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..

12/11/2014 - 02/01/2015 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Arbitrating Attention: Paid Usership


The key concern for what can by some be termed ‘Web 3.0’ is the giving of data freely and the debate over control of public time and space. With the increasing loss of state and public monies, privatization is becoming more prevalent and almost an accepted means of replacement within neo-liberal governments. How does this affect cultural practitioners working in an expansive sector that is increasingly incorporating other fields of inquiry, along with its financial systems and structures of support in processes of art-related activities? One draws on one’s network to find and invite collaborators, participants, partners, and contributors to projects without necessarily having allotted funds for honoraria. In the cultural sector money isn’t readily available and the most common way, in many non-wage sectors at least, is to be paid with attention as return. This payment is measured through visibility politics, quantified by social media, e-flux mailings, list servers and printed matter, which then accrue and gain value, resulting in social capital.

Why do some artists/cultural producers not demand to be paid for their endeavours? Even more than for reputation economy or attention economy they do this for ‘self-actualisation’. Through their work as artists or in cultural projects, activism, ecologies, etc. they engender a sense of community, provide mutual support, obtain personal growth, create readership and potentially, inplement ‘paid usership’. For some cultural producers, time is money, gift economies are reciprocal and attention economies fulfilling. Yet if we spread our data, give our time, remit our rights of privacy and right to remuneration, how can we create other systems of negotiation and payment? This forum will bring together a range of positions that address economies that are all in use or are being used: attention, reputational, gift, debt, community, informal, collaborative, performative, post-industrial, human, sharing, etc.

This online forum was presented at Digital Labour 2014 (#DL14) and has been partially supported by Leuphana University's Digital Cultures Research Lab. Please sign up as a user if you wish to comment.

01/08/2014 - 01/08/2015 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Becoming deontological -- a politics of deontologizing art / an art of deontologizing politics


At one point in the mid-1980s, Sandinista leader Tomas Borge quipped in reference to some local grievance that “it may be true even though Ronald Reagan says it’s true.” It took his interlocutors a moment to get their heads around such a counterintuitive statement — after all, the US President so systematically distorted information that his assertions seemed to provide a pretty reliable benchmark regarding disinformation. Borge’s comment was less about obdurate “facts” than about how antagonistic outlooks may inadvertently tease hidden assumptions to light, compelling us to reappraise what no longer seems worth thinking about — if only we pay attention. The logic behind the “Borge paradox” is of enduring validity, particularly for untangling and reweaving the narratives of that conflicted decade; more contemporaneously, it is highly useful in helping us to understand — rather than to merely acc​ept — the stance of what is to date the most ambitious enquiry into the articulations between art and the political in 1980s Latin America. Losing Human Form is based not on a chronological but rather a political understanding of the eighties, which it sees as beginning prematurely in 1973 with the overthrow of Salvador Allende’s Popular Front in Chile and only coming to an end with the emergence of Zapatismo in 1995. Losing Human Form in its current configuration doesn’t actually examine the Sandinista experience — or that of the FMLN in neighbouring El Salvador, though the potential is definitely there — but these may well be focal points for future instantiations of this ongoing, collective research project, undertaken by the Red Conceptualismos del Sur (RCdS).

31/07/2014 - 31/07/2015 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Summer Reading


Friends of n.e.w.s. know that we n.e.w.s.casters have been working on a book for a while now. "A while now" perhaps understates things a tad, just as "working" overstates the measurable, nose-to-the-grindstone toiling that has gone on. But a book has been steeping, in the passive voice of the present continuous. And now it's time to churn it out.

Sunday, 02. March 2014 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Crowdfunding: Monetizing the Crowd?


Crowdfunding: Monetizing the crowds?

