MIT-Review: warum Silicon Valley nicht kopiert werden kann

Der MIT-Review gibt eine schöne Zusammenfassung, warum Silicon Valey so einzigartig in seiner Bedeutung für die Welt der Technolgie ist. Neben der Tatsache selbst, ist der Artikel interessant für Politiker, die für ihren Wahlkreis gerne selbst gerne so etwas hätten. Statt einfach zu versuchen, mit viel Geld die “Bay Area” abzukupfern, ist es sicher besser, etwas ganz Neues zu versuchen. Der Artikel weist den Weg.

Hier der Link zum Artikel (in Englisch): www.technologyreview.com.





Futurium – EU Kommission startet Portal zur Zukunftsdiskussion

Unter dem vielversprechenden Label “Futurium – Digitale Agenda für Europa” startet die EU Kommission ein Poral, auf dem die Diskusson und Entwicklung von Ideen und Strategien zur Zukunft gebündelt werden. Die Felder, die zur Diskussion stehen, spannen einen weiten Bogen: von personalisierter Medizin, Weltraumtechnologie, Photonik, Grapheme, intelligentes Transportwesen, Internet der Zukunft, bis zu Entwicklung der Sozialstruktur und gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt. Selbstverständlich sind Cloud Computing und Big Data auch dabe.

Jede/r ist eingelande, mitzumachen:
Futurium Website



Futurium – Digital Agenda for the European Commission

Under the promissing label “Futurium – Digital Agenda for Europe”, the European Commission has started a portal to discuss and develop future ideas and strategies. The topics cover fields like personalised medicine, human enhancement, space-based technology and services, intelligent transport, Future Internet, societal structure and cohesion, technologies like graphene technology, photonics and ubiquitous cloud computing and big data.

Everyone is invited to join!
Futurium Website



Die Moderne ist unsere Antike

[Read this post in English]

(1) “A Vernacular is like a crumbled streetversion of a classic language. Like Italian is a vernacular language and Latin is a classic language. What does acutal vernacular online video sound like, that’s native to the Internet and speaks vernacular Internet ease? I’ll just read you the categories of an unnamed [Online Video Network] here: ‘LOL, OMG, WTF, Cute, Games, Geeky and Trashy’. Those are actual terms, coined on the Internet. Now, you could think, to be classy, you would like to expunge that vernacular, and instead of them saying ‘LOL’ they should say something like ‘commedy’, instead of ‘OMG’ something like ‘experimental’. – Allright. That’s not how it works. It is a little hard to understand this, but the actual path to classiness is to upgrade the vernacular. You have to get through LOL, OMG, WTF, Cute, Games, Geeky and Trashy and somehow come out the other side. You have to make network culture classy on its own terms. You have to ennoble the vernacular – not by teaching people Latin, but by writing Dante’s Inferno!”
Bruce Sterling, Closing Keynote: Vernacular Video from Vimeo Festival. (Mein Transkript)

(2) klassisch zu lat. classis “militärisches Aufgebot; Abteilung; Klasse” stellt sich das Adjektiv classicus “die ersten Bürger-Klasse betreffend …
Duden, “Das Herkunftswörterbuch”

(3) “Die Moderne ist unsere Antike” – unsere Klassik
Mantra von Roger M. Buergel als Kurator der Documenta 12

“Der Gedanke, heute eine internationale Ausstellung der Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts in Deutschland zu veranstalten, liegt so nahe, daß er keine nähere Begründung zu erfordern scheint.”, leitet Werner Haftmann den Katalog zur ersten Dokumenta 1955 in Kassel ein. Offenbar war den Machern dieser ersten Kunst-Großschau ganz genau klar, was die Kunst ihres Jahrhunderts ausmacht. Nach dem Rundgang über die Documenta 12 war ich mir dagegen darüber klar, dass dies die letzte Dokumenta gewesen sein würde, die ich besuchte. Hatten die Kuratoren der drei Vorgänger-Ausstellungen wohl noch versucht, mit der Documena ein Bild der Kunst von heute zu zeichnen – und waren jeder auf ihre Art gescheitert, so hatte die Ausstellung 2007 aufgegeben, etwas wie “klassische Kunst unserer Zeit” zu definieren. Was zunächst wie Nachlässigkeit oder Denkfaulheit des Kurators wirken mag, erscheint mir heute als Symptom für einen Umbruch in der Kunst, die in ähnlicher Weise erschüttert wird, wie die Medien, die Musikindustrie und all die anderen sogenannten Kreativ-Bereiche.

