One click away

 

marcell mars at HAURijetko pišem. Uglavnom kad me netko natjera. Ovo je intervju koji je skoro objavljen, pa nije. I ne zna se hoće li uopće tamo gdje je prvotno zamišljen. Ali evo sad je tu na Posterousu koji umire za mjesec dana 😉

Završni tekst intervjua je trebao biti na engleskom, ali s obećanjem da ako baš ne mogu drugačije da će stvari biti prevedene. Pa sam ja krenuo s maternjim. Onda su me ipak tjerali da pišem dalje na engleskom. Zato su svi osim prvog odgovora na engleskom. Puno je takvih komplikacija danas u svijetu. A malo je vremena i resursa za luksuzno poliranje.

Ono što mi je u ovom slučaju bilo zanimljivo je to da sam primjećen na Transmedialeu i CTM-u kao jedini sudionik s Balkana. I taj je kuriozitet, koliko sam razumio iz našeg razgovora bio glavni trigger za intervju. Ranije sam primjetio da npr. pri jednom medijskom nabrajanju sudionika Share konferencije iz Hrvatske nisam bio prebrojan kao takav, a kako sam zadnjih par godina van Balkana i predstavljao sam ili predstavljam i neke druge međunarodne (sic!) institucije kao istraživač, ta mi se tema pripadanja i prepoznavanja pripadnosti čini zanimljivom.

Odgovor na temu lokalnog vs međunarodnog/globalnog u ovom intervju (6. pitanje) je napisan u jednom dahu i nisam siguran da sam se najbolje izrazio. Ono što bi volio razraditi, nekom drugom prilikom, je argument oko natjecanja institucija koje utiru put prepoznavanju i kredibilitetu te kako je pokušaj da se procjeni neka (lokalna) intelektualna/umjetnička/kulturna produkcija brojem individua i njihovog rada na vidljivim mjestima poprilično promašen. U onoj mjeri u kojoj nama sa Balkana uopće treba taj regionalni/lokalni identitet treba nam i Pokret nesvrstanih. Transmediale, CTM, Ars Electronica, TED nisu mjesta s kojeg će Pokret nesvrstanih biti prepoznat.

1. CTM tema ove godine je bile The Golden Age, postavljeno vise kao pitanje nego konstantacija, i sa obzirom na tvoje sada vec skoro dvocenijsko bavljenje internetom (ispravi me ako gresim) interesuje me koje je po tebi bilo zlatno doba interneta, i sta ovo danasnje doba (ne) cini zlatnim, i li mislis sa zlatno doba tek dolazi?

Ideja Zlatnog doba gotovo u pravilu se smješta u romantiziranu prošlost ili entuzijastično zazivanje budućnosti, vrlo rijetko je Zlatno doba ovdje i sada. Počeci interneta su naravno vrlo entuzijastično predviđali budućnost. Činilo se da će nestajanjem posrednika, parazita i nametnika u direktnoj komunikaciji umjetnika i recipijenta procvasti masovno kreativno izražavanje, emancipacija, demokracija i jednakost. Taj trenutak su kalifornijski hipici čekali još od kraja šezdesetih kada je Stewart Brand pokrenuo Whole Earth Catalog, a vrhunac su doživjeli i još uvijek navještavaju u modernoj inkarnaciji WEC-a magazinu WIRED. Pioniri internet umjetnosti, mahom nepovjerljivi intelektualci iz Varšavskog pakta i sa Balkana, koliko god skeptični i cinični rado su se zagledali u Zlatno doba budućnosti interneta, pa su Alexei Shulgin i Natalie Bookchin pisali o 0% kompromisa, ultimativnoj modernosti, praktičnoj smrti autora, potpunoj neovisnosti umjetnika od birokracije i institucija, pobjedi suradnje nad konkurencijom i izumiranju straha od aproprijacije.

Ipak, na internetu posrednici nisu nestali. Samo se broj posrednika reducirao na monopol. Google, Amazon i Apple.

“Dugi rep” (en. long tail) tj. milijuni knjiga koje su tržišni gubitnici jer se ne prodaju u više od 100ak komada donose više zarade Amazonu nego knjige hitovi. Netko je entuzijastično uložio svoj književni talenat u pisanje knjige, netko je knjigu uredio, lektorirao, dizajnirao, investirao i odštampao, pa je prijavio u katalog Amazona i prodao toliko malo da se nikome nije isplatilo. Osim Amazonu. Jer miljuni su takvih propalih pokušaja završili na njihovoj platformi.

