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<nettime> NEXT 5 MINUTES 4: First General Announcement March 2002

NEXT 5 MINUTES 4: First General Announcement March 2002 

Announcing the 4th edition of the Next 5 Minutes, a collaborative 
exploration of tactical media-making from around the world. 

For the last decade, Next 5 Minutes has been celebrating and 
exploring connections between art, electronic media and politics. 
The variety of zones where these practices overlap are what we call 
tactical media. 

Next 5 Minutes will transform itself into an interlinked series of 
Tactical Media Laboratories (TMLs) and smaller scale local 
meetings organised in collaboration with media tacticians in many 
different countries. The first Tactical Media Lab begins in 
Amsterdam in September 2002, and further TMLs are planned for 
New York, Delhi, Latin America and beyond. 

These TMLs and local meetings, nurtured and enlivened by an 
internationally distributed editorial team, will lay the groundwork for 
the main N5M4 festival scheduled for May 2003. 

This document contains the following sections: 

- General Introduction and Background 
- Tactical Media Labs and the N5M4 Editorial Trajectory 
- The Next 5 Minutes 4 Festival 
- A Concise Time-Line of Next 5 Minutes 4 
- Organisational Structure & Editorial Board 

General information, links and news can also be found on the 
website of 
Next 5 Minutes 4: 


1) General Introduction and Background: 

  Tactical Media in a transformed semiotic landscape 

Next 5 Minutes, is an occasional, large scale, festival of tactical 
media making from around the world. Based in Amsterdam, the 
event brings together - in various combinations - four distinct but 
overlapping cultures: social and political activism, the visual arts, 
radical experimentation in electronic communications media and 
critical theory. This is not a random cluster of discourses, but a 
recurrent nexus that has been embodied in a large enough number 
of individual work and collective projects to form a recognisable 
pattern of practice which we call tactical media. 

Next 5 Minutes exists to reemphasise the media question. One of 
the principal values of tactical media is that it deals directly and 
pragmatically with questions of mediation in a time where access 
to public discourse is gained primarily via electronic media. In this 
context, we explore the ways in which vital social and cultural 
issues are conveyed in a radically expanding media ecology of 
unparalleled complexity. 

Addressing a changing context... 

The context for tactical media has radically changed. The make-up 
of the media-landscape itself has changed dramatically, not in the 
least because of the rapid growth of the Internet. The practices of 
tactical media and the places where they manifest have also 
expanded and diversified tremendously over the last few years. 

The growth in the availability of not only powerful production tools 
but also new opportunities for distribution has generated a culture 
in which greater numbers of people than ever before are 
establishing their own media presence. They create their own 
representations (or counter-representations), tell their own stories, 
and occasionally change their own lives and the lives of others. An 
enormous creativity in political, aesthetic and social innovation is 
unleashed through this mass exploitation of media tools that were 
once monopolised by the state or the media industry. 

>From its inception in 1993 the Next 5 Minutes platform 
demonstrated that the loci of the tactical went far beyond the 
confines of the western world and its post-communist/socialist 
counterpart. Former *third world* countries and regions continue to 
develop their own tactical media and computing cultures, weaving 
in and out of the international media network. Along with the 
continuities, new developments and configurations continually 
appear - such as the Indymedia network - that mirror the radical 
internationalisation of an economic system. A system which 
attempts to enforce its logic under the misleading guise of 
"globalisation". With the Internet to a degree taking centre stage 
earlier forms of critical media- and more recent generations of 
computing cultures have moved ever closer. Globally mediated 
branding has become one of the principal spaces of contestation, 
but the interventions in this 'semiotic landscape' have 
become increasingly problematic after the events of September 
11th. Finally, new forms of cultural conflict have emerged, complex 
hybrids, in part constituted out of the current acceleration of the 
long established clash between traditional cultures and the 
processes of modernisation. But to this conflict has been added an 
additional layer of complexity, as mass movements of enforced 
economic migration have created a globally networked Diaspora 
riddled with as sense exile, humiliation and anger. These new 
configurations have instilled a renewed sense of urgency in the 
practice of tactical media (or made their local absence felt even 
more painfully). 

An important objective of the 4th edition of N5M is to assert a 
much broader understanding of tactical media, which has come to 
be almost exclusively identified with use of the media in direct 
political campaigning. We want to place as much emphasis on 
individual voices and their narratives as on mass political 
movements and media theory. Our aim is not to create polarisation 
but to establish a zone where the powerful and necessary new 
social movements can encounter representatives of the multitude of 
individual voices they are seeking to represent. 

