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Table of Contents:

   [Psrf] Photostatic Retrograde Archive, no. 48                                   
     Lloyd Dunn <>                                                    

   UPDATE: The Why Project                                                         
     Why Project Updates <>                                       

   COPYRIGHT VIOLATION SQUAD COMMUNIQUE #2  (for announcer)                        
     matthew fuller <>                                          

   call for contributions - for posting                                            
     Francesca Ferguson <>                                       

   Announcement of USA Exquisite Corpse                                            
     US Department of Art & Technology <>                    

   Constitutional Crisis - Urgent Action Needed!                                   
     Eva Brunner <>                                         

     =?iso-8859-1?Q?eyescratch=81?=  <>                        

   new book by YOU!                                                                
     "<mashica>" <>                                           -   graf                                                      
     m e t a <>                                                          -     process                                               
     m e t a <>                                                          

   solaris: list on IT & development issues                                        
     "geert" <>                                                       


Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 14:01:04 +0200
From: Lloyd Dunn <>
Subject: [Psrf] Photostatic Retrograde Archive, no. 48

#  If you no longer wish to recieve e-mail announcements from the
#  Photostatic Retrograde Archive, simply let us know and we will remove
#  your name from the mailing list.
#  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

now available for download, retrograde release no. 3, april 2002:

Retrofuturism 17


direct download:

Description:  'Media/Countermedia' Coming as it does at the end of 
the Retrofuturism series in the (for us) uncertain year of 1993, 
there is ample evidence that our enthusiastic energy for this project 
was beginning to peter out. Nonetheless, the current issue contained 
a number of substantial contributions, including a nice piece from 
the Disdainists about a culture wallowing in a surfeit of modern art, 
and what they chose to do about it. Also noteworthy is a long text by 
the inimitable Al Ackerman, ostensibly a report from the 'Southwest 
Decentralized Mail Art Congress and Rodeo'.

In addition, a number of works continued to dwell upon the outcome of 
the then recently-completed presidential elections, and how they left 
us feeling. Most notably among them, Stephen-Paul Martin weighs in 
with his meditation on the media's role in all this in the lead 
article 'Media - Countermedia' and attempts to draw us in an 
alternative directions.

Graphics by Colin Ives and Nonlocal Variable, as well as a book 
review of Bob Black's 'Friendly Fire' by Ed Lawrence, round out the 

Project Overview: The Photostatic Retrograde Archive serves as a 
repository for a complete collection of Photostatic Magazine, 
Retrofuturism, and Psrf, in electronic form. We are posting issues in 
PDF format, at more or less regular intervals, in reverse 
chronological order to form a mirror image in time of the original 
series. When the first issue, dating from 1983, is finally posted in 
several year's time, then this electronic archive will be complete.

issue directory:

project URL:

- -- 

#  Photostatic Magazine Retrograde Archive :
#  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#  E-mail  |


Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 23:57:17 -0800 (PST)
From: Why Project Updates <>
Subject: UPDATE: The Why Project

UPDATE: The Why Project

This is to update you with new info about

> The New-York Historical Society, in collaboration with City Lore: The New York Center for Urban Folk Culture, is showing artwork from in the exhibit "History Responds series: MISSING: STREETSCAPE OF A CITY IN MOURNING." Select work from artwork and other sources is printed out and displayed in folios for visitors to browse. The show runs from March 12 - June 9, 2002.

> Now online, the " Community" is a Message Board on our website where contributing artists and guests are invited to share ideas about the ongoing direction of this project. You are invited to start dialogs, share information, and join in the ongoing collaboration. Discuss this in our Community at

> A Canadian publisher has published six artworks (with artists' permission) in a language arts textbook for grade 12 students. We are very pleased to contribute to this educational tool. The textbook is titled "Imprints 12 : short stories, poetry, essays, media" by Gage Learning, 2002. ISBN 0-7715-0947-2.

> participants are planning a trip, on their own, to NYC and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2002. If you want to join or lead a group please feel free to discuss this in our Community messageboard.

Updates to the artwork pages will resume next month when a website re-design is complete. Submissions received since November will be added then. Meanwhile you're invited to send new work about the attack and it's aftermath -- there is no limit to the number of submissions, which are invited until September 11, 2002.