Die Moderne – die Kunst der Neuzeit, wie sie sich in den letzten dreihundert Jahren entwickelt hatte – ist unsere Antike, genau, wie Roger Buergel es sagt. Ähnlich, wie das scholastische Festhalten an der Antike noch weit in die Neuzeit hinein das Denken und Schaffen des Abendlandes beherrscht hatte, gelten uns die neuzeitlich-modernen Begriffe und Kategorien immernoch als Maß für “klassiche” Qualität. Bestandsaufnahmen und Zustandsbestimmungen zeitgenössischer Kunst münden entweder in blutleeren Formalismus, wie etwa das jüngste Kunstforum, oder enden in totaler Beliebigkeit, wie eben die letzte Dokumenta.

Ratlos blickt man sich um: muss es nicht etwas geben, das an die Stelle des Alt-Ehrwürdigen tritt? Eine neue Generation? Eine neue Richtung? Bruce Sterling gibt uns die Antwort, in seiner fast einstündigen Rede zum Abschluss der Vimeo-Konferenz. Das Neue ist schon da, und zwar als Mundart, Volkssprache, Räubersprache, kurz: es steht außerhalb der klassischen Kultur. Das Neue findet sich in der Vernakular-Kultur des Netzes.

Man mag einwenden, dass diese Erkenntnis weder neu noch originell ist; dass das Internet die Kultur durch und durch umkrempelt, davon sprechen ganze Jahrgänge von Wired und tausende von Stunden TED-Konferenz. Aber Sterling sagt etwas anderes: Um das Neue zu erkennen, müssen wir darüber sprechen können. Die (Fach-)Sprache der Kulturwissenschaften und der Kritiker ist aber immernoch die Lingua Franca der Moderne. Gleichzeitig ist das Vernakular der Netzkultur noch nicht viel mehr, als ein Jargon.

Die Formen der zukünftigen Kunst (falls man diesen durch Genie-Kult und bürgerlichen Produktionsprozess ohnehin korrumpierten Begriff überhaupt perpetuieren möchte) können unter anderem so etwas wie Urban Art oder Generative Art sein – Favela Chic, um mit Sterling zu sprechen – oder der der Netzkultur eigentümliche Eklektizismus, die Bricolage, das Collagieren, der Punk – Sterlings Gothic High Castle.

Diese Vernakularkultur unterscheidet sich insbesondere durch ihre Produktionsbedingungen von der klassischen zeitgenössischen Kultur. Der klassische Schriftsteller, Künstler oder Komponist erhält seine Entlohnung durch juristisch saktionierte Transfersysteme wie GEMA, VG Wort, VG Bild/Kunst – oder er ist direkt beim Staate angestellt, als Professor, als Mitglied eines Staatsorchesters oder als Rundfunkredakteur. Dagegen steht die viel bejammerte scheinbare “Kultur des Kostenlosen” der Blogs, der Online Videos, der Remixes und Covers, des sogenannten “Bürgerjournalismus” und so weiter und so weiter. Und obwohl es manchem als naheliegend erscheinen mag, der vernakularen Kreativität des Netzes die Produktionsweise der klassischen Kultur zu übertragen, ist dies doch zum Scheitern verurteilt: die Kategorien der alten Welt greifen nicht mehr; die Menschen wollen kein Latein mehr sprechen, weil ihnen Italienisch in viel flüssigerer Weise Ausdruck verleiht.

Enhances
“Stand on the shoulders of Giants”
Accessibility of knowledge
Retrieves
everybody a publisher
oral tradition
dilettante / amateur

Non-Commodity-
writing

(Decay of Copyright)

Reverses
Bricolage (Ecclecticism)
Generative Art
New definition of Public Space
Obsolesces
Assembly-line book
mass-marketing for books
book-fairs

In der Tabelle links habe ich versucht, diese Entwicklung mit der Tetrade von Herbert Marshall McLuhan zu interpretieren:

Als Folge dieses Wandels wird es allerdings nur noch wenig große Romane geben, nur selten wird jemand das Risiko auf sich nehmen, einen teuren, abendfüllenden Spielfilm zu produzieren oder mit einem Orchester ein sinfonisches Werk der Musica Viva einstudieren. Was wir erleben, ist die Rückkehr des Dilettanten, durchaus im besten Sinne, des Enthusiasten; “Everybody a Publisher” bedeutet: Non-Commodity-Production of Culture.

