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Diggers All! Copyright is for losers

The gentrye are all round, on each side they are found,

Theire wisdom’s so profound, to cheat us of our ground

Stand up now, Diggers all.
The Diggers Song
, Gerrard Winstanley & Leon Rosselson

This post follows up on an exchange initiated on n.e.w.s. a few months back by Branka Curcic under the heading of “The New Economy of Enclosure,” dealing with the pitfalls of the web 2.0 model and mindset, which she nicely summed up as the “private appropriation of community-created value.” http://www.northeastwestsouth.net/node/166#comment-37
This issue has gained some currency these past weeks as the French National Assembly has debated a bill entitled “Creation and Internet” – or Hadopi, the name of the proposed governmental organisation which it creates. The intent of the law (which will inevitably pass, despite some left parliamentarians jumping out of the woodwork at the last minute to defeat a second reading) is to severely crack down on the online exchange of audiovisual files, which it defines as “pirating,” by a three-strikes-you’re-off-the-net approach to internet accounts using peer-to-peer platforms to download or upload copyrighted content. Internet becomes a privilege for those who respect private property. Though probably unenforceable, this particularly iniquitous law was drafted by supposedly left-of-centre businessman and author Denis Olivennes, in a book entitled La Gratuité c’est le vol (Free is theft), a revealingly cynical echo of Joseph Proudon’s La Propriété c’est le vol (Property is theft). With any luck, history will look back on this law as the anachronistic convulsion of a senile music and film industry desperately lobbying to create artificial scarcity in the face of unstoppable profusion, using a business model from another century. But what are the intellectual underpinnings for even talking about “intellectual property”? And what kind of historical opposition has been mustered against it over the years?

17/04/2009 - 17/04/2009 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Experimental Economy Camp

At the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) Cunningham Road, Bangalore Recently, n.e.w.s. won the ‘Competition of Ideas’ for authoring a book proposal entitled “Arbitrating Attention”, which would explore new economic and social contexts for art. This 100-page text will be published at the beginning of next year. One of things n.e.w.s.

09/03/2009 - 15/03/2009 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)



Networks, how they work and function. Geert Lovink from INC asked us at the beginning of Wintercamp 'why organise networks- what does it mean to organise networks?' And 'what does it mean to invent new constitutional forms?'

My Creativity

n.e.w.s. was invited by Bas van Heur to take part in MyCreativity, which was started-up in 2006. Contributors Prayas Abhinav, Branka Curcic and I were able to attend the camp. Finding the PDF I was curious to quickly catch-up on the discourse produced so far. Much quoted and inherent to the discussion is Richard Florida's book: The Rise of the Creative Class, Cities and the Creative Class, and The Flight of the Creative Class. What these ‘city reporters’ agreed on was that Richard Florida’s ‘creative class’ is – if anything – ‘a parasitic simulacrum of social creativity’ (Matteo Pasquinelli). The question then becomes how one actually determines real or authentic social creativity, if it does exist at all. Transformation of the structural conditions of production in such a way that ‘creativity’ (the reference here is to ‘individual creativity, skill and talent’) can be channeled into regimes of property. However, as Ned Rossiter stresses, in order to address the political dimension of (Sebastian Olma) 'If, on the one hand, post-autonomous thought represents a systematic attempt at grasping creativity while, on the other hand, the creative industries are a method of exploiting creativity, then the former should offer a potentially rich perspective for the exploration of the latter. Thus, before returning to an explicit discussion of the creative industries issue, a brief look at some post-autonomist approaches to creativity in contemporary capitalism is on order.


Asian Biennales Forum ... DISCUSSION

A response to Joselina: Joselina cites an essay of mine, (“Biennale Demand”, Jan 2008, http://www.aaa.org.hk/newsletter_list.aspx?newslettertype=archive), where I contrast the notion of “convention” with that of “tradition”. She summarises me as saying that “biennales have conventions, but not tradition”. And then she goes on to say: “This may be true to an extent, but following his definition of tradition, biennales, either through the foundations or offices that run them, or through the curators chosen, are hardly oblivious to past biennales that occur around the world. The derivative models from Venice’s formula are a reaction to the original biennale’s framework. The exhibition concepts, thematics, ideas are never realized while the curator is unaware of what’s been done elsewhere. Curators and directors are hardly, never reflexive. Most are. And the biennales they come up with are products of these. Are these then not the creation of a tradition?”


