300 Articles

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Stop Streaming and Listen: Fight Post-Governmental-Content-Control Streaming Media breaks UK law - find out why nobody wants to care... 

Streaming media deliver video or audio content over the web. But streaming media are very different from the web. In the UK such formats force BT to breach the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act. To the grass-roots activist web-critics, this might be the right (and most likely only) time to pull the plug and prune the web. Alternatively we could happily stream on and witness how independent media production will be pushed to the periphery of the new order. Here is one of many scenarios...

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The End of a Paradise 

In tactical media circles the Amsterdam media landscape has long been treated as a Utopian model because of her free radios, open tv-channels and digital public spaces. The last few years this media paradise is under threat. How did this come about? And is it still possible to reverse this development? This is the theme of the Amsterdam Media Debate. Nina Meilof (The Digital City - DDS), Andreas Baader and Josephine (Radio Patapoe), Frank (Radio de Vrije Keyser) and media-activists Patrice Riemens, Geert Lovink and Menno Grootveld prepared the grounds for the discussion.
The aim of the Amsterdam Media Debate during The Next 5 Minutes is to explain to the international participants that big changes are underway here. They may perhaps learn something from our experiences, but we would also like to try and find out what the differences are with other big cities and with other countries. What are these big changes and how is the situation at the present moment?

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Stop The Jabiluka Uranium Mine in Kakadu 

Does the art of campaigning involve commodifying a struggle and presenting it in a package to the people through the media? What impact does the media really have? How useful is the net as an alternative medium? Does it only reach the alternative people - those who already know about the issues or is it capable of engaging with the mainstream public. Does genuine public opinion have any real impact in the current political and corporate climate?

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The Brent Spar Syndrome 

Shell is not going to forget lightly its misadventures with the Brent Spar. The Oil Major was taken by complete surprise when the Greenpeace campaign against sinking that former drill platform achieved its goals. What happened to Shell can in fact happen to any corporation. Loosing control of the situation as result of the activities of a pressure group has become a nightmare scenario for the modern multinational enterprise.

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The Law of Web TV 

Internet policy is hard to enforce, but there is no harm in thinking it through. On the other hand, whatever order there is in the Net is generally the result of focussed self-organization: namely that the elements that constitute the medium, technology, market, infrastructure, policy and consumers, fall into place rather quickly and often better than expected.

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What will you do with the bandwidth? 

The European Cultural Backbone was founded as an initiative of 16 Trans-European Media Institutions. They baptize their baby with an extensive "We want Bandwidth" campaign, starting in a medium near you any minute. What to do with it and what to make with it?


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    Wide Open to the Web Warriors 

    Activists are using the internet to fight large companies over ethical issues. Yet many major brand-owners lack a clear counter-strategy. Earlier this month a group of environmental activists staged a sit-in at Shell's London offices. Although Shell turned the power off and cut the phone lines, activist Roddy Mansfield  broadcast the protest live to the internet and e-mailed the press, using a digital camera, laptop computer and mobile phone.


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    Willing Slave 

    It's almost spring in Tokyo-

    to pick up the dialogue between David and DeeDee as moderated by Geert on activist vs artist, corporation vs independent--

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      A Personal Map of the Resistance Movement in France 

      For many reasons, the 80's, years of the Mitterand socialist government, were years in which grass roots movements got institutionalized and traditional activism was "out". The logic of the Republic (everybody is equal without distinction) allied with traditional individualism and clanic behaviour ("la guerre des chapelles") forbid the emergence of non dominant/non normalized subjectivities. This tradition is still alive today. The 68 generation didn't feel necessary to pass on their knowledge to younger generations. From their point of view, they created new ways to go about the world by themselves, so should the new generations. The notion of alternative and activism became stigmatized. It wasn't a very tactical in those years to position oneself in terms of an alternative. As a result, by the beginning of the 90, the most visible part of the intellectuals and the grass roots movements seams to be lobotomized.

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      Art Rant 

      Geert Lovink wrote:

      A gap is now in danger of getting bigger: old school video journalism, done by political activists, versus a thriving technology based network of media artists. Complaints about an 'eighties' style of amateurism of video works are on the rise. On the other hand, a depolitization of electronic arts is apparent as well. Or do we speak here about a mutual non-understanding? A return of the outworn difference between activist and artist? Can the concept of 'tactical media' present itself as a easy synthesis?

