'Beauty and the East'

A Nettime Conference 22nd and 23rd of May 1997

Ljudmila (Ljubljana Digital Media Lab, part of Open Society Institute - Slovenia) is pleased to announce the Nettime May Conference entitled 'Beauty and the East' with the following co-ordinates:
May 21arrivals
May 22-23 conference
location: Ljudmila, Prušnikova 74, Ljubljana, Slovenia

DAY ONE - May 22 On-Line Publishing:
Push Media Planets, Collaborative Archives and Discourse Machines
The generation of content is context sensitive, people produce information out of signals, groups define what people can produce, tools make possible what groups can define and vice versa. A critique of the net must include a critical analysis of its 'matter' as a social and cultural product. With the rise of the web, the well developed group structures around bbs, moo, mud, usenet became almost invisible. Now, we are told that the web will vanish and only media with broadcasting qualities will survive. I push therefore I am. Surprisingly, the mailinglist was always a push media, as sucessful and cost-effecitive as e-mail. The coming social information architectures will need a more hybrid, time-based and conceptual working/leisure environment which maps electronic intersubjectivity based on our needs and not the imaginative, inherent will of technique.

It is time that intellectuals rethink the relevance of their tools in a wider radius than linguistics. The apperatus of discourse gets extended today by new networks of power/knowledge which are still, compared with the world of print, very unimportant. This makes place for all kinds of experiments and the renovation of historical concepts. In a mix of historical, empirical, and speculative analysis we will try to map a likely and liked future of 'online-publishing,' beyond the static model of the web magazine (or the preformatted net-radio on demand). How will our social interface look like and how do we continue with our gift-economy?
Chair persons: Geert Lovink, Pit Schultz.

DAY TWO - May 23 Power Politics:
Virtual Europe, Ministate Thinking and the Construction of the Data East
Within the development of aesthetics and politics of electronic media since the late 80's 'East Europe' played a minor but spectacular role. Today, driven by unified market forces the topology of cultures in the east and west has to relate to new maps of global corporations and media networks, down to the local resistance of bureaucracies, institutions, and cultural initiatives. But it is not only 'the east' that is forced to adapt, but 'the west' also having to face an inner crisis within its imaginary cartographies. The construction of a media map of Europe becomes indistinguishable from the image of a chaotic, dangerous, and underdeveloped 'hinterland'. The fear of heterogenity and change locates and produces the zones of conflict at its periphery. Under the sign of ethnic and national cleansing grew a the multiplicity of borders and microstates. 'Balkanization' becomes the preferred horror scenario for all kinds of disintegration, and economic, social, cultural, and political difference. The dream of entering the EU-NATO zone is fading away. Is this the freedom people dreamt of?

Culture has yet no answer to this imminent crisis. The only thing institutions can come up with, is a weak and cheap remake of well known slogans, taken from yesterday's social movements and art groups (and their media). This includes the quasi-neutral, engaged but professional PC attitude of the NGOs that remained as political forces. The rest is popular revolt, armed despair or armchair criticism. Is an predefined 'open society' the best of all possible options? How long can we support minimal politics and the (justified) desire for conformity? What double role does 'The Net' plays within this configuration?

Chair persons: Inke Arns, Oliver Marchart.