ars electronica 2005 hybrid: symposium notes

* just saw a machine driven by a cockroach and i am still kinda shocked. not really. should i call the bug liberation front? huge cockroaches as well. damn.

session 1

* derrick de kerckhove introduction: the subtitle of the theme, living in paradox, is what exites him. “the objective of a paradox is to reconcile its contradictions within a sigle loose perceptual environment”. a hybrid is the moment of an encounter of two seemingly unreconsilable things. key paradox: natural/artificial, local/global, self/other, body/mind, and machine, multicultural. he shows a photograph of ruan, the hybrid creature that recently created scandal in switzerland [quoting me for sending the photo to him ;-)]. introduces the speakers to come…

* roger clarke: when is something a hybrid? a new instance, multiple inheritance, significant difference, fusion as the most general terms. comparing robot, coined by asimov in 1942, moved from art to engineering and cyborg that took the other route. wearcam.org. rc coined the term “the digital persona” in 1994.
– and then the wifi started to mess with me… – where will the money come from to develop future inventions in hybridity? sports organisations, the aging rich, the military. and that creates the potential that it will emphasise the devide between the rich and the poor. public digital persona means we need to start to fight for the right for anonymity.

* wen-jean hsueh: discovering the power within the chinese sign for danger also means opportunity. she works for creativity lab in taiwan. speaking about taiwan’s economy. industry needs more innovation, no, in their fields there is good enough innovation, but there needs to be more hybridity.

* neil gershenfeld [the center for bits and atoms M.I.T.] he greets “hello artists”. atoms to bits bits to atoms. speaks about internet 0. interdevice networking. trying to allow all kinds of devices using different protocols to interact with eachother. goal: everything can interact with everything. fab labs: trying to democratize acces to internet, but also the building of it. cba.mit.edu/~neilg.

* david weinberger: miscellanous order how do we organise stuff/knowledge? used to be by tree model. socrates: a is a – a is not not-a – a is either a or not-a. to have a large miscellanous category is a sign of failure in organising knowledge. when things get digitized there is a chance to reorganise everything. once everything is digital four priniciples: 1. a leaf on many branches, 2. messiness as a virtue, 3. unowned order, 4. users as contributors. open tagging and annotating. mentions flickr and del.icio.us. he subscribes to the term taxonomy, which means everyone in the world is doing his research for him. thanx to the internet the “tree model” loses importance, moving to “pile of leaves model”. example: bloggers have blogrolls which communicates “go away”. that little act of generosity builds the web. classic media does not do that. we always knew that there are different viewpoints out there, but now these are in conversation with eachother. “a is a” moves to “a is sort of a, and a is linked to b, and a and b are talking”. the “is” is put in question in teh equation. we are forced to deal with ambiguity every day.

ng: the only paradox is that nothing paradoxical was said this morning. most speaker spoke about synthesis. which is unparadoxical.
dw: the endless conversation that has no outcome [= internet] is not necessarily an example of synthesis.

session 2:

* vinzenzo susca: author of “tutto e berlusconi”. speaks in italian so this will be cryptic. symboli. according to st. augustinus god was the one being able to reconcile opposites. he suggest that thinking about power from the viewpoint of art can be very productive. since the invention of tv only politicians who are able to instrumentalise electronic media can suceed. the phenomenon bush is a last overidentification with an outmoded form of government, democracy.

* aminiata traore: speaks french. cryptic again. hybridisation implies exchange. there has not been an exchange with africa. the berlin wall has fallen but the wall of schengen has been built in its stead. the globalisation is a form of war, of total war. everybody wants to help africa in order to hide the failures of the system. even terrorism has been used to enforce the system of eurocentric supremacy. and nobody speaks of state terrorism. in africa gadgets like mobile phones are used to feel part of things. je telephone donc je suis. la globalisation au rabais. africa is undesired. africa is not poor, africa is rather a vicitim of its richness.

* donatella della ratta: east west stereotypes and anti-islamic sentiments are not new. cites a few examples from european historic figures. is arab media really anti-western? the first satelite channels in the arab world were western channels. most arab tv channels are sponsored by rich private persons. shows excerpts of an arabic survivor and superstar, a version of american idol. the first examples she shows are inspired by a very westernised view of tv culture. she then also shows an islamist coca cola add. brands selling their products any way that works. donatella expresses her hope that not only brands will be cultural ambassadors.

* farian sabahi: has studied how muslim families have integrated in various european countries. extreme example of muslim girls in belgium joining a rightwing xenophobic political party while still insisting on wearing their veil. interesting question: is identity linked to language? mostly in first generation families this is believed to be true. in later generations it gets looser. second generation muslim youth have to make choices daily if they want to live according to muslim laws or not, re: wearing clothes, drinking alcohol, etc.

* carlo formenti: [speaks italian, in very intellectual terminology that i don’t really understand. as i am too tired to get a headphone i might have borked this one totally] i think cf asks, which political form is best equipped to respond to the widespread introduction of new media into society? a few points: a new class, the creative class, controls the field of conscience. blogs, with rankings and search engine results, are based on a model of elite. democracy is not equipped to face this challenge. interactive communication, feedback systems, bottom up models could be the outcome of us living in this conflict and trying to shift into this new model.

* marko ahtisaari, who will speak tomorrow, has a apple sticker on his ibm computer. i ask him, so is your laptop a fake mac? his answer: no, it’s an aspirational laptop. brilliant. he later explained that it was a way to distinguish his black laptop from all the others usually laying around.

vs: what will happen to the blogger elite when everybody will have a blog?
cf: the web is a machine of selection. which needs to be optimised.

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Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.