Inke Arns on Fri, 3 May 2002 19:15:02 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] tm salon: Inke Arns: Net Cultures, Tue 7 May 2002, Berlin, 20:00


my book on 'Net Cultures' has just been published. I will give an "illustrated introduction" 
to the book's theme on Tuesday 7 May 2002 during the transmediale salon in the Podewil 
in Berlin. Here's some information about the book including the table of contents 
[translated into English] -- don't be mistaken: the book (& the event) is in German!

Greetings from Berlin,


transmediale salon: Net Cultures
Tuesday, 7 May 2002, 20.00
Podewil, Klosterstr.68-70, Berlin-Mitte, Eintritt: EUR 4/5 


Inke Arns. Netzkulturen, Hamburg: Europaeische Verlagsanstalt, April 2002

Since the development of graphic web interfaces in the beginning of the 1990s the use of 
the Internet and/or Web has risen dramatically. Here, new spaces of potentiality are 
developing which lead to the development of specific net cultural practices. The 
development of these practices is in large part due to the usage of digital ‘minor media’ 
(a.k.a. tactical media, sovereign media) which not only allow the users to read (passively), 
but which, most importantly, enable them to write (actively). ‘Minor media’ can thus be 
defined as practices, rather than distinct technologies.

After providing a brief overview over the historical development of the Internet since the 
1960s, Netzkulturen / Net Cultures gives a broad introduction to the net cultures of the 
1990s, which predominantly deal with the political, artistic and social dimensions of the 
Internet and which are opposed to its commercialisation. The Net now becomes, e.g., a
political tool: “context-systems”, as well as various (communication enabling respectively 
blocking) net activisms employ new net-specific strategies for the realisation of net internal 
or external political and social goals. At the same time there developed a specific “net art” 
which deals with the Net artistically / aesthetically and whose development was 
predominantly influenced by artists and activists from Eastern Europe. Finally, over the 
last ten years in Europe and beyond there emerged a filigrane network of independent 
media cultural institutions, groups and translocal communities communicating via mailing 
lists whose members critically reflect the political, cultural and economical consequences 
of the Internet and the social consequences of technological developments in general.

Commentary by Inke Arns

In this book, under the title “Net Cultures” I am describing very diverse and heterogenous 
ways of using and working with new media. Common to all these practices is the use of 
minor media. These are not to be understood as techniques, or technologies in the narrow 
sense, but as critical, minor practices opposed to thoses of mass media. Certain 
technologies simply enable more easily the development of self-determined forms of 
media practice than others. The Internet, for example, allows its users to not only remain 
passive receivers, but become active senders themselves. 

In an increasingly mediated world the early appropriation of a critical media literacy 
becomes increasingly important. Critical media literacy encompasses a self-confident and 
conscious use of those technologies we are surrounded by on an everyday basis, of their 
possibilities and dangers, as, for example, the potential for control and surveillance 
inherent in the digital media. I have followed the projects which I am presenting in this 
book either from an internal perspective, or from very close by. These examples of 'good 
practice' are meant to incite a creative use of media technologies.


Table of Contents:

_What are Media Cultures, what are Net Cultures?_

What are Media Cultures, what are Net Cultures? [p.6]

_Brief History of the Net and its (User)Cultures_

A Short History of the Internet in the 1960s and 1970s [p.10]

Nets from below: Electronic Communities in the 1980s [p.14]

Commercialisation and Gentrification/Disneyfication of the Net in the 1990s [p.18]

_Net Critique and Critical Nets_

Gift Economy vs. Commercialisation of the Net [p.22]

Control/Surveillance: the Net as Panopticon. Echelon, PGP and Lessig’s Code [p.28]

Technoutopianism of the Digerati, Ideology of the Virtual Class: the Californian Ideology 

The Importance of Minor Media [p.36]

_The Net as a Political and Cultural Space_

The Net as Political Space and Political Tool [p.40]

Translocal Networking -- “new identities?” [p.48]

_The Practice of Net Cultures in the 1990s_

Context Systems: The Thing, Digitale Stad Amsterdam, Internationale Stadt Berlin [p.52]

Net Activism I: Autonomous Systems. ZaMir, Insular Technologies, [p.56]

Net Activism II: Electronic Civil Disobedience. Critical Art Ensemble, Electronic 
Disturbance Theater (Flood Net), etoy vs. eToys (Toywar) [p.60]

Early Net Art: Strategies of Deception [p.66]

Social Interfaces: Festivals, Conferences and temporary Media Labs. Next 5 Minutes, 
Hybrid WorkSpace, Revolting, tech_nicks [p.72]

Translocal Networks: Mailing lists. Nettime, Syndicate [p.76]

Local Networks: Media Cultural Initiatives. FoeBuD (Bielefeld), mikro (Berlin) [p.78]

_Institutionalisation? From Alternative Culture to Political Involvement_

Virtual Platforms and Other Alliances [p.80]

Counselling and Lobbying - A Buy-Out of the Avant-garde? [p.82]

_The Transitoriness/Fugitiveness of the Net_

„Technical innovation equals class war" (I/O/D): Socio-political consequences of 
Technological Development [p.84]

When Technology Gets Old: Dead Media, Obsolete Technologies, Bitrot and Counter 
Strategies [p.86]


Further Reading. Print- and Online Media, URLs [p.90]

Initiatives / Addresses [p.92]

Glossary	 [p.93]

Inke Arns

Out now:

Inke Arns. Netzkulturen. Europaeische Verlagsanstalt, Hamburg, 2002

Inke Arns. Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) - eine Analyse ihrer kuenstlerischen Strategien im Kontext der 1980er Jahre in Jugoslawien [NSK - an analysis of their artistic strategies in Yugoslavia in the 1980s]. Regensburg 2002. ISBN 961-90851-1-6

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