n.e.w.s. was invited to Kuda by Branka Curcic to present the platform as well as to discuss the past and present forums. In relation to Novi-Sad and the postsocialist context, 'Cutting Slack' forum was first mentioned in regard to its diverse perspectives on work in art-related activities. We ended with the text 'The Praise of Laziness' by Mladen Stilinovic in which the last words of his manifesto state: “Finally to be lazy and conclude: there is no art without laziness" added by Katherine Carl. Although many contributors to the forum were admittedly self-proclaimed slackers to a certain extent, the speed and tempo in which the forum took off was contradictory to the content. There was no laziness here - but it should be mentioned that it was just after New Year's, in a month where the much of the world slows down and many seem to have more time than during other months of the year. So many users as well as lurkers were also reading along and it was one of n.e.w.s.'s most trafficked and followed forums! In any case this brought us to the dilemma at hand, the 'Paid Usership' forum and how to come up with ways to find support for artistic endeavor. Feedback from the Kuda group declared the constant struggle to find time and that it takes longer to produce content in another language, while their was a great amount of solidarity with n.e.w.s. contributor Branka Curcic and Kristian Lukic. They are working on similar issues and developing texts that we are looking forward to reading in the near future.
This seminar brought up key points that we all are confronted with in the cultural sector but to which we have no solutions: how do we maintaining stability when we are constantly asked to be flexible? How are precarious labourers able to build up any continuity for the public? Why is funding only project-based with enormous amounts of bureaucracy and paperwork, not knowing if you will receive the grant in this first place? This discussion then led to the term 'cultural gambling', in which we are asked to place our bets, not just chips on the table, but hours of work without knowing whether we will ever even make it to the final round? We discussed the odds and came up with around 25-33% chance as a worthwhile time and risk investment.
Conclusion: yes kuda and n.e.w.s. should go forth and yes 'Paid Usership' should receive financial support, if only to discuss openly these issues which confront the changing dynamics of online, immaterial production for art-related activities. Besides all of the above we discussed the userability (or lack thereof for some) of n.e.w.s. and luckily Nenad Kesic was in the room. A self-proclaimed Drupal soldier, he has immensely improved the n.e.w.s. site which will continue! Please check it out.