Mehr dazu:
“So literature collapses before our eyes” – Non-Commodity Production
Das Ende der Geschichte – für Kreativ-Berufe.



“Modernism is our Classical Antiquity”

[Original German Blog Post]

(1) “A Vernacular is like a crumbled street version of a classic language. Like Italian is a vernacular language and Latin is a classic language. What does actual vernacular online video sound like, that’s native to the Internet and speaks vernacular Internet ease? I’ll just read you the categories of an unnamed [Online Video Network] here: ‘LOL, OMG, WTF, Cute, Games, Geeky and Trashy’. Those are actual terms, coined on the Internet. Now, you could think, to be classy, you would like to expunge that vernacular, and instead of them saying ‘LOL’ they should say something like ‘commedy’, instead of ‘OMG’ something like ‘experimental’. – Allright. That’s not how it works. It is a little hard to understand this, but the actual path to classiness is to upgrade the vernacular. You have to get through LOL, OMG, WTF, Cute, Games, Geeky and Trashy and somehow come out the other side. You have to make network culture classy on its own terms. You have to ennoble the vernacular – not by teaching people Latin, but by writing Dante’s Inferno!”
Bruce Sterling, Closing Keynote: Vernacular Video from Vimeo Festival. (My transcript)

(2) classic 1610s, from Fr. classique (17c.), from L. classicus “relating to the (highest) classes of the Roman people,” hence, “superior,” from classis (see class). Originally in English “of the first class;” meaning “belonging to standard authors of Greek and Roman antiquity” is attested from 1620s. Classics is 1711, and is the earliest form of the word to be used as a noun.
Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary

(3) “Modernism is our Classical Antiquity”
Roger M. Buergel’s mantra as curator of Documenta 12

“The idea to put together an international Exhibition on the art of the 20th century in Germany is so obvious, that there seems hardly any need for explanation.”, thus gives Werner Haftmann as introduction into the catalogue on the first Documenta 1955 in Kassel. Evidently the makers of this first mass-art-show were exactly clear about what would make the art of their century. After my tour around the Documenta 12, however I was clear about this being the last Documenta for me to visit. While the curators of the three preceding exhibitions would have tried, to draw a picture of today’s art – and would fail, everyone in his own way, 2007’s exhibition had abandoned to define something like “classical art of our time”. What could give the impression of negligence or of idleness of the mind of the curator, I would today take as a symptom for upheaval in visual arts, which will be shaken in a similar way like media, music industry, and all the other so called creative arts.

Modernism – modern art, like it has evolved during the last three centuries – is classical antiquity, exactly like Roger Buergel says. Like the scholastic adherence to the antiquity had governed thought and creativity in modern occidental culture for a long time, the modern-contemporary terms and categories are still seen as the measure for “classical” quality. Review and analysis of contemporary art either lead to anaemic formalism, like in the latest issue of Kunstforum, or end up in total randomness, just like the last Documenta.

Helpless we look around: isn’t there something to step in place of the old and venerable? A new generation? A new direction? Bruce Sterling gives the answer in his nearly hour-long closing-speech at the Vimeo Conference. The new is already there, and thus as vernacular, popular dialect, cant, in short: standing outside the classical culture. The new can be found in the vernacular culture of the Net.

You might argue, that this insight is neither new nor very inventive; the Internet rolling up culture out-and-out is told in whole annuals of Wired and thousands of hours of TED-conference. But Sterling says something different from that: To recognise the new, we have to be able to speak about it. The (professionial) terminology of cultural sciences and the critics is still the Lingua Franca of Modernism. At the same time, the vernacular of the Net-culture is not much more as a jargon yet.

The Shape of future art (as long as we still want to use this word, compromised by the “adoration of the genius” and by the bourgeois production process) could look like Urban Art or Generative Art – Favela Chic, to speak in Sterling’s words – or the eclecticism, peculiar to Net culture, the Bricolage, the Collage, Punk – Sterling’s Gothic High Castle.

