[-empyre-] Week Four - Design

Michael Dieter mdieter at unimelb.edu.au
Wed Jun 23 11:39:44 EST 2010

> I thought I'd chime in here on the matter of 'sustainability' and Free
> contribution, from an individual practitioner's perspective.

Hey Julian,

I enjoyed reading this post. As you've argued in detail here, free culture
is certainly worth celebrating and supporting. The absolutely central role
of these open standards (along the attendant free labor required to keep
them running) cannot be denied.

Of course, as you mention, the media arts scene already works on a
particular ideal of autonomy inherited from various legacies of artistic
practice (avant-gardism, for some) and also from academic economies of
gifting (aligned here with science), so it's embrace of free is not so
surprising. It should also be acknowledged, however, that this is quite a
marginal example in the vast spectrum of 'culture industries' that are
encountering a drive toward free culture. It's even minor in relation to
contemporary arts. It's also extremely dependent on grants and funding.

I simply believe we need to be critical in that there are important limits
to free and open (especially in the weird hybrid economies fostered by
Google, for instance). We should support this movement, absolutely, but
also keep experimenting at the same time with alternatives. The link to
Telekommunisten was an attempt to highlight the work of a collective
attempting to outline other options.

Anyway, thanks for this!

Michael Dieter
School of Culture and Communication
University of Melbourne

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