The idea of useful is one that regulates; the idea of God is constitutive.
MONELLO ANNO 1972 1
We have the feeling that all these aspects, which we sum up using the world audience, are on the point of completing an immigration, are on the point of becoming the statute of law that constitutes a work of art. They put themselves, we may say, on the side of God. This is really an innovation, this is our problem. I really would like to talk about poetry, illustration, form, literary property and poetics, but I feel that it would be senseless for me to do so before suggesting at least the idea of clarification like Wittgenstein does about some key knowledge of our daily experience.
In fact, considering its peculiar nature, we note that it is becoming day by day the same thing as the sounds and senses of a possible esthetical experience for us. Oreste is a net, a network devoted to collaboration and collective reflection, solidarity, discussion and circulation of information.
It is also quite simply devoted to the peaceful sharing of experiences. This trend of young Italian artists towards mutual organizational forms corresponds with a trend recognizable also in others cultural realities. Art is trying more than ever to become part of daily life. Contemporaneous artistic research, in Italy, on the other hand, has to face the difficult situation of a lack of social recognition and cultural confirmations. Every day in Hall A of the exhibition it was possible to find a place to sit, stretch benumbed limbs sip a fresh drink and, at the same time, participate in an event, listen to something, meet someone and make plans for the future.
The unexpected was also possible such as becoming the involuntary protagonists of an artistic performance or the offering of a piece of bread fresh from the oven. Exhibiting webpages still does not make much sense: their lively, layered complexity gets lost. Even the interactive installation is not the proper medium to express net. In previous years much has been done to introduce new media to an evergrowing audience. But the networks themselves, their mysterious and seductive aspects, remained invisible.
It is hard to represent or even visualize what is actually happening on a mailinglist, a newsgroup, a chatroom. Demo-design can give us a clue, but it remains soulless, empty and too easily turns flows and exchanges into dead information. Now that the varieties of virtual communities are growing, it is no longer enough to merely announce their existence. People demand substance — not only outsiders but, most of all, the members of the groups themselves.
The best way to speed up the process of production is to meet in real space, to confront the loose, virtual connections, to engage in the complex and messy circumstances of real time-space, and to present the audience and possible future participants with actual outcomes. And then go back again, in scattered places, on-line. New media are not merely storing the old. They do not only give access to existing information. Their most lively and attractive aspect lies in their Large media corporations, on the other hand, view these innovations differently.
The role of the former welfare state is ambivalent, to say the least. On the one hand, it was the state which did the groundwork and built the costly infrastructure, while this very state now is selling out, cutting social costs to zero, installing a new regime of private control, and policing its populations mainly young people. Communication means noise to them, empty exchanges that can be studied to maximize their attention profit.
Users are being reduced to potential buyers of goods and services, controlled by companies and police units. This is not a doomsday scenario. It is becoming a reality, despite all naive, neoliberal talks of bright cyberfutures, dating from the early days of the Internet hype.
People are indeed becoming aware of this dark aspects of the use of digital technologies. One way not to give up on these positive, utopian aspects is to increase awareness, to fight conspiracy mythologies, and, most of all, to organize scattered users in the struggle against surveillance and corporate takeover. Should we still dream of interactivity and other, more accessible interfaces? Access to what?
Are portals with the CNN type of WebTV the only remaining option now that the Net is rapidly approaching its controlled and regulated status of mass medium? And is this return of the real closing down our fantasies? How would we define tactical use of media? Which particular connections between text, audio, image and noise do we find useful? The idea of temporary media labs were born of the desire to cover events, conferences, festivals, and demonstrations in search of a specifically Internet style of reporting.
We could mention here some early examples, such as the live web journals produced during Next Five Minutes 2 and 3 www. The format of the on-line journal is trying to bridge the real and virtual by building-in interactive elements between on-line audiences and the actual site.
Web journals are exploring unusual ways of reporting, with image, sound and text, allowing remote participation, before, during, and after the event. These days web journals are almost standards for all sorts of corporate events, intergovernmental meetings and global summits, conferences and fairs. The Temporary Media Lab concept goes one step further. It no longer covers an ongoing event but, instead, targets the hands-on production of It is patently clear that networks are good at discussing and preparing but not at actual production--that has to be done on the spot, face-to-face.
Only in this setting can we overcome the tensions that so easily build up in virtual worlds and, thereby, produce small multimedia pieces together using available resources. Conferences are known and respected as effective accumulators and accelerators. They offer ideal opportunities to recharge the inner batteries in the age of short-lived concepts.
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Temporary media labs are even more effective in this respect: they focus, speed up, intensify, and exert a longer-term effect on local initiatives and translocal groups. Meetings in real space are becoming a more and more precious good for the way they add a crucial stage to almost any networked media projects, whether in the arts, culture, or politics.
Unlike conferences, though, the role of the passive audience remains open yet undefined. As with any other concept, the broader public will be confronted with the issue anyway, sooner or later. Though the immediate outcomes can be presented at the end of the session, the real impacts of such small task forces, perhaps, only comes later, elsewhere.
Hybrid WorkSpace HWS , which took place during the Documenta X in the Orangerie in Kassel, went on for a three-and-a-halfmonth period; it received an impressive share of the The documentation of the Workspace can be found at www. Medialounge is a database of small European media art labs, a result of Hybrid Workspace and other meetings in which bottomup networks of European new media culture is being created.
Goddess Linking Stress to Aging Revealed
Revolting, organized by Micz Flor www. It had a similar mix of people, themes, and low-tech approaches. It brought together local groups and communities to focus on practical outcomes, small presentations, and debates. Revolting had a special emphasis on spreading specific content via different media, such as a regular free newspaper, local radio, and the Net. The third Temporary Media Lab took place in the project space on the fifth floor of the Kiasma, the Helsinki contemporary arts museum, which opened in June Five groups each worked on five different topics www. First came a newly formed European network of groups working on issues of refugees and illegalized emigrant workers.
The group organized and coordinated the demonstration held in Tampere during the Euro summit on this delicate political topic see: www. In December this group again gathered in Amsterdam where this network was officially founded, with participants from even more countries. Balkania was the name of the second gathering. Twenty media artist from South-East Europe discussed the situation in their region after the Kosova conflict and drew negative utopian images to bypass the current dramatic situation in the Balkans.
The third, all Finnish group focused on the technology policies in Finland itself. What influence is Nokia have on the ever shrinking welfare state? And is power really challenged with the introduction of open source software such as Linux, which originates in Finland? Two events marked the closing of temp: a one day conference on the urban condition in Asia, organized in conjunction with the opening of the Cities on the Move exhibition in the same Kiasma building, and an environmental web-base game, open for public participation.
Temp finished with a small exhibition of the results. To close with, some general remarks. Some groups and individuals are making a good use of the facilities on offer, others do so in a lesser way. So what?
The temp media lab concept is not an army setup or a content factory. Digital media arts and culture are all in a flow. Our social networks are unstable media and the outcomes are hard to predict in the short run. But I am convinced that temp media labs are a strong motor behind the networks of digital culture we all envision.
The temporary, local truth has made it worth the effort to Time and time again, until the format runs out of energy and we all know, by intuition, how to set up networks, servers, sites - and most of all: how to deal with the all too human flaws in communication. Deleuze, Multiple becoming.