Asian Biennales Forum ... OPENING REMARKS by PANELISTS


Art from Asia is on the rise — or so it must seem. From Sydney to Shanghai, Busan to Berlin, Asian artists are all over the place. The year 2008 was a banner year for biennales in this part of the world. September alone saw several biennales and triennials opening, including Gwangju, Busan, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Singapore, Taipei and Yokohoma. However, research and analysis of contemporary art from the region have not kept pace with the spectacle of exhibition. And it’s arguable that this underdeveloped state of discourse is an urgent concern. What we need, perhaps, is less chatter, and more reflection. Hopefully, in this forum here, we’ll be able to serve up some of the latter along with some of the former. The Asian Biennales Forum, Part II, is a follow-up from the forum which took place in November 2008. http://northeastwestsouth.net/node/256


Broken webs: imagining an Internet for introverts

Introverts are people who do not generally demonstrate an enthusiastic social appetite. Most Internet interfaces and applications assume a voluntary and natural tendency for social bonding and seem to reward behaviour that fits these assumptions. What is our understanding of people who would broadly identify themselves as introverts? Can this inquiry inform our design efforts and guide us in reconceptualizing ways of working?



Cutting Slack: paradoxes of slackerdom

Hello! I see that some slackers have been more than punctual in taking the initiative and getting this forum under way. Whereas some others, ahem, have waited for the sun to warm the earth before sallying forth. This is just as it should be, for it places us straightaway at the heart of the issues we are to address: the paradoxes of slackerdom.

Three questions are of supreme interest to me with respect to what I take to be our common concern in performing the everlasting Sunday:

- Why is authentic slacking different than mere laziness (if it is)? I choose that phrasing deliberately to underscore the ticklish distinction between the two: I feel it is somehow slacker-incompatible to identify an “authentic” as opposed to an inauthentic mode of slacking, just as it is absurd to suggest that describing laziness as “mere” does anything but upgrade it to some more interestingly corrosive status. Still, it strikes me as useful, even necessary to attempt to conceptualize slacking off as a specific way of being in the world – as opposed to indolence or idleness (and other agreeable states) on the one hand, and languor or what Christians call slothfulness on the other.

- This ontological speculation on slacking’s core definition begs the second question: slacking’s political ontology. By both slacking off from the imperative to work and, symmetrically, deliberately abstaining from leisure and other modes of consumerism, slackers embody a fascinating – and for the productivist majority, infuriating – performative double bind, akin to the famous “I am a liar” that had the Greeks stumped. Slackers don’t “just” slack off; they go at it full-tilt. Clearly, the studied and ostentatious practice of doing not much at all is all-consuming. But is it subversive? Does it have seditious potential within a regime of productivism? Can it obstruct the reifying logic of “creativity” and “artistic research projects” we hear so much about?

- To answer these questions in the affirmative is to imagine that slackers could come to constitute something of a political community, however slack. But, as Randall Szott has asked, are communities formed by slack not bound by slack, that is, entropic collapse under the weight of their own logic? Or can they, martial arts-style, lackadasically harness the surplus force of the productivist adversary? Are slackers, like hackers, more inclined to untie than to unite, as Ken Wark has argued? And if so, what is at the end of the slack line?


Competition of Ideas

We are very delighted to announce that n.e.w.s. has won the 'Competition of Ideas', with our text Reinvesting attention surplus in plausible artworlds

02/01/2009 - 16/02/2009 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Cutting Slack extended until February 15th

By both slacking off from the imperative to work and, symmetrically, deliberately abstaining from leisure, slackers embody a fascinating – and for the productivist majority, infuriating – performative paradox. Slackers don’t “just” slack off; they go at it full-tilt. Performing laziness – that is, the studied and ostentatious practice of doing not much – is all-consuming. But is it subversive? Does it have seditious potential within a regime of productivism? Can it be decreative, obstructing the reifying thrust of the “creative” industry and class with their “artistic research projects”?


Asian Biennials Forum


Asian Biennales: Nationalism in a post-colonial world Internationalism versus Nationalism

Currently, one third of the world’s biennales take place in Asia, with the first being the Tokyo Biennale in 1952. Yet, the international art biennale started with the Venice Biennale which was founded in 1895, a year before the Olympic games, at a time when world’s fairs and international exhibitions started growing in popularity with the idea that nations can showcase the best of their talents. However, this type of showcasing of national pride often leads to nationalism and sometimes to conflict.