jo van der spek on Mon, 9 Aug 1999 10:21:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> RIKS update (from jo van der spek)

hello everybody,

The first concrete proect of RIKS has started! I want to welcome and
present Burim Murtezani and Muhamet Mulaku who will in the next two months
set up the workspace and start creating content. And I want to thank
doctot Abazi for his inspiration and advice. And I call on all subscribers
to support this pilot-project in Tetova. I talked with Marko P. and Borja
about going to Tetova, they are thinking about it. And we found Nebojsa
Vilic ready to do a workshop. 

For the first two months we have a budget of 20.000 guilders, donated by
the Dutch chapter of ISOC, Internet Society. I thank them too! 

A project-description is being prepared, including budget-proposal for
short and longer term. We’ll keep you posted! 

The Pilot Project of RIKS in Tetov@ became real on Monday the 26th of July
in cafe Sirena on Marshall Titostreet. Dr. Alajdin Abazi, inspirator and
supervisor, sat down for coffee with Burim Murtezani and Muhamet Mulaku,
the coordinators and the author of this pece, Jo van der Spek, the
initiator of RIKS. 

We rented a small space, we made the necessary contacts and
investigations, we collected the necessary skills, and most important of
all, we had the inspiration and the juice to say yes. We decided to do it
in Tetova, focusing on strong relations with Prishtina and Prizren. The
workspace in Tetova will be something in between a medialab and a
cybercafe, and it might serve as a model for similar spaces in the whole
region. However, it is too early to start concrete projects now in Kosov@. 

We will establish the project in Tetov@ as a civil association (or local
NGO), in partnership with the Project RIKS. 

It will be a content- , community- and culture- oriented, independant
non-profit Internet-workspace. 

Of course this one-liner does not mean so much, but it is as close to a
definition as we got. But, bearing in mind the general principle of RIKS
(better or complex identity than an identity complex), I will try to
describe it in a way that answers some basic questions. The most common
comment on the first presentation of RIKS to the internet-community of
Balkania was "interesting, even exciting, but pretty vague. 

The original idea was to facilitate Internet-acces to all refugees from
Kosova. Two weeks of field-research in May during the war, the
deportations and the refugeecrisis served to develop the idea into
facilitating a communication infrastructure aimed at reconstructing Kosova
Society, involving as many people around the globe, both Albanian and
Nonbanian. Then of course some surprising things happened. NATO won the
war, (and Milosevic too, of course) and most Albanian deportees turned
returnees, returning to what they feel is their liberated country.
Meanwhile Kosova is being occupied under the same humanitarian flag as
NATO's aircampaign, and you may start to wonder who will liberate Kosova
from it's liberators. Kosova today can be seen as a theatre of
institutional anarchy, a marketplace for all brands of Aid-agents, a
racing track for Albanians to take position/possession after losing too
much, and of course a traumatic site for Serbs. The Roma are as a group
the most tragic player on the field: they are losing a country they even
never had. 

After one week spent on the ground in Tetova, Skopje, Prishtina and
Prizren, I want to refine the object and approach of RIKS as follows: 
facilitating tools and tactics to create free zones for netculture and
netcontent related to reconstructing and reinventing Kosov@. That's okay,
says Ruta. Kosov@, by the way, is a situation which I see as an integral
part of Balkania, Europe and the Globe. 

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