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<nettime> Free Bitflows participation
Konrad Becker on Mon, 26 Jan 2004 23:48:30 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Free Bitflows participation

We hope to get nettimers interested to participate in Free Bitflows:
Scheduled for beginning of June 2004 in Vienna it is a follow up in a
series of conferences over the last two years. "Free Bitflows" is an event
that tries to look into access and distribution of digital content- and
will also showcase a number of works and installations in cooperation with
our project partners...

| Announcement and Call for Participation:
| FREE BITFLOWS: Cultures of Access and Politics of Dissemination
| http://freebitflows.t0.or.at    Vienna June 2004    
| * Conference
| * Workshops
| * Exhibition
| * Residency

What's going on here?

In early June 2004 a digital culture event will be held in Vienna to examine
the theories and practices for making new cultures of access viable. 

The problem is clear, but not the solution. As some means of production are
becoming as cheap as to be practically freely accessible (last year's
computer equipment, software, basic Internet access), a new question
confronts independent cultural producers: "how can we organize access to
cultural works to match the new freedom of production?"

The Internet came with a promise that 'everybody can be a publisher'.
Although not everybody wants to be a publisher, those who actually do, find
it very hard to make it work. As it turns out, this promise is only true in
an extremely limited, technical sense. While, yes, I can set up a website,
or put my song on Kazaa, but what next? The problem becomes not so much
technical as social- there is lots of sharing, but little in terms of making
a living. Money remains squarely in the hands of the old industry.

The issue of distribution is not just an economic question. It's also a
political one. At stake is the "semiotic democracy", that is the ability of
the largest number of people to create and share culture freely, and it is
about making sure that in the context of overabundance and heavy-hitting
marketing machines, new, independent content can still find its audience. In
short, the question is how do innovative production and distribution come
together to support each other. Free Software seems to have found a way to
do just that, but what about the rest of cultural production?

We invite the interested public to participate in this event. There are many
ways to do that. Coming June, you can join is in Vienna. Before that,
artists, theorists, observers, activists or space aliens are invited to
propose presentations for the conference and themes for the workshops, to
submit works for the exhibition, or apply for a residency.

Further information on the conference, workshops, residencies and exhibition
can be found on the project website and below.

Free Bitflows is a part of the exStream project, a two-year collaborative
project in which five media art organisations are working together through
the exchange of organisational, artistic and technological resources to
create a common platform for the creation and distribution of new media art
Hull Time Based Arts (Hull, UK); V2_ (Rotterdam, NL); Bootlab (Berlin, DE);
interSpace Media Art Center (Sofia, BG); t0 / Institute for New Culture
Technologies - Public Netbase (Vienna, AT) 

The conference will take place on June 3-4, 2004. In format it will proceed
along a series of relatively dense presentations, organized into larger
themes, to facilitate the interaction among the presenters and with the
audience. We expect this to allow us to deal in depth with four themes,
roughly three speakers each. We invite those interested to submit a proposal
for a talk. Below are the four main themes, please indicate which of these
your talk would address.

* Organizational Intelligence for Independent Producers:
"Content Syndication and Sharing"

The content gap is encroaching the independent information providers- The
ruthless market efficiency not only shapes content, the quality and depth of
information content, in the mainstream channels but the pressure of a global
neoliberal regime also has various effects on the not-for-profit
intelligence nodes. Being able to compete in certain standards and formats
of culture and knowledge dissemination requires smart, mobile and flexible
solutions which make best use of the tools of information technology. Global
informational networking seems too obvious to mention... but how can it be
made into an actual practice and real asset for independent content

Possible Topics:

- Reconfiguring Independent radios
- Content Sharing for Independent Publications
- Independent TVs and the crisis of content

* Search and Destroy
"The politics of search engines and retrieval systems"

Search engines are essential aspects of pull media. Yet, as the recent
rumors of Microsoft’s takeover of Google have indicated again, the search
space is not neutral. "Access for all" is not only about hardware and
bandwidth, digital restrictions or passwords for gated content, but also
about the makeup of the data space structure retrievability - of autonomous
machinic intelligence, literacy for networked computers and distributed
processes. The next digital divide between state/corporate powers and
independent actors of civil society is manifest in this realm of advanced
systems pattern recognition and computer aided decision making and
semi-intelligent memory construction or information deflection. Database
politics are at the heart of Homeland Security and geomarketing, of the
Intelligence Business and the electronic mass media. We would like to
investigate the cultural and political implications for an emancipatory
practice look into the tools that are available to the public vs. the means
that are accessible to select entities and corporations and how to be able
to find independent content in the massive information flood. Distributed
processing power and P2P search systems could provide Information filter
capabilities that outperform corporate CPU farms similar to a SETI project
that looks for life on earth.