Not so very long ago the social ‘welfare states’ of Europe[1] provided health care for everyone and a sizeable amount of money for culture, which was generated from tax revenue. Many artists and cultural practitioners had the opportunity to apply for grants, supplemented by patronage, sponsorship, selling their work, or even having jobs. The contemporary discourse in the cultural sector has now shifted and takes its cues from neoliberal policies of management, adopting an ‘everything for the market’ attitude. This has led to Europe’s assimilation of a U.S. inspired laissez-faire approach to culture, and subsequently transformed cultural practices into the burgeoning imagination of the ‘creative industries’. This is marked by a particular condition of state withdrawal of financial support for culture while emergent forms of online, networked platforms increasingly facilitate private donations. For example, electronic money transfers using digital technologies have enabled micro-finance networks that restructure the funding support and patronage earlier available to cultural practitioners. These have ensured an even quicker transfer of the private wealth of citizens to individuals within the cultural sector, such as with the phenomenon of ‘crowdfunding’.[2]

Wednesday, 11. December 2013 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Monetizing the Crowds


In Marxist theory capitalism is unified through the exchange of commodities that mediate the interaction between people and their relations. Unlike feudal societies where people interacted subjectively and were familiar, in capitalism the producers of the products of labour in the factory are invisible and anonymous, and people relate to each other through the ‘universal equivalent’ or ‘money form’. [1] The social relations, then, appear as material objects or things, along with money as a fetishized commodity as a result of the reifying effects of this universalised trade in commodities. Nowadays, with the increasing advancement of digital technologies, microfinance enables monetary exchanges between willing and known parties through crowdfunding campaigns.


An Art Without Qualities: Raivo Puusemp's "Beyond Art -- Dissolution of Rosendale, N.Y."


Indisputably one of the most exceptional documents in the history of concept art -- made up of archival material from one of the most thought-inspiring operations in the history of art on the 1:1 scale -- has recently been republished by Dublin's Project Arts Centre. Entitled Beyond Art - Dissolution of Rosendale, N.Y., it traces New-York conceptualist Raivo Puusemp's two-year tenure as mayor of the chronically conflicted and debt-beleaguered village of Rosendale, N.Y. between 1975 and 1977, from his election campaign to his resignation after successfully redrawing the political boundry lines, dissolving the bankrupt village and incorporating it into the neighbouring township of the same name. Puusemp's intervention, if we can call it that since he carefully avoided such artworldly jargon and at no time boasted that what he was doing was "art," has virtual urban-legend status in concept-art circles, after having been famously championed by Allan Kaprow in The Blurring of Art and Life. In fact, it seems that Puusemp's self-understanding as to the status of his political involvement and its outcome -- was it an artwork? an art-informed process? -- evolved over the course of his term as mayor. Yet, as he makes clear in his pithy introduction, Rosendale, A public work stemmed directly from his conceptual practice. It would be Puusemp's last acknowledged artistic project. And indeed, given its radically low coefficient of specific visibility, it is only thanks to Puusemp's friend Paul McCarthy that these documents were assembled and published at all -- in 1980, by the now defunct collective, Highland Art Agents. Upon resigning as mayor, Puusemp left Rosendale forever, moving to somewhere in Utah, and thereby joining the nebula of "offroad conceptualists" who have withdrawn from the artworld attention economy into the shadows, never performing what they do as art.


The Escapologist. Rasheed Araeen and the transformative potential of art beyond art


Rasheed Araeen's Art Beyond Art belongs to that select category of artists' writings that includes Allan Kaprow's Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, Martha Rosler's Decoys and Disruptions, Robert Smithson's Collected Writings, or Jimmie Durham's A Certain Lack of Coherence, which at once stake out irreversible art-historical positions and exemplify the full heuristic power of theory when pursued as a full-fledged practice. The practice of theory, of course, has never been a sideline pursuit for Araeen, the founding editor of Third Text -- a journal whose purpose and accomplishment it was to eke out a space of possibility for practices that actually existed but had no oversight on their conditions of visibility. Third Text's controlled coefficient of specific visibility as a collective, conceptual artwork situated it in the "art-beyond-art" category -- that is, of practices whose self-understanding is as art, but which manage to avoid being performed as art, somehow foiling the powerful apparatus of performative capture within what Araeen calls "the legitimising prisonhouse" of bourgeois aesthetics. Though Third Text, as we know, has since been captured by those very forces it had set out to challenge, Rasheed Araeen, we can be sure, eludes capture.




We see in Man on the Moon, a biopic on Andy Kaufman, how he fragments his stage identity into multiple personas. These personas then become screens for new stories to unravel. In this text I propose the possibility of screens which are more than surfaces for projection. I set the ground for the next text which proposes a people-propelled-cinema.

