Florian Cramer on Tue, 22 Feb 2000 01:26:30 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> net multiculturalism and net arts - a proposal

Around 1997, I had mixed feelings about Nettime and its surrounding
discourses because I thought that Nettime people were monopolizing the term
"net culture" for their own activities. Whether or not this opinion was
justified, it seems to me that our general apprehension of net culture* has
become more differentiated and pluralistic over the years. Free Software
such as GNU/Linux/BSD may be named as another important example of a highly
complex and politically challenging net culture (which all the more predates
the net culture of Nettime, rhizome, Syndicate and company).

In order to reflect this less generalizing and more multicultural
understanding of what is commonly called "net culture", I propose to

- speak of "net cultures", not "net culture", when not referring to a
specific net culture;

- speak of "a net culture", not "net culture", when referring to a specific
net culture (such as the net culture of Nettime).

For entirely different reasons, I also propose to adopt and spread the term
"net arts" (or, in my native German, "Netzkünste"); not as a replacement for
"net.art" or "Net Art", but as a convenient umbrella term for any kind of
artistic work in the net, be it "net.art", net music, net poetry/net
literature, net radio or whatever else does fit. The word "net.art" has been
used as a label for a certain kind (and discourse) of net-based media art,
and there are good reasons to keep it so specific. As someone whose chief
occupation is net poetry, I haven't seen yet many attempts to summarize net
literature under "net art", despite their various intersections. Given the
common English meaning of "the arts", I find the term "net arts" easily
understandable for any person, and of good usability for interdisciplinary
and intermedia work in the net. A festival, for example, which presents
net.art, net poetry and music, could be labelled a "net arts festival".


* i.e. "culture" in the general anthropological sense as that what is
human-made and concerns the knowledge, values and interaction of a social
group (to recall a recent discussion with Matthew Fuller and Josephine
Florian Cramer, PGP public key ID 6440BA05
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