|Geert Lovink on Mon, 15 Jan 96 11:37 MET|
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Introduction The print-out of nettime by Pit Schultz + Geert Lovink "A spade is a spade is a spade." Luther Blissett Let's call it 'Theorie Direkt'. After a period of the circuitous postmodernist patchworks and their tendency to loose ones energy while circulating in the academic networks, time has now come for political directness. The rhizome is no longer a goal of textual liberation, it is the posthuman condition of losing oneself in hyperspace. The hi- speed of the electric word leads to a selfreferential arbitrariness in search of an outside bind, originating from the will to break out the prison of Being Digital and becoming bastard. Only the virtual position with its impossible external observer seem to exist, but at the same time we feel the urgent need for the production of a collective subjectivity from within the Net, in order to counter its oppressive and alienating effects. For many of us 1995 was the Short Summer of the Net. While surfing the hype throughout Europe from the one symposium to the next festival, we knew that the net backlash was around the corner. The rise of the virtual class brought both harsh commercialism and a rigid exclusion of critical elements in its wake. Something the unwired esthablishment supported to the tilt. The role of the old media was a paradoxal one. They pushed the exageration to the point of strategic take-over. Despite universal access to the Net still being far off, we have by now nonetheless landed in the age of disappointments, cynicism and decadence for the few. Internet's Golden Age is over, before it really began. 'nettime' was born out of the immediatist 'Medien ZK' gatherings, a series of open, informal international meetings around 'netculture and its discontents' in Spessart, Venice, Budapest, and now Amsterdam. Herein, we discussed telecom policies, multiple personalities, the city metaphor, neo-vitalists, Californian Ideologies, Wired critique, tribalism in the net and elsewhere, the tragic end of net.art, the comeback of the Ennemy (Telekom, Scientology, Netscape), and rumours about wandering websites. In between the meetings the 'nettime' mailinglist was used to select and distribute the articles which you find here in print, the 'ZK Proceedings 95'. The transition from e-mail to essay was a fairly effortless one, and so we have here this mixed bag of micro pamphlets, action protocols, almost-manifestoes, dirty excerpts, quick transscriptions, pirated interviews, scanned philosophies, and last but not least 'pure criticism'. The political claims which are not yet fit to print will find a niche in the forthcoming editions. Each text is under construction and contains enough bugs and unfinished features, so that there will always be a way to go on with the project. "We are only in it for the content and we like it". Each and every participant of nettime is a contributor-editor, following a potlatch information economy of ring exchange. Copyright is not the most urgent issue here, but the build-up of trust between the subscribers is. This bond is based on face to face contacts and mutual friendship. The quality of the texts is a product of social filtering of external material and it is editing. The goal is a non-hierarchical selection which does not end in entropic noise but results in a self organizing meta-stabilty. nettime operates as a semi-closed mailing-list based on the principle of responsible data, and the right to trash one other's mbox. You can only subscribe to this list upon invitation by someone allready on that list. nettime is not an information theatre. It does not shirk the thorny issue of translations. At theory.com every book will advertise itself by its animated authors, woeing for your attention. In the current content business there is only one language, that of the market. nettime speaks many tongues, even at the risk not to understand everything. Paramount is the goal to preserve the original contexts. This infracultural exchange should lead to a heterogenous and multivocal textuality which resists the editorial meta-format in favor of territorial intensity and the opportunities offered by randomness and bastardization.