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<nettime> Not Just Another Wireless Utopia
Armin Medosch on Fri, 11 Jun 2004 14:12:00 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Not Just Another Wireless Utopia



Not Just Another Wireless Utopia - developing the social
protocols of free networking

Armin Medosch

(This text is a version of a text written for and first published in
"THE FUTURE OF COMPUTER
ARTS PRIHODNOST RACUNALNISKE UMETNOSTI. Edited
by Marina Grzinic.
Published by MKC, Maribor and Maska, Ljubljana. Theory,
history, discursivity and hacktivism. The 10th anniversary of
the International Festival of Computer Arts. Maribor 1995-
2004." The original idea for this text is based on a series of
lectures given under the title 'Wireless Utopia' in Novi Sad,
Zagreb, Basel, Berlin, Plymouth, Riga and Salzburg in winter
and springtime 2004.)

The discovery of radio waves and their potential use for
communication more than 100 years ago stimulated a flurry
of competing wireless utopian visions: a commercial
boosterist version with worldwide monopolies, pyramidal
fraudulent stock market schemes and lots of badly informed
speculation in the press about the promises of personal
communication freedom; the idea that communication fosters
democracy and thereby leads to a better and fairer world
(liberal, social democratic and socialist version); ideas of a
similar but more utopian mold such as Tesla's dream to
provide free (wireless) energy (engineer's utopia); futuristic
visions of poets and artists like Klebhnikov and Marinetti who
thought that radiowaves had psychotropic properties and
could be used to directly influence the mind (artistic utopia).

Most of the futuristic artistic wireless dreams in the early 20th
century smacked of the totalitarian systems those artists
were associated with. The artist as member of the elite is
granted access by the state to use the broadcast quality of
radio to simultaneously reach out to all citizens.[1] Only a few
thinkers saw the one-tomany direction of this communication
model as a problem. The German playwright and communist
Bertold Brecht thought about radio as a two-way
communication medium. Walter Benjamin in 'The Author As
Producer' demanded that writers should help to create
mechanisms for others also to become writers.

It is hard to overlook how 100 years later wireless technology
inspires wild utopianism in the commercial realm again. The
ICT industry looks at the introduction of high-speed mobile
broadband communication (3G or UMTS) as a potential
savior after the sector suffered heavily from the New
Economy crash. Those commercial dreams are challenged
by the notion of 'Free Networks', independent wireless
community networks built and maintained by their users. Free
Networks are an engineers' utopia minced with ideas that
could be described as Internet egalitarianism (a set of values
and ideals derived from earlier versions of a pre-privatization
internet arcadia) and information ethics (based on 'hacker
ethics' where hacker is a positive term, someone who
actively engages with digital technology on the basis of a do-it-
yourself philosophy). Artists are discovering electromagnetic
waves as material and medium for art and are switching
increasingly into the modus operandi that Benjamin
suggested. Instead of seeking to express their subjectivity
they try to create communication systems and collaborative
platforms. [2]

In between the two wireless bubbles circa 100 years apart the
world had to come to terms with the introduction of radio, TV
and, as the century progressed, an ever more relentless flow
of innovation in information processing and transmission
technologies.[3] The point here is not to claim that the two
wireless bubbles are just the same all over again but to see if
there are common patterns in their unfolding and to get a
better understanding of this process of how new technologies
influence society and how they change under societies
influence. One premise of this article is that we need to move
on from speculative media theory and establish a clearer
language of analysis and description based on material and
structural properties of the 'media' we are talking about.

One of the cornerstones of such a type of critical framework
is to always look at the network topology. This term can
describe both the physical layout of a network (how its nodes
and edges are connecting) and a social model of organization
(how messages are being passed on in a social system,
which power structures, command control and feedback
mechanisms are involved). The physical material and
technological properties of communication media are another
important factor that should be closely studied. This
comprises the laws of physics (electromagnetic waves) and
informatics (the protocols that govern communication in
digital/electronic systems). On this level it makes sense to
follow the approach that engineers have taken when creating
those networks in the first place and look at them as a layered
protocol stack (TCP/IP, OSI referential model). Each layer in
the protocol stack has different functions to fulfill --
establishing connectivity, transporting bits, forming messages
out of bits, aggregating and channeling messages into types
of 'content' and 'media' -- and is entangled in a different
political economy and social context.

