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Re: <nettime> report_on_NNA
Bas van Heur on Wed, 7 Jun 2006 22:40:11 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> report_on_NNA


I'll skip the comment on "European levels of funding" (I mean,
tobias, Canada is hardly an underfunded environment and seems rather
comfortable for a lot of people in Europe), but the questions raised
by tobias' remarks on events and funding as well as the "intimidating
atmosphere on the list" deserve - I think - discussion. Some comments
...:

> That those who attended were not those who make their presence felt in
> writing, here, was interesting for us. Whether this constitutes leeching or
> learning, or is a factor of various intimidating atmospheres produced by
> this list was itself a topic of discussion during the Gathering at various
> points 
...
> 4. As for the lack of posts to the list, many if not most of the people there 
> were on Nettime but said -- on the webcast, in public -- that they
> never bother posting due to an intimidating atmosphere on the list, because
> they feel they have nothing to contribute in this atmosphere, etc. Ken
> Werbin discussed aspects of "list" cultures in detail, including the
> diversity/unity problem of information today, and the problem of "too many
> lists." Many of the people, like me, have been on the list for some years,
> but many, unlike me, don't feel comfortable posting. Gita Hashemi spoke on
> this specifically in relation to gender and technology. There were many
> others who chimed in as well, including Abe Burmeister, on the meaning of
> "critical" practice (net.critique) in the 21C and why this term might not
> resonate well with newer ways of thinking. This was all publicly webcast....
>   
...
> Why is it that out of so many thousands of subscribers, only a handful post?

Good questions. Besides the general discrepancy between active and
passive participants that always seems to exist in one form or
another, some other explanations might be:

1) the increasing institutionalisation of critique, which in the
case of nettime tends to manifest itself in a bias towards pieces
of writing published (all for free, of course...) on the list at
the expense of more - I'll just use this word for lack of a better
alternative - holistic options, such as the Nettime-event in Montreal
(too bad I couldn't be there ... but then... being an unfunded
phd-student myself, how could I have paid for the ticket from london
to montreal?)

2) As I see it, this also tends to lead to a preferential treatment -
unconsciously so, for sure - of more theoretical and academic issues,
which are enormously exciting, but - in the end - exclusionary by
definition. Nothing wrong with that, but it could mean that some
people on the list feel they have nothing to contribute to such an
atmosphere. After all, those who have a boring job in order to pay
the rent, cannot talk the talk on the same level as those well-funded
associate professors and other academics on tenure.

> We are the newer or 2nd/3rd generation of
> Nettimers, who don't have stable careers, who won't benefit from this list
> to advance our said careers, and who are nonetheless trying to f*cking do
> something anyway! So there you have it!
>   
..
> are we to be blamed
> for throwing this in the conditions which currently exist for DiY
> non_institutional events..? Does anyone realize that none of us are paid and
> that this was entirely voluntarily organised..? That there were NO funds to
> speak of...? That this took several months of work, yadda yadda?
>   

Which leads to these comments by Tobias. What would interest me is the
question (and I'll just formulate it bluntly): what is the effect on
nettime and net.culture in general of the fact that quite a lot of the
'star names' are increasingly part of the academic system? Even those
critics that have started out 'outside' this system tend to end up
here. Would be an interesting micro-research for a friday night: just
count the amount of net.critics that are now part of academia, but
were not 5 or 10 years ago. Again, I have nothing against academia,
but it does mean that maybe net.culture.representatives should reflect
more extensively on the discrepancy between net.rhetoric and academic
reality.

best,
Bas





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