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Re: <nettime> To-morrow the Minitel! (!)
rax on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:22:32 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> To-morrow the Minitel! (!)

Since we are in "old-timer" mode, here are a few additional remarks
about the pre-historic media world of the 80s ....

- Re: Minitel ... check the not-so-negative description at
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minitel>. But it was a text-based
(French) system with rudimentary graphics and was blown away (like
Timesharing networks & BBSs) when the Internet/WWW became generally
available in 1994/95. No fault for the French PTT who seemed to have
done everything right at the time. Who, in the early 80s, could have
predicted the coming Internet Tsunami?

- There were alternatives to post/fax/telephone in 1988/9 (but all,
of course, "telephone-based"). One was the IP Sharp world-wide
timesharing network (IPSA) with the artists user-group "Artex" which
existed from 1980 till about '92. Expensive but accessibe, Artex
was used for contact, organisation and as a (text-based) medium for
"Telematic" art projects -- including Roy Ascott's legendary "la
plissure du texte" (1983) One should also not forget the Bulletin
Board Systems (BBSs) which operated on a standard protocol and
exchanged data on the telephone "night-rate" by using "store and
forward" messaging. BBSs were very geeky and not really suitable for
art projects but very usefull for maintaining contact and organising
projects Some BBSs were themselves art projects .... for instance "The
Thing" BBS, founded by artist Wolfgang Staehle in the early 90s, moved
to the Internet and hosted Nettime for many years. And soforth ..

- There was another system which everyone seems to have
forgotten in writing telecomm history - The PLATO project
designed by University of Illinois and Control Data Corp.:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PLATO_(computer_system)> It was
basically an educational (hardware/software) network with limited
public access. I knew of it because John Southworth, an artist/teacher
in Hawaii, had both Plato access and an Artex account and participated
in several projects that I organised in the early 80s ... there was no
way to link the systems except by typing information from one terminal
into another by hand ... pre-history!



Robert Adrian

On 09.06.2014, at 12:47, Tjebbe van Tijen wrote:

> In the years 1988/1989 we were organising in Amsterdam a
> congregation from radical publishers, performers and groups from all
> over Europe from Russia to the British isles, from Norway to Spain:
> Europe Against The Current.
> Communication in those years was - compared to now - very limited:
> postal system, telephone & fax.


robert adrian
wiedner hauptstrasse 37/69
a-1040 wien
++43 1 504 3110

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