Are screens just flat viewing surfaces? Can we blur their sharp edges? By asking these questions I propose that screens being one of the basic units of media analysis, is not an absolute or simplistic. In questioning models of participation and reward in usership based communities and in audiences, by letting screens overcome their flatness, we have new complexities to deal with.

Saturday, 08. June 2013 | 23:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)



In this text I discuss viewing as a process and although it relates to usership it's not about using but viewing. It's not Paid Usership however yet it relates to it the French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard and his statement in Six fois deux that all viewers should be paid to watch television. This text is not about one-directional TV viewing, rather viewership here is describing two modes of visually engaging with cinema and then offers ways to account for the unpaid labour of visual engagement.

Thursday, 14. March 2013 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Aesthetic Journalism


Although some readers might uphold the 20th century definition of aesthetics as concerning subjective forms or 'beauty' enforced by a group of modernist believers, others would rather engage with a more open-ended terminology. Take for example, Alfredo Cramerotti's: 'a process in which we open our sensibility to the diversity of the form of nature (and man-made) environment and convert them to tangible experience.’ So in other words, most anything that is produced nowadays could be considered aesthetics? What is perhaps most engaging is how aesthetics is taken up in journalism, in other words what Cramerotti entitles aesthetic journalism, with his eponymous book.

Cramerotti states that this concept makes possible contributing to knowledge building with a new aesthetic regime, which, in turn, questions the truth-value of a traditional regime. More importantly, it denounces that the system of representation is the same as what it represents as journalism is thought of trying to do -being the same as the facts represented. According to him it involves those artistic activities in the form of investigating social, cultural and political circumstances that take shape in the art context, rather than media.

Friday, 25. January 2013 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Uselessness, Refusal, Art, and Money (encounters with David Graeber's Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value).


On Reading  Alone

I report here on an encounter with a book, and an encounter with the problems of reading itself.  The book: David Graeber's Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value.  which I picked up following the trail of Marcel Mauss' The Gift (Graeber's book is a meditation on the differing visions of Mauss and Marx for economic life as read through the lens of anthropology).  If you operate outside of institutions, which I typically do, one book leads to another and another along solitary and idiosyncratic paths.  You often find yourself in a cloud of companionship with people you've never met, some living, some dead, some speaking native languages you have no acquaintance with.  This is thrilling, but a little surreal. As you'll see, Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value was a pleasure to wrestle with and test ideas against, but for me it also represented the moment where I turned from an ideal of books engendering books in the future, to books as a way of making relationships in the present.

Friday, 14. December 2012 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

After Third Text


Third Text was both an art-theoretical journal, at the forefront of rethinking the conceptual institutions of art from a postcolonial perspective, and a proposition -- an artistic proposition -- of an art-theoretical journal, at the forefront of rethinking the conceptual institutions of art from a postcolonial perspective. It was both theory in practice and the practice of theory, because, from the outset, it was conceived by founding editor Rasheed Araeen, as a fully-fledged, conceptual and collective artwork -- though there was never any explicit reason for its contributors and readers to acknowledge that, since there was nothing "arty" about it, nor would it have changed in any way had it not been an artistic proposition. Yet it was precisely this 1:1 scale that it instantiated which gave it the political and conceptual wherewithal to challenge not only the biases of the mainstream artworld (and to have been an effective tool in bringing about tangible shifts in representation) but more importantly to rethink art as a whole, its mode of being and operating in the world. By operating on this 1:1 scale, it deftly eluded a certain institutional capture -- never quite what it seemed, nor where it seemed. It was an improbable discursive war machine, emerging from the political struggle against institutionalized racism in the 1970s and 80s, but an exceptionally robust one, no doubt because it proved itself capable of reinventing itself time and again, rather than falling victim to its own success. It was Rasheed Araeen's artistic proposition, but as a collective platform it was of vital importance to so many of us -- for n.e.w.s. amongst others -- both in pointing a way beyond "the altruism of collaboration" as Araeen put it, creating the kind of "world extension" required to give meaning to an uneasy global conversation and helping to imagine new ways of repurposing artistic energies with a view to transformation.

Sadly, it has become necessary to say all these things about Third Text in the past tense. Third Text has been hijacked by its Board of Trustees, who in the name of neoliberal good governance and professionalization -- but scant regard for the critical and dissident politics that were the journal's hallmark and raison d'être -- literally locked Rasheed Araeen out of the offices and usurped full editorial and administrative control.