Some threads in media theory, media studies and media art
criticism showed a tendency to mix up the layers they were
talking about, confusing the medium with the message,
focusing on the content layer and its symbolic implications
and overemphasising the societal impact or 'true meaning' of
media. Having failed to develop a clear descriptive language
and sober analytical and terminological foundations, those
sections of the media art/theory circuit run danger of paying a
bitter price, having to play catch-up with the latest
technologies, while the ground underneath them keeps
shifting. They can be simply rendered irrelevant because
forces are at work -- we may call them half-jokingly the
techno-economic subconsciousness --  they have not even
tried to understand. Thus, this type of 'new media' artists and
their hapless critics find themselves caught between a hungry
festival machinery crying out for the latest and most trendy
discourses (which are dropped like a hat at the very next
occasion), an industry that keeps using them as cheap
guinea pigs of new technology and a creative industry
discourse that is about to crush the last attempts of semi-
autonomous practice between the big wheels of
technologically driven 'progress'.

To avoid past mistakes a clearer analysis of the interplay of
the forces of production involved is suggested, looking at
issues such as ownership and regulation or self-organisation
in regard to the layer of network communication to which they
apply. On the physical layer of network communications this
would be ownership or access to the hardware and carrier
media; on the logical layer (loosely speaking, not strictly OSI)
the intellectual property rights of programs and standards
which facilitate communication; on the application and
content layer control or ownership of channels and the
conditions surrounding production and dissemination. Each of
these layers is affected also by regulatory powers, either
generated internally (self-regulation) or externally
(telecommunications laws and regulations, spectrum
regulation). Once we have come to understand those layers
and how they are interconnected more complex social layers
such as ability or skills, social struggles and ideologically
driven interests of particular groups almost automatically
catch our attention and we can begin to speculate in a
hopefully more meaningful way about the bigger picture,
guided by an intellectual framework that includes disciplines
such as the history of ideas and philosophy of science. This
might help mus to understand that network technologies have
not simply fallen from the sky but are the result of concepts
that we have, actively or passively, created as societies.

The naivety of the first wireless bubble around 1910 was soon
punished when history unfolded. The relative ease with which
a broadcast license could be obtained in the United States led
to frequency wars after WWI, when commercial radio started
to become viable. Stations tried to cancel out their rival
stations signal by erecting stronger transmission towers and
blasting stronger signals exactly on their neighbor’s
frequency. This forced the state soon to react and create a
system of state regulation of radio spectrum. [4] The
totalitarian streak in wireless utopianism of the 1920ies and
1930ies came to the fore when Nazis seized power in
Germany and embraced radio as a favorite propaganda
medium with Der Volksempfänger. After WWII those threats,
totalitarianism on one hand, wireless free market anarchy on
the other, shaped the postwar consensus on the regulation of
wireless, which stayed in place for many years, until
liberalization/deregulation began.

The consensus was that the use of the carrier medium,
electromagnetic waves, should be regulated by the state in
the public interest. Parts of the spectrum got allocated for
exclusive use by state organs (emergency services, military)
or other privileged license holders (state media, radio and TV,
air traffic control). The content layer was also regulated
following a state sponsored model. Most countries created a
semi-independent National Broadcaster - independent
enough to resist direct manipulation by the government of the
day, but as a public broadcaster, governed in its conduct by
rules written by parliament and broadcast commissions.
Personal telecommunication (for a long time synonymous
with the telephone) was the exclusive domain of state
monopoly companies, which were under a 'universal service'
obligation.

The European postwar consensus started to break apart
when neo-liberal policies of 'deregulation' were put in place
after the oil price shock in the seventies. Private radio and
television companies were granted access to the airwaves
and state monopoly telephone companies were gradually
privatized. The emerging new Duopoly of state and privatized
commercial media was attacked from the left by free media
movements, which emerged first during Anti-Vietnam and
student protests in the 1960ies. When the Internet was
opened up for private use in the early 1990ies those threads
seemed to come together for a moment. The Internet was
both seen as a Mecca for non-commercial, political activism
and artistic intervention and as the pinnacle of the free market
ideology. The crash of the new economy should have
destroyed many of the myths and legends surrounding the
net but next generation mobile phones have triggered a
resurgence of the commercial boosterist utopianism
replacing the 'e' with an 'm' - from e- to m-commerce.