Bill Bartee

You received this because you participated or helped the project in some way. We apologize if you received it by mistake.

Click on the link below to be removed from the Why Project Updates mailing list.

Proudly powered by Subscribe Me Lite (


Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 21:12:01 +0100
From: matthew fuller <>


During the course of our ongoing research, members of the Copyright
Violation Squad were highly amused when they spotted the slogans "Don't
Steal Music" and "Don't Steal Content" in the small print of recent
advertisments for a well known, fruit- flavoured computer manufacturer.
Being mischievous, pesky types, they couldn't resist subtly altering these
somewhat negative admonishments to something much more positive, and here's
what they came up with


To enable you to spread these messages among your contacts and
collaborators, the Copyright Violation Squad have thoughtfully reproduced
these two slogans on button badges,  which we are making available at cost

For 100 STEAL MUSIC & STEAL CONTENT 25mm/1 inch Button Badges send; 7.50
UK------12.00 euros/$12.00 EUROPE------$14.00 USA to; M.Pawson, P.O.Box
664, London, E3 4QR, UK


Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 19:06:05 +0200
From: Francesca Ferguson <>
Subject: call for contributions - for posting

We would be grateful for the posting of this call for papers
thank you!
urban drift org.

OCTOBER 16th-20th 2002

++symposium +++ nightscapes +++ urbaninterfaces

URBAN DRIFT is a network for the development of trans-cultural urban 

Over the past 3 years, URBAN DRIFT has formed part of the berlinbeta 
media festival, as a symposium which offers a platform to cutting-edge 
architects and designers for whom the city is a medium, and architecture 
a communicative tool for new urban strategies.

++The network represented by URBAN DRIFT++
Concentrating on urban voids, gaps and residual, or peripheral zones and 
public spaces, members of URBAN DRIFT act as tacticians for a 
contemporary urban praxis, developing a discourse within Berlin as one 
of the primary cities of flux. Our aim is to communicate architecture 
and urban design to a wider audience, to extend the boundaries of 
architectural discourse, and to maximise the potential of 
interdisciplinary practice. We speculate on the need to point the way to 
contemporary architectural practice and urban design as the steering and 
managing of processes; on the need to move from formalism to flux 

++URBAN DRIFT 2002++
This year urban drift is a 5 day event with a rich mix of talks and 
presentations by day, screenings, thematically based visuals, lectures 
and sound-scapes by night, along with open offices, in which 
architecture and design studios engage with the urban drift themes and 
reveal innovative hybrid spaces and working methods.

++planned location++
The event is set to take place in the Umspannwerk, a 19th century power 
station in Berlin-Kreuzberg, which has recently been renovated as a 
location for large-scale cultural events.

Mobile cultures and new urban strategies

The two-day conference will examine the impact of mobile 
telecommunications systems and media on architecture and urban design 
strategies. We will involve artists, architects, designers, theorists 
and activists in mutual discourse.


++ Technical Mobility:  Interaction design; the design of flows++
an examination of the impact of interactive and embedded technologies on 
contemporary design processes in architecture and design in the urban 
++ Mental Mobility:  Network urbanism++
an exploration of new coalitions between architects, artists, designers 
and urban planners. How is the role of the architect and designer 
adapting to the demands of network practice, and “flux management”, and 
what tools are being employed to visualize increasingly complex, 
multi-layered urban processes?
++ Mobility vs. place:  Re-humanizing technology and connective 
urbanism ++
How do architects and designers recreate a sense of place and counteract 
the speed of the media-driven cityscape? On urban voids, the reanimation 
of residual urban spaces, and on re-engaging the public in urban design 
++ Tactical mobility: effective Strategies for the redevelopment and the 
repoliticisation of public spaces,
“architecture is threat management” – Mark Wigley
a discussion amongst architects and media tacticians with relation to 
urban space. On “flexible response”, on intervening in and changing 
perceptions of the cityscape. On architecture as a medium.

++call for papers++
We welcome abstracts and short papers for inclusion in the conference 
and accompanying presentations. We also welcome relevant texts and 
essays for inclusion in the planned publication and the web site 

Please send abstracts of about 300 words – to: 
+++when+++ initial proposals should reach us by April 30th 2002.

