nettime's_realtime_compression_lib on Tue, 24 Apr 2001 19:50:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> re[CODE](free)art/license<digest> [nigten x2]

From: Anne Nigten <>
     Subject: Re: <nettime> [CODE] [Free Art Licence] about Florian Cramer's
From: Anne Nigten <>
     Subject: Re: <nettime> Review of the CODE conference (Cambridge/UK,

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Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 10:44:53 +0200
From: Anne Nigten <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> [CODE] [Free Art Licence] about Florian Cramer's
  point of vue & my speech.

sorry for the delay, i'm just very busy, more will come up later..

Antoine, if I understand your point about the concept of Free art licenses
well, you're referring to stable media / art mainly, (static or dynamic
media /art which has a final or a predefined form). This reminds me a lot
on the publications of Joost Smiers, who made several strong points in his
plea to leave copyrights out of the arts and cultural practice.
There's more similarity among these theories / concepts, both leave me
puzzled at the point where it becomes interesting (for me): how does this
all relate to current movements and attempts in the interdisciplinary code
based art practice? What happens to the income of the artists when copy
rights are left out?

So far at the V2 lab we've been working with existing licenses, mainly GPL
and for an upcoming project we're looking at GNU copyleft. The choice of
the most suitable licenses depends a lot on the project and the intentions
of the artist, our preference for existing licences is an attempt to stay
open for collaboration with the outside world. For sure these licenses are
not written for art or scientific purposes per se, but turned out to be
useful anyway. It would be good to know why people come up with
alternatives. Do you all plan at all to make a match or connection to the
software based licenses at all, or do you think that the world of artists
and software designers should really be kept apart? It can be foreseen a
connection between your ideas and the situation will make sense in the near

future, here I'm referring to the remark in my former mail about the mixed
situation where 'tools' and code based work are being mixed up among
artists/researchers/technicians etc.

In his posting Antoine mentions it impossible to change the world in one
day, the way I read it now it will take us in a reverse time travel In
this context you should also look at the mails of martin, in which it is
indicated that things are about to change soon.

About the other similarity: what happens with the income of the artist when
copyrights are left? There was somebody who suggested something from a
different angle, according to his theory about free software Richard
Stallman presented his idea of free contribution. At the Wizards of OS in
1999 Richard presented these ideas, and due to his very emotional way of
lecturing I didn't get to discuss these ideas up there neither did I during
CODE. I have the impression that these days ( almost ) nobody will ever pay
for art / cultural content on line. Besides this, there is a hippie flavor
to the idea, which really reminds me to street musicians with a
hat  collecting money. After several talks and discussions with artists
about this idea, it turns out not to be meeting the profile of contemporary
artists/researchers/programmers etc. For sure this is in no way a statement
from the art world or well worked out survey, but an indication from our
environment. So this made me think about other possibilities of income for
artists using open source and / or copyleft. The services based model which
is being used by companies to earn form open source (like Red hat as the
most clear example) is not really suitable for art practices it looks like.

Our so-called 'core business' is creativity, art Research & Development,
content and interdisciplinary collaboration. Some ideas for marketing
creativity, aRt&D, content, interdisciplinary collaboration etc., without
leaving our mission could be established by acknowledgment of art research
and development as an interesting and important addition to scientific
research e.g. by means of inclusion of aRt&D in the research programs
(international, European, national). Other options I see are workshops for
corporate business, demonstrations and  our daily work environment could be
real interesting as testbeds for scientific research, education etc. etc.
just to name a few.

Back to CODE (and my notes)
Some other food for thought popped up in my mind during the CODE conference
which was held in Cambridge, the UK. For two days we discussed real
interesting issues related to openness, sharing, free this and free that
while being in a country where gay people are NOT free to express their
feelings in public due to clause 28 =85.. we might need to work on some
reverse engineering here!!