Tuesday, 11. December 2012 | 00:45 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Unstable by design: failure is the central idea


things are in a disarray;

designed to fall apart,
resistance is the privilege.

Accidents are not disruptions in the pattern, they are the norm. Every time things happen according to plan, it is a mistake. And this is not being pessimistic.

Saturday, 01. December 2012 | 01:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

& then you disappear


Toward the end of the 1990s, Zagreb conceptualist Mladen Stilinovic wrote an open letter to art -- not so much a love letter as some words of solace for an old friend in a pinch. The decade had been rough. Yet Stilinovic avoids the question of art's political content altogether. He commiserates about the different forms of capture to which art has increasingly fallen prey -- ideological capture, to be sure, and mercantile capture, in an attention economy where attention-getting is already emerging as the dominant form of capital accumulation. Yet to have the market pay attention at all requires submitting art to institutional capture, since to accept that art's value is merely what the market says its value is, requires accepting that art be what the institution says it is. To distinguish art from the mere real thing, as the champions of institutional theory cleverly put it, to have those objects and actions, all and sundry, appear under the auspices of art, is to submit them to a form of performative capture, through which they are performed as art. And for this reason, Stilinovic suggests, art ultimately finds itself in the grips of ontological capture -- the price exacted for it to be art at all is that it be... just art. It is not so much that art has exhausted the repertory of decoys and feints with which it has been allowed to play, as that all its ploys and sleights of hand have now been mapped out, made predictable.

Wednesday, 14. November 2012 | 12:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Net art back to square one


The introduction ‘Net art back to square one’ to the book Nettitudes: Let’s Talk Net Art by Josephine Bosma accurately maps out how net.art was perfectly post-media in the arts sense of being ‘post-Greenbergian’. What the author Florian Cramer means by that is articulated in his introduction, elucidating the manifold definitions of ‘media’, as well as emphasising the inhibitions within the fine art world to embrace technology. Furthermore he contextualises the necessity of this book about net.art in the larger picture because it addresses issues of ‘cultural relevance’ rather than specific forms of technological development and skill.

Tuesday, 06. November 2012 | 00:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

The Filter Bubble


According to the author of ‘The Filter Bubble’, Eli Pariser, technology is what the 21st century is about along with how it controls our attention. This book is specifically dedicated to what Pariser coins the ‘filter bubble’- where certain information on the internet is kept invisible which deters us from learning about things we do not know. Chapters range from how our information and data is gathered, stored, filtered and shared on the Internet to the applications of search algorithms that enable targeted marketing and advertisements. He also warns us about the future of this online world, as well as addressing the potential benefits and the creation of a civil society, whilst mapping out the history of the press and journalism in regard to freedom of speech.

Monday, 22. October 2012 | 23:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

"Use the country itself, as its own map": operating on the 1:1 scale


The "crisis of representation" is not something that happened to representation when it got old and worn out; nor was it the scale of the moral catastrophes of the twentieth century that brought representation to the paroxysm of the "unrepresentable". The crisis was always already present in representation itself. It was Plato who first theorized and capitalized on what he saw as the discontinuity -- the ontological discontinuity, a discontinuity of being and not merely of logic -- between art and reality.

Sunday, 21. October 2012 | 14:15 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers


The defining characteristic of the art-historical present is, arguably, art's impulse to escape from itself. This escapological drive has nothing to do with some flight of fancy from unpleasant realities. Quite the contrary it is motivated by the will or even need to directly confront, on the 1:1 scale, those realities -- something art has by and large proven unable, or unwilling, to do. This drive is not characterized exclusively by the desire to escape ideological capture, though that is surely part of the motivation; nor even to escape institutional capture, with its debilitating prescriptions of visibility, though that too is a key factor. As art seeks to self-extract from art itself, sundering itself from being art per se, art seems to be trying to operate without being performed as such -- escaping performative capture, giving itself space to take action without being performed as just art. One might go a step further: the current escapological moment appears to be driven by art's far more profound concern to escape ontological capture. In other words, to escape having its being in the world immediately cordoned off, and hence written off, as mere art.

