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Re: <nettime> The Return of DRM
Zeljko Blace on Thu, 29 Apr 2010 13:17:56 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The Return of DRM

On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 21:16, Brian Holmes
<bhcontinentaldrift {AT} gmail.com> wrote:
> Felix Stalder wrote:
> > Increasingly, our data is up in the clouds. The decentralized
> > architectures for digital production of the 1990s are being
> > phased-out. Google is pushing an operating system (Chrome) were all
> > data is being stored online and virtually nothing remains on the
> > computer. The device which individuals own is being reduced to a
> > relatively dumb terminal. The apple IPad, it seems, is optimized
> > for consumption (and thus hailed as the savior of the old, consumer
> > oriented media industries).
> That's an excellent summation of the meaning of Web 2.0, thanks
> Felix. After the highly experimental, expansionary phase of the
> 90s, the corporations want to get their money out of large research
> investments. The so-called cloud is their key to regaining direct
> control. It was interesting at last winter's conference on The
> Internet as Playground and Factory to see how little this change is
> publicly admitted, even though it is now solidly established and has
> been for at least five years. We've moved into a phase where the
> hazy euphoria of the Internet as playground is doubled by the crude
> and sinister strategies of the money men, which are obvious and
> perfectly legible but imposed anyway. The networked entertainment
> environment of Web 2.0 is a factory, that's right, but as in the case
> of television, the product that it delivers is you. The new wrapper is
> more sophisticated, more proactive and self-reflexive, but the core
> value up for sale is still the working consumer, his or her capacity
> for self-delusion and the money s/he will earn and spend. This is what
> happens when new media inventions are absorbed and made to fit the
> systematic patterns of capitalist exchange.

Dear Felix, Brian and nettimers,

I agree that there is a huge difference in what constituted tactical
use of media and networks in 90ties to that what of what contemporary
critical use of networked media is (beyond just www).

But I do not see it as a major switch, rather a change of
constituencies and priorities that critical practitioners are focusing

Net pioneers were academics, hackers, enthusiasts and passionate
prosumers (to the high degree)... and today web it is a common place
of daily existence of most of networked civilization, so consumerist
culture became dominant and most visible.

Sure dealing with infrastructural issues critically/proactively is
relevant but I can not avoid thinking that these strategic acts were
idealistic endeavors doomed to fail as more general solutions, yet
were powerful as exercises in the process of establishing exceptions.
With accumulated experience most of these are still being practiced
just on a smaller scale and off from the spotlight.

For past 7-8 years critical focus shifted to the software/code level
where content, protocols, standards and software (codecs and tools)
are fields where to fight for freedom/access/rights. Major successes
as wiki culture, bittorent, ogg/vorbis&theora have mainstreamed
even more then GNU/Linux, but their scale is obviously smaller and
complexity higher.

> The 2010s will see very different forms of revolt than the 90s, as
> well as very different forms of political invention. The idea that
> you could help to shape the protocols of a radically open public
> space - the tremendously productive idea of "open flows" - is over.
> That's not to say it wasn't a great project at the time, or that it
> didn't change many people's worlds.... But it is to say that another
> great project awaits.

I doubt we would be seeing Great Project, it is more likely that
multiplicity of critical methods dealing with existing regulations and
power regimes of networked media space will be emerging in parallel
and likely beyond threshold of visibility. We don't have an option
to make the new and other virtual platform, but rather to focus on

> best, Brian

best, Zeljko

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