Rob van Kranenburg on Sun, 23 Jan 2005 13:44:30 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Creative Industries: from properties to relationships

Results from the EU-India Workshop/IP Conference, Sarai, Delhi January 2005.

Creative Industries: from properties to relationships.

If you are a scientist you believe that it is good to find out
how the world works, that it is good to find out what the
realities are, that it is good to turn over to mankind at large
the greatest possible power to control the world... It is not
possible to be a scientist unless you believe that the knowledge
of the world, and the power which this gives, is a thing which is
of intrinsic value to humanity, and that you are using it to help
in the spread of knowledge, and are willing to take the

-- J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967)

One of the key elements in the nurturing of a climate in which small 
entrepreneurs, corporate structures, smart citizens (as in wired 
citizens) and  buying and or exporting power, create an overtone that 
one might call a cultural economy, is the kind and quality of the 
relationship between formal and informal structures.

This explains why it is so very hard to 'script' or to top down 
dictate the appearance of a creative industry. The history of the two 
most successful and indepent Dutch media labs, V2 and Waag Society 
for Old and New Media show traces of oppositional groups, organic 
growth, strong personal networks, deep theoretical roots and very 
little planning in the sense of what is recognized as planning in the 
big projects that are hosted and developed by the Dutch Ministery of 

The decisive factor in the development of a successful creative 
industry in a western European context will be the development of a 
new economic agency, tools to operate within a ultra connected 
environment (ubicomp, RFID, biometrics), tools that have to compete 
with a vital individual agency to act and become more independent 
from state and corporate institutions (do it yourself, get your 
medication online, bypass the middlemen).

These new tools need to be informed by the realization that we have 
moved from an economy of properties to an economy of relationships. 
Any object that is standalone nowadays, is  simply not visible. It is 
not the individual properties of an object that have value, no, it is 
the kind and quality of the relationships that it has with other 
objects that determines its value.

It is therefore that the IP battles fought at this moment are so 
irrelevant for 21th century possibilities of economic policy agency. 
Winners are those who can move away from the ideas of property rights 
and patents over things and licenses to adapt specific modules for 
services, as money making models. At the Contested Commons Conference 
(Sarai/CSDS, Delhi, January 2005) an impressive number of voices 
argued to go beyond Creative (some rights reserved) Commons, as this 
way of operating leaves the fundamental notions of individual 
ownership and individual rights to specific ideas a person might 
conjure up, intact. Apart from the facts that the notion of 
'originality' is a specific historic constellation - for in a 
networked world all nodes draw upon the same published data -, that 
this idea of being 'the first' in or with something is a specific 
western historic sociocultural constellation as if this is of any 
matter in our over mediatized globally networked environment.

That these notions should underly a vision of trade in an age of 
ubicomp and locative pervasive computing in which any businessmodel 
(from Microsoft to Nokia to the iPod) is vulnerable, seems not only 
very unproductive, but also extremely unwise.

The default in vibrant cities like Bangalore and New Delhi is the 
unplanned, the illegal, and the pirated. The majority of architecture 
is unplanned, creole, and organically tuned to doing business because 
of the clustering of business interest. Directly against western 
economic policies of spreading business interest so as to avoid 
direct competition, in Bangalore and Delhi we find "the old 
clustering story but now with realization that customized 
infrastructure seems fundamental." (Solomon Benjamin)

As the system of patent and intellectual property rights is crumbling 
in high tech western countries, corporations such as Philips sponsor 
IP Faculties in China.

Instead of regressing back into an untenable situation that cripples 
creativity and the kind of link management that is required for a 
creative cultural sustainable economy, China and India both would do 
well to take a leap forward away from licenses and individual 
property rights to new forms of scripting solidarity between 
producers and consumers, citizens and policy, money and power.

A design for commoning, for living together locally in a globally 
connected world, that seems to be the new challenge and agency in a 
cultural economy policy. For this to happen, policy needs to find new 
ways of presenting its data and information. Instead of talking about 
solidarity, it should talk about friendship. Instead of talking about 
profit, it should talk about sustainability. Instead of talking about 
sustainability, it should talk about the trades and the quality of 
work of artisans and small entrepreneurs. It should get rid of the 
essay, the report, the document and start cross media content in 
visual, narrative documentary productions. It should reduce the cycle 
of producing clear information for SME and lone entrepreneurs by 
adopting rapid prototyping and demo or die research strategies. It 
should plan, provide and pay for the infrastructure as broadband and 
wireless have become basic human rights, not outsource 
infrastructural demands to an open market.

This cripples progress and a creative industry. It should plan only 
the outlines of the wildest vision imaginable, all else is letting go.


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0032  472 40 63 72 got stolen and is offline.

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