In the 1900s wireless (mobile) telephony seemed to be just
around the corner, but it did not happen like that. It should take
till the late nineteen nineties for the mobile phone to become
the worlds most cherished icon of consumer capitalism. The
upgrade from GSM via GPRS to G3 is the trigger for a new
wireless revolution, a new speculative bubble the industry has
been waiting for after much of it had flatlined growth rates
after 2001. The speculative bubble is not just based on
economics but also on the expectation that the switch to
GPRS and 3G marks something more substantial, the shift to
a mobile networking paradigm. Mobile devices are said to be
about to become our main way of accessing electronic
communication networks. This would imply a shift away from
the Internet paradigm and its egalitarian and participatory
ideas, towards a much more tightly controlled mobile
paradigm, which is based on proprietary control of a
centralized network topology. As Internet access provided
through wires gets also upgraded to so-called 'broadband',
changes in the ownership structure and provider landscape
mean that the freedom which the net once promised and in a
way still facilitates is under threat. It is worth noting here that
'freedom', one of the worlds most abused concepts, is meant
to be understood in this context not as a metaphysical
concept and not even on the level of political philosophy but
on a very pragmatic level as a hacker type of freedom - the
freedom to access and use communication networks under a
minimum of restrictions, empowering individuals and
communities to make the best use of those networks as they
see fit. The radical libertarianism of this approach may be
limited in its value as a political ideology but still separates
this idea clearly enough from the two dominant models - the
declining state ownership model and the still expanding
private corporate 'empire building' model. [5]

Over the last few years loosely connected groups all over the
world have started to build free networks, networks which are
owned and maintained by their users and are largely free of
state and corporate influence. This fledgling free network
movement is not one coherent group, campaign or strategy,
but another one of those multitudes, a free association of
individuals who work together for a common goal under a
loose umbrella of a few principles and with a lot of
enthusiasm. Free networks try to build large-scale networks
following a bottom-up grassroots approach by using DIY
technology (homemade antennas, second hand hardware,
free software) and suggesting decentral self-organization as
preferred organizational model. There is no single entity that
plans and builds the network. Instead groups promote the
suggestion that people share bandwidth and organically grow
a network by (wirelessly) connecting their local nodes.

This can be achieved with a number of technologies but
recently the technology of choice became 802.11, a family of
wireless Ethernet standards developed by the IEEE, which is
incorporated in many mass market networking products such
as WLAN network cards and chipsets. Hardware prices have
fallen dramatically over the last few years thanks to the
commercial boom in wireless (powered by Apple Airport and
Intel Centrino, among other players). Radio Networking brings
together two powerful technologies, innovative wireless
transmission technologies such as spread spectrum and
computer networking technology. 802.11 is based on open
standards which is an important advantage for the free
network movement. It means that free software can run on
most proprietary hardware platforms as long as the protocol
has been properly implemented. It also works well with
embedded Linux chips and with older computers running
some Unix version. Networking across different platforms but
based on open standards has been the success formula of
the Internet, a story repeating itself with 802.11.

The 802.11 technology was originally considered a substitute
for cable based local networks in homes and offices.
Wireless access points or hotspots create a Local Area
Network (LAN) which can be accessed by any device within
range with an 802.11 radio card or chipset; usually an access
point also provides or is connected to a gateway to the
internet. This type of node (access point plus gateway) is
sitting at the center of a star topology; it is the master of all
communications in the local net, while connecting to the next
higher level on the internet, for example via an ADSL
connection. Such a set-up is called a hotspot in the
commercial world.

The vision of Free Networks as expressed by Consume [6],
London, one of the ideologically most influential groups, is to
apply the peer-to-peer principle known from file sharing
networks to the underlying physical material layer of network
communications. Consume proposed in 2000 that a wireless
'meshed network' should be built, a highly distributed network
where each node is connected to many other nodes and no
node is in a central or privileged position. The owners of
nodes are legally independent from each other and arrange
the traffic of data across the net by following the minimal
requirements of the Pico Peering Agreement – a framework
for owners of nodes to establish connections and formulate
the rules that govern them.

The WLAN standard 802.11b has two modes, the
infrastructural mode (for Access Points) and the ad-hoc
mode (also called peer-to-peer or computer-to-computer
mode, depending on hardware/software vendor). When a
wireless network is set-up in the latter way, each node can
connect to each other node as long as they are within range
of their radio signals. Since there is no privileged place in the
network, each node carries out functions of switching data
packets around, acting as a router and Internet gateway.
Since every node shares this task of switching packets
around, the overlapping radio coverage of all nodes together
forms a single wireless cloud. Computers located within this
cloud can communicate with high data rates while the cloud
is connected at its edges at a number of points with the
Internet. 'Unwiring' the edges of the commercial Internet,
owners/users in a free network cloud are reclaiming their right
to self-define how they do their telecommunication.