Saturday, 25. August 2012 | 23:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Deep Search


Neither a rage against the machine, nor only queries before the oracle, this long book review highlights some of the chapters of Deep Search. Though published in 2009, its ongoing relevance is revealed within its pages and Deep Search II[i] is on its way.

‘Deep Search- The Politics of Search beyond Google’

Information is useless if it cannot be found and it is not a coincidence that a search engine like Google has turned into one of the most significant companies of the new century. These engines are never just practical tools to deal with information overload. Such cognitive technologies embed political philosophy in seemingly neutral code. Konrad Becker, Felix Stalder, editors of Deep Search

25/08/2012 - 01/01/2016 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Book Reports

The long awaited and most definitely overdue Book Reports is now underway! During the course of the next coming months we will pick up the newsworthy thread and continue sharing our n.e.w.s. research. 'Book reports' will be a 100-day textual marathon of relatively short, snappy but argued reviews of primarily books, although these could expand into the ubiquitous url or PDF or even You Tube video. These 'books' are all those by extension that we have been compelled to read in whole or in part for our research. We are joined by those who have either been sharing their ideas, feedback and critique, lurkers as well users. Let us know if you have something to contribute, via the contact link.
Saturday, 09. June 2012 | 23:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Sub specie artis


Collaboration, if it is to be fruitful, must be founded on an initial diversity. Though it may feel more natural to collaborate with individuals or groups with whom we have much in common, collaboration itself has little to gain from that commonality – for neither party really has much to offer the other and collaborating soon appears unnecessary.

Sunday, 23. October 2011 | 23:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Betwixt Worlds


Which is ultimately the more felicitous title: Jules Verne's classic Around the World in Eighty Days? Or Julio Cortázar's cross-purposed variant, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds? The former heralds an awe-inspiring feat in the era of colonial expansion, while the latter seeks to capture the dizzying heterogeneity of our own collaged temporalities -- wheeling motionless through time at eighty-worlds-a-day. One world or many?

18/04/2011 - 18/04/2011 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Test drive of Narcissus and (Re)search


CIS (Centre for Internet and Society) hosts an interesting line-up on the 31st of March with the test drive of the Narcissus algorithm and further (Re)search. Last year, n.e.w.s. organized an open call: Shadow Search, which was looking for a specific algorithm. In particular this search engine would allow prospectors in the world of information and databases to discover ‘shadow art activities’ that are partially hidden, off-the-radar, stealthy. Last year a jury gathered at CIS to evaluate the 5 entries and after much deliberation, a winner was chosen, 'Narcissus', by Phil Jones and Aharon Amir. This algorithm is now being launched at CIS on March 31, 2011.

The corpus of objects being tested by the Narcissus search engine is the data uploaded from the students from the Dutch Art Institute, Srishti School of Art, Design, Technology, Shantiniketan and CKP for 'Space the Final Frontier'. The past three weeks the students have been indexing the shadow worlds of Bangalore with various art projects, which were physically exhibited at CKP on March 17th, 2011. The Shadow Search Platform (SSP) will continue at the Center for Experimental Media Arts (CEMA) at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology this year as a full-time project, in which various aspects of art-related activities as well as their visibility, searchability and accessibility will be investigated by participants and visiting faculty.

03/03/2011 - 19/03/2011 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Space the Final Frontier


n.e.w.s. contributors Prayas Abhinav and Renée Ridgway team up for Space the Final Frontier, Mission I: Indexing the Shadow Worlds of Bangalore, March 4-18, 2011 with their respective institutions, Dutch Art Institute / ArtEZ (DAI), Srishti, School of Art and Design and CEMA, The Centre for Experimental Media Arts.


Negotiating Equity is the name of one of the ongoing & energetic projects at the heart of the DAI ‘s curriculum. The nine student participants in Negotiating Equity are now embarking on a two-week voyage to India to collaborate with Srishti School of Art and Design and CEMA (The Centre for Experimental Media Arts). Their first pit stop will be New Delhi with a half-day seminar with Raqs Media Collective and a visit to Khoj, an artist led, alternative space for experimentation and international exchange.

Upon arrival in the IT capital Bangalore, Space The Final Frontier commences, an expansive trans-spatial /trans-local investigation into the notion of ‘space’.


