Lachlan Brown on Sat, 2 Jun 2001 22:01:03 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> TAZ THING

I can only agree with the project of Mute and of THE THING. For seven years I researched the cultural implications of Internet. This research had little to do with 'the virtual'. I focussed upon the interelations between mediation and new relations of distribution. I was not afraid to 'tease out' reaction in a number of locations, in arts and aesthetics, policy and polity, regulation and governance. From very early on the My motive was to apply, at the end of this period, a quite conventional or traditional alternative, independent, media model to the field of distributed computing. I am doing so (or think I am doing so - one always needs criticism and feedback) with Thirdnet. ( - you can check out the proposed consitution at 

We hear a great deal about the 'dangers' of digital culture, but little about the 'dangers' when power relations and investments between individuals and within institutions are challenged. Not by 'technology' or rhetorical 'new paradigms', but by anxieties caused by shifts in mediation of the production, reproduction and dissemination of knowledge. Some of the reactions I charted - third year students locked out of a compouter suite in Liverpool during Sean Cubitt and my teaching of the Digital Cultures course in 1996,  the cesnorship of my UEL Occupation publication in May 1998 (copied to on the day my login 

We all have responsibility to highlight these dangers and overreactions. They were often stunning for their intensity. More than anything these reactions (from high Thatcherian exercises in demonstrating arbitrary power, to over-forced humour) convinced me that there was indeed something very new about the new media, or I should say: new relations of mediation. If they had not occured, I would not be interested in the field. I would be working in print media.

It is for this reason we need alternative, independent, media, with all the apparatus this implies, and I think those of us engaged in the process of finding out whether alternative, independent media are possible in digital culture, or in culture at large for that matter, are learning a wide range of techniques and strategies that have very deep histories in publishing. 

Lachlan Brown

-----Original Message-----
From: Wolfgang Staehle <>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 17:46:49 -0700
Subject: <nettime> TAZ THING

> There has been a report in the press (taz) about the current state of 
> THE THING (NYC) that could be misconstrued.  While it is true that we 
> are in a process of restructuring, I have to dissappoint some of you 
> that an imminent demise is not in the cards.  And while it is also true 
> that this is a "make it or break it" time, the report overly dramatizes
> this one aspect with apocalyptic undertones.  
> What's going on?
> For the last years the commercial isp was the sole
> financial sponsor of THE THING.  Everybody knows by now that this can 
> not go on.  THE THING needs to become an independent media project 
> with sufficient funding coming from various sources.  That was 
> the reason we applied for non profit status in the first place.
> Several indviduals have been quietly working behind the scenes in 
> a serious effort to achieve this goal.  Since THE THING has a 
> broad alliance of supporters I am confident that, with some time 
> and effort, we can achieve this goal.
> Why are we doing all this?
> There is a statement in the current Mute Magazine - which recently
> went through a similar restructuring and rethinking process - that 
> could just as well serve as our credo:  "Objective...  
> Oh my God, why am I here?
> To contribute to the strength of independent media projects
> - enabling them to compete with institutional, governmental
> and corporate driven ones, and to create information spaces
> where high quality tools, content and research are produced
> by individuals and small organizations who are compensated
> for their work."
> End of story.
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