The space will provide a temporary, transformational and flexible 
situation for artists, architects and designers to present their 
proposals and investigations within a more informal setting.

Communicating an “emotional urbanism” and drawing from the situationist 
dérive, Urban Drift’s night space will encompass…talks, readings, slide 
projections, screenings and urban soundscapes.

+++themes+++urban futures – real and virtual, shopping malls and garage 
settlements, the alchemy of urban narrative, urban nomadism and mobile 
technologies that foster a restless, edgy urban perspective, 
psychogeographies, scanning/mapping the city, displacement, and 
peripheral urban zones, in short, the ‚inexhaustible inventory of the 
streets‚ (Benjamin)

We welcome the following from urbanists ++ video works for 
screening@umspannwerk, slide shows, proposals for readings, 
performances, sound-pieces++
++ posters++ will form a significant part of the night-space… we welcome 
polemic, statements and images dealing with the above mentioned themes.

++ Formats++
slides 35mm or larger / vhs / svhs / mini-dv / quicktime files / 
cd-rom / jpeg files /

Initial proposals should reach us by e-mail by April 30th 2002
Please mail proposals for participation to:

Or -  post viewing copies of material/slides/related information to

Attn: Francesca Ferguson
C/o Datenflug
Urban Drift Project Space
Zehdenickerstr 21
10119 Berlin

Initiatorin/Künstlerische Leitung: Francesca Ferguson,
Zehdenickerstr 22, 10119 Berlin
Produktion: flora&fauna media GBR
Heike Blümner / Lizzy Fichtl
Wollinerstr 18/19, 10435 Berlin


Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 08:32:01 -0400
From: US Department of Art & Technology <>
Subject: Announcement of USA Exquisite Corpse

US Department of Art & Technology
PO Box 32265 Washington, DC

Press Secretary
=46or Immediate Release:  April 8, 2002

US Department of Art & Technology
Announces USA Exquisite Corpse

Washington, DC. - Randall M. Packer will address the Thaw 2002 
=46estival of Film, Video and Digital Media at the University of Iowa 
to call on all Americans to serve their nation for the equivalent of 
two years (4,000 hours) over their lifetimes, by joining a major new 
citizen service initiative, the USA Exquisite Corpse. On Saturday, 
April 13, 2002, the Secretary travels to Iowa City, Iowa, the 
heartland of America, to announce the Experimental Party and its 
first initiative, the USA Exquisite Corpse, which will enable 
Americans to participate directly - in their own communities - in 
creative acts of freedom of association and the transformational 
properties of the ceremonies of art.

Secretary Packer, who gave his swearing-in speech in Baltimore, 
Maryland on November 30, 2001, called on the newly formed US 
Department of Art & Technology to confront corporate control of mass 
media, provide immunity from the extension of new technologies into 
the social sphere, and support those artists who bear the scars of 
living on the wrong side of the digital divide. At the Transmediale 
02 International Festival of Media in Berlin two months ago, Packer 
declared that Collective Agency is the only possible basis for the 
full development of our creative life.

In his upcoming visit to Iowa, the hotbed of American politics, 
Secretary Packer will continue this effort by outlining his plan to 
launch the  USA Exquisite Corpse, a comprehensive, integrated citizen 
service initiative. The USA Exquisite Corpse includes three major 

(1) To engage citizens directly in celebrating the universal spirit 
of collective expression; (2) to seek volunteers to help speak 
oracular truths and the most radically liberating critique of reason; 
(3) to engage students in acts of appropriation through art and 
polemic, manifesto and demonstration, love and politics.

As Andr=E9 Breton has said, "perhaps the imagination is on the verge of 
recovering its rights."

The USA Exquisite Corpse will expand and improve the efforts of the 
US Department of Art & Technology and its newly formed Experimental 
Party to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers. Secretary Packer 
will demonstrate his support for this effort by requesting more than 
$560 million in new funding for the USA Exquisite Corpse in his FY 
2003 budget.  He will also ensure a high-level Administration focus 
on this initiative by creating a new USA Exquisite Corpse Council, 
comprised of the relevant talking heads.

