Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies

March 2007

Date March 2007 / Category News

The forthcoming Dutch Electronic Art Festival is emphasizing "messy, sloppy interactions: interaction whose outcome is malleable and not definitive." Sounds good so far, and a look upon the program shows some most interesting events scheduled: The Evening of Knowbotic Research promises a  Black Benz Race, a semi-fictional race in the migrational space between Switzerland and Albania. It deals with creating and using local communities to stimulate migration from one country into the other.
The seminar Not Everything is Interaction revisits the concepts of interactivity. The  exhibition is assembled around concepts of interactivity in media art and presenting contemporary and almost classical works of the young field of media art. These are only a few examples from the comprehensive festival program. The festival will take place at the Las Palmas in Rotterdam.

Tags Art Event

Date March 2007 / Category News

The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague exhibits 'The Sixties' (January  20 - April 30 2007). For visitors not familiar with the dutch contribution to minimal art and concept art the exhibition offers some valuable insight. Unfortunately that is all 'The Sixties' can offer. While there would be many accounts to approach the 1960ies the curators seem not to have chosen one. The 60ies media situation and the media usage in art, activism and politics alone, would have offered an interesting approach to this era and could have been inspiring for reflecting media practice in digital age.

It is rather a collection of stuff that would widely be associated with that particular era, but it would be difficult to recognize an attempt to contextualize the presented objects. Art, fashion, furniture and media clippings are assembled and provoke elder visitors to nostalgic reactions. The displayed film fragments remind of MTV-style video clips and are accompanied by 60ies music. To younger visitors the incoherent collection would rather acknowledge the vague picture of the 'roaring sixties' mainstream media shaped in the blurring rear mirror of presentation. Unfortunately there is little attempt to explain the inconsistencies and socio-political frictions that were so much contributing to the cultural production and social efforts of that time. The dutch Volkskrant says it should have been more emphasized that the drive behind the "little revolution" was not essentially art, but students, hippies and activists who turned against the hypocritical and repressive politics.

Tags Art Review

Date March 2007 / Category News

The Wealth of Networks is a very interesting and enjoyable book on the collective production online. Yochai Benkler describes at hand of many examples how collectives of users generate valuable knowledge and a cultural resource. He refers to examples of successful bypassing repressive attempts of the copyright industry or politics.  Benkler recognizes the media practice of communities as new ways of organizing citizenship and cultural production. The networks of collectives cause conflicts with the conventional system of civil administration and cultural industries. Benkler's argument is supported by case studies which explain the dynamics of collective production in networks. However Benkler sometimes seems to be quite optimistic about the capability of networks and the usage of technology.
Important is his claim for socio-political responsibility in dealing with the new cultural resources, a global archive and infrastructure, that are shaped by millions of users and that forms a crucial aspect of tomorrow's information society. The weblog Crooked Timber organized a seminar to discuss the book and published their various accounts to Benkler's hypotheses as well as his reply.

Tags Review

Date March 2007 / Category News

The Creative Commons Netherlands organized a workshop on open content and education. The term “open content” often causes a lot of misunderstanding. Often “user generated content” or free accessible material from online sources, such as netlabels, flickr sites, wikipedia are described as “open content”. The term “open access” therefore was recognized as more appropriate, especially since the workshop focused on teaching material for schools.
The discussion centered around two aspects:

  • how could the production of the content for teaching material be facilitated by involving students, teachers as well as university scholars and scientists.
  • what would be the added value a publishing house could offer to turn that production into a business model.

Quality control and peer review were recognized as crucial aspects in publishing open content for education. Publishing houses were considered as able to organize the peer review process and function as a 'gatekeeper' in order to evaluate publications according to quality criteria. The maintenance of a cultural resource emerging through production of open content is important.  Institutions or communities have to develop strategies to administer the material.

A dutch summary of the workshop is provided on the Creative Commons Netherlands website.

Tags copyright open-access

2000 - 2017 Mirko Tobias Schäfer

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