Pit Schultz on Wed, 21 Jun 2006 18:46:24 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> the idea of nettime

aren't nettimers at first powerusers of the mind? by the
asceticism of using a blunt majordomo script for
more than 10 years now, one could speak of the zen of
collaborative filtering. if you prefer to use googl notes,
digg, del.icio.us, slashdot, or nettime, it is a matter of
which generation you stick to. the quality of postings is a
result of how much bending the participating minds can take.
how much "agape" or passion. no forces, no texts, no
archives. besides all valid criticism of power relations
which has to be made here, and which is by far redundant
throughout net debates, i'd like to point out the modes of
organisation which are behind one of the most successful
web2 projects of the day, enlightenment 2.0,  run by a
benevolent dictator called jimbo wales - a digital remake of
the encyclopaedicas of the 17th century. driven by the
desire to know, it includes the act of exchange and a secure
uncertainty is shared throughout the cultures. nettime, in
its good times, was about the singularities of wanting to
know, a factory of collective subjectivity, far away from
academic scholastics, business prep talk, or activist
propaganda. "loud thinking" garcia said. a form to collect
and protect knowledge, keep it alive in times which at
moments looked like the dawn of a new dark age, and then
again like an all-you-can-eat-paradise. besides the delirium
kept in balance by the mighty gardeners of the list, there
is this soberness of textism which remains and shows the
"classical" or even conservative relation of nettime to its
net environment. what exactly does it conserve? what does it
transform? to my view it was a history of intellectualism,
the long term art of textual thought, including the options
of poetry, programming, philosophy and politics. nettime
brought back an element of orality and debate into the
writing, the universality and the exercise of the ancient
academy which has little to do with todays academism..

it is important to see today that the underlying
technologies, the *network* became a manifestation of an
ideology itself. decentralisation, or the rhizomatic swarm
ideology is value free, useful for military, marketing,
terrorism, activism and new forms of coercion. it is not
equal to freedom, only in a mathematical sense. but it is
quite important to once again take the radio apart even if
you are unable to put it back together, to be able to speak
about it and learn. nettime was an attempt to leave the
representative element of media culture behind, where
insiders explain technology to a general audience, a
generally sickening scenario of demo-or-die situations and
boring video beamer lectures. in fact this list has changed
people's lives to some degree.  it is the irreversibility of
human time, which can make the net a place (not a space). it
is totally unimportant what positions people have if the
'stuff' they say does not really matter, just to be piled up
with more of advanced "me-too" messages. often, even the big
names have no idea what they are really talking about -
technology - as long as their words are aimed to be fully
functional within the machines of mediation. we live in a
time where everyone has become his own bureaucrat and
marketing agent. (web2 is very much about supporting the
outsourcing of traditionally centralized tasks into

you need to be a poweruser maybe to get your hands dirty on
the code, the sublayers of techno, and RTFM. this is at
least in my view what should remain as a credo from the
nineties, in a time where the net becomes a "transparent"
household technology, like electricity, tv, water, gas or
telephone you need to get your hands dirty on the gear and
tweak with the architectures. good luck becoming a professor
for household culture!

now the whining: the current climate of dull compromise and
bureaucratic mediocrity, of obsessive multilateral mediation
and narcissistic historification in late network mainstream
culture, means that there is no meaningful media culture
other than the next one which once again overcomes itself,
and reinvents itself, in a disruptive process of
modernisation (we always have been modern), or
like nettime, in a splendid almost spiritual isolation of
the electro-monks, a temple for the early layers of ASCII
text and its encoded collective energies. many pseudo-ideas
and half-truths become common sense for a while just to be
falsified by time later on. it is therefore probably a waste of
time to speak or research an "esthetics of networks" when
this type of mediation is already all over the place.

nettime, in its good times was rather more about the lines
of flight, the correspondences, and the love of thought, and
about having meetings and doing things together. thanks
therefore for the inspiring postings of sterling and
stahlman, and holmes, showing that the "intellectual
bidirectional air-bridge" is still operational.  and if
anyone on this list is able to pay the rent of their inner
city flats based on what they did here, then it was worth
something at least, that i've started that thing back in
1995 in kuenstlerhaus bethanien instead of realizing an art
installation. (btw, has anyone an archive of that phase?)

regarding the technicalities of moderation, yes. rotation
was agreed on years ago when it was passed to byfield and
stalder. and yes, some features are based on human decision
not technical administration. an openview moderator inbox is
from an architectural standpoint certainly a better tool
than the repressive tolerance ghetto of a "bold" paralell
list. and third, to regret having a list moderated which
grows to many thousands of people is like regretting that
you have a brake on your bike when your're rolling downhill.
there is no place for the long tail on an unmoderated list,
see the usenet history.

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