>From the outset we saw the tactical as richly textured with the 
voices of individuals, particularly the individual's participation in and 
subjective responses to public events that are increasingly turned 
into media spectacles. September 11th has only served to 
emphasise the fact that the telecommunications umbrella has 
made these public spectacles into part of the very texture of our 
lives. Public events / spectacles are not merely markers in our 
private lives but they are also what form our lives, both private and 
public. The Next 5 Minutes is a platform where many of these 
stories and practices can be assembled and shared. It is a both 
space for polemics and reflection, where the profound implications 
of these new developments can be explored, theorised and 

Changing the structure of Next 5 Minutes... 

As organisers we acknowledge the radical changes in context by 
decentralising our own structure in a similarly radical way. Next 5 
Minutes is en route to become a series of interlinked local 
laboratories for action-oriented research and reflection, and 
simultaneous platforms for public presentation, debate, discussion: 
Local events are nurtured, supported and engaged by an equally 
decentralised international group of editorial advisors. 

Over the last decade the editions of Next 5 Minutes have been 
witness to a generation of experimental media makers, emerging 
under the rubric of the tactical, who have completely bypassed not 
only the rigid hierarchies and outmoded protocols of broadcast 
media but also the tired rituals of the institutionalised avant garde. 
Within this ever-changing context the Next 5 Minutes have 
identified and developed tactical media as a key component in the 
formation of a political poetics for the media age. 

2) Tactical Media Labs and the N5M4 Editorial Trajectory 

Next 5 Minutes 4 integrates three levels of activity: 

- It starts as an interlinked series of temporary public 
media-laboratories, hosted in different cities on different continents. 
Each of these labs will be devoted to a specific theme or set of 
themes, which is closely linked to the interests and concerns of 
the local organisers, but connected to an on-going research effort 
supported by an elaborate international editorial board. 

- The results will be collected on-line in an editorial environment 
containing reports, essays, pictures, film and video materials. 

- All local events will be brought together in a concluding festival 
organised in Amsterdam in May 2003, which is the combined 
result of all these collaborations. 

The TML - Tactical Media Laboratory 

These temporary medialabs are called Tactical Media Laboratories, 
or for short; TMLs. They will be environments designed to support 
the rapid prototyping of ideas, methodologies, tools, slogans, 
artefacts, gimmicks, various kinds of media production and 
actions. The TML is envisioned as a shared workspace with a 
public interface. While the media tacticians work on their projects, 
the space is open for visitors at all times. Proposals, 
prototypes, and discussions are developed in a continuous 
interaction with the public. The work in the space is combined with 
public presentations of the practices which the TML participants 
are involved in. Public debates 
will be held about the themes of each particular TML. 

This model of a work and presentation space in one, is loosely 
modelled on earlier events that the organisers of N5M4 have been 
involved with, such as the Hybrid Workspace during documenta X 
in Kassel Germany (1997), Art Servers Unlimited in London & 
Labin, Croatia (2001), Temp in the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki 
(1999), and the Acoustic.Space.Lab in Latvia (2001). 

Each of these Tactical Media Labs will bring together a working 
group of media makers, artists, theorists, technologists, activists, 
and other cultural agents for two weeks. The TMLs create an 
immediate interface between international artistic and activist 
media networks and local practitioners and initiatives. 

Where and when? 

Five larger TMLs are currently planned as key-locations for Next 5 
Minutes 4. This series of labs will be organised in sequential order 
to allow for direct exchange of results and ideas between the 
different local events. The TMLs will be organised throughout the 
Fall of 2002 (see also: Timeline), and the results will be gathered, 
filtered and reworked in early 2003. 

The first Tactical Media Laboratory will be organised in Amsterdam 
as a kick-off of the process in September 2002. Further TMLs are 
planned in New York City, hosted by the Center for Media, Culture 
and History of New York 
University, and in Delhi hosted by Sarai the new media initiative. 
We are currently establishing contacts with suitable partners to 
host a TML in South America and in the Middle East. The objective 
is that these TMLs should be ambitious collaborations, not only in 
terms of the level of discourse, but also in terms of capturing, 
managing and disseminating the outcomes comprehensively and at 
a speed which will ensure their use value to other practitioners. 

