|Pit Schultz on Thu, 22 Jan 1998 20:31:00 +0100|
[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]
|Syndicate: ars electronica 98: InfoWar|
check: http://www.aec.at/ The ars electronica festival 98 will be presented under the title: --===INFOWAR===-- _ The _information society_ - no longer a vague promise of a better future, but a reality and a central challenge of the here-and-now - is founded upon the three key technologies of electricity, telecommunications and computers: Technologies developed for the purposes, and out of the logic, of war, technologies of simultaneity and coherence, keeping our _civilian society_ in a state of permanent mobilisation driven by the battle for markets, resources and spheres of influence. A battle for supremacy in processes of economic concentration, in which the fronts, no longer drawn up along national boundaries and between political systems, are defined by technical standards. A battle in which the power of knowledge is managed as a profitable monopoly of its distribution and _dissemination_. The latest stock market upheavals have laid bare the power of a global market, such as only the digital revolution could have fathered, and which must be counted as the latterÃ?s most widely-felt direct outcome. The _digitally-networked_ market of today wields more power than the politicians. Governments are losing their say in the international value of their currencies; they can no longer control, but only react. The _massive expansion_ of freely-accessible communication networks, itself a global economic necessity, imposes severe constraints on the arbitrary restriction of information flows. Any transgression of a _critical_ control functions in the cybertechnologiesÃ? sphere of responsibility and influence puts central power wielders in a hitherto unheard-of position of vulnerability and openness to attack. The geographic _frontiers_ of the industrial age are increasingly losing their erstwhile significance in global politics, and giving way to vertical fronts along social stratifications. Whereas, in the past, war was concerned with the conquering of territory, and later with the control of production capacities, war in the 21st century is entirely concerned with the acquisition and exercise of power over knowledge. The three fronts of land, sea and air battles have been joined by a fourth, being set up within the global _information systems_. Spurred on by the "successes" of the Gulf war, the development of information warfare is running at full speed. Increasingly, the attention of the military strategists is turning away from _computer-aided warfare_ - from potentiation of the destructive efficiency of military operations through the application of information technology, virtual reality and high-tech weaponry - to cyberwar, whose ultimate target is nothing less than the global information infrastructure itself: annihilation of the _enemyÃ?s computer_ and communication systems, obliteration of his databases, destruction of his command and control systems. Yet increasingly the vital significance of the global information _infrastructure_ for the functioning of the international finance markets compels the establishment of new strategic objectives: not obliteration, but manipulation, not destruction, but infiltration and assimilation. "Netwar" as the tactical deployment of information and disinformation, targeted at human understanding. These new forms of _post-territorial_ conflicts, however, have for some time now ceased to be preserve of governments and their ministers of war. NGOs, hackers, computer freaks in the service of organised crime, and terrorist organisations with high-tech expertise are now the chief actors in the _cyberguerilla_ nightmares of national security services and defence ministries. In 1998, under the banner of __"INFO WAR"__, the _Ars Electronica Festival of Art_, Technology and Society, is appealing to artists, theoreticians and technologists for contributions relating to the social and political definition of the information society. The emphasis here will lie not on technological flights of fancy, but on the fronts drawn up in a society that is in a process of _fundamental_ and violent upheaval.