richard barbrook on 6 Oct 2000 11:12:06 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Cybersalon Manifesto

Manage Your Own Medium

1.0 Genesis.

In March 1960 J.C.R. Licklider envisioned a network of computers connected
together where human and machine would work together in intimate
association. He prophesised that this era would be intellectually the most
creative and exiting in the history of mankind. We are living in this time.
Our group is a collective of people emerging from the human/computer
interface who are engaged in digital practices and theories. As artists,
practitioners and academics we have joined together to create the
Cybersalon: live gatherings in the image of the new digital medium of the

2.0 The medium is no longer the message, we formulate the medium to convey
our own message.

Creating in pixels underpins the use of the computer both as a tool and as
a communicating device. These two characteristics have completed their
integration in the Net. Within new media, the creative process is made and
distributed in bits and pixels. The exchanging, sharing and manipulating
information is an integral part of our work. Our networked computers are
the devices of creativity and of communication. Our message is intended for
a pixel-generated screen mediating the relationship of humans and

3.0 Enjoy the schism.

Our visual culture has been formulated by an analogue world whose
traditions have been uneasily carried on into the digital format. We are
still confined by the look, design, fashions and aesthetics of the old
media. Our practices and theories must now be changed for the time of the
Net. The schism between old and new media is caused by the passivity of the
first and the interactivity of the second. The medium that carries our
message conveys an active and intimate association with its users. New
media exist only in digital format: identical copies can be shared between
makers and receivers. We must now deliver in the same format that we create

4.0 The original is obsolete.

The digital format assumes countless identical copies of the same work. The
do-and-undo command encourages non-linear approaches within the creative
process. A digital work can be shared between its makers who can add and
delete parts. Visuals, sounds and machine code can be placed and accessed
across the Net. Whether we're multi-media constructors, web developers,
programmers, theoreticians, digital artists, we all have to ask ourselves
these key questions: Whose idea was it anyway? Who inspired whom? Is the
remix better than the original version? How can we contribute our
creativity to the collective digital work?

5.0 We must meet up soon.

New media brings together people from a wide range of different practices.
For instance, when building a website, the computer programmer and the
graphic designer will each contribute their own particular skills to the
common product. Within the creative process, each person possesses their
own heterogeneous experience of the human/computer interface. Out of these
divided and layered practices, a collective aesthetic is emerging in the
form of code and pixels.

6.0 Cybersalon is a real-time environment.

Cybersalon is a real and virtual space where people involved in digital
creativity can congregate and meet with each other. If we want to discover
innovative practices and theories, it is essential for us to share and
communicate our on-line experiences. Some short-sighted interests are
trying to inhibit the participatory nature of the Net. In contrast, we want
to celebrate and promote the emancipatory and creative possibilities of the
new information technologies. We will organise discussions around the
social and cultural issues brought out by the Net. We will exhibit
cutting-edge digital work. We present the latest practices and theories
emerging from the educational, commercial, community and artistic forms of
new media.

7.0 Beyond hi-tech neo-liberalism

We are escaping from the most liberal times in the history of
communications. After decades of globalisation, privatisation and
deregulation, information became something which could only be bought and
sold. Education, entertainment and political debates were read-only files.
Now all these old certainties are being swept away. The Net is overcoming
the enforced passivity and cultural boundaries imposed by the old media.
Whether as individuals or as groups, we now have the ability to create our
own media with the new information technologies. We can enjoy the benefits
of sharing knowledge, giving information, communicating our ideas and
making friends within a place where time and space are undetermined. In
this new situation, we are forced to reconsider our practices and theories
of cultural creativity. We must revisit the revolutionary legacy of the
past. We must invent new ways of acting and thinking.

8.0 Montage the medium

Living inside the human/computer interface is an integral part of everyday
life. As digital practitioners, we use our computer as a production tool
and as a communications device. As mobile phone users, we each carry with
our own personal transmitter. Although we don't own the landlines or
airwaves, we are still able to give away our content to whoever wants to
download it. We can collect and filter information from the Net to
customise our own information. Neither political censors nor copyright
enforcers have the power to control our freedom of expression. Across the
globe, individuals and groups can now enjoy the most libertarian
interpretation of media freedom. We are no longer limited to owning only
receivers of information. Each of us can now possess their own transmitter.
Everyone can be an artist, a designer, a broadcaster and a theorist. Our
pixel-aided world is the integration of all known culture - and the
emergence of entirely new practices and theories.

Sophia Drakopoulou
Richard Barbrook
3rd October 2000

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