fokky on Wed, 28 Apr 1999 21:26:35 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> who would like to translate german -> english?

>The nettime moderators are now discussing a possible publication which
>will summarize the reports, discussions and analyses of spring 1999. It

A few questions first - I hope you allow other voices and proposals in the
discussion. Surely your intentions are noble, but let's do some thinking
first, in order to be sure that eventual efforts will resort as much effect
as possible...

1. What do you want to achieve? What is necessary at this moment? More and
more opinions, texts, talks fixed onto soon-to-be-obsolete paper? New
promotion of nettime? The further institutionalization of intellectual
detachment and lameness? I find it rather disheartening to see that all
those weeks of discussion on nettime - dozens of people voicing opinions,
forwarding stuff, etcetera, have produced so little actual working
initiatives out of the community itself that changed things. And I'm not
referring to the situation in the Balkans even, but to the (local) kind of
attitudes and statements you see and hear when you step outside your front
door, or read the paper or political discussions on usenet, for example.
The hard work is done elsewhere. How influential are we? And how much would
such a publication really contribute in becoming more influential apart
from - again - preaching to the converted? Just a few thoughts, let's not
tap ourselves on the shoulders too much... read on for the more positive
stuff though.

2. Which audience do you want to reach with it? If I'm well informed, there
are still dusty huge piles of undistributed and unsold previous nettime
publications. Shouldn't we learn lessons from the past and adjust our

3. What's the advantage of a paper publication over a different kind of
initiative? Why still do this when there are hundreds of websites around
that gather the same kind of material? These are practical and strategical
questions, not an attempt to be negativist. I've made in my free time; have a look at the audience
it has reached, almost 1000 visitors in two weeks, Dutch language, targeted
towards Flemish people who would otherwise not have seen that kind of
material. It has produced practical results, hopeful ones. NGO's started
sending out their press releases to a larger public, solely because of this
project. Very interesting people subscribed to the mailing list, launched
initiatives, exchange ideas and announcements, talk to each other and to
the press. It took no special efforts to achieve this. Things happened and
keep happening. I'm afraid, though, that the kind of publication you intend
to make, wouldn't be useful for such a project since it's static and might
have a tendency to stay dead letter. Unless, perhaps, it would be targeted
towards a much broader platform of people; and the keyword is distribution.
The publication should be embedded in a network of people who feel involved
with it and who can set up structures to make it known and have it spread.

Why not make a modest thing in different languages that can function in a
local context? I volunteer to do translations from English, French and
German into Dutch, any difficulty level. If the amount of text material is
not overwhelming (10-20 A4s; would it be effective to make something much
bigger that people don't read?) I could take care of a whole Dutch language
version myself, and it'll be good. I have time. Translations of French and
German to English too, if the original texts are not too high-brow (don't
know about the four texts you proposed for example, they might be too
difficult for me to translate into English. Dutch would be no problem
but... are they strategical and interesting to a wide audience?). And I
also volunteer to bring up ideas and proposals for bottom-up distribution.
We'll have to be original and use any medium we can put our hands on!


>Klaus Theweleit: Very Important Grown-Ups

No Theweleit there, guys.

>Klaus Theweleit: Logical, radical, criminal

Not sure whether this one is *that* interesting.

I like the two other txts, though.

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