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On Byways and Backlanes: The Philosophy of Free Culture
David M. Berry

In this short paper I attempt to follow Heidegger (2000) in suggesting that the work of a philosophy of free culture is to awaken us and undo what we take to be the ordinary; looking beyond what I shall call the ontic to uncover the ontological (Heidegger 2000c: 28-35). In this respect we should look to free culture to allow us to think and act in an untimely manner, that is, to suggest alternative political imaginaries and ideas. For this then, I outline what I think are the ontological possibilities of free culture and defend them against being subsumed under more explicitly ontic struggles, such as copyright reform. That is not to say that the ontic can have no value whatsoever, indeed through its position within an easily graspable dimension of the political/technical the direct struggles over IPR, for example, could mitigate some of the worst effects of an expansion of capital or of an instrumental reason immanent to the ontology of a technological culture. However, to look to a more primordial level, the ontological, we might find in free culture alternative possibilities available where we might develop free relations with our technologies and hence new ways of being-in-the-world.


 

Generic Infrastructures [3]
Rob van Kranenburg

This movement of digital technology towards our everyday life and our daily encounters in the streets, which are themselves becoming a digital territory, a hybrid space made up of services and communication protocols, is – as we have seen - currently being negotiated by the logistics, retail, telecommunications and security industries. Wireless is increasingly pulling in all kinds of applications, platforms, services and objects (RFID) into networks. Many people communicate through mobiles, Blackberries, digital organisers and palmtops. Cars have become information spaces with navigational systems, and consoles like Nintendo DS have wireless capabilities and Linux kernels installed. We are witnessing a move towards pervasive computing as technology vanishes into intelligent clothing (wearables), smart environments (which know where and who we are) and pervasive games. We will see doors opening for some and closing for others. Mimicry and camouflage will become part of application design. iPods will display colors and produce sounds that correspond to your surroundings.


 

Generic Infrastructures [2]
Rob van Kranenburg

Today we are in the worst situation imaginable. Our global and undisputed computing paradigm posits that computing processes are successful only in as much as they disappear from view. Our design focus is ever more following Philips untenable but seductive ‘sense and simplicity’ resulting in the-bug-as-a-feature-design of the Ipod Shuffle. Our educational system is following this systemic hide-complexity strategy that favors the large industrial labs, IT conglomerates and above all their clinging to notions of IP and the patent that are firmy tied to their notions of doing business and making money. And our users, us? We are YOU, the most influential person of the year 2006, according to TIME Magazine. You fill the Wikipedia entries in your spare time, you blog your daily activities, you co-bookmark on de.l.i.c.i.o.u.s, upload your photos to flickr, you buy mating gear in Second Life, and mark your position on Plazer or Google Earth. You fill out the forms. Isn’t it time you start questioning the principles behind the formats? And, to make matters even worse, your naïve ideas of sharing are corrupting notions of privacy, transparency and informational architecture symmetry.


 

Generic Infrastructures [1]
Rob van Kranenburg

The coming decade will see the European nation states' monopoly of knowledge-power crumble; the digitally literate middle class will script its own forms of solidarity (with its nationally non-affiliated community), breaking with the 19th century democratic institutions (starting with the health, education and security systems), and triggering new class wars between the disempowered majority of non-cognitariat unemployed and the cognitariat which abandons national solidarity.This withdrawal from responsibility for the commons, public space, public facilities and sense of solidarity will be the end of the democratic state at an organisational level. This stems from the logic of techné, outsourcing memory and agency to an ever more seemingly controllable environment on an individual level. The fact that this scenario is hastened by the great cultural and racial tensions in Western European cities and countryside (where extreme right wing parties keep growing) is secondary. Intellectuals are moving to the outskirts, leaving the centre wide open for reactionary, wild capitalist forces and the threat of a barren commons.


 

Chaos TM and the Aesthetics of Active Passivity
Sefik Seki Tatlic

The global society, born from the contingent spread of capital over new physical territories (Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia), is not the result of capital spread over certain geo-political lines (states, etc.), but of disappearance of the very borders of these territories/states. The new territories are not at all physical, but fields of science, communication technologies, cyberspace, art and culture, and, last but not least, the human body. These territories allow the reproduction of capital primarily onto the social field. Globalized societies are therefore a result of the new logic of power reproduction that in such way obfuscates and makes the effects of capital pretty much relative, but not less dangerous! The logic of flexible power (in the sense of supranational political organizations being strongly connected with so-called free market and culture) spreads over the whole social field and is at the same time local and global; it operates simultaneously. This allows that mechanisms of crisis creation (from war in Iraq to riots in Paris suburbs) get simultaneously uncovered with mechanisms of crisis “solution,” carried out by the same power bodies that caused the crisis in the first place.



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