This vernacular culture is distinct from classical contemporary culture particularly by its conditions of production. The classical author, artists or composer is remunerated by judicially sanctioned transfer systems like HFA, MCPS, SESAC – or he is directly employed by the state, as a university professor, member of the state orchestra or editor in the public broadcasting system. In opposite to that we find the much lamented “for-free-culture” of blogs, online video, the remixes and covers, and the so called “citizen journalism”, and so forth and so forth. And even if it might occur obvious to some, to just transpose the way of production of the classical culture onto the vernacular creativity of the Net, however this effort is doomed: the categories of the old world gain no longer traction; the people do not want to speak Latin anymore, because Italian now gives them the most fluent ability for expression.

[originally published at slow-media.net]

Enhances
“Stand on the shoulders of Giants”
Accessibility of knowledge
Retrieves
everybody a publisher
oral tradition
dilettante / amateur

Non-Commodity-
writing

(Decay of Copyright)

Reverses
Bricolage (Ecclecticism)
Generative Art
New definition of Public Space
Obsolesces
Assembly-line book
mass-marketing for books
book-fairs

In the table on the left I tried to interpret this development with Herbert Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad:

As this change’s consequence we will, however, see only few more big novels, only rarely someone will take the risk to produce an expensive, full-length movie, or to practise a symphonic work of Musica Viva with an orchestra. What we experience is the comeback of the dilettante, in the best sense, of the enthusiast; “Everybody a publisher” means: Non-Commodity-Production of Culture.

Read more:
“So literature collapses before our eyes” – Non-Commodity Production
The End of History – for creative professionals.



Non-commodity production

[originally published at slow-media.net]

Enhances
private authorship, the competitive goal-oriented individual
Retrieves
tribal elitism, charmed circle, cf. the “neck verse”

Medium:
Print

Reverses
With flip from manuscript into mass production via print comes the corporate reading public and the historical sense
Obsolesces
slang, dialects and group identity, separates composition and performance, divorces eye and ear

McLuhan’s tetrad-model: four aspects of the effect of media on culture and society. This example Print and the second one Xerox are quoted from “The Global Village” by McLuhan and Powers, Oxford University Press 1989.

The idea of copyright – the right to retain publication of one’s own words – is much younger than other forms of intellectual property laws. Patents to protect the economic exploitation of technological invention, for example, have been granted by the city’s sovereign since the times of ancient Greece. But not sooner than in the 18th century the perceived value added to a society and its economy by the written word would justify a legal concept to aliment writers. The first copyright law clearly formulates this goal in its title: “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned“, also called the Statue of Anne.

Yesterday, Bruce Sterling cried out his concern about the future of literature in three Tweets:

“*Economic calamity that hammered music hits literature. The “solution” for writers? There isn’t one.
So literature collapses before our eyes, while the same fate awaits politics, law, medicine, manufacturing… finance and real estate…
Diplomacy, the military… we’re not gonna die of this, but man, the deeper 21st century looks like nothing anyone ever imagined.” (1,2,3)

The catch-all political party, trade unions, music industry, newspapers, advertising and even the production of art and literature – all are effected by this changing culture to the core. I think we can identify two main drivers for this change if we consider what the function of these mass-cultural phenomena had been in the past.

Enhances
speed of printing process
Retrieves
oral tradition, the committee

Medium:
Xerox
(could be “digital print as well”)
Reverses
everybody a publisher
Obsolesces
assemly-line book

The first I would call retribalisation (following the term used by McLuhan).
The concept of society was defined in opposite to community by Hermann Thönnies in his famous foundation of sociology “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft” in 1887. A community is tied together by something held in common – normally the fate shared by living in the same village. People living in a community know each other in person and information is distributed mostly by word of mouth. Thus oral culture and a common set of allegories give the ground for communication. The mass-alphabetisation brought the mass-society. The man of the crowd was coined by Edgar Allen Poe in his famous short story of this title in 1840. The actor of this modern, industrialised society is no longer a person, it is the individual. The characteristics of an individual can thus be derived from objectives that can be observed from outside. In the modern society of the industrial age, nearly everything you had to know to measure someone would have been their job. The goods that people would exchange became commodities. Mass media – which I shall use as an umbrella for all these topics lined up above – homogenise a society by reaching out to everyone simultaneously. Since the 1950, this has changed dramatically. Social strata or milieu would no longer account for consumption habits. Two individuals of the same socio-demographic profile might have completely different styles of living, preferences in music or consumer brands. What brings people together is no longer social position but to have something in common – the return of the community, but no longer defined by common destiny but much weaker, by some common interest that is highly dependent to the momentary mood and situation in which people find themselves. The Web is the perfect means to organise, inform and entertain such loosely knit communities globally.

