Social Notworks

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Organized by project.arnolfini, "antisocial notworking" is an online hub for critical and creative practices appraising the contradictory agendas of many of the internet's most popular websites. As Art & Social Technologies Research member Dr. Geoff Cox persuasively argues, in an essay accompanying the project, websites like Facebook and Myspace have amassed tens of millions of users through a promise of providing virtual spaces built upon user-generated content and geared towards positive interpersonal relations. While a peer-to-peer (p2p) system engages the same democratic project in the web's public realm, these social networking sites exist in the private sector, operating through a top-down, server-client relationship with its membership and harvesting social relations towards their own economic benefit. 'antisocial notworking' does not propose abandoning these programs, but rather seeks to elucidate the process by which social positivity became a marketable tool of capitalistic enterprises, and to consider how antagonism (to Cox, a necessary component of politics) may be constructively introduced into the virtual demos. Notable among the current projects on the site is Linda Hilfling's "Participation 0.0 - Part I" (2007), documentation of the 112 billboards the artist installed throughout "Second Life" that collectively display the full 7,000 words of the Terms of Service which users traditionally skim and agree upon before gaining access to the program. By planting this text on "Second Life" land, Hilfling allows users to recognize their tenuous position in a virtual world in which they may develop businesses and purchase land, but from which they may also be erased, according to Hilfling's reading of the terms, "for any or no reason." In keeping with its critical agenda, "antisocial notworking" will retain a dynamic, open-ended structure, to which people can add further texts, projects, and documents of their own navigation through similarly fraught online ...

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Transmediale @ Twenty

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Over the course of its twenty-year history the annual Berlin festival Transmediale has undergone multiple transformations. Originally an offshoot of the Berlin Film Festival, it grew into Video Fest, then Transmedia and now Transmediale- an evolution that reflects the trajectory of the medium from a specialized activity to a ubiquitous component of daily life. Organized under the theme of "CONSPIRE", this year's festival seeks to, "question, subvert, undermine and bypass the unspoken rules, hidden codes of conduct and assumed truths entrenched within our information driven communication cultures and ideological belief structures." A large and truly international exhibition interprets the conspiratorial through a series of thematic 'clusters' including "Bio-Organic Systems," "Twisted Realities," and "Alternative Science / Science vs Fiction." The annual conference and keynotes includes papers by an equally diverse cast. Of particular interest this year is the session "Web 3.0: Conspiring To Keep The Net Public," which will focuses on the question of "who controls the rights, identities of the users therein" and the increasing commodification of online data and personal expression. Moderated by runme.org co-founder Olga Goriunova, the panel is composed of an international group of theorists, activists and artists including Seda Gurses, Fran Ilich, Felipe Fonseca, Michelle Teran and Simon Yuill. In addition to the exhibition and conference, the festival also hosts a series of film and video screenings and performances. The conference as a whole will be streamed live for the duration of the festival. Transmediale runs from January 30th to February 3rd. - Caitlin Jones



Editor's note: Rhizome will run a comprehensive review of the festival next week by correspondent Michelle Kasprzak.

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