The Consume idea of a large free data cloud over London
has not succeeded (yet). Currently, what we have got is
hundreds of wireless community networks in the UK and
thousands more worldwide. Most of them operate on a local
scale, forming little wireless clusters where people can at last
share files, play games or watch videos without any outside
interference. At the pragmatic end of the argument those
networks allow to share the cost of bandwidth efficiently
between a greater number of users. At the visionary end this
should only be the beginning. The small free network islands
should grow together and 'unwire' ever-growing parts of a
city, a region, a country, the world. By becoming bigger, the
community networks could gain leverage in peering
negotiations with commercial bandwidth providers and get
cheaper access to global networks. In the long-term
bandwidth might become free or reasonably cheap. And,
more importantly, free networking might completely change
the way telecommunication is provided.

Meshed networking - not as the description of a network
topology but as a specific technology [7] – has generated a
kind of geeky buzz around 'mobile ad-hoc networking'.
Bleeding edge mobile ad-hoc networking protocols are seen
as the key to a bottom-up wireless utopia. If ad-hoc network
technology gets implemented in mass-market mobile devices
(handsets, PDAs), everybody who carries such a device
becomes a walking personal telco. Dynamic, self-healing
routing software and computer controlled radio would always
find the nearest working node within range and use it to pass
on information. If this approach gets enough support it could
in the end lead to a world without telecommunications
providers and the people would truly become the network.[8]
The free network paradigm and the mobile broadband
paradigm as proposed by the mobile telcos are at opposing
ends of the spectrum in regard to all major factors - the
network topology, the political economy, their regulation and
the social context: they could not be more different. For
instance, free networks don’t 'meter' traffic, they usually don’t
measure the volume of data exchanged because the network
is built on mutual consent of allowing 'free transit'. Mobile
phone networks meter just about everything, the volume of
data, the time spent online, the location, calls made and
received, etc. Mobile phone networks have the classic star
network topology inherited from the age of monopoly telcos.
The switching stations at the centres of connections have
total control over every aspect of the network. The old way of
thinking in the Post Telephone and Telegraph (PTT's) offices'
way which is still the mobile network owners’ credo reduces
users of a network to being consumers. There is a network,
which is theirs, because they own and maintain it, and users
are being sold access to this network. Probably deep down
inside they even think that they are generous letting anybody
use their network. The consumer is considered as a leaf at
the thin end of the tree structure of the network, as someone
who mainly wants to download stuff.

In the free network scenario this is radically turned around.
The user is not considered a dead end street, someone just
sucking away somebody elses bandwidth, but is seen as a
node that is fully integrated in the network and contributes to
the value of the network as a bandwidth and content provider.
Every connection is two-way and symmetrical, which means
that the data rates for uploading and downloading are the
same. The free network movement says that if we do things
the right way we could create abundance - a maximum of
bandwidth available at a minimum of prize; scarcity of
bandwidth is, according to some activists [9], a fiction upheld
by the industry not to let their markets collapse.

One main reason why free networks could be so successful
is that they operate in a band of the spectrum, which is
license exempt in most industrialized countries. That means
that certain frequencies can be used without needing to ask
the authorities. The success of spectrum deregulation of the
frequencies used by 802.11 inspired an 'open spectrum'
movement which demands that more parts of the spectrum
become license exempt. New software controlled radio
technology (spread spectrum, ultra-wideband) will allow
micro-regulation to happen on a local scale without the strong
arm of the government being needed, according to open
spectrum activists.[10] The problem of interference that
dogged radio in the 1920ies can be avoided with those new
techniques and therefore we should completely rethink the
way spectrum is regulated.

The mobile telephony industry has been crippled by the high
license fees companies had to pay when spectrum was
auctioned off at the height of the new economy boom. The
auctioning of spectrum marked an approach very different
from the recent past. For the first time spectrum was sold as
a commodity to the highest bidder. With the launch of 3G in
many European countries already delayed, commercial
pressure on companies is piling up. The name of the game is
maximizing the ARPU, the average revenue per user. Mobile
business is frontier capitalism bending over backwards to
microtune itself to every whim and whiff of the consumer.
Many different models, services and price plans target
different peoples tastes, priorities, preferences, incomes, life-
styles. In this race to increase the ARPU phones are getting
gizmoed up to the eyeballs, with phones that can play 'true
tone' ringtones, download, store and play music, shoot
pictures and even video. Part of this campaign for the purse
of the user is that mobile telcos have started to believe they
must become 'content providers' and offer music and video
files for download as well as news, sport and soft porn. This
approach that telephone companies act simultaneously as
content providers has failed 100 years ago is almost certain
to fail again.