Local Workshops 

Besides the larger scale TMLs, a number of local organisers and 
initiatives have expressed great interest in setting up local 
workshops. They will be devoted to specific regional questions. 
Examples of these are; an emerging new media network for 
Southeast Europe and the Balkans, the power struggles in the 
turbulent Russian media landscape, or topics of special interest, 
such as streaming media and the relationship of radio and tv to the 
internet. Further smaller-scale workshops are planned in Moscow, 
Zagreb, London, Chicago and Berlin that will contribute to the 
overall editorial process of Next 5 Minutes 4. 

International Editorial Board 

This interlinked series of local events, TMLs and smaller 
workshops, together will define the final content of the Next 5 
Minutes festival, which is planned for May 2003 (see below). To 
ensure that the local meetings actually result in a dynamic, 
multifaceted but also coherent program, we have established an 
international editorial board. The main task of this board is to 
facilitate and support the local meetings, and to filter the outcomes 
of each of these events. 

Through this distributed editorial process we hope to transform 
Next 5 Minutes from an occasional 'tribal gathering' into a 
sustainable research network for the tactical media. The tribal 
gathering aspect of N5M is valuable and will remain, but the 
outcomes will, we hope, be both a less 'random' event, and result 
in an accessible and developing pool of shared knowledge. 

N5M4 Editorial on-line environment 

To support the immediate availability of the outcomes of the various 
local events, TMLs and other gatherings in the frame of N5M4 - for 
a world-wide audience - an on-line editorial environment will be 
constructed. This on-line environment will help to create the desired 
developing pool of shared knowledge. The editorial system can be 
fed by local editors, and can be accessed freely wherever an 
internet connection is available. This on-line resource will contain 
written reports, articles, essays and other 
text materials, as well as audio documents, photographs, stills, 
film, and video materials. The on-line environment will be built upon 
the open-source architecture of the content-management system 
MMBase, originally developed 
for the VPRO broadcasting organisation in The Netherlands. The 
prototype editorial system to be built will immediately be made 
accessible as an open-source application itself. 


Developing a community of tactical media practice and making 
sure that media tacticians don't have to keep re-inventing the wheel 
is sometimes mistaken for institutionalisation. As organisers we 
feel, however, that creating a memory for the kind of work that has 
been done in this vibrant field of practice is of tremendous 
importance. Beside the archive that will be built with the N5M4 
editorial environment, one of our main resources is an extensive 
N5M/tactical media archive housed at Amsterdam's International 
Institute of Social History. The associated databases are available 
on-line in the archive section of the N5M website at: 

Additional material of value on the archives of N5M and tactical 
media can be found at: 

Next 5 Minutes 4 TV 

For the Fall of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, a series of five 
documentary TV programs is planned as part of Next 5 Minutes 4. 
These TV programs will follow the trajectory of the Tactical Media 
Labs, reflect their themes, and document their results. These 
programs are produced for dissemination in The Netherlands as 
well as for international redistribution via local and national TV 
broadcasters. The idea behind the programs is to collect materials 
of local media makers involved in, or invited for, the different TMLs. 
The final documentaries will be included in the on-line editorial 
environment of N5M4, and remain available via the Internet beyond 
the actual broadcast dates. The programs will also be included in 
the Next 5 Minutes general archives. 

Next 5 Minutes 4 Reader 

In preparation for the Next 5 Minutes festival in May 2003 a reader 
will be prepared as a print publication. This reader will be a follow-
up to the successful Next 5 Minutes Workbook that was produced 
for the 1999 edition of Next 5 Minutes. The reader will be 
assembled in the beginning of 2003 after completion of the last 
TMLs and local workshops. Based on the outcomes and the 
materials gathered and produced at the TMLs and workshops, an 
international editorial team will collect and filter these materials and 
produce a reader that will provide background information and 
analyses for the themes of the Next 5 Minutes 4 festival. 

3) The Next 5 Minutes 4 Festival 

The Next 5 Minutes Festival will happen in Amsterdam in May 
2003, and concludes the series of local TMLs and workshops. The 
festival will be the aspect of Next 5 Minutes 4 that resembles the 
traditional gathering associated with the previous editions closest. 
What is essentially different about the new edition is that the 
content of the festival is defined by the outcomes and ideas 
produced in the TMLs, the workshops, and within the international 
editorial board. The festival will thus operate as a showcase and 
presentation platform for tactical media making from around the 
world, bringing together artistically challenging productions with 
socially relevant and politically urgent questions. 

