tobias c. van Veen on Wed, 7 Jun 2006 10:55:33 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> report_on_NNA

ola list,

So the list moderators have been bugging me to write something of a report
on the Nettime_North_America gathering, in terms which don't particularly
excite me, as I've been rather exhausted and I'm just working over the
hangover induced by this year's MUTEK festival.

The Gathering went very well. It was attended by not a few Nettimers who
never post here, yet reside quite comfortably on the list. The discussion
was intimate and several topics were broached among the participants
including the meaning of "critical practice resuscitation" and what
criticality might mean today, gender and technology, precariousness and
precarity, burn out & exhaustion, where Nettime might be going, etc. We
heard from various members on projects they were working on and initiatives
taking place in the broader realms of tactical media, hacktivism, and the
technology arts. There were "bigger names" and smaller names, and all the
names and the topics can easily be found on the schedule on the website:

The event lasted from 10am to midnight. We were there from 7am onwards,
cleaning the tables at SAT, scraping off candle wax, sweeping the floor, as
SAT could only donated a minimal technical team for us. We had the main room
for the conference and the Cafe for the performances (still a very large
space). MUTEK unfortunately did not come through with the levels of
cross-promotion or passes for our speakers and artists as expected, and so
we struggled with handmade photocopied catalogues and pins to promote the

We'd like to take the time, in fact, to thank everyone involved who threw a
serious amount of time into making this happen:

Sophie Le-Phat Ho
Anik Fournier
Hugues Monfroy
Pascal Lefebvre
Jerome @ SAT
Aaron Lakoff
Abe Burmeister
Berengere Dubuard (BeeWoo)
Cato Pulleyblank
Colin Arason
Darsha Hewitt
Eric (Nokami)
Gita Hashemi 
Helen Hudson
Jan Pienkowski
Joseph Lefebvre
Johnny Ranger
John Sobol
Ken Werbin
Kevin Yuen Kit Lo
Kirsty Robertson
Michael Lenczner
Miriam Verburg
Neil Wiernik
Nina Czegledy
Omar Bickell
Stéphanie Brodeur
Stephen Kovats 

.. as well as all those who attended & helped in many ways... we thank you
too..!   *kisses*

We'll post a few pics up there soon enough. The SAT webcast the entire
thing, and I know a few of you tuned in and emailed in questions. Thanks for

That those who attended were not those who make their presence felt in
writing, here, was interesting for us. Whether this constitutes leeching or
learning, or is a factor of various intimidating atmospheres produced by
this list was itself a topic of discussion during the Gathering at various
points. I am now leaning towards the latter, as the following from Ted
Byfield makes me wonder on not a few of these points.

For those who didn't know, Ted (one of the moderators) never made it,
apparently due to illness. And to which he wrote to me:

" But if our absence merely ended up paving the way for a 'private' --
through commission and omission -- event, can you tell me why exactly the
name nettime had or has anything to do with it?"


If the above list means a "private gathering...." ... well, folks, how do
you feel about that....?

If this was a private gathering, then as far as I'm concerned, Nettime
should be having "private gatherings" nonstop, worldwide, with as many or as
few people as you can muster..!
    I mean, why not?
Who owns this list anyway but its subscribers...? Or is it owned by the
moderators...? These certainly aren't questions for me to decide..!


The straightforward answer I can give, but this question presupposes an
entire host of power dynamics: that Nettime cannot "meet" if the Moderators
are not present. 

We are very sorry Moderators for not having European levels of funding or
personal wealth to fly you in....!  I mean this sincerely...! But we simply
don't...! We aren't rich..! We are the newer or 2nd/3rd generation of
Nettimers, who don't have stable careers, who won't benefit from this list
to advance our said careers, and who are nonetheless trying to f*cking do
something anyway! So there you have it!

Alright, that's out.


So I did reply to Ted, and as it is a Q&A session that should perhaps be
worked out here & not in private, here's what matters of the reply for
Nettime in general, reformatted from the "you" to the general statement, as
it's the issue, and not Ted personally, which I wish to address:

1. To set the record straight, there was no "commission and omission" for
this event. Everyone from the open call was accepted. And since we have no
money, we can't commission anyone or anything. Everything was donated, from
the flyer design to the space. We, as the organisers, are curious as to
where anyone might have gotten this idea...?

We hope it's a misunderstanding, and not a prejudice resulting from the fact
that the gathering created space for many non-star Nettimers to meet &
speak, and that they don't particularly feel the need to "report" to the
list (see also below).

2. As for the question concerning why Nettime was the point of the
gathering, this can be simply answered by reading the posts which footnoted
the origin of the idea with David Garcia and the energy which was thrown
into this event back in Summer / Fall 2005.  To refresh everyone's memory:

"At the end of August there were a few posts to Nettime-l concerning the
potential human gathering of Nettimers, the first in some time. David Garcia
raised the issue in a post noting Nettime's ten year anniversary [1].
Andreas Broeckmann, Camille Acey and myself followed up with a few
encouraging responses and moreover I said I'd look into it [2]. "

3.  I might ask if we are dancing around another issue, an underlying issue
here concerning our lack of funds to support anyone, even the organisers, in
attending the event. To which I cannot help but respond: are we to be blamed
for throwing this in the conditions which currently exist for DiY
non_institutional events..? Does anyone realize that none of us are paid and
that this was entirely voluntarily organised..? That there were NO funds to
speak of...? That this took several months of work, yadda yadda?

But also: why not try and throw an event? Who cares if this list functions
primarily on the level it does now, and not as a flesh network?

Should we blamed for trying..?


This is all rather predictable ..

4. As for the lack of posts to the list, many if not most of the people
there were on Nettime but said -- on the webcast, in public -- that they
never bother posting due to an intimidating atmosphere on the list, because
they feel they have nothing to contribute in this atmosphere, etc. Ken
Werbin discussed aspects of "list" cultures in detail, including the
diversity/unity problem of information today, and the problem of "too many
lists." Many of the people, like me, have been on the list for some years,
but many, unlike me, don't feel comfortable posting. Gita Hashemi spoke on
this specifically in relation to gender and technology. There were many
others who chimed in as well, including Abe Burmeister, on the meaning of
"critical" practice (net.critique) in the 21C and why this term might not
resonate well with newer ways of thinking. This was all publicly webcast....

>how odd it is that there's been no news of a 'nettime'
> meeting on the list. From anyone.

Well, let's ask this question to the list --

Why is it that out of so many thousands of subscribers, only a handful post?

To which we might add: why did it take so long for the live webcast
information to reach the list?

And why is it that given the chance to meet in person, those that saw value
in such a gathering were NOT the star names of the list, but the little
people that never post, for varying reasons?

    with bells on,

    tobias c. van Veen



tobias c. van Veen -----------++++ -- --
McGill Communication + Philosophy
ICQ: 18766209 | AIM: thesaibot +++ 

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