The sum total of these developments is that accessing the
Internet via mobile phone is probably the most expensive way
of doing so on a bit per penny ratio. Behind the glossy
brochures and consumerist promises looms a brave new
wireless reality. The centralized command and control model
flies in the face of ideas of communication freedom. The
upgrading of phones will soon provide even more
opportunities for social control. With the new generation of
picture phones the whole (connected) world becomes a
panopticon, a world of permanent oberservers and the
permanently observed, where public and private, intimate
social spaces and global networks are from now on
permanently intertwined. As the mobile incorporates ever
more functions such as being used as an electronic purse
and in the context of emerging technologies such as
biometry, it could become the preferred way of confirming
ones identity - purse and passport all in one, managed by
your corporate multinational of choice.

Another worrying factor in this respect is that mobile phones
have proprietary system architectures. The operating
systems of PCs have been liberated by Linux and other free
versions of Unix. Paying the prize of having to do a bit more of
installation and maintenance work than the average Windows
or Apple user, the Linux community enjoys the freedom to
configure their machines exactly the way they want. With
mobile phones we are back in the closed world of proprietary
systems, the secrecy of corporate research and development
laboratories and ever present Non-Disclosure Agreements
(NDAs). Many of the freedoms that we just started to enjoy
with the combination of the Internet and freely programmable
personal computers are threatened with the switch to mobile
networks. The mobile urgently needs to get open sourced.

The Internet facilitated a gift economy where millions engaged
in the exchange of communications without any financial
renumeration. From the personal homepage to
communication in mailing lists and web-fora people
worldwide embraced this opportunity to communicate in ways
which were open ended and not directly goal oriented, not
serving a specific purpose. When every communicative
action becomes subject to metering and billing a gift economy
is hard to sustain. What fascinated us about the net first time
round, that it was non-locative, a non-space, where it did not
matter where you were, as long as you had access to the net,
is getting reversed. With mobile phones as with a range of
other devices which are location sensitive the information
sphere gets connected with geographical space. Every user
can be pinned down geographically, which opens a wealth of
possibilities for surveillance and intrusive business
propositions (location based spam).[11]

As Myerson observes in 'Heidegger, Habermas and the
mobile phone'[12] our concept of 'communication' has
already changed and is undergoing further change. We are
now likely to accept that it is an act of communication when
two machines connect. Our personal motivation to use those
connections is to satisfy needs or 'wants', or at least that’s
what the industry is selling: personal freedom to get what we
want. There is no human other required in many of those
'communications', we are accessing information, retrieving
data. This is not 'the great conversation' imagined by neo-
libeal internet guru JP Barlow. It is also very different from
Habermas' idea of the 'public domain'. But we have to be
careful here. Many narrations about new media speak of loss,
decline, etc (email ruins our grammar and spelling, and
texting is the last nail in the coffin of the written language,
according to cultural conservatives pessimistic outlook)[13].
We can savely ignore the concerns of cultural conservatives
who see the apocalypse of European high-culture behind
every corner. But what is really at stake her, and if I
understand him right this is also what concerns Myerson, is
the shaping of future technologies through our collective
social imaginary.

When we speak of new media or communication
technologies what matters is not just the technology - its cool
naked efficiency - but how it is embedded into society. The
free network proposition is to rethink our relation to technology
and to reconceptualize technological systems based on them
being grounded in communities which are actively involved in
shaping them. Technologies of the future are developed now
in our collective social imaginary; and the technologies that
we have now have been shaped by imaginary futures of the
past [14]. In the case of mobile telcos we are promised a
consumer bonanza based on Cold War style command and
control architecture. Their networks are technological
expressions of schizophrenia and paranoia. The free network
proposition is to generate alternative future technologies
based on ideas along the lines of a grassroots movement or
the 'multitudes'. It is a utopia (if we even have to use this
word) on the plane of immanence, where control is handed
over to a distributed many-to-many architecture. Shaping
future technologies becomes
a job where everybody can and should be involved.

