[-empyre-] [Re: Ian] meanings of exchange

Hi Ian and all others,

{I copied your complete msg below, in case these short quotes need to be
seen in their context.}

There is something about what you are writing which makes it worth having a
look on how the platforms for exchange of knowledge presently work.

>> Within this code lies an open and accessible record, and a
>> medium for the distribution, of methods, techniques, skills and knowledge,
>> which can be read and absorbed by anyone with an interest in developing
>> their own skills.

It is very interesting to read that you are almost only referring to the
meta-level of code production (I will use the term "code" in the following
because we may use this as a substitute for artistic artefacts also, still I
personally like to keep in touch with the collaborative art space rather
then drifting away to where we came from) being "methods, techniques, skills
and knowledge".  The actual code may turn out to be something regarded as
obvious while a more microscopic look at how it is developed might be much
more interesting? 


I think especially when working on a virtual level using the many so-called
non-institutional forums we all have to consider what we would like to share
Many platforms that have been developed (commercial ones and open source
based) try to employ a very unique style of the organisation/structure of
They are in fact institutional even if they do not claim to be.

Net philosophy often regards these means of "openly" organising knowledge as
one of the net's key features to overcome the book as an outdated medium.
While this may be true from many points of view there is still the question
if these models of thinking can be working ones for everybody? If we use a
tool or platform and obey to its structure what can we exchange then?
Certainly we will get a standardised system -almost a language- everybody
can adapt to easily and get good results quickly if looking for INFORMATION.
But: The system definitely will shape the information because it influences
its structure (take the rhizome model as one example).
If we are willing to collaborate using such platforms how can we learn about
how people organise themselves and their work, how everybody is developing
her/his own methods of dealing with information provided?
How can we prevent ourselves from getting absorbed within the systems?

This may be explained using a simple example: Hypertext gives us the chance
to overcome the sense for beginning and end, a limitation the book always
will be bound to (which is why Jacques Derrida doesn't like it too much).
Still there might be people who exactly organise their knowledge by
utilising what beginning and end have to offer.

I presently haven't concluded what is better(?) in the end/beginning?
I certainly do not want to avoid people using these platforms, I am only
suggesting we should be aware of their own dynamic.
I think it is useless arguing about either the one or the other being better

However I would like to remind that lounge|lab's fascination relied much on
the fact that we could learn (in Weimar, on site!)  HOW others do see, hear,
feel and not only what they saw, heard and felt. It has succeeded here
because it was really not institutional.

Our attempts on this field must be to create this possibility even before
people do meet in the physical space.


> Dear Felix,
> Thank you for your considered response. The images look great, it's a shame
> I couldn't have been there. However, exploration of the relationship between
> an open source software model and a collaborative art project remain
> fascinating.
> We might equally well begin by asking how we evaluate the outcomes of open
> source software projects. As you outline, we might look at:
> a) the product from a consumer's point of view - the functionality of the
> software application;
> b) the communications between the participants - the code, code comments,
> documentation;
> c) the development of a culture of collaborative open source (free) software
> development.
> The significant differences I see, and what I believe to be a revolutionary
> aspect of the open source movement, lies at item c above. The secondary
> artifact (the primary artifact being the software applications themselves)
> is the residue of code which has been shared and worked over by many
> individuals. 
> Within this code lies an open and accessible record, and a
> medium for the distribution, of methods, techniques, skills and knowledge,
> which can be read and absorbed by anyone with an interest in developing
> their own skills. What makes this revolutionary is the absence of an
> institutional or ceremonial structure for the transmission of knowledge.
> In my own work I am increasingly coming to view my activities from the
> perspective of a craft endeavour. I am beginning to speculate about a "craft
> aesthetic" in electronic art. The craft skills of software engineering are
> being shared openly in the form of open source software. Traditionally, an
> institutional framework has existed for the transmission of craft skills,
> whether that be the family, an apprenticeship, or the technical college.
> Ultimately, the traditional artist-craftsman might be more concerned with
> the outward appearance and useability of the work. This outward appearance
> however, will ultimately be determined to a large extent by the craft skills
> and the environment in which those skills are absorbed by the
> artist-craftsman. Perhaps this goes some way to answer your final question:
>> My question now is:
>> If a project like the .lounge|lab is able to support the development of
>> nodes of communication and catalyse the differences between participants to
>> a certain point, how much do we consider this to be part of the actual
>> outcome? And, knowing we are dealing with an art space and an exhibition
>> where we always want to address a public, how much care should be taken to
>> translate this hidden structure into the display, the surface?
> There is much more to say on this subject. That will have to suffice for the
> moment.
> Regards,
> Ian

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