technoscience and avantgarde without Lyotard, and of brides and bachelors without Duchamp.

In its generosity, this book at times becomes almost like a message without a sender, an open form of communication where everyone contributes and no one claims authorship. It becomes an exercise in common knowledge, in the sharing of resources – a very unusual, and almost impossible thing to say about such a static and linear medium as a book. But of course, in a book that opens by recalling the lesson that Lyotard learned from 20th century artistic avantgarde – every image conceals more than it reveals – you are tempted to go and search for the identity of the author who hides himself so skilfully behind this generosity. What does the book tell us about this guy who holds the deepest suspicion for what fascinates him most, the technological culture that man creates and inhabits?

He is a man without a cellphone. He regards the right to disconnect as a fundamental human right. He met the love of his life during a series of artistic interventions in Moscow’s public space that restored his confidence in the subversive potential of art. His neverending curiosity is only outdone by that of their dog Savva. He is an unflinching democrat, who takes it as a given that the only sane world is one that is governed by the voice, in all its occasional insanity, of real people. He is a man so serious in his awareness of the violence within the machine, that his rare, sly little jokes strike you like a fist. He is so in awe of the human imagination and desire to reach beyond the boundaries of language that he confines himself to a style of writing that looks almost modest, crisp, unlyrical. And finally, like the vegetarian owner of a hamburger joint, he is a man immersed in media culture who has this thing for the unrepresentable.

Is that a way out, an attempt to escape the tyranny of representation that we live in today? No, it’s a way in. Let me explain. The three domains that Eric tracks and connects throughout this book – capitalism, technoscience and the pictorial avantgarde of the 20th century – share, again in the words of Lyotard, ‘an affinity to infinity’. They are all obsessed by that which we cannot conceive or imagine, while we know and can prove that it exists. Infinity, although we can understand it to be real, is by definition urepresentable. And it is there, in the realm outside of what we can see and even imagine, that Eric locates the desperate battle between art and power. ‘Power today,’ he writes, ‘is vested not in the ability to connect and become visible, but in the ability to disconnect, to become invisible and untraceable, at will. This is the paradox: under conditions of complete media transparency, decision making retreats from the public sphere altogether. Agency today is located outside the domain of visibility.’ At the same time, precisely because of this predicament, he asks of art to find its own position on the outside. As a critical force, as an act of electronic civil disobedience, to open up ‘the infinity of all possible alternative modes of how the new hybridized social spaces could be constructed.’ The outside is a last resort, the last place that has not yet completely surrendered to the domination of power, capitalism and technology. In other words: ‘If anything, the incorporation of everything, even our biological bodies, into technological, functionalist and utilitarian systems in the real-time society described in this book, asks for a fundamental critique. Such a critique, however, requires an outside, an external point of reference from where it can be launched.’ To make a difference inside the system, you have to start on the outside. So the fundamental question, to which this book is dedicated, must be: ‘Is it possible to define an ‘outside’ to these utilitarian systems of complete determination, or societies of control, as Deleuze has named them?’

And yes, in the final chapters of this book, Eric does manage to reveal a glimpse of this outside. It’s a stirring experience to read these pages. The crisp, unlyrical sentences open up ever so slightly to an excitement barely contained. Like the painter Barnett Newman, he offers a crack in the surface, a split that tells us life has not come to an end, that history does not inevitably lead to just one next step, but to innumerable possible next steps.

Although he starts out modestly in the first chapter, not claiming any methodology or central hypothesis, there is a strong and thoroughly educated undercurrent to the book. He will always prefer the unknown over the existing order, the deviation over the system, the imaginary media over the clock, La Mettrie over Descartes, the open-ended commons over the finality of war, the chaos of democracy over Virilio’s politics of immediacy, jodi.org over youtube. But a summary like this doesn’t do the book justice. Like any serious work of art, its multitude of stories and ideas cannot be reduced to a single message. In between its author and his glimpse of infinity, it leaves the reader a wide open space to explore, to study, to enjoy and to enter into critical dialogue. Let me finish by saying that I will never be able to think of anything digital again without thinking of Eric Kluitenberg."

- Chris Keulemans, 8 April 2008