Sharing technologies that promise to promote creativity through collaboration often seem to dead-end in conformity and groupthink; and starting from the quasi-anarchist project of liberating data from ownership, open source partisans often end up sounding like the most wild-eyed of religious nuts. Every attempt to create an institution to promote new media can be seen as a sort of argument, attempting somehow to resolve these contradictions. Founded by Trebor Scholz after 2004's 'Networks, Art and Collaboration' conference at SUNY Buffalo, the Institute for Distributed Creativity takes up this challenge. On the one hand, the IDC serves as a resource for those interested in participating in projects disseminating free sharing technologies that link all parts of the globe. On the other, the institute also stresses the value of specific 'social contexts,' and thus does not miss the importance of the 'regular face-to-face meeting' amidst all the electronic flow. The fact that the Institute takes as its starting point the coordination of these two levels makes it an invaluable reference point for those interested in the social viability of new media. - Ben Davis
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