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Re: <eyebeam><blast> net criticism

beste geert,

i would like to respond to your introductory post to the list and
contest the 'all-embracing' attitude that you claim for net criticism.
you make it sound as though the only worthwhile intellectual undertaking
pursued at present is that conducted by the Nettime group, and as though
everything happening in *its* periphery was either obsolete or
retrograde. i assume that there is a good deal of Bilwet-style hyperbole
and provocation in there, but i find it, nevertheless, necessary to
point out that Nettime is the result, partner and, dare i say, para.site
of those developments and discourses which you dismiss.

you know from my personal involvement in the scenes that you are working
in that i whole-heartedly defend the important critical work which is
coming out of net criticism, it has, for instance, given us the
Californian Ideology and a comprehensive critique of the Declaration of
Independence of Cyberspace. praise the lord.

but at the same time, net criticism is the unhappy oedipal son of Wired
magazine and other chosen and natural enemies without which it would not
have become the blooming phenomenon that it now is. the original Nettime
publications were supported by the kind of money and the kind of
biologicist media art people who you suggest have no idea what's really
going on (ZKP1 = Next 5 Minutes 2; ZKP2 = Cyberconf 5, ZKP3 = Metaforum
III [on this one you win], ZKP4 = Ljudmila/Beauty and the East). a year
ago, Nettime 'made' and discarded the 'net.art' movement.

before i float off into bickering, let me say that i have always seen
Nettime as one partner of a broader media cultural practice in which the
ars electronica symposia, v2's activities, mute magazine, the syndicate,
and many other individual and collective initiatives, are all
constitutive elements. to dismiss these as 'a-political' means, in my
view, to stick with a notion of politics that runs contrary to the very
network philosophyand politics that net criticism has helped to

i can understand your insistence that 'Art is a dead end street when it
comes to a better understanding of the emerging cyber economy', but -
beside the fact that i think you are wrong and that there are artistic
projects which can enable exactly this better understanding on a
conceptual level - you should admit that not all cultural and social
discourse should *necessarily* have to be directed at 'what is going on
in the real world of global economics (and its exclusions)'. there are
other real worlds, and other systems of exclusions. i see this as the
discursive trap of socalled globalism, that it claims that its simulated
new frontier of 'the global' is posited as the conditio sine qua non,
the ultimate condition of contemporary cultures.

i fully agree that there is little engagement with new media and the
social impact of the Internet in the world of 'art gallerism', but you
find the same in most public media (whether print or TV), in discourses
about New Age, and in the farming world. which is to say that we are
part of a small segment of contemporary culture which, as avantgardes
do, obviously knows what *really* moves the world, but we might as well
be less angry about the limitations of the rest of humanity.

i think that there are other, more interesting stories to tell about
what Nettime has done as a 'network machine', and i hope that we'll get
to that in the next days. i would also be curious what your current
ideas are about the development of forms of political and cultural
agency that are developing on the net, and whether you see them as
interesting alternatives for political action in the real world, or
rather as sweeteners for blind technophiles.

vriendelijke groet uit rotterdam,


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