The Citizens' Preparedness Guidebook, to be released in August, will 
provide procedures and systematic strategems to unlock the door to 
the unconscious and to give Americans guidance on how to prepare for 
the release of visual and verbal poetry of collective creativity.

=46or more information on the USA Exquisite Corpse, go to:

Additional URLs:
US Department of Art & Technology:
Thaw 2002:

Contact: Press Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology

# 01-097


Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 16:41:58 -0700
From: Eva Brunner <>
Subject: Constitutional Crisis - Urgent Action Needed!

New State "Emergency" Powers Threaten Civil Liberties in all 50 states

Unelected Officials Can Force Vaccinations, Quarantines, Rationing &=20
Property Seizures.
  It is urgent to pass this information on to contacts in every state.
Please read this notice fully - immediate action needed!!

The hearing by the Health Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, April 16 at=20
1:30 pm, at the Capitol Rm 4202.  Two ways to make your opinions heard in=20
Tuesday=92s hearing:  Come to the hearing in Sacramento  the Chairwoman will=
ask if there is any =93support or opposition=94 to the bill.  You may stand,=
identify yourself and voice your opinion.  Write to the Assembly Health=20
committee. Comments MUST be received by Monday, April 15, 5pm  Fax number=20
(916) 319-2197.

The text of AB 1763 as amended April 3 can be found at:

For more information on the Assembly'sHealth Committee, including a list of=
the Assembly persons in the committee, go to:
then click on "Committee Directory" in the left sidebar, then on the next=20
page scroll down to the listing of the Health Committee, and click on the=20
link provided.    Call 831.469.9101 for more information.

Please go to to find what is happening in your state.

January, 2002 -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is=20
sending a model bill for state legislatures to pass that would give public=
health officials and governors sweeping new authority without oversight by=
the legislature or courts. Moreover, the proposal allows government=20
authorities to ration and commandeer drugs and other items, including=20
firearms and private property.

This bill would give the governor the power to declare himself dictator in=
case of a "public health emergency" -- which means whatever he says it=20
does. Further, the governor could then delegate this authority to unelected=
political appointees in state and local public health offices.

The bill is so alarming that even state legislators are publicly opposing=20
it, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the=20
nation's largest bipartisan, individual membership organization of state=20

Log onto -- the Institute for Health Freedom --=20
for more info and possible contact numbers.
The proposed legislation, entitled the Model State Emergency Health Powers=
Act (MEHPA), is already under consideration in several states including=20
Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Minnesota, Illinois, and California, while=
many states will consider the measure during the 2002 legislative sessions.
=D8       Force you to take a vaccination or a medical treatment decided by=
the Governor  or be herded into a quarantine or isolation facility.
=D8       Seize any of your property that the government decides is=
such as firearms, real estate, fuel, medical supplies, food,=20
clothing,              communications devices, business property.
=D8       Destroy property alleged to be hazardous without compensation and=
without recourse.
=D8       Conscript you or your business into State service.
=D8       Impose rationing, price controls and quotas on any resources=20
including food, water & fuel.

=F0       SIGN THE PETITION. Urge President Bush to stop HHS from pushing=20
this monstrous bill.
=F0       CONTACT STATE OFFICIALS. Tell legislators and your governor. Call=
the Legislative Hotline.

Log on to or call the AAPS Hotline at 800.419.4777 to=20
sign the petition.
Continue to contact your legislators as well as Secretary of Health and=20
Human Services Tommy Thompson at every stage of the process. We must stop=20
this constitutional crisis now!  What the Patriot Act hasn't accomplished,=
the Medical Emergency Act just might.


Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 18:54:11 -0400
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?eyescratch=81?=  <>
Subject: ::RWD[<<]::B3N3F!T::4/14/02::

[short disClaimer 00 -- it cannot be said anymore that
  technologies come and go like some fad or fashion___!?!
  we witness diagrams and list petitions....___......
  accentuate the prison of our purpose...___.......
  hotsynch the organizers++++
  what's left? - as in what's up doc.....
  for the luscious ladies:...
           {!}                        ....HttP:
            ;             ............     //
         .:;:;:.     ....                 www
        .  :::  . .:                       .   or.
          :.'.:                            t0.    at
          . ^ .                                  /    scratch
          \   /                                 ~eye
          -   -
       \\.....................bubbelischous. cheers e.s.]

