ars electronica 2005 hybrid: day 4

strip four

oh no. hybrid has become the h-word. at least for me.

it happened yesterday right around 14:30 when i listened to paula le dieu [w000t!] and roland alton-scheidl speak about CreativeCommons licenses at the electrolobby kitchen. roland said that CC was a hybrid license. which of course it is but uhm… he also managed to drop hybrid at a rate of about 2 to 3 times per sentence. right then and there, in my head, i went: h-word.

but of course i do not blame roland!

later i spoke with michelle terran [life: a user’s manual, prix ars electronica honorary mention] and for some reason she said, that it would be sad if the h-word would transform itself into an un-word simply because it was the conference theme here. she added that she thought it was such a nice term originally. when i told her that for me it already had turned into a the h-word, michelle honestly seemed concerned. we then found an elegant way to avoid the h-word and talked about her brilliant piece instead. apparently the first of three of her performances went well. she is actually not playing a homeless person, but a nomadic person. i got that wrong. [she is performing tonite and tomorrow again: 19:00 o.k centrum]

we talked some about surveillance cams and their omnipresence. i was somewhat surprised to hear that she sees her project not as anti-surveillance-cam statement with a big brother bent. that would be too paranoid. she was much more interested in trying to understand why people put up these cameras everywhere. not only surveillance is a motivating force, but also the setting of boundaries, the claiming of space, and voyeuristic reasons.

as an aside: michelle also told me that derrick de kerckhove’s mcluhan institute in canada is some small office in some backyard… thought i’d pass that on.

so back to the h-word. it seems that after the two day symposium i should be able to say a smart thing or two now, but i’m not. in the end yes, i totally agree with almost everything that has been said. but i did not get that thrill of controvercy as in other years. what we heard during the two day symposium has mostly been consensual wordplay with highly intellectual, yet only subtle distinctions. which is kind of blah. as a result i am not shook up and can’t really say much more.

having said that, some people did express things in extremely nice ways: marco susani, ollivier dyens, marko ahitisaari, david weinberger. and of course i also liked the italians [carlo formenti, vinzenzo susca] boldly declaring the end of democracy. may communicracy take over!

however the most thought-provoking reflection for me came at the very end, when usman haque pointed out that if something is considered a hybrid it is assumed that two previously seperate parts have been brought together. but maybe the interesting think to ask ourselves was, at least in some cases, were they ever apart to begin with? now that’s post-post-modernism for you. not only can we mix and mash and create new from a cocktail of old, but by mixing and mashing we retro-actively bring together the ingredients because we understand that they were never seperate. but i am half-joking.

in a sense neil gershenfiled summed it all up at the end of the very first session when he said: “the only paradox is that nothing paradoxical was said this morning”. [he also said, “all the expressed points of view are expressing synthesis and synthesis per definition cannot be paradoxical”, but i am still chewing on that one..]

it’s all been very babyboomer. and as we all know boomers can’t disagree. even if in fact they do. to watch boomers argue is kind of fun – because they avoid conflict and at best they agree to disagree – but also kind of boring. time for the [post-post-]punks to take over.

About Jan Zuppinger

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.