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      The Avant-Garde Never Gives Up 

      The avant-garde never gives up. And tactical media has produced (at least) three different theaters of operation to wage its struggle: media activism, pure tactical aesthetics, and net conceptualism. The first allows for "formal" net.art tactics (materialist, structural), the latter two allow for "real" net.art tactics (native presence, site-specificity).

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      Frequently Asked Questions: Digital Work 

      How does digital work differ from its analogue forms?

      Although developed for military and corporate purposes, digital technologies also create oportunites for working people. With these amazing tools, we are not only able to invent new aesthetic forms, but also can work in more satisfying ways. Above all, digital technologies can allow us to rediscover the dignity of artisan labour without losing the material benefits delivered by the analogue working methods of Fordism. Over the past two centuries, industrialisation has slowly replaced skilled craft labour with repetitive factory and office work. In the Fordist factory, even the pace of working can be determined by the speed of the assembly lines. For most of this century, people have grudgingly accepted the boring nature of their jobs. In return, they have been given enough wages to buy large amounts of goods and services produced by Fordist industrialisation. However, once their living standards are sufficient, most people also want to enjoy satisfaction in their work. They don't just want money, but also respect.

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        Engineering of Consent 

        One of the major challenges facing citizen groups campaigning to prevent, minimize, limit or regulate socially-irresponsible or environment-degrading practices of transnational corporations is how to deal with the corporations' increasing call for 'dialogue' and 'cooperation'. Many transnational corporations say they have seen the error of their ways and have rectified their mistakes. Eager to do their best for 'our common future', they claim to be listen to their critics. Thus 'dialogues' with companies or industry organizations are frequently portrayed as the way ahead for citizen groups seeking corporate accountability, rather than 'confrontational' strategies such as boycotts. What are the dangers and limits of doing so?

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          How to make a point 

          It has been a preoccupation of mine in imagining the supermarket as a locus for political assembly. Clearly, it has already overtaken religious assembly. In the UK the big brand Supermarkets like TESCO and SAINSBURY are principle organizers of daily life. The ritualized relationship between customer and supermarket have been carefully constructed and maintained to a degree that compares to the construction of religious faith.

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            Information Devolution 

            As new technologies make it possible to move more information faster than ever before, we are dazzled by the millions of gigabytes that move across the world in nanoseconds. We are infatuated by bandwidth, digital television by gadgets and gizmos. Yet we hardly ask questions about the quality of the information: what is it that we are communicating? Is it relevant? Will it make the world a better place? And does all this information add up to knowledge?

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              Viridian Note 00029: The Interfund 

              From: Bruce Sterling <bruces {AT} well.com>
              Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 22:59:27 -0600 (CST)
              Sender: owner-nettime-l {AT} basis.Desk.nl

              Key concepts:  art movements, Internet, reputation economics, arts grants, Europe, Interfund


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              The Legitimacy of Illegality 

              Webcasting often is seen as an alternative for experiments which would not be able to get a licence for ethertransmissions. The difficulty projects and broadcasting initiatives encounter when trying to get legal airspace has caused a limited view of the possibilities of working within the ether as such. It is already clear that connections between networks like the internet and the ether can be most interesting, but this is of course not the only reason to have a look at the possibilities of broadcasting more closely. The ether is still the easiest way to reach large numbers of people fast. We should always be aware it is there when we need it.

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              Streaming Networks 

              We've had the camcorder revolution. It made making videoprograms cheaper. Audio-equipment is affordable, so radiomaking is possible for a large amount of people too. So for a long time already the masses are potential mediaproducers. There were only minor successes in accessing the broadcast channels both legally and illegally. But the efficient one-to-many distribution system (radio and tv) are chocked, regulated, hard to get access to. The Internet having the capacity for streaming media seems to promise new possibilities. Boundless access, for anyone making radio, and maybe in the near future TV. Some are pessimistic, and see these channels soon closed and regulated as well. What will this streaming media look like and who will be streaming?

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                Using the Media: the Clean Clothes Campaign 

                The existing use of media so far has been determined by the local, decentralized nature of the campaign. Local groups are adapting, editing and redesigning existing material like research results, lines of argumentation and logos, photos and slogans. The educational material, used by trade unions, schools and churches is very specific and "customized", and therefore cannot be used in campaigns which target the general public.

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