Milijuni nevidljivih propalih pokušaja hrane one na vrhu hranidbenog lanca. Hiljade nevidljivih propalih startupova za biranje vintage fotografskih efekata omogućili su lutriju u kojoj je samo Instagram pokupio milijardu od Facebooka, pobjednika još jedne lutrije hiljade propalih pokušaja da se na jednoj web stranici pojavi kolaž informacija o nečijim prijateljima zajedno s njihovim trenutnim fascinacijama svega zanimljivog na internetu. Milijuni blogova sudjeluju u lutriji u kojoj vrlo mali broj blogova biva otkriven uopće, još manji dobije stalne čitatelje, a minimalni broj blogova uspije zaraditi za sebe i za Google servirajući uz blog post poneki AdSense. Vrlo slične lutrije već desetljećima organizira muzička industrija gdje je dovoljno da jedan od sto bendova uspije i da se investicija u svih sto jednim velikim uspjehom stostruko vrati.

Zlatno doba je najljepše u doslovnom čitanju pri povratku iritantnog iz prošlosti u ultimatvnu zabavu u sadašnjosti. Na primjer: glitter animirani gifovi o kojima piše Olia Lialina u Vernacular Web 2.

Moje omiljeno Zlatno doba ostalo je zakopano u videu: Web 2.0 … The Machine is Using Us: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxOSk0VYy28

2. Projekat 1000000 knjiga je sada tajna ili ne? Sme li se to objavljivati makar kao prosli dogadjaj utisan pretnjama ili?

The One Million Books sounds more attractive then The Public Library and your question nicely shows a symptom of the problem I address with The Public Library. It started in Ljubljana at HAIP festival where I was invited as a curator by Luka Prinčić from Kiberpipa.

It’s a simple idea: public library is one of those almost invisible infrastructures that we start to notice only once they go extinct. A place where all people can get access to all knowledge that can be collected. In the past it relied on the limited resources of rich patrons or unstable budgets of (welfare) states. With internet, as in many other instances, the dream about universal access got much more imaginable. It seemed just an issue of interpreting when the trajectory curves of global personal computer distribution and internet access penetration would finally make universal access to knowledge a reality. However, the actual trajectory of development of public libraries in the age of internet are pointing in the opposite direction – that the phenomena we people are most proud of are being undercut and can easily go extinct.

Public libraries now cannot receive, and sometimes not even buy, the books of some of the largest publishers. The books that they already hold they must destroy after lending them 26 (?!?) times. And they are loosing the battle to the market dominated by new players such as Amazon, Google and Apple. Economic crisis and the recent austerity measures brought another threat to the libraries and that’s the total extinction through (public) financial support cuts.

As said before, my proposal is simple: let’s make catalog of all of the books we already downloaded and let’s share them.

The public library is:

  • free access to books for every member of society
  • library catalog
  • librarian

With books ready to be shared, meticulously cataloged, everyone is a librarian.

When everyone is librarian, library is everywhere. Dead simple.

Together with people who were invited to Ljubljana + few more hackers I work on improving the software tools which will make the whole set up even more user friendly. But nothing would be possible if Sean Dockray didn’t start Aaaaarg.org, Dušan Barok Monoskop, Sebastian Luetgert and Jan Gerber Pirate Cinema & pad.ma, Kenneth Goldsmith Ubu.com, Henry Warwick Alexandria project, Piratbyrån The Pirate Bay and more than anyone else if Library Genesis didn’t let us download their whole catalog of near million of books. These people are my heros and seems that working on this brings us together as a nice friendly crew. We all miss Aaron so much.

3. Koja ce biti tvoja okosnica rezidenture u Solitude u Stuttagartu?

I’ll focus on Public Library and at the moment I’m preparing embedded Linux network access server for University library in Uganda. I hope I’ll be able to set it up so that the system will update itself automatically and the only thing the owner of that NAS should do is to find the librarian to help the users.

There are few more follow ups I would like to do for my research Ruling Class Studies started at Jan van Eyck two years ago but the most interesting one is the recent collaboration I started with Robin Hood Asset Management Cooperative where we would like to explore the tactical potential of financial tools. As they say on their website: “Robin Hood is a counter-investment bank: a cooperatively owned tactical investment fund for the precarious workers which addresses the asymmetrical division between those who are able to create money by transforming it into financial capital (to earn money as separate income without work) and those whose only access to money is to work (possibly at any cost) – or first take debt, and then work.

