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Re: <nettime> a free letter to cultural institutions
Jaromil on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 16:24:55 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> a free letter to cultural institutions

dear Ozgur,

On Tue, 10 Jun 2014, ozgur k. wrote:

> a free letter to cultural institutions,
> please do not fund/exhibit/distribute/promote any non-free cultural
> works.(see freedomdefined.org for the definition of free cultural
> works)
> please approach your audience as peers and give them the freedom to
> build on what you make them experience.
> please mediate building a free/libre culture where everyone is an
> artist. do not promote proprietary/permission/fan culture.
> http://httpdot.net/txt/AFreeLetterToCulturalInstitutions.txt

This is a very good mission and focus. I've been (almost literally)
preaching this to public institutions in EU (cultural sector) and also
NGOs (snake pits) for the past 15 years of my life. As a result: I've
been included inside these very institutions (mostly at an inferior
payroll because "free culture"...) and ultimately flushed by financial
cuts after devoting more than a young decade of my life to them.

Such institutions need to be able to move on to "the next topic", being
their final goal that of catering the masses, which justifies most means
to reach them with the help of some irony and tapestry.  After all, most
people on earth are made consumers: they don't care if they can study
re-use re-adapt re-distribute something - and the demand public sector
faces is not exempt by this logic, not even academy is. Paradoxically,
the best people to support "free culture" are the very private companies
that can re-use the results, yet their tax money can't be directly
related to free culture policies.

Today I'm not so faithful anymore that is really possible to change
existing public institutions to make the principles of "free culture" as
part of their constituency, no matter how rational that is. You can
lobby for it, sure, but that's part of the game and your higher selfless
goals will consume you in there. Maybe we really need "new institutions
based on new forms of rationality". And while waiting for an API for
that :^) "free culture" has been best cultivated in those private sector
initiatives that have used it also to their own advantage (mostly
predating it) and creating new forms of capitalism in which the very act
of re-sharing is itself an asset.

By criticising specifically the latter as "free culture" I believe Geert
Loving misses the point. Yet this is the most visible outcome of it,
while public institutions are weaker and weaker and they are made to
serve the private interest rather than the public.

My recommendation is to "play free" :^) and look for and help create new
alliances (subjectivity, constituencies) that can operate in a
transversal way across contexts and most importantly can vehicule the
potential of free culture to the masses (tools, not just ideals, and
direct access): the masses will eventually read the manual and know what
to do with it.


p.s. speaking of which, this is what I'm left with these days:
     rate up those project if you can, that will help the cause :^)
     pity the website registration is all borked and the login with
     facebook app will access all your contact lists. kind of weird
     for a public sector initiative isn't it?

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