FREE BITFLOWS. Cultures of Access and Politics of Dissemination [at]
Conference: 3-4 June 2004
Location: Semperdepot, Prospekthof, Léhargasse 6, 1060 Vienna
Exhibition: 3-17 June 2004
Locations: Kuenstlerhaus, Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Vienna and temporary locations on Karlsplatz (next to Otto-Wagner-Pavilion)
Free Bitflows, will bring together artists, researchers, activists, and hackers from Europe and beyond to investigate current strategies to build sustainable, open and experimental cultures through electronic media. A conference, workshops, performances and an exhibition will examine cultures of access and the politics of dissemination from a broad range of perspectives.
The Internet came with a promise that ‘everybody can be a publisher’. Although not everybody wants to be a publisher, those who actually do, find it very hard to make it work. As it turns out, this promise is only true in an extremely limited, technical sense. Yes, I can set up a website, or put my song on the net, but what next? The problem becomes not so much technical as social- there is lots of sharing, but little in terms of making a living. Money remains squarely in the hands of the old industry.
The issue of distribution is not just an economic question. It’s also a political one. At stake is the «semiotic democracy», that is the ability of the largest number of people to create and share culture freely. It is about making sure that despite of heavy-hitting marketing machines, new, independent content can still find its audience. In short, the question is how do innovative production and distribution come together to support each other. Free Software seems to have found a way to do just that, but what about the rest of cultural production? How do we get from technological visions to actual cultures that are open yet sustainable in a climate were funding runs short?