2008, Wed, Jan 302008, Sun, Feb 03

transmediale.08 conference

Long before a clandestine military-academic collaboration created the 1960's ARPANET the speculative mechanisms of conspiracy theories have fueled global events. Much like our yearnings for desire, mystery and unpredictability, conspiracy is a human condition used to decipher the way in which we read an increasingly chaotic world of manipulated disinformation. The Internet and its associated Web 2.0 counterpart have begun to move beyond communal and user driven realms of information exchange towards mechanisms fuelling and fanning all forms of popular speculation. They are indicative of a loss of control and a growing sense of surrender to perceived hidden forces and secret societies where mythologies of world domination, corporate control and government induced fear fetishism emerge. Examining the means with which we use and understand contemporary networks, be they digital or interpersonal, the conference will discuss the notions behind conspiratorial acts, structures and speculation, and consider the mechanisms therein as new forms of cultural, technological or political strategy.


Wednesday 30/1, 14:00 h Panel 1:

The Chilean Network Experiment: From Poetics To Systemics

Moderator: Eden Medina [us], Participants: Alejandra Aravena [cl], Raul Espejo [uk], Carlos Fernando Flores [cl], Angel Parra [cl], Alejandra Perez Nuñez [cl]

Looking into the origin of contemporary communication structures Cybersyn, the ‘Chilean Network Experiment' was a play between technical systems and the poetics of the Chilean road to socialism. The relationship of technology, politics and culture found in Cybersyn's construction reflected Chile's history of socialist change during the early 1970s and differed from the origins of the ARPANET, the Internet's predecessor. With ARPANET, we find the U.S Department of Defense engaged in building a decentralized network for communication during the height of the Cold War. In Cybersyn we find a different meeting of culture and technology during a politically precarious time. Its design included some of the ethical, cultural and participatory considerations that defined Chile's socialist experiment. On September 11th, 1973 the two diametrically opposed philosophies that shaped these networks confronted each other ...


Thursday 31/1, 13:00 h Panel 2:

Embedding Fear. The Internet And The Spectacle Of Heightened Alert

Moderator: Brian Holmes [us], Participants: Thorsten Schilling [de], Loretta Napoleoni [us], Naeem Mohaiemen [bd], Yassin Musharbash [de]

The Internet's ‘open system’ makes it not only the world's most powerful tool of conspiratorial narrative generation but also creates the broadest ‘extranational’ platform for the creation and dissemination of political, military and corporate propaganda. Any form of authorship. Any group (or individual) whether legitimate, clandestine or fraudulent with access to the net may proclaim any act, real or imagined. Within the current atmospheres of induced security, economies of fear and pending ‘terrorist’ action, what are the key roles played by the Internet in defining the legitimacy of a perceived threat? How are the complex issued of identity and culture corrupted when freedom of access and communication become entangled in an ill-defined international 'war on terror' fought to a large extent online?


Friday 1/2, 13:00 h Panel 3:

The Greying Of The Commons: IP, The Law And The Street

Moderator: Felix Stalder [au], Participants: Rasmus Fleischer [se], Eva Lichtenberger [at], Wolfgang Petters [de], Alan Toner [ie], Volker Grassmuck [de]

When it comes to Intellectual Property, there is a widening gap, in Europe and elsewhere, between regulatory regimes and the everyday practices of millions of people. While recent legislation has strengthened formal IP rights, unauthorized use of protected content has sharply expanded. Uncontrolled remixing, editing and sharing of material is entrenched in digital mass culture. Attempts to control what people do with digital information, through law and/or technology, have so far proved ineffective. Referring to this gap between regulation and practice, the situation has been likened both to the American prohibition (1920-1933) and to current policies on (soft) drugs. The first analogy suggests that, sooner rather than later, legislation will have to acknowledge people's practices, whereas the second suggests a drawn-out period of repression with high social costs.


Saturday 2/2, 13:00 h Panel 4:

Techno-Historical Collusions: The Making Of A Trojan Horse

Moderator: Florian Cramer [nl],Participants: Eva Horn [de], Trevor Paglen [us], Pierre Lagrange [fr], Konrad Becker [at]

At first glance there may seem to be no link between the mystical worlds of witches and medieval Kabballah with the hightech-realities of the space program and ‘Data Trojans’. But – all of them mingle the unexplainable with politics and technology, and apply the fictionalisation of information to achieve narrative goals beyond the confines of their central practice. Space research conspires with military interests, which in turn unleash a multitude of events in the form of media, software and information Trojan Horses. Iconographies, a culture of the belief in speculation and an opacity of reason result where the unseen mechanisms behind an event take a dominant position over reality. Can we therefore challenge the inexplicable and rationalise the theory out of the perception of conspiracy?


Sunday 3/2, 13:00 h Panel 5:

Web 3.0: Conspiring To Keep The Net Public

Moderator: Olga Goriunova [ru], Participants: Seda Gürses [de], Fran Ilich [mx], Felipe Fonseca [br], Michelle Teran [ca], Simon Yuill [uk]

Web 2.0 has been heralded as a paradise of open access and user-friendly community building by shifting software and web applications to a browser platform. Although many see this as a form of upgrade, hence the '2.0', in fact this shift has been primarily a form of compartmentalisation of the Internet where user data and creative property rights become a form of commodity. The true spirit of freedom of expression and movement are threatening to enter the realm of commerce and trade raising speculation as to who controls the rights, identities of the users therein. What are the alternative models and strategies keeping this intrinsically quasi-private structure a public domain, and ultimately prevent the Internet from becoming a victim of its own conspiratorial tendencies?


more information: www.transmediale.de