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<nettime> MoneyLab material #1: intro
Geert Lovink on Thu, 20 Feb 2014 19:14:50 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> MoneyLab material #1: intro


Dear nettimers,

here at the Institute of Network Cultures we're getting excited about the
upcoming MoneyLab! The event that we organize takes place March 21/22 in one
of the many Palaces of Ruined Culture, the bankrupt Smart Project Space near
Leidseplein, here in Amsterdam (now called Lab111). Over the next weeks I
intend to feature some of our guests and projects that we stumbled upon in
the 18 months of our preparation here on nettime.

Needless to say it was hard to find money for this event ;) As our small 
institute is part of edu industries we no longer eligible for the cultural
funding that is now split into an inward looking contemporary arts ghetto on
the one hand and the commercial creative industries on the other. As 'new
media' arts/theory/critique is neither we had to rearrange our efforts but
the good news is that we're still alive!

Lots of nettimers will speak at the event (bifo, Brian Holmes, Tiziana 
Terranova etc.). And I am very proud that Saskia Sassen will open the event.
We hope you will be able to come. INC still hasn't figured out how to bring
down costs for live streaming of its events but as you know we got a team of
furious bloggers and the videos are usually up on Vimeo within a week. We
might also produce an INC reader over the next year and are already in
conversation to organize similar follow-up events in London and Sao Paolo.
We'll see.

One of the discussions is how to continue the debate about (internet) revenue
models. There is the very practical layer of how to use and implement Bitcoin
and similar currencies, the use of crowdfunding, mobile money, virtual game
currencies, LETs, etc. and how artists, activists and other 'creative
producers' of the precariat can make use of these emerging sources of income.
Experiences as collected and further theorized by groups like the P2P
Foundation come in handy here. We are collecting both best and worst
practicies. However, there is also the debate about monetization in general
and the role of 'free culture': sharing has to become a choice, not the
default.

If the internet is broken, and needs to be fixed, then we also have to 
analyse how this has happened. It is not enough to merely point at the NSA
and evil US-American corporations, together with the armies of quasi-playful,
innocent techno-libertarian geeks that together dominate both the startup and
internet governance scenes. Such (justified) resentments (for instance
mobilized in Germany by the FAZ) can distract us from the larger challenges
that are out there. For me 2013 was the year of Snowdon and Bitcoin. It is
interesting to bring them together, and also involve CCC, Jacob Appelbaum,
Glenn Greenwald and all the others who are doing such amazing work on the
'surveillance' side of the story. Security alone, both individually and on
the system-level, will not be enough as long as the business models of 'the
free' will not change.

The idea of MoneyLab was born out of a discontent with the narrow agenda of
so many Bitcoin gatherings that are so technical and evangelical in nature.
If you are not a programmer or Bitcoin entrepreneur yourself, and are already
deeply involved, there is not much for you to get out of such events. This is
a pitty because the wider context of the 'Bitcoin' debate is fascinating and
needs a lot more involvement of artists, activists, theorists, designers and
critics. We need to build another internet economy, based to P2P
principles--and make the Bitcoin premisses more explicit and not take them
for granted. This is an exciting time in which money is redesigned. Let a
thousand MoneyLabs flourish!

Best, Geert


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