The Official Afterparty for the Northeast Anti-G8 Roadshow & Caravan
and Benefit for the INS Detainee Family Fund

Sunday, April 14th 2002
from 9 pm to 2 am

at the Walkerspace
56 Walker Street
between Broadway and Church,
two blocks south of Canal.

Subway:  1, 9, A, E, C, 4, 5, 6, N, and R trains to Canal Street.

Admission is a sliding scale donation, from $5 to 20+.
No one will be turned away.

9 pm -  Lo-Ki, Konkrete Jungle
10 pm - Hungry March Band
11 pm - Kid Lucky
12 am - Jason BK, Blackkat
1 am - NicFit, Havoc Sound

Sponsored by the NYC Direct Action Network, NYC Anti Capitalist Convergence,
and the Detentions Working Group of the Coalition for Human Rights of
Immigrants (CHRI).

The proceeds will go towards covering the travel expenses of CLAC, the Anti
Capitalist Convergence collective from Montreal, Canada; and to the
Emergency Family and Legal Fund setup by DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving)
to benefit families whose members have been detained by the INS (Immigration
Naturalization Services) since September 11th.  Many detainees are
experiencing deteriorating health as they languish in jails simply because
they cannot afford bail or bond money and have no support outside.  Others
still are in urgent need of funds to help support the families left behind.

If you would like to donate to the Fund, but cannot attend the party, please
send checks made out to the "The Brecht Forum" with "Fund" written in Memo,
to:  Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM); 73-16 Roosevelt Ave. 2nd Flr.;
Jackson Hts., NY 11372; 718-205-3036;  Your donations
are tax deductible.


The Northeast Anti-G8 Roadshow & Caravan

Immigration Action Alerts from CHRI

Stop the Disappearances! Campaign from DRUM

- --


Mass detentions of Arabs. Anti-immigrant CUNY admissions. Racist policing.
The use of prisons to control political thought and action. The U.S. war on

On April 14, join us from 3 to 8 p.m. (location TBA) as New York and
Canadian activists meet to link issues that have afflicted our city and the
globe before and after 9/11.

The panels and workshops include activists from DRUM working to expose and
halt illegal INS detentions; the Prison Moratorium Project fighting against
the racist prison industrial complex; CUNY students combating prejudicial
tuition hikes; local labor activists; and the Haitian Coalition working to
eradicate the racist police brutality that terrorizes much of NYC.

The Northeast Anti-G8 Roadshow & Caravan - which includes members of the
CLAC, anti-war and local activist groups - is traveling from Canada to
outline how the policies of the 'elected' rulers from the G8 - the globe's
controlling capitalist nations - lead to oppressive and imperialist programs
that damage our communities from Astoria to Afghanistan.

"These heads of state behave like vultures who gather to share stolen
treasures to the detriment of 90 percent of the world's population and to
the total detriment of the environment."

In response, thousands plan to take to the streets of Ottawa on June 26 and
27, to protest the G8 superpowers who will be meeting in Kananaskis,
Alberta. During the last G8 meeting in Genoa, Italian police murdered Carlo
Giuliani, a young activist, and brutally attacked hundreds of protesters.

This event is co-sponsored by NYC ACC and NYC DAN.
For more info on the April 14th event call 917-421-3900 ext. 2956 or email or; for more info on CLAC
call 514-844-1994 or

Prison Moratorium Project:

- --
Yvonne Liu
+ vox: 646 321 5710

"Unfortunately, we have been brought up on parlor games, where the
participants discuss whether or not they are 'for' or 'against' violence.
Can you picture a similar discussion on whether we are for or against
disease?  Violence, class struggle, and disease are all real.  Those who
deny the reality of violence and class struggle - like those who deny the
reality of disease - are not dealing with the real world."  -- BlasÈ Bonpane
Guerillas for Peace (1985)

- -- 
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Date: Sun, 07 Apr 2002 22:13:03 +0100
From: "<mashica>" <>
Subject: new book by YOU!

Mashica  invites any and all Nettime-readers to participate in the second
edition of the Cassandra Fax Project. This time it's a book.

