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.

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]

21/03/2010 - 31/12/2010 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

Paid Usership forum

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.


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.

Saturday, 29. August 2009 | 11:30 (tz: Europe/Amsterdam)

n.e.w.s. at ISEA 2009

N.e.w.s. celebrates one-year! with an invitation to present at ISEA 2009 (International Symposium on Electronic Art) on the island of Ireland. N.e.w.s. will deliver the powerpoint presentation ‘Ruminations on Remuneration’ on Saturday, August 29, 2009 in Belfast at 12:30, University of Ulster. In this presentation (n.e.w.s.) addresses the relationship between rethinking the social and economic conditions of art and the artistic context of an emergent participatory community investing in creative production on the Internet.