Paula Bialski

Paula Bialski is a sociologist and postdoctoral research fellow based at Leuphana University’s Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL). Her past work ethnographically studied Couchsurfing.org and online hitchhiking websites (mitfahrgelegenheit.de) in order to map out the way interaction is being initiated online in order to create interaction offline.


Marsha Bradfield


Marsha Bradfield is a mongrel cultural producer. Across her practice as an artist, curator, writer, educator and researcher, she co-creates projects that grapple with authorship as always already collaborative and contingent, subject to both specific and systemic conditions and shot through with a polyphony of voices past, present and future too. Marsha is especially interested in the interdependence of cultural production, with this spread across...


Marina Vishmidt

Marina Vishmidt is a London-based writer, editor and critic occupied mainly with questions around art, labour and value. She is the author of Speculation as a Mode of Production (Brill, early 2016) and A for Autonomy (with Kerstin Stakemeier) (Textem, late 2014). She also writes often with Anthony Iles and with Melanie Gilligan. She often works with artists and contributes to journals such as Mute, Afterall, Texte zur Kunst, Ephemera, South Atlantic Quarterly, Parkett, and OPEN!


Armin Beverungen

Armin Beverungen currently is the Junior Director of the Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL) at Leuphana University. Before joining the DCRL he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Hybrid Publishing Lab. Armin conducts research at the interstices of media and organisation studies. He is a member of the editorical collective of the open access journal ephemera: theory & politics in organization and with colleagues at Leuphana recently set up the new open access journal spheres: journal for digital cultures, which launched this week.


Stephanie Rothenberg

Stephanie Rothenberg is an interdisciplinary artist who engages participatory performance, installation and networked media to create provocative public interactions. Mixing real and virtual spaces, her work investigates new models of global, outsourced labor and the power dynamics between contemporary visions of utopian urbanization and real world economic, political and environmental factors.


Kuba Szreder

Kuba Szreder – graduate of sociology at Jagiellonian University (Krakow). He works as an 'independent' curator, his interdisciplinary projects combine artistic practices with critical examination of society. In 2009 he initiated Free / Slow University of Warsaw, together with Bęc Zmiana Foundation. In his theoretical research he critically reflects upon the contemporary apparatus of cultural production and its socio-economic context.


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


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 which looked at implementing the Shadow Search ideas, 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


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.


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.”

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

ERRARE HUMANUM EST: The pursuit of error


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?

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


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.


Easy listening

Here are the audio files from the Unspeakably More weekend at Periferry on the Brahmaputra. It's only 10 hours and there are 19 files in total. Enjoy!






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.


Shadow Search Winner Announced


The "Shadow Search" launched by n.e.w.s. on 15 October closed yesterday, 22 November. The Call was read by a record number of people (and machines). Five proposals were received for consideration by the reading committee. After some five hours of spirited deliberation, the jury found itself at loggerheads. The deciding vote was cast by the n.e.w.s. collective in favour of "Narcissus Search Engine," submitted by Aharon Amir and Phil Jones. The jury was immediately struck both by the quality and the heterogeneity of the submissions, and divergent opinions notwithstanding, was unanimous in seeing the experience as a learning process. n.e.w.s. hopes to work with all the participants in further developing their proposals. Any and all readers are also encouraged to contact the authors of the submissions -- published here under n.e.w.s,' site-wide creative commons license -- to help carry them forward.


Discussion of research on “Arbitrating Attention” at the Sorbonne in Paris

Wednesday 25 November, 6-8 pm University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne Bachelard Amphitheatre On the one-year anniversary of the attribution of the first prize in the Competition of Ideas – organized by Jacques Serrano and the Forum européen de l’essai sur l’art – to the n.e.w.s. collective, for our now upcoming book Arbitrating Attention, a critical discussion of the research to date will be held at the Sorbonne in Paris, co-organized by the Forum européen de l’essai sur l’art and the CERAP.

Quitting: a conversation with Alexander Koch on the paradoxes of dropping out

In the course of researching my end of our upcoming book on shadow practices, I have been grappling with the ethics and politics of trying to detect and draw even modest attention to initiatives that have deliberately sought to impair their coefficient of specific visibility. More on that to come. But I guess the most radical way for an artist to get off – and stay off – artworld radar screens is simply to quit the artworld. To bail, but to do so as an – ultimate – artistic gesture. Berlin-based theorist Alexander Koch has initiated and carried out some fascinating research on this unwritten chapter of contemporary art history – the history and conditions of possibility of what he calls the Kunstausstieg (http://www.kunst-verlassen.de/). Here’s an excerpt from our recent exchange.