Within only a few years the wireless community and free
network idea has come a long way. It has been recognized
that there is an intrinsic connection between free networks,
free software and free hardware [15]. They mutually depend
on each other to guarantee their survival in the long term.
Providing a liberated infrastructure for communication those
movements protect freedom of speech and other
communication rights. This interdependency has recently
been described by the term 'network commons'. The network
commons does not just comprise the physical network itself
but also the protocols that run it and the content that is being
carried. The network commons re-defines our understanding
of the public domain in electronic communication.

What is yet missing is the social glue that binds all that
together, the social protocol of sustainable network self
provision and self-organization. There are efforts underway
with the Pico Peering Agreement to provide such social glue
between network owners. Other open source developers are
working with FOAF, RDF and other social network
techniques, which can help to bring together like-minded
people. Those efforts have sofar failed to gain mass appeal.
The free network movement has been carried forward by
nerd enthusiasm. To grow beyond those isolated free network
islands built by a handful of nerds and establish a viable
network commons more people of different backgrounds
need to join and together develop the social protocols of
networking. This implies that we finally overcome the
totalitarianism inherent in the wireless utopia of then and now.
Free Networks are (hopefully) not just another wireless utopia
but a practical proposition for slowly changing the world by
introducing a different relationship with the technical means of
communication.



1 About the notion of totalitarianism in wireless futurism see for
instance Gregory Whitehead: Out of the Dark: Notes on the
Nobodies of RadioArt
http://www.somewhere.org/NAR/writings/critical/whitehead/main.htm

2 This sentence refers to a second part of this article which has not
been written yet and which deals with the work of wireless artists and
activists such as Marko Peljhan and Shu Lea Cheang. The
publication 'dive' by <Kingdom of Piracy> gives an introduction into
copyleft culture and collaborative platforms. http://kop.fact.co.uk

3 Basically the whole electromagnetic spectrum can be used for
communication, from very low to very high frequencies. Our
understanding of spectrum is often obscured by language. 'Radio' is
just one application that we have found useful. It operates at the
lower end of the spectrum. While heat and visible light are the only
parts of spectrum we can perceive through our senses, scientific
progress has helped to make use of spectrum which we didn't even
know it existed 100 years ago. We can now 'look' at things very
small and very very far away, which means we are also looking back
in time. See for instance "Hubble's deep view into the cosmos"
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3546803.stm

4 How the spectrum has been divided up can best be understood by
looking at a frequency allocation map such as this
one:http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/allochrt.pdf

5 For a more coherent explanation of the 'free' in free networks look
at my lecture notes for a presentation at the Open Culture
Conference, Vienna June 2003:
http://twenteenthcentury.com/uo/index.php/OpenCultures

6 Consume http://consume.net

7 Meshed networking technology has first been developed in a
military context and is now carried forward by a special working
group at the IETF, the mobile ad-hoc networking group (MANET);
protocol specifications are published as RFC's and implementations
released as open source.

8 At the time of writing mesh networking has been successful in
small experimental settings (of up to 30 laptops running, for instance,
the mobile mesh protocol) but has not been tested on a mass scale.

9 Malcolm Matson, co-counder of the Access To Broadband
Campaign and a telecommunications insider for 20 years claims that
if the market really was free bandwidth would cost nothing nowadays.

10 A very useful briefing on open spectrum issues: Open Spectrum,
New America Foundation
http://www.newamerica.net/index.cfm?pg=article&pubID=1002

11 A group of programmers, writers and artists is trying to introduce
a more productive viewpoint on location based 'services' by re-naming
it 'locative media': http://locative.net/

12 Myerson, George, 'Heidegger, Habermas and the Mobile Phone',
2001

13 Maybe there is actually a decline in standards of language use,
maybe we cannot uphold any more the values of the classic era of
the book. But even so that may be the case, there is a dialectical
trade-off coming with that as was already described by Benjamin in
the 1920ies, which is that we increasingly will see the benefits of
widening participation: move over Joyce and Musil, here comes
everybody. The internet, by cultural conservatives regularly blamed
as consisting of 99 percent trash, has stimulated unprecedent
amounts of text production. For example with the public diary
keeping of 'bloggers' or 'web-loggers' amateur publishing is an
ongoing success story as never before.

14 Barbrook, Richard, 'Imaginary Futures', Chapter One, 2004
(forthcoming)

15 Eben Moglen at Open Cultures, Vienna 2003:
http://opencultures.t0.or.at/oc/participants/moglen





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