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<nettime> Request to Nettime to be part of DISTRIBUTED CREATIVITY
Timothy Druckrey on Sun, 28 Sep 2003 21:42:35 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Request to Nettime to be part of DISTRIBUTED CREATIVITY

True to form, within a handful of messages, the responses to 
Eyebeam's request went from identifying nettime as"weary survivors,"a 
"mob," "a problematic community," brought laments from a "struggling 
survivor of the dotcom," a small tirade (though rant might be better) 
suggesting that "mobs that are very dangerous for ... democratic 
ideals," revealed concerns about the "founding fathers" (followed by 
an offer to contribute an "commissioned essay"), brought the 
"backstory" (in which some hazy "speak for --but not on behalf" 
comments came to fill in some what seems to me a bit tortured 
internal drama), proposed "groupuscular/chaotic" inanities, and 
exposed fears that "definable leadership" and a "party headquarters" 
would be a death knell. No doubt, mails about nettime's  e-dentity 
crisis will continue to flow away from the original issue.

Eyebeam's forays into media culture have been largely superfluous. 
It's first little entry into net-culture"Interaction" Artistic 
Practice in the Network" (a collaboration between Eyebeam and Blast) 
did produce a small book that reads like a mini-nettime reader. No 
doubt inspired by the nettime ZKP readers and the README! book), it 
"regrouped" (in the words of its introduction) e-mails around 
'moderated" topics. Since then it has trawled around for relevance in 
a media scene that defies the kind of administrator-think that 
reduces activities with long and important histories into neat little 
catch-phrases that the fund-raisers's so like. "DISTRIBUTED 
CREATIVITY" (so weak they had to yell it in ALL CAPS) falls like a 
thud with others like "collective intelligence," "virtual 
communities", or "soft cinema." They sound intriguing but miss the 
point in their failure to either understand the extremely diverse 
practices they attempt to encapsulate or to articulate them in forms 
that aren't easily reduced to absurdities.

The invitation is itself an indictment of this poorly conceived 
premise: "I would like to invite Nettime to be a community." It is 
laughably inexact.  First, nettime (that's small "n") never had a 
compulsion to 'incorporate' itself as an entity of anything other 
than participants with a passion for discourse and a shared endeavor 
to confront the wide-ranging issues of so-called net-culture in a 
serious, congenial, and reflexive -- if not improvisational 
--atmosphere unencumbered by fixed institutional frameworks or by 
assumptions applied to it (or by it). Over the years, the many 
nettime 'events' that occurred in tandem with festivals, symposia, or 
exhibitions, were largely actions that encouraged autonomy, led to 
raucous and wonderful events, and, most importantly to the 
publication of another ZKP. (This has changed over the years and the 
archive surely has produced enough to resurrect publishing - but this 
is another topic )

nettime's lack of centrality, joined with its resistance to 
assimilation, works precisely in defiance of the loony notion of "new 
paradigms" that the Eyebeam blurb attempts to sanction under it's 
presumption that "artistic practice has abandoned the center" when 
it's clear that this much lauded "center" never existed for --or 
in--the net and that it surely didn't find pre-existing "creative 
networks," but built them out of sheer necessity and in an 
understanding that institutionalization was anathema to net practices.

Dispersion on the net wasn't a choice, but a realization of scope, 
breadth, and diversity as globalization was metaphorized on-line. To 
this end, nettime (and others) eschewed the flight to protocols and 
closed-systems in favor of an open --if filtered -- approach that has 
served it since it's beginnings. To be sure this has expanded to .nl, 
.bold, .ann, .ro, .fr, .etc... in reasonable response to issues that 
are localized but the essential issue remains that nettime is a 
"channel" (to use the description of the Spectre list -- curiously 
absent -- like that of Faces -- from Eyebeam's modest list) developed 
in response to possibilities and resistant to determinations.

"So," the invitation continues,"tell me if Nettime is interested in 
this for one week." The request searches for nettime's authority 
assuming that it is a singular entity with a ruling hierarchy and 
ludicrously presumes that its discourses can have a "topic to 

Can one imagine a less coherent understanding of what nettime is?

I'd strongly suggest rejecting Eyebeam's invitation.


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