The second was sketched by Bruce Sterling earlier: atemporality as he calls it; the end of the great narrative, end of progress, or even end of history. The consequences for creative artists that he sees are dire: the choice of re-arranging findings from the past, eclecticism or “the Gothic castle” as he calls this artistic approach, Punk, the bricolage. Or alternatively generative creation, aggregating small contributions of a large group of people; favela chic in Sterling’s words.

Both developments had been foresighted by some thinkers right after WWII. Most prominent are Herbert Marshall McLuhan and independently from him Vilém Flusser. Both see the decline of written word in favour of the rise of a new oral culture, globally organised in tribe-like structures, tied together by a common set of allegories. The breakup of copyright is the direct consequence to this.

The “solution” for writers? There isn’t one.‘ If we use the tetradic set of questions, shown above, on copyright we could get a glimpse on how copyright (and its projected fading away) may affect the publication process:

1. What does the medium enhance?
2. What does the medium make obsolete?
3. What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
4. What does the medium flip into when pushed to extremes?

Copyright enhances private authorship and leads to a ‘bourgeois’ creative who is paid for his word. The dilettante, the aristocratic amateur enthusiast are rendered obsolete. The professional writer however shares some aspects with the scriptor, the cleric scholar who was funded by the monastery to perform his art. Regarding the forth tetradic questions: by the ecstasies of claiming ownership on intellectual property as seen in the plethora of cease-and-desists fired into the crowed by some corporations to claim their intellectual property rights against bloggers, or the “three-strikes-out”-initiative into which the European Commission was driven by the publishing industry’s lobbyists, the copyright, originally made to foster broad accessibility of knowledge, makes this knowledge less accessible again and creates elites, that still want (or are able) to afford to buy the publications. – Just to make it clear: I personally am opposed against the notion of regarding everything in the Net for free; but to see the consequences of this cultural development, we have to take a neutral angle. – I am convinced that the decay of the royalty-system for authors based on copyright is even accelerated by this effort to defend it.

Some hope might be found in long-tail distribution-systems like iTunes or Amazon which cut out the publisher and in theory directly connect the producers with their clients. But I think, that we already see the margin left for authors as well as the number of possible sales are to be expected to stay rather small. And at the same time, there is so much that can be obtained completely for free in the Internet, that to buy something becomes even less attractive. “The dark side of the free and open” is the decline of the classic publication economy, as Geert Lovink remarks. This leads to the end of handling publications as a commodity. How to make a living from non-commodity-production, from giving your work away for free? On the other hand: how many authors, musicians, composers etc. have been able to make their living by their arts in the past!

Nevertheless: walking down McLuhan’s tetrad, we can expect to get back into a culture of more or less sophisticated dilettantism as seen in most parts of the blogosphere. Small contributions, often highly specialised, often collaged and Punk-style, like Bruce Sterling describes in his post. But on the other hand, we see the return of the scriptorium. Corporate publishing, PR, corporate or brand storytelling; authors, writing to support their consultancy-work and other freelance businesses I would also take into this category. Both live-forms of the future-author, the dilettante and the scribe do no longer support the individual “artist-creator” who can be attributed as the sole author of his work and thus gets paid by royalties.

We will see publications and creations of art, perfectly adopted to the preferences and needs of very small communities; new publications emerging fast, drawn to existence by monitoring, google alerts and inspiration to write something through tweets, just noted by chance.

A possible form of organising these micro-publications is a content network, doing for content, what an ad network does for ads. Bringing all together, corporate publishing, advertising and the user’s still existing desire to get entertained and inspired, might even lead to some monetary compensation for the participating authors.

A second path could lead into creating a new area of public space in the Internet, funded by tax-like fees as to be seen in Europe’s public broadcasting landscape. This public space should be curated in a way, ensuring to maintain cultural productions of high class.

All told, I truly acclaim to Bruce Sterlings speculation: “we’re not gonna die of this, but man, the deeper 21st century looks like nothing anyone ever imagined.”

Further reading:
Memetic Turn
Modernism is our Classical Antiquity
The End of History – for Creative Professionals
Virtual Broadcasting