Frank Hartmann (by way of (Pit Schultz)) on Mon, 17 Mar 97 08:12 MET

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nettime: re: Nettimism? No thank you!

BASTARD answers to Igor Markovic's
"No more ideologies - keep cyberspace clean!"

Never mind the "cold war myths". The scholarly answer one might give to
Markovic's logorrhea is important, but as toothless as a retired
Markovic tries to be impressive by speaking out of a specific historical
situation, in the name of "people who lived at least a part of their
lives in socialism". This should give his claims the necessary touch of
real-life experience. Thus he shouts: no more ideologies! No more
leaders! No more Holocaust! He wants to alarm us and share panic, in
order to hide the hollowness in his criticism of nettime, which in all
its simplicity follows the well known path of anti-intellectual

The idea of the possible end of ideology is an ideological idea par
excellence. Therefore, we do not even need to consult the referring
theory (e.g. Althusser), but recognize the recent developments in the
post-Socialist Eastern Europe as a demonstration for the fact that we
are far from living in a "post-ideological society".

If we really want to reflect upon the experience of "people who lived at
least a part of their lives in socialism", we should not dream about
nettime as a kind of a meta-ideological discussion space. We should
rather ask: how did the change in Eastern Europe affect the traditional
concept of "Ideologiekritik", and how did this change compel us to
approach the prerequisits for the function of ideological structures in
a new way - in the context of new media theory & practice.

For this aim the metaphor of the primal Bolshevik situation is
inappropriate. This reference much more reveals Markovic's frustrated
paranoia than sharpening the perception of the historical situation we
live in and of the aims a project like nettime might have in it. There
is a quite neglectable danger of nettime giving birth to a new Stalin or
Hitler. But the real danger is those ignorant people, who try to impose
their compensatory paranoia to the discussion as a whole.

All dualistic choices are delusive, be it between left and right, or
Negroponte and Lovink, or WIRED and NETTIME - the bandwidth simply is
higher than that. We do not have to identify ourselves with sides, be
it the Californian vs. any other kind of ideology - there are no polls,
we are not up to votes. This is also not about the question if
net-critique is a proper neo/post-marxism of sorts, but rather about an
awareness of what really matters. The quest for a "clean" cyberspace,
free of any ideology, is closer to some "final solution" than Markovic
himself might think (a connection impressively revealed by
Polish/British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman in his study 'Modernity and
Ambivalence'). His wish for cleanliness thoroughly contradicts the idea
of the intellectual cooperative he signs for, Bastard, a term coined to
express the hybrid energy of new media.

Keep cyberspace clean? Let us stay a little bit more realistic here. As
Markovic himself put it - "recognition of the problem and discussion
about it sounds like a good starting point".

Boris Buden & Frank Hartmann ,

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