Yes, we're birthing a book. That is, YOU are book birthing and we are
surrogating the conception. The gestation of said child is all about love,
books, and "horse watching"; and participation costs you 1 [one] fax. So why
not pay up! We'd love to see what you've got going on for our faxing

The book is simply a manner of distribution and method. Each of the faxes is
included on one side of a perforated page ready for tearing out and
re-faxing. Fax on to your mother, to your dentist, and to your favorite
musician; and all to your personal satisfaction. Mashica means to keep your
fax circulating; and to keep the circle in the loop, we are asking for a fax
from you.

¿So how bout it?

Find instructions under "progression" below and beyond.
Also, visit <> for more Cassandra good times.
<> is where to see some prime examples of the
go around.

Try to get the ball near the plate sometime before the first of May.  Until
then, we're ready when you are.


CFP Manifesto:

The Cassandra Fax Project was created in recognition of all electronic
interchange as being oracular and "unbelievable". Truth in communication is
thoroughly challenged by the time and spatial boundaries that are harshly
reduced via electronic media. Not unlike the ability of print to acquire a
profundity that the same word spoken or thought will lack, email, fax, and
other electronically transmitted communications are raised to a greater
power and consequence as they cross limitations of time and distance
previously privileged only to ESP, telepathy, and prophecy. But in breaking
new ground technology must pay the price of credibility. Our continually
evolving myth of the new is being constantly replaced by greater
transparency and timelessness as we adjust to the ever-greater invisibility
of the future.

The most common and proper reaction to innovation is: "Unbelievable". Well
yes, exactly. Of course it's unbelievable. This is the fate of technological
exchanges today as was the fate of Cassandra, prophetess of Troy. The myths
of innovation are as unbelievable as oracles, prophecies, or simple magic.
Timeless and space-less, the use of electronic communication pushes design,
interactivity, exchange, and existence toward immateriality.

1. You email us your fax number right now. Include special instructions for
the hour we should send or if we need to ask for the fax line, etc. If
you're faxless, just say so.
2. We send you a fax.
3. You fax us back.  (Check the specifications for how the fax will be
printed on our end, and what to send)

1. Our fax: 1 page A4.
2. Your fax: 2 pages A4 one cover page, and one regular page.  If you don't
have and can't get A4, letter size will work.
3. The cover page:  to include some sort of identifiable mark that you are
you.  Might we suggest a name, contact information, URL, favorite color.
4. The CFP page:  Confirm your existence and the existence of the fax.
Also, feel free to incite all further challenges to oracles, prophecy,
unbelief, hypertextuality, Greek Mythology, danger, safety, codings,
simulated relations to other codings, milk, cheese, livestock. Etc.


Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 02:05:44 -0700
From: m e t a <>
Subject:   -   graf




Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 23:59:18 -0700
From: m e t a <>
Subject:     -     process


previously unreleased 'sketches'  -  06.06.2001




Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 10:11:34 +1000
From: "geert" <>
Subject: solaris: list on IT & development issues

Announcement of the Solaris Electronic Mailinglist
An Initiative for Critical Issues of Internet and Development

Dear All,

We would like to inform you about Solaris, a new electronic mailinglist on
IT and "Development" related issues in the once and future/post "non-Western
world". The list started in early 2002 and now has 150 subscribers.

The discontent amongst many of us with the conventional discourse around "IT
& Development" has gradually grown over the last few years. So far there has
not been an on-line institutionally independent forum to discuss critical
topics concerning the full range and use of new media and their
cultural/creative, political, social and economic contexts in the (for lack
of a better term) "Developing (aka Third, Less Developed, Underdeveloped)
World" and in lagging regions and among digitally excluded populations in
"Developed" Countries.

The existing lists in the "IT & Development" or "Digital Divide" fields are
too closely tied to funding bodies, Not for Profits, international
institutions or governmental agencies with their own world encompassing
assumptions to promote. Despite their efficiency they seem to have too
narrow a policy and theoretical focus. We would like to see more
independence, a neutral forum where critical and lively multi-disciplinary
and intercultural exchanges can take place.