Robin Hood is developed as a strategic means to challenge this debt mechanism of control and the limited options the precariat has for financing its living (debt, work and destructive competition of it, wishful thinking, marginal communities “outside money”, revolution and taking over government, hoping that the state will take care of you…). It is very concrete reopening of the field of possible. ”

4. Uzivas li u internetu vise u formi samostalnog boravka u prostoru ili online active/offline silent socijalizacije u deljenom prostoru?

Whenever I’m one click away from offline to online I’m relaxed. Many people around me find that particular mood quite annoying. I like places where people scuba dive into Internet and hold their breath with coffee. That’s just the new wave of good old consumerism. I don’t know when I’ll get fed up with that. For many things I enjoyed in similar way in the past I decided not to do any more. I like those kind of mind/behaviour games.

5. Da li si predavanje sa CTMa drzao jos negde i gde? Kakve su bile reakcije i koja pitanja publike su postaljena na CTMu?

I did Ruling Class Studies presentation/lecture on many different places: JVE in Maastricht, MediaLab Prado in Madrid, CZKD Belgrade, at my course Wonder of technology at FMK in Belgrade, PostMediaLab at Leuphana University in Luneburg, Berlin Music Week, in Mama in Zagreb, at Nothing will happen in Split, CTM…. The reactions were always much much better than I expected. I got four residences in last two and a half years, invitation for paid phd position, for writing a book…. Because of all of those I feel I did *less* for the actual research then I would do if the reception was not that enthusiastic.

It seems that people *are* interested in understanding the megastructures like Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay. I think that’s also because I don’t do usual complaints about collapse of privacy and raise of govermental and corporate control but get more in the direction of how these businesses extract value in the network economy, build their infrastructures and replace the functions governments were supposed to do.

6. Sta mislis, zasto na ovom festivalu koji je po seebi internacionalan ima tako malo ucesnika iz balkanskih zemalja? sta to govori o stanju u umetnosti, kulturi i nauci u nasem okruzenju?

I think that complaints about how our countries/cultures are not up to the level of the developed West are (most of the time) utter bullshit. Especially when it tries to explain development and then complain in aesthetic categories (genres of music, new media art etc.). That’s the joy of autoracism which many likes to play.

The main reason why there are not that many people from Balkan at Transmediale is that we didn’t establish institutions which would become equal nodes/members of the European institutional networks. My research Ruling Class Studies got recognized mostly because I got research positions at Jan van Eyck, PostMediaLab and now Akademie Schloss Solitude. I had to apply and start something outside of Balkan in other to get recognized later on. But everything I learned and achieved was much more result of being member of Multimedia Institute/Mama and exYu hacker’s community which hangs out in Hacklab in Mama, Kika in Skopje, HKLBGD in Belgrade and for last six years regularly every year on Nothing will happen events in Moravice, Split, Belgrade, Ohrid and Osijek.

Why don’t we have these institutions? It’s complicated. But it is much more about the politics and economy than about the culture, art and science. After our political elites led us into fragmentation from Yugoslavia into ridiculous ethnic provinces it moved every particular context even further from the dominating capitalist center to, what Immanuel Wallerstein calls, peripheral and semi peripheral world areas. In that context it is almost impossible to develop our institutions (most of the time NGO’s) to the level of Transmediale, Ars Electronica, Jan van Eyck, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Goldsmiths, Piet Zwart or what recently Leuphana University managed to do with PostMediaLab, Hybrid Publishing and Moving Images Lab.

There are number of super interesting things happening in last couple of years on Balkan: Right to the City in Zagreb (Pravo na grad), student’s blockades in Zagreb and Belgrade, direct democracy initiatives, recent uprising in Slovenia, discussions with workers in CZKD, Pogon in Zagreb, Clubture etc. When the same things happens closer to the center (in UK, USA or Germany) these initiatives will become much more visible and recognized. The visibility and recognition comes through institutions: festivals, universities, publishers, resarch institutes etc. Trying to count individuals from different countries is just plainly wrong. The flow of money and affiliations to institutions. These are the good instruments of who’s who in the world.

7.. Ako, po recima organizatora festivala zivimo u The Golden Age-u, šta je ono što dolazi nakon ove ere hiperprodukcije?

Collapse and uprising 🙂

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