Friday, 20. November 2009 | 20:00 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

n.e.w.s. at Khoj@1Shanthi Road


At Khoj@1Shanti Road , n.e.w.s. (Stephen Wright, Prayas Abhinav, Renée Ridgway) made a public presentation of recent projects in India and discussed the research for their forthcoming book, Arbitrating Attention: reinvesting attention surplus in plausible artworlds that seeks to rethink the social and economic conditions of art. As twenty-first century attention economics maintains its momentum, where an artist's standing in the reputational economy is determined by his or her coefficient of specific visibility, how can shadowy, more poly-vocal initiatives at the edges find ways to surface, or, for that matter, to remain hidden? What are the specific new vocabularies, technologies even, with respect to modes of transmitting knowledge that might be used as deframing devices?


Unspeakably More LIVE

Some sequences of Unspeakably More, a four-day seminar (workshop/gathering) hosted by n.e.w.s. contributors and Khoj at Periferry (a ferry boat) in Guwahati, India will be LIVE webstreamed here. So keep checking!

Open Call: Shadow Search


October 15-November 22 2009 Continuing our research on our forthcoming book 'Arbitrating Attention: reinvesting attention surplus in plausible artworlds' that rethinks the social and economic conditions of art and explores alternative models of remuneration, n.e.w.s. will interact with the dynamic entrepreneurial, academic and scientific community CIS in Bangalore. Imagining “new social and economic contexts for art” this open seminar, brainstorming session and prize-awarding event brings together interested students, professionals and motivated institutions in working to solve the following conundrum: Pertaining to the research we are conducting at n.e.w.s. in our forthcoming book, it is very important to be able to find art and artists that reflect the spirit of the query rather than just its literal content. We want to explore the use of natural-language search algorithms that are able to find people and activities that embody the self-understanding of the kind of art we are seeking without specifically using the word art or a related vocabulary. In particular this search engine would allow prospectors in the world of information and databases to discover ‘shadow art activities’ that are partially hidden, off-the-radar, stealthy.

Open Call for proposals


Unspeakably More


Seminar on the Brahmaputra and and online forum

Participants: Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Monica Narula, Kaushik Bhaumik, Sanjay Bangar, Sharmila Samant, Siu King Chung, Nancy Adajania, Tushar Joag, Howard Chan, Nishant Shah, Pooja Sood, Sonal Jain, Mriganka Madhukaillya, Prayas Abhinav, Stephen Wright, Renée Ridgway

‘Unspeakably More depends on what things are called than on what they are. (...) Let us not forget that in the long run it is enough to create new names and plausibilities in order to create new "things".’

In the course of thinking through our symposium on curatorship under the broad title Art after Space, our original concept has morphed into something else. The above statement is Stephen’s premise about how to incite a discussion, actually focus on having that discussion as the event, not as a secondary action to an exhibition or what has been termed the “pedagogical turn” in contemporary art.

During the past months we have been organising with Khoj this real time and online forum at n.e.w.s. Our reconnaissance trip to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore last April enabled us to take apart the concept of Art After Space. We maintain that art’s condition is post-spatial, yet it is often frustrating to try and describe that condition with existing concepts and vocabularies. The deeper we got in our conversations – which included or even precluded the internet – the more superficial the available vocabulary seemed to be for what we were actually trying to postulate, describe, or invent.

The performative of “talking art” is something we have been recently discussing at n.e.w.s. In researching and writing our forthcoming book, Arbitrating Attention: reinvesting attention surplus in plausible artworlds as it is affectionately called, different courses of action have emerged, some inadvertently, others hammered out during our weekly Skype meetings or even real-world rendezvous. Somehow we are no longer submerged. What now comes to mind in anticipation of a weekend on the Brahmaputra at Periferry is not only the geophysical and geopolitical context – the water, the North East – but the symbolic dimension: the ferry as the meeting place, buoyancy enabling thoughts, the flux of ideas.