[-empyre-] the prosumer ethic - Sean Cubitt

I'm fwding  a post from Sean Cubitt from our discussion in  April 2007 "
TechnoPanic: Terrors and Technologie" which touched on the economy of SL

the prosumer ethic (the Economist's term) has a kind of contractual base - if I
put the work into booking my flight online (ie doing the job previously
undertaken by a travel agent) I get a significant reduction in cost.Likewise if
I put time into selecting my kitchen design, I get just-in-time delivery of a
tailor-made product significantly cheaper than a joiner-made one-off.

In Benkler and von Hippel's model of user-generated innovation there's another
kind of contract. If I contribute to the development of Linux, I get an OS/apps
that is better by the large number of similar increments donated by others.
There's a form of trust which has the same function as a contract

In the (v)user concept for interaction that Joseph Nechvatal (I believe)
originated, there's another kind of contract - In Mirek Rogala's formulation,
the art "works" to the extent that the (v)user takes responsibility for its
completion - ie if you invest time and energy learning the interface, you get a
deeper, richer experience.

Whjat's depressing about commercial web 2.0 apps is that they do not offer any
kind of connection - which at root is what the contract is, social contract,
trust etc. They are simply publication. No doubt there's status to gain, or
pride in a job well done, but there is no social re-making involved.

In the 1977 the Canadian political economist of the media Dallas Smythe wrote:

"The material reality under monopoly capitalism is that all non sleeping time of
most of the population is work time . . .Of the off- the-job work time the
largest single block is time of the audiences which is sold to advertisers. It
is sold not by the workers but by the mass media of communication the people in
the audiences pay directly much more for the privilege of being in those
audiences than do the mass media. In Canada in 1975 audience members bore
directly about three times as large a cost as did the broadcasters and cable TV
operators combined"

the unpaid labour of attention which TV companies sold to advertisersd then has
become the unpaid labour of content generation which web 2.0 corporations sell
to advertisers now. What is significant about this kind of work is that there is
no return from the corporation that derives profit from it - ie there is no
contract. Even within neo-liberalism, this verges on the daft - for example
Esther Dyson


On 22/04/2007, at 1:45 AM, G.H.Hovagimyan wrote:

gh comments:

A Swiss art collector who invested $250,000 in 2nd life approached me in 2004
when 2nd L was enpty. He was trying to get people to inhabit the space to
protect his investment. He thought I could be like Warhol and open a studio. I
said I'd be interested in doing performance art bots that would interrupt people
while talking. I of course wanted to get paid to produce original art. The
"developers" didn't feel like paying an artist was necessary. This is what I
feel about all "democratic" art spaces. They exploit a persons natural desire
for a creative outlet while at the same time they devalue a trained artists
unique talents and point of view. It's the same thing with you tube and all the
other virtual spaces. In Marxists analysis it's perfect. You the consumer
produce the content and pay to consumer yourself. Amazing!

On Apr 21, 2007, at 3:05 AM, mez breeze wrote:

been a member of Second Life since 04 but have found it less
appropriate 4 me

empyre forum

Sean Cubitt
Media and Communications Program
Faculty of Arts
Room 127 John Medley East
The University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010

Tel: + 61 3 8344 3667
Fax:+ 61 3 8344 5494
M: 0448 304 004
Skype: seancubitt
Web: www.mediacomm.unimelb.edu.au

Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series

Melinda Rackham
artist | writer | curator

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