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A brief overview of media art in Croatia (since 1960s)
Darko Fritz

Unlike other aspects of the arts, media art in Croatia has not yet received systematic treatment. The creation of this thematic slot (2002) is the first attempt to define the term media art in Croatia in its historic context, as well as to set up a relevant data base. Bearing this in mind, we are aware of possible shortcomings and have structured the document in a dynamic manner, thereby respecting the nature of media art itself as well as the need to fill in the gaps and double-check the information. We therefore welcome your collaboration in the form of comments and suggestions. During the transition from the industrial age to the information society - since the mid-20th century - a segment of the arts has also been related to information, especially that digitally generated and mediated. Talking about media art, one is faced with the insoluble question of terminology and categorization.


 

Do Domain Names Matter?
Francis Hwang

Today, in 2003, this is what the future of the domain name looks like: For the major players, the system will remain more or less unchanged. There will always be a small cast of large organizations and companies who will have domain names with household recognition: ebay.com, fbi.gov, etc. But for the rest of us, we can increasingly rely on the fact that software is allowing users to build their own naming systems around their desktops, and then sharing and cross-pollinating those systems within their social circle. [...] So as decentralization continues, we can largely ignore the frustrating world of the DNS and focus our efforts on other ways to make connections. We can work on establishing our own roles in communities that are intimate and deep, not broad and shallow. And we can think less about marketing, and get back to just communicating.


 

Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier
Edward Castronova

Virtual worlds may also be the future of ecommerce, and perhaps of the internet itself. The game designers who created thriving places like Norrath have unwittingly discovered a much more attractive way to use the internet: through an avatar. The avatar represents the user in the fantasy 3D world, and avatars apparently come to occupy a special place in the hearts of their creators. The typical user devotes hundreds of hours (and hundreds of dollars, in some cases) to develop the avatar. These ordinary people, who seem to have become bored and frustrated by ordinary web commerce, engage energetically and enthusiastically in avatar-based on-line markets. Few people are willing to go web shopping for tires for their car, but hundreds of thousands are willing to go virtual shopping for shoes for their avatar.


 

The new information ecosystem: cultures of anarchy and closure
Siva Vaidhyanathan

The rise of electronic peer-to-peer networks has thrown global entertainment industries into panic mode. They have been clamouring for more expansive controls over personal computers and corporate and university networks. They have proposed radical re-engineering of basic and generally open communicative technologies. And they have complained quite loudly – often with specious data and harsh tones that have had counterproductive public relations results – about the extent of their plight. But the future of entertainment is only a small part of the story. In many areas of communication, social relations, cultural regulation, and political activity, peer-to-peer models of communication have grown in influence and altered the terms of exchange.


 

Mapping territory
Rob van Kranenburg

How hard it is to write about a world becoming strange, or new, or spooky, after the dotcom crash, after the high hopes of increasing productivity through IT, of readers and writers becoming publishers both, of liberty finally around the corner: a product to be played out in all kinds of gender, racial and cultural roles, a process to drive decision-making transparency in both offline and online processes. Only to have woken up to the actual realization of a highly synergized performance of search engines and backend database driven visual interfaces. Postmodern theory, open source coding and multimedia channeling promised the production of a new, hybrid space, only to deliver the content convergence of media channels. And yet, I claim that we are in the progress of witnessing the realization of such a new space. In places where computational processes disappear into the background - into everyday objects - both my reality and me as subject become contested in concrete daily situations and activities.



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