The role of the Amsterdam organisers is primarily to facilitate and 
enable the exchange of ideas and experiences between these 
groups; to act as an intermediary between the international network 
of tactical media practitioners, the local Amsterdam cultural 
environment, and the wider national and international audience. 

Next 5 Minutes deliberately positions itself at the meeting point of 
poetics and politics, making it always more than 'merely' an arts 
festival, an activist gathering, or a conference. The festival is both a 
meeting place for specialists as well as an open public 
presentation platform. Theory and reflection have always been an 
essential part of Next 5 Minutes. Although for tactical media 
practice is prime - it always deals with the concrete lived local 
realities -, this practice never operates in isolation: It is developed 
in a continuous dialogue with critical theoretical analysis and 
reflection. Next 5 Minutes consciously mixes the formats of an arts 
festival and a conference to stimulate cross-fertilisation of theory 
and praxis, and to emphasise that they cannot operate in isolation 
from each other. 

Expected Audience 

The target audience of Next 5 Minutes reflects the inclusiveness of 
its character. The festival should bring together a diverse cross 
section of artists, media makers, designers, communication 
specialists, educators, activists, political analysts, media 
theoreticians, networkers, internet and ICT professionals, 
technologists, writers, media researchers, radio makers, 
performers and sound artists, and a wider audience interested in 
contemporary arts and media cultures, global politics and new 
social movements. Although the range of target groups is wide, it is 
certainly not arbitrary. We intend to bring together those people 
and initiatives who share a concern for the cultural diversity, the 
democratic organisation, and public accessibility of the future 
media and communication landscape, but who normally rarely 
meet. Next 5 Minutes, in short, brings together those people who 
wish to share a responsibility in promoting media for social change. 

Structure of the Festival 

The festival will cover a wide array of themes and presentation 
forms, all of which are open to the wider public. The main events of 
the festival will be concentrated in three days, while certain 
specialised workshops and seminars may be carried out shortly 
before or after these main festival dates. The exact dates of the 
festival will be announced in the spring of 2002. 

Seminars & Debates 

The seminars and debates program of Next 5 Minutes 4 will be the 
theoretical backbone of the festival. The debates will build upon the 
themes explored in the local TMLs and workshops, as well as 
complementary thematic discussions not yet addressed in 
previous meetings. 


Next 5 Minutes 4 wishes to extend the tradition of creating 
elaborate performance programs, with radical arts practices that 
challenge conventional formats of both media and performing arts. 
In the spirit of the infamous Low Tech Show during Next 5 Minutes 
3, and the highly successful performance programs of the 
"net.congestion" festival of streaming media (2000), we will invite 
performers from around the world whose approach to media 
challenges modes of representation and framing imposed by 
mainstream media formats and technical architectures. 

Artist Projects 

Next 5 Minutes 4 intends to commission 3 works by artists or arts 
collectives, to be created for the festival. These commissioned art 
works can result in installations, or works realised in the public 
space. We will prefer artist works in the selection of proposals that 
involve clear and intimate ties with existing local and/or translocal 
communities; works that reflect and embody the ideas investigated 
within the frame of tactical 


Specific thematic screening programs will be developed that seek 
combinations with other parts of the festival program, connect the 
theoretical debates with actual film and video production, and 
create interdisciplinary exchanges in the performance nights that 
are planned. In the previous edition of N5M, the combination of live 
Slam poetry performances, mediated performances between 
different locations, and film screenings of important films about the 
culture of slam poetry, turned out to be highly successful. We will 
actively search primarily for such hybrid combinations. Besides the 
formal screening programs, an important element of each Next 5 
Minutes gathering is the possibility for media makers from around 
the world to show their work to each other and exchange their 
materials. We will create a large number of private screening units 
where film and video makers can show and exchange their works, 
thus creating a maximum capacity for interaction and cross-
fertilisation between N5M4 participants. 

TAZ - Temporary Autonomous Zone 

The TAZ or Temporary Autonomous Zone was introduced to Next 5 
Minutes in 1999 for the first time, and proved a more-than-
worthwhile addition to the official festival program. The TAZ is 
essentially a fully equipped presentation space that is entirely 
unprogrammed at the start of the festival. Participants can register 
themselves for a presentation block and use the facilities for 
whatever presentation they want to hold, i.e. film, video, internet, 
CD-ROM or live performance. There is no editorial control but also 
no editorial responsibility for these spaces, save for the presenters 

Social Space 

Social processes can not be programmed, but they can be 
facilitated. We will deliberately create a social space in the festival 
that will enable informal exchange and encounters between festival 
participants and audience. Although such a social space is 
necessarily unprogrammed, we consider it a vital element in the 
overall set-up of the festival. 