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Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2001 11:20:18 +0200
To: Florian Cramer <>,
From: Anne Nigten <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Review of the CODE conference (Cambridge/UK,
  April 5-6, 2001)

>In my view, there are two opposite ways to resolve the dilemma you
>1) Artists begin to code all their production software to ensure that it
>is free ( in speech...) and controlled by themselves.
>This is an unlikely scenario, since most artist-programmers don't work
>in a similarly priviledged position as most Free Software programmers
>(i.e. highly paid day jobs in the industry or research institutions).

on the other hand; wouldn't it be good if we can interest these well paid 
programmers to work with us? this really could supply several people to 
publish their work open source, profit for the artists can indirectly be 
obtained by assistance from these talented people, especially when we're 
referring to more general systems like jMax, v2 os, matrix, ultra son 
tracking systems and other tools, not only individual artists also the 
non profit laboratories really could use some help!

 >>> knip>>>

>Being such a puritan myself, I don't share the optimism of many people
>in the Free Software camp - including Bruce Perens at the CODE
>conference - that it's just a matter of time until Free Software
>provides everyone with everything they need, including functional
>equivalents of proprietary software used today. Free Software culture
>and politics can't be separated from its cultural products which
>structurally mirror the openness of the development process, while
>proprietary software achieves user-friendliness through standardization,
>i.e.: closure. It goes without saying that functional closure, at the
>expense of freedom, is helpful, necessary and inevitable in any system.
>To acknowledge that Free Software is a different culture whose cultural
>products are and will be different, is - in my view - to acknowledge
>that it's too early to suggest that it has resolved all problems of
>information freedom in the realm of computer software (as many
>Windows-/Mac-using speakers at CODE did). And before we move on to
>extend the Free Software/Open Source model to other cultural systems, we
>first have to acknowledge its problems and limitations.

i agree on the issue of timing here, some interesting initiatives really 
could have great impact on future developments. waiting and complaining 
afterwards, doesn't help us that much. like stated before the work process 
of interdisciplinary unstable media art, is something rather different from 
stable art productions here. waiting and hoping for the best to happen 
might be an option if your work requires tools which are a digital 
translation of tools like we know those in the analog reality. 
interdisciplinary unstable media is so much more connected to the 
conceptual and technical level of systems and software that these kind of 
works can really be of importance to be included in next steps of 

>For the digital arts, the problem is not so much proprietary vs. open
>_authoring software_, but proprietary vs. open _data formats_. The JPEG
>image produced with Photoshop or the HTML page written with Dreamweaver
>at least is open-standard code which, unlike Macromedia Director
>projects, MAX compositions and QuickTime movies, can be displayed and
>processed with countless proprietary and open programs alike and which
>is less likely to be lost in five or ten years. (We still can read and
>process an ASCII file from a 1970s computer or a MIDI file from a 1980s
>computer whereas all digital art written in HyperCard is practically

i agree, this is actually a good example to illustrate the wide variety of 
issues being included in this discussion..

 >>> cut / knip>>
  I might be wrong, but it seems to me that
>this situation is without parallel in the history of art. Music written
>in traditional score notation, for example, is formatted according to an
>open standard available as free knowledge, and according to
>international copyright law, at least all music by composers who died
>before 1931 is in the public domain. In the case of visual art, one
>could argue that (as Duchamp and Warhol demonstrate) museums with their
>mere spaces control the definition and format of art, but at least there
>is and has been art, from Dada, Fluxus to Conceptual and Net Art, which
>evaded or subverted this control.
>In film, whose business models seem to anticipate the business models of
>digital information, certain companies factually controlled artworks by
>controlling certain imaging technologies, like Technicolor, Cinemascope,
>Panavision, THX and Dolby Digital, all of them based on trademarks,
>patents, intellectual property rights and revenue through licensing

Antoine, it would be good to have your opinion about the statement above of 

Good news for you, i'm discussing with Phonk! an artists group from the 
netherlands, if we could develop an free or even open d-base with their 
material which can be used by other veejees..

>...and another problem is that GNU/Linux and other Free Software
>operating systems (like Free/Net/OpenBSD) don't provide standardized
>high-level APIs for the kind of applications you develop. (I.e. no
>unified screen/printer imaging layers, different incompatible audio APIs
>all without built-in codecs, no standard GUI, no standard component
>model.) Both Macintosh and Windows are much better suited as target
>platforms for your projects.

for this last paragraph i have to read the other emails, since i'm slightly 
out of sync with the list. hope to have some time for this asap and get 
back to you


>GnuPG/PGP public key ID 3D0DACA2

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