Good ideas often pop up at the same time at various points on the Earth, they just seem to be in the air. And so it came that around the year 2000 at different points on the globe wireless free community networks were started: Consume.net in London, New York Wireless, Seattle Wireless and Personal Telco, in Portland Oregon, were among the first wireless community networks based on Wireless LAN, or WLAN. Nobody really can say which one came first. I have been lucky to experience the development of Consume and free2air.org in London from a close encounter. Therefore, in this chapter I will tell the story of those networks.
The Rise of the Network Commons is the working title of a new book which I am currently writing. It returns to the topos of the wireless commons on which I worked during the early 2000s. In this new version, combining original research from my German book Freie Netze (2004) and new research conducted in the context of the EU funded project Confine, the exciting world of wireless community network projects such as Guifi.net and Freifunk, Berlin, gets interspersed with philosophical reflections on the relationship between technology, art, politics and history. This is the first draft of the first chapter. In the final version, texts may significantly change. Critique and comments are welcome. You can send your opinion either to me in email or ask me for an account to post comments here armin (a) easynet dot co dot uk.
Starting from the premise that the financial crisis of 2008 made only visible a deeper, structural crisis of information society, the exhibition Fields was conceived as a survey into possibilities of renewal through art. Art used to be understood as a mirror of society. Then, in the twentieth century, media became the preferred mirror of mass society. At the end of the 20th century, information superseded the media and was supposed to become the perfect mirror - the dreamworld of digital utopia. But this mirror is broken, as virtuality and the real have collapsed into an 'integral reality' (Baudrillard). Reality has lost its shadow, its capacity to dream, its underbelly of radical alternatives. As the world is urgently in need of a new social imaginary, the exhibition Fields is an articulation of that search. Fields is about an epistemic shift from subject-object relations within traditional, hierarchical ontologies towards new, networked, horizontal connections. While this slow, glacial transformation happens anyway with a degree of inevitability, we cannot awaken from the dreamworld of digital utopia soon enough. What can an art after information be like? How can we articulate artistic imaginations of a new society? How can we talk about it, categorise and develop such a vision as a more long term, infrastructural goal?
The exhibition "Fields - patterns of social, scientific, and technological transformations" will open on May 15th at Arsenals Exhibition Hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art. FIELDS, jointly curated by Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits and Armin Medosch will show work by app. 40 artists and is part of Riga 2014, European Capital of Culture. You find the full announcement and press release below.
Braucht Medienkunst eine Geschichte? Ausgehend von der Konferenz Media Art Histories, Riga 2013, und einer Reihe von Interviews für die Sendung "Braucht Medienkunst eine Geschichte?", ORF Ö1, Radiokolleg, 27.-30.Januar 2014, wirft dieser Artikel einen inter-subjektiven und polyphonen Blick auf die Geschichtlichkeit von Kunst und Medien.