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Re: <nettime> report_on_NNA
Gita Hashemi on Wed, 7 Jun 2006 22:47:54 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> report_on_NNA


thank you for this report, tobias. and a public thanks also for
organizing this forum, which i attended not because of its 'nettime'
identity (a small curiosity, not an important point of identification
for me), but because of its focus on critical practice and, more
importantly, precisely because of the fact that from the program it
became clear that i was going to encounter voices other than the ones
dominating the online space. this was and remains the most exciting
aspect of the gathering. thank you and all of the montreal band
(upgraders and others) for the unpaid, unglamorous, little appreciated
labour that you put into making this gathering happen. myself and many
other attendees that i know showed up on our own personal monetary
and time budget. these said, i'd like to respond to a few points you
raised and add a little to your report:

>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. I am now leaning towards the latter, as the following from Ted
>Byfield makes me wonder on not a few of these points.
>
>For those who didn't know, Ted (one of the moderators) never made it,
>apparently due to illness. And to which he wrote to me:
>
>" But if our absence merely ended up paving the way for a 'private' --
>through commission and omission -- event, can you tell me why exactly the
>name nettime had or has anything to do with it?"
>
>Yikes..!

double-yikes, indeed!

this diminution is directed at not just the organizers but also the 
presenters.  1)  i'd like to invite TED to define, for the 
illumination of all of us, what exactly he means by 'private'? i have 
no 'private' relations with any of the organizers, presenters or 
attendees, most of whom i met and/or became aware of for the first 
time in montreal.   2) in my view, the strength of the gathering was 
precisely that it paid little heed to 'nettime' as an identity/brand 
- even though most people were nettime subscribers - as it became a 
space for discussing critical practice more broadly (what exactly 
makes nettime fathers think that it's the be-all, end-all in 
criticality?), and for making connections that the online list does 
not encourage nor facilitate.  so i ask TED to also clarify why the 
name nettime is so important to him? and more, what exactly does it 
mean to him?

>Who owns this list anyway but its subscribers...? Or is it owned by the
>moderators...? These certainly aren't questions for me to decide..!

my personal response: until and unless i have reason to believe 
otherwise, i am one of the owners of nettime.  that said, i really am 
not interested in discussing ownership in these terms as they 
reinforce inequitable moderator-subscriber relations that 
characterize the online space (a perception raised a number of times 
by nettimers in the gathering).


>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....

a small correction:  my comment was not predicated on gender at all. 
it would require a more dedicated space in which to discuss gender 
dynamics on nettime.  i said there more or less what i said above: 
the experience - hence the perception - of many long-term nettime 
lurkers (interestingly, come to think of it, many of them were women) 
was that the subscriber-moderator relations on nettime are not just 
arbitrary but troubled by lack of clarity and equality.  for example, 
for some people whose post to the moderated list had repeatedly not 
passed through, it seemed clear that there were undeclared biases in 
the process inhibiting broader participation and dialogue on the list.

>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.

and it clearly did not resonate much with the local/localized 
practices that many of the presenters - such as helen hudson, aaron 
lakoff, michael lenczner, miriam verburg and others - are engaged in.

>Why is it that out of so many thousands of subscribers, only a handful post?

i echo the question, but really, many critical practitioners have 
moved beyond nettime proper.  so i don't see the question as urgent.

>And why is it that given the chance to meet in person, those that saw value
>in such a gathering were NOT the star names of the list, but the little
>people that never post, for varying reasons?

i hear and share the critique, but i contest the language:   i'm not 
"little" in my world and i do post (even if they don't always get 
through), and, really, what would the difference between pop culture 
and critical culture be if they were both to be 
star/celebrity-focused?

be well.

gita



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