Hybrid Media Studio 

As in previous editions, Next 5 Minutes is more than an event for 
presentation and debate about media, it is also an event where a 
lot of media-output is produced on site. The nerve centre of the 
media production during N5M4 will be the Hybrid Media Studio. The 
concept takes the fusion of different media-forms within a 
hybridised digital media network as its starting point. Radio, 
television, internet, wireless transmission, satellite and other forms 
of electronic media production continue to exist in their own right, 
but they are also more and more often combined into expanded 
media formats that involve two or more media at once. The Hybrid 
Media Studio brings these different media-forms together in one 
space, and connects them to all available media-infrastructures. 
Amsterdam offers unique possibilities for non-commercial free 
media programming on local TV and radio, as well as various web-
casting facilities. From the Hybrid Media Studio continuous live 
programming will be fed to local media outlets, to international 
(satellite-) outlets, to national broadcasting organisations, and to 
local media partners in other cities in the world. What makes the 
studio hybrid is its trans-genre approach, and its trans-local 

4)  A Concise Time-Line of Next 5 Minutes 4: 

January - March 2002: 

Inititial Peparation and formation of the International Editorial Board 

Publication of initial announcement 

Launch provisonal web site 

April - August 2002: 

Preparation TMLs and workshops 

Start of editorial Discussion 


First TML in Amsterdam 

Launch of the on-line editorial environment 

October 2002 -  January 2003: 

4 further TMLs in other cities and regions 

Local meetings and workshops 

February 2003: 

Filtering of results of the TMLs & local meetings 

Editing of Next 5 Minutes 4 reader 

May 2003: 

Next 5 Minutes 4 Festival in Amsterdam 

5) Organisational Structure & Editorial Board 

The production office of Next 5 Minutes 4 is housed at De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam. 


Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10 
1017 RR Amsterdam 
The Netherlands 

Tel. +31.20.553 51 71 
or:  +31.20.553 51 51 (General number De Balie) 
Fax. +31.20.553 51 55 


Web site: 

Organising Institutions: 

Next 5 Minutes 4 will be organised and facilitated by a closely collaborating group of cultural organisations in Amsterdam: De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, De Waag  - Society for Old and New Media, Montevideo 
Netherlands Media Art Institute, ASCII, SALTO (Amsterdam local broadcasting organisation). 

Main International Partner-Organisations: 

Center for Media, Culture and History, New York University 
Sarai - The New Media Initiative, Delhi 

Amsterdam Editorial Team 

Carolien Euser        - Media Producer & Researcher  / 				Cut-n-Paste 
David Garcia          - Co-founder of Next 5 Minutes / HKU 			/Porthsmouth University 
Menno Grootveld       - Co-founder of Next 5 Minutes 
Derek Holzer          - Production coordinator of Next 5 			Minutes 4/
Eric Kluitenberg      - Media theorist / De Balie 

International Editorial Board 
(in alphabetical order) 

Barbara Abrash (Center for Media, Culture & History, NYU)
Josephine Berry (Mute Magazine, London) 
Andreas Broeckmann (Transmediale, Berlin) 
Zeljko Blace (MAMA, Zagreb) 
Greg Bordowitz (New York) 
Ted Byfield (New York) 
Critical Art Ensemble (Chicago) 
Micz Flor (Center for Advanced Media, Prague) 
Honor Harger (Tate Modern, London) 
Graham Harwood (De Waag, Amsterdam) 
Sheri Herndon (Indymedia, Seattle) 
Adam Hyde ( r a d i o q u a l i a , London) 
Manse Jacobi (Freespeech.Org, Indymedia, Seattle) 
Zina Kaye (, Sidney) 
Oleg Kireev (Moscow) 
Daoud Kuttab (Palestina) 
François Laureys (IICD, The Hague) 
Geert Lovink (Sidney) 
Arun Mehta (Delhi) 
Gerbrand Oudenaarden (Engage!, Utrecht) 
Drazen Pantic (New York) 
Joanne Richardson (Subsol, Cluj) 
Saskia Sassen (University of Chicago) 
Cornelia Sollfrank (Hamburg) 
Jo van der Spek (Radio Reed Flute) 
Ravi Sundaram (Sarai, Delhi) 
Renée Turner (De Geuzen, Rotterdam) 
Faith Wilding (Chicago) 

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