Konrad Becker on 14 Jul 2000 17:22:15 -0000

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<nettime> European Cultural Backbone (ECB) meeting Brussels 2000


Brussels 11.07.2000

European Cultural Backbone calls for bottom-up ICT policy

The European Cultural Backbone (ECB) met in Brussels to consolidate its
input into the cultural and social dimensions of the Information Society. 
In doing so the ECB challenges the European Union to include these issues
in its priorities for programmes such as the eEurope initiative launched
at the European Union Lisbon Summit in March 2000.  European Union
rhetoric, which stresses the socially positive potential of media, is
increasingly used as a veil for campaigns geared towards passive media
consumption. The EU has so far not found structures to accomodate the
existing creative community of small-scale, dynamic and inventive
initiatives. The prevalent short-term economic logic is unlikely to
guarantee long-term sustainability of diverse cultural practice. 

A balanced information environment needs to strengthen the emancipatory
use of Information Technologies by European citizens. The European
Cultural Backbone insists that the significance and the social value of
the work being done by cultural organisations working with new media must
be recognised by cultural, media and technology policy, both at national
and international levels. The work of the European Cultural Backbone is
explicitly geared not towards private and commercial interests, but aims
to foster creative uses of new technologies in the public interest. 

The European Cultural Backbone held its annual meeting in Brussels on 10
-11 July 2000, against the backdrop of the World-Information.Org
Exhibition, which is organised as part of the European Cultural Capital
festival Brussels 2000. The European Cultural Backbone was set up in 1999
as a coalition of institutions and individuals who work in the field of
new technologies and who creatively use and develop participatory media
for social change. Its membership reflects the geographical, social and
cultural diversity of Europe, including non-EU-Member States and partners
in other continents. 

The European Cultural Backbone is characterised by experimental and
collaborative working structures that seek to foster the new arenas of
activity generated by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The work of the European Cultural Backbone is firmly grounded in social
and artistic practices. It is concerned with research, development and
critical analysis of new technologies and pursues a dual strategy of
co-operation within a wide network of independent media-cultural
initiatives, and the promotion of such creative practices in the national
and international political arena. 

The European Cultural Backbone Working Groups currently focus on
innovative methods for training and education; access to high-performance
computing and broadband networks; online publishing resources for culture
and shared editing tools; mobility for media practitioners; and research
into collaborative performance methods. 

These Working Groups operate autonomously and feed back results to the
network, publishing relevant outcomes of the research through online and
other media. By sharing existing know-how and facilities, and through
collaborating on the development of new approaches, members of the
European Cultural Backbone experiment with and evaluate the social and
cultural potential of new technologies. 

The European Cultural Backbone provides the vision and practical models
for building the Information Society of Europe's citizens. 

Participants of the European Cultural Backbone meeting in Brussels included
Konrad Becker (Public Netbase, A), Susan Benn (Performing Arts Labs, UK),
Yves Bernard (iMAL, B), Cathy Brickwood (Virtual Platform, NL), Andreas
Broeckmann (V2_Organisation, NL), Nils Claesson (CRAC, SE), Alexandra
Dementieva (iMAL/NICC, B), Sher Doruff (Sensing Presence/Society for Old
and New Media, NL), Bronac Ferran (Digital Media Resource Network/Arts
Council of England, UK), Eric Kluitenberg (De Balie, NL), Maja Kuzmanovic
(FOAM, B), Sally Jane Norman (Ecole supérieure de l'image, F), Marko
Peljhan (Ljudmila, SI), Laurence Rassel (Constant VZW, B), Marie Ringler
(Public Netbase, A), Sinisa Rogic (REX, YU), Rasa Smite (E-Lab/RIXC, LV),
Marleen Stikker (Society for Old and New Media, NL), Tuomo Tammenpaa
(m-cult, FI), Minna Tarkka (m-cult, FI)

For further information, check the
European Cultural Backbone website: http://www.e-c-b.net

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