n.e.w.s. is a collective online platform for the analysis and development of art-related activity, drawing upon contributions from around the globe, bringing together different voices, accents and outlooks from the North, East, West and South. | Read more..

David Selden

Having emerged amongst the Y.B.As in the early 1990s, and after a long time in various white cubes and black boxes, the writer took flight and, after moonlighting in media analysis,  sought aesthetic retreat in the London drag scene, creating the zine, This is not a Love Song and founding the notorious  SUCK! club. Running out of pseudonyms he retired to Berlin, dedicating himself to a life of mystical contemplation and occasional noise performance. He prefers his tea black, and without sugar.

 

Re: Net art back to square one

 
31/05/2010 - 31/05/2010 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

n.e.w.s. at Kuda.org

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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.

 

Shadow Search Platform (SSP)

In October 2009 n.e.w.s. had organised an open call for proposals http://northeastwestsouth.net/node/392 which looked at implementing the Shadow Search ideas http://northeastwestsouth.net/node/395, developing an algorithm that would find off-the-radar or stealth activities. The winner and 4 shortlisted proposals answered our initial query but also led to more questioning regarding the nature of search and its future potentials and well as pitfalls.

We are now working on developing the Shadow Search Platform (SSP), a platform for rapid prototypings and a fleamarket for shadowy search algorithms. It will also look at retrieval systems as filters. What we are planning to develop at this meeting is the backstory, the backend of what the concept of 'search' envelops. This search project (SSP) intends to go beyond interface design.

n.e.w.s. would like to continue with the second competition of the Shadow Search Platform(SSP) by putting forth an open call this summer with something that might be entitled ''(Re)search'. Now we have all this information how do we find what we are looking for?

 

Paid Usership

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Contrary to mainstream practice – with its residual romanticism of solitary authorship and single-signature value – we at n.e.w.s. contend that value is always collectively produced through linguistic cooperation (polemics or just idle chatter) – that is, through the collective intellect. Of course people already get paid for online content – but they are often the wrong people, because they are not all the people who worked to produce that content. Our paradoxical objective is to leverage the potential of participative technologies and communities to ensure that user-produced value be remunerated. Because n.e.w.s. is a non-commercial platform, without any institutional structural subsidy, we have been investigating alternative models of exchange and collaboration, retooling our critical lexicon: instead of the seemingly self-evident binaries of producer/consumer, we have opted for the more inclusive and extensive category of usership – of the paid variety.

Over the past twenty years, people working in the cultural sector have come to use the web not only as a means of communication and distribution but as a medium for artistic and curatorial production, such as online contexts for the analysis and development of art-related activities. But it is also the place where people engage in discourse about the nature of those precarious forms of knowledge and labour produced within it. The challenge of facilitating return generated not only from attention getting but also from finding means of ensuring sustainability through potential models of gifting, immaterial labour, surplus capital and niche development could all be plausible models for paid usership.

Gift, Debt and Return: speculations on the cultural economy

Okay, so everybody wants to be paid to use. But the very idea continues to sound pretty counterintuitive even to the most open-minded, and downright heretical to orthodox twentieth-century economics. Let’s quickly run through some of the conceptual underpinnings of the whole notion.

 

A brief treatise on the despair of meaning Or The Pointlessness of Everything

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.” “The question is”, said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

This little spectacle of the absurd from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland , is perhaps the most demonstrative of the verbally ectropic times that we live in. Never before has the logocentric human civilisation(s) produced so many words, mutating, mixing and distorting languages and grammars, to produce words, so many, so nuanced, so familiar and yet distant, that they mean nothing. And if you were a Shakespearean, you would echo Lear’s declaration that ‘Nothing shall come of Nothing’. It is possible to take words by their collars and mug them, when nobody is looking – disfigure them, torment them, twist and turn them upside down, like victims of a schoolyard bully – till they lose all resemblance to themselves and turn purple in their faces. It is possible to string together innocuous words that make sense, as a unit, in themselves and yet fall apart when they talk to each other, all we have is a cacophonic babble of empty signifiers and unmoored meanings. The only way to navigate through the treacherous surfaces of these words and their worldlessness is to resort to producing dictionaries, thesauruses, glossaries, and when all else fails, new lexicons to accommodate for the thisness and thatness of the verbal big bang we are all a part of.

 
01/01/2010 - 31/05/2010 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

ERRARE HUMANUM EST

This online forum paves the way for next year’s International Congress of Error and Errorism to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the occasion of the bicentennial of South American independence – or two hundred years of error in Latin America. The point is to deepen our level of error in anticipation of the Congress. It is not clear to the organizers who in their right mind yet, with enough money to fund such an endeavor, would agree to part with it for such a carnival of gleeful and erroneous folly! But be that as it may, International Errorists shall convene in Buenos Aires in early 2010 to consider the abyssal philosophical subtleties, political substance, scientific ramifications and aesthetic emancipatory potential of the idea according to which errare humanum est and above all that somos todos erroristas.

 
01/01/2010 - 31/12/2010 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

ERRARE HUMANUM EST: The pursuit of error

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The pursuit of truth seems to have been pretty much a constant in the official history of all human endeavor: science, ethics, politics, education, even aesthetics and romance all take their bearings from the implicit and apparently self-evident horizon of Truth. Even liars adhere to the supremacy of the truth they strive to travesty or conceal. Yet, ensconced as it may be in common sense, that apparent self-evidence is somewhat troubling. For the paradox, of course, is that if we need truth as our guiding beacon then it can only be because we are errant bodies in a world replete with error. And being in denial about that paradox has led our verists to some massive hypocrisy and not much verism of any substance at all. But what if it were the other way round? What if truth was not an earthly principle at all? Where would that leave us?

 
21/01/2010 - 31/12/2010 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Unspeakably More cont'd

Nishant Shah has kicked-off a series of month-long forums with 'A brief treatise on the despair of meaning Or The Pointlessness of Everything' that will elaborate on words or phrases for an ever-growing lexicon. Please see the blog entry Easy Listening for the sound files of the weekend. Please also see the thread, 'Unspeakably More', for more information. Feel free to join in!Just sign up as a usre to add content and see the 'How to'. Participants: Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Monica Narula, Howard Chan, Siu King Chung, Tushar Joag, Nishant Shah, Nancy Adajania, Kaushik Bhaumik, Sonal Jain, Mriganka Madhukaillya, Vishal Rawlley, Stephen Wright, Prayas Abhinav, Renée Ridgway. Thanks to Tribeni Devi, Dorendra Singha and Desire Machine Collective for their support.