Current mailing list culture seems to have little interest in debating more
fundamental issues of exclusion in a digital context, the new power
relations of digitally enabled economies, digitally enabled security from
below rather than above, community e-commerce development, Napsterism and
other post "E" development strategies, the new terms of trade and
sophisticated accumulation in the Real World of IP, OS (Operating System)
wars and regional insurgencies, and determining if WTO director Mike Powell
was right and the Digital Divide really is about fancy German cars in low
income neighborhoods.

This call for a critical discourse comes from 'within' and is not meant to
spread a new form of techno-cultural pessimism. The last thing we need is a
moralistic analysis of the Internet as a 'US-American imperialist tool'. An
engaged form of research is necessary which overcomes dry economism and its
spiritual counterpart, techno-determinism (the all too often heard notion
that technology will automatically bring salvation and result in prosperity
for all, worldwide).

"Solaris" is born out of a felt need for a lively and diverse independent
ICT and development discourse and particularly one which recognizes and
reinforces the perspectives of those who see ICT as a base for liberation
and creativity--with eyes wide open for the chilly reality. There is a need
to analyze the agendas of all the agents, from globe spanning UN or G8
Task/Dot Forces, US-American foundations (Markle, Soros, Rockefeller, Ford,
etc.), charity/marketing input from IT companies, government ICT/DD
development programs, NGOs and media activists.

nformation technology hasn't solved world poverty. It arguably has
contributed even further to the growing income inequality on both a global
and national scale while the all too easy rhetoric of UN initiatives, and
DotForce and other Digital Divide programs appear to be recycling outdated
neo-liberal dotcom models. The 'organized positivism' around successful
projects is often used against those who rightly ask questions while
mysteriously never seeming to manage the morphing into on-going
 "sustainable" programs. There is an "end of history" culture in the making
driven by the almost religious belief that technology plus business results
in democracy and prosperity.

The bandwidth gap is widening on any level at an accelerating pace. With
Linux stagnating as an alternative to Microsoft, limiting its role as an
operating system and server software, Solaris would like to raise the
question in which areas strategic software could be developed. Information
technology does not come with 'out of the box' solutions. At the time there
is an amazing amount of talent around to prevent and reverse the expensive
import of hardware and software. The overall picture is a complex, often
paradoxical one.

There is no longer a need for 'technology transfer' from North to South.
"Everyone is an expert." IT-specialists are everywhere. However, there are
numerous economic blockages explaining why software production from below
hasn't taken off.  It is now time to stress the structural obstacles-and
NGOism could be one of them (not just the more obvious WTO).

The use of information technology worldwide is causing paradoxical,
sometimes contradictory and confusing effects, with occasional miracles and
widely spread new forms of exclusion. Still, the overall sense is one of
empowerment - and surprise. The primal drive to discover, adapt, mutate and
further develop technologies is a truly global phenomenon, one that cannot
be overrun by a culture of complaint or the desire of corporate interests to
create and capture markets.

These are just some of many topics which could be discussed.

The Solaris initiators would like to emphasize the complexity of the picture
and involve all those who feel attracted to a rich multidisciplinary form of
digital story telling beyond dull politics, sterile academicism, paper tiger
task forces and self-reflexive policy conglomerates. It is time to get rid
of the almost dead phrase "IT is about people, stupid" and move it beyond
the massing ranks of the Digital Divide industry.

Solaris is co-founded by Michael Gurstein (, community
Internet maven based in New York and Geert Lovink (, media
theorist and Internet critic, based in Sydney. The list is hosted by Sarai,
the New Media Initiative in Delhi, India which has been a source of
inspiration while starting up Solaris.

Please forward this invitation to your friends-and enemies-who you think
would/should be interested in joining Solaris.

To start, the Solaris mailinglist will be open and unmoderated. There will
be a (growing and rotating) team of facilitators from different continents
and backgrounds who will initiate debate and bring in material. In order to
prevent spam only members will be able to post and from the e-mail address
where they receive the list. When there are around 50 subscribers the list
will go live. Please be careful not to publicly circulate this announcement,
especially in the beginning.

To (un)subscribe write to with 'help' in the
subjectline for further instructions or go directly to:

Post to: (list members only)

List archive:

solaris--independant forum for IT & development issues
un/sub info: with the word "help" in the
line or in the body of the message.


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