Possible Topics:

- The political economy of searching: tools and access
- A Critique of Google: one search engines to rule them all?
- Network Indexing: metainformation, p2p indexing and other strategies

*Darknet Reloaded
"Secret Infotunnels and the Net Beyond DRM"

The famous Microsoft study concludes that the powers that be don't stand a
chance to the reality of the so called "Darknet". A somewhat optimistic note
from an unexpected side. What exactly is the Darknet and how can its
dynamic, which seems to be able to humble mega corporations, be applied to
further the levels of freedom and independence in digital networks. How can
the privileges of the corporate structures be used against the logic of the
free markets and how can the invisible hand work its occult spells in favor
of the streets. Alternative (infra)structures and hybrid solutions after the
WiFi hype and the next generation of anonymous P2P

Possible Topics:

- Anonymity: a relic of the 1990s?
- Freenets and other anti-censor technologies
- Kingdom of Crack and the State of Warez

* Compensation (De)Central
"Alternative systems and concepts for compensation of authors"

What are the new models and alternatives for a direct beyond the big
gatekeepers of the music industry? With only 5% percent of the value going
to the creators, there are chances to cut out the media cartels to achieve a
fair compensation for artists and a broad distribution of "stuff". What are
existing examples and what should we learn from the experiences being made.
To reclaim utopias in defense of the imagination might provide enough room
for manoeuvre to allow the emergence of new practices beyond the all too
real dystopias of digital restrictions at the end of the world as we know

Possible Topics:

- If we fail: The world according to DRM
- Alternative Compensation Schemes for digital content: the vision
- Alternative Distribution of Music: the reality today


Workshops are organized in various locations for hands on skill sharing. 
Proposals are welcome.

Exhibition Call

The show will present examples of artistic practice in net cultures that
provide a deeper understanding of the dynamics of information distribution,
accessibility and retrieval. Projects that fit into the overall context of
the event theme include, among others, applications that handle structuring
of heterogeneous media and data sources or combinations of push and pull
media applications and the use of live streaming as well as installations
that deal with distributed content or investigating a balance of exchange in
file sharing. 
The exhibition is intended to provide a broad view that looks into data
mapping and indexing, the ambiguity of data processing and machinic
analysis, as well as ways to explore alternative carriers for data
transmission, privacy and secrecy. Staging works dealing with overarching
issues from intellectual property and restrictions management to new network
charts will give a complementary artistic perspective to the conference
talks and workshops.

We are looking for a selection of works to be presented or installed in an
exhibition for a 2 week period in Vienna June 2004

Submitted works should address the issues above and reflect on the
conference themes on a technically manageable level.

Please provide us with concept, description and a detailed list of the
technical equipment for a suggested installation setup. Please indicate if
you need to be present for setup and installation and/or takedown.

Residencies Available

The project includes a small number of residencies for artists to develop a
project for the event in June. There are still residencies available which
are intended to allow applicants to develop a project in Vienna to be
presented at Free Bitflows. These short term residencies (up to one month)
include travel within Europe/ accommodation/ subsistence and artist fee.

All applications should refer to the format and space requirements of their
proposed presentation/installation in Vienna, including maps and measures.

Please apply with concept, description and detailed technical list of the
equipment for your project as well as additional requirements during the

| Concept:
| Felix Stalder (CH/CAN) und Konrad Becker (AT)
| Production: Public Netbase (Vienna, AT) www.t0.or.at +43 (1) 522 18 34
| http://freebitflows.t0.or.at    

 ex-stream.net is carried out with the support of the Culture 2000 programme
of the European Union. 
 The content of this project does not necessarily reflect the position of
the European Community, nor does it     
 involve any responsibility on the part of the European Community.

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