The realm of contemporary popular Chinese literature offers rich examples to examine closely how works refer to or make use of extant works. The presentation focuses on the works of two extremely popular young authors Han Han and Guo Jingming, the 2004 bestseller Wolf’s Totem by Jiang Rong, that won international fame through the Man Asian Literary Prize, as well as the sequels to the Harry Potter series written by Chinese authors. To understand these phenomena, it is necessary to look beyond legal and moral implications usually associated with copyright infringement. Only through such a broad approach can we understand these creative processes – and the social, economic and cultural circumstances in which literary texts are being produced.
Dirk von Gehlen
In autumn 2012 Dirk von Gehlen started a crowd-funding project for his forthcoming book “A new version is available” and collected a reasonable sum to write a book about his ideas of culture as software. He simultaneously wanted to describe and prove his assumption that we have to regard books, movies and songs as a process not as a product. Like software that is delivered in versions culture can also be opened to its versions. Opening his desktop to his readers, they became spectators of the writing process. His readers took part in the development from the first sentence to the final copy-editing. In his presentation Dirk von Gehlen talks about the process of writing a book in public and about the future of text writing as code.
In the Western tradition we think of art works as highly individual expressions of a distinctive, unique mind (the concept of “originality”). However, there has been a long tradition of (sub-)conscious “un-originality“ in modern and contemporary art consisting of methods of appropriation, adaptation and repetition of pre-existing visual material. Starting with examples from Dadaism, Pop Art, and Appropriation Art, the talk focusses on contemporary examples of sampling, remixing, and mashing up. Art has always built on pre-existing material in order to reflect upon and to criticize contemporary culture. However, certain artistic strategies are being used today on a much broader basis (“remix culture”). At the same time it is easier to track down the use of existing materials, and to prosecute artists for copyright infringements. However, only with recourse to existing material, artists are in a position to create new work.
While the commons is growing; it is not yet possible for many to obtain sustainable livelihoods outside the political economy of capitalism. However, at the P2P Foundation we believe that it is possible to ‘hack the system’; through the use of the peer production licenses; the creation of community-centric business entities by the commoners themselves (phyles) and by organizing these emerging commons-friendly networks around practices of open accounting, open supply chains; and the use of distributed factors of production. This new micro-economy points to a re-organized macro-level with a transformed civil society and ethical economy. What are the political requirements for such a transformation to occur?
R. Trebor Scholz
This talk will give a face to a vast array of new, often invisible forms of digital labor that are part of the working lives of millions of people. How can we restrict digital labor when it is exploitative zombie labor and how can we support it when it takes on the form of public-spirited production? Scholz will introduce a set of proposals that can teach us how to walk away from the parasitical world of digital labor or how to transform it. He discusses the formation of novel forms of solidarity, much belated legal responses, “Fair Labor Badges”, and the creation of a shared innovation commons.
To extend the model of Peer Production beyond the immaterial sphere we must treat also natural resources as commons and give people the right to access these commons as a precondition for a life in dignity. Therefore it is necessary that governments and international organizations provide or at least respect the space and resources people need for self-government. But in addition it affords also a more profound change of paradigms how we understand ourselves as human beings and part of nature. This means to arrange each production process – be it agricultural, caring or technical – in a way that supports life in all its dimensions and not to establish a hierarchical order between these activities.
When we approach NGOs or other agents related to social entrepreneurship from the perspective of the economy of commons, confusion is often created through misunderstanding the terms, through translation and/or interpretation. These misunderstandings have repercussions for the development and impact of models and practices, hindering and limiting the potential for cooperation, progress and transformation of many good initiatives. That could also mean missed opportunities if crowd-funding is not accompanied by a commitment to the “crowd benefits” e.g.: where open replicability of social projects allows benefiting the rest of society, and not just those who have co-financed a good idea. A crowd-funded social project for the common good? Well show me the code + the money!
One of the greatly positive effects of the digital world is that many more people engage in creative and expressive activities and become able and willing to develop new capabilities to this effect. This positive development confronts us with great economic and social challenges. They have been long hidden by the focus of the cultural industry of the past on eradicating file sharing between individuals. It is time to take the real challenges in our hands and revisit the contribution of various schemes to the sustainability and development of digital culture. The talk will discuss in particular voluntary and statutory resource pooling schemes.
What would Bob Dylan be without Woody Guthrie? Quentin Tarantino without old B-Movies? Star Wars without Westerns? Nothing. There is no such thing as retro; there is only the evolution of art. Copying is immanent, every new idea an advancement of an older one. So, what’s changed? Copying was long an art reserved for the knowledgeable, for those with access, whereas now in our digital age everyone can help himself. This is also reason for my commitment as an advocate of C3S, a non-exclusive collective society to register musicians’ works outside of traditional schemes. C3S responds to the needs of musicians and artists by founding a new and ground-breaking European collecting society with musical creators themselves. This long overdue democratization of creativity shifts the concern from the material itself to the ways in which material is handled. In Brian Eno’s words, “It’s the process, not the product.”
Artists always had the necessity of twisting identity norms, of building collective authorship creations to extend their art and emancipatory action. There is a solid tradition of pseudonyms, heteronyms, political art groups or movements, band names and artist collectives who included in their practice the postulate of defying the cult of the “individual genius” through the practice of sampling, djing, cut-up technics or in multiple identities playgrounds. With the use of web age technology, new fields of action have opened up and with its evolution new strategies appear.
Jonathan Uliel Saldanha
Collective cultural practices are cultural inscriptions within the specific space and context of a city. Sub-texts emerge and engage a network of entropy, nodal points of infra-musical purpose. A third rhythm pulsates between the environment and the transmission of cargo: a non-linear space for a self-permutating, pluri-participative system that forges transnational collaborative alliances between like-minded agents of research and reconfiguration. DIY resources turned into a multifaceted cosmos, networks of transmissive circuits resonate and irradiate the specificity of their context. SOOPA, a group of people, artists and thinkers in Porto, not only constitute a multi-cephalous art and music platform but a prismatic capture of referential landscapes.
To develop and produce shareable content, many different practices are brought together, each carrying its own culture of collaboration. Here, digital tools function as probes into a multi-way web of connections, where communication technologies, digital materialities, systems for distribution and politics of production conflate. What if we take the notion of Read-Write beyond the “canvas” (the pixels of an image, the contents of a document), and collectively author software itself? How can we interrogate hardware, standards, platforms, frameworks, and ways-of-doing? What collective practices do we imagine, and which tools can make them happen?
Daniel García Andújar
The tools and resources offered by the new information and communications technologies are indissolubly linked to the processes of fundamental transformation. Social cooperation unveils its power in innovation and creation, offering models that permit distribution and expansion of contents for participants, users and audiences. Art has also a political function that requires ethical positions: aesthetic is not enough. Artistic practice, as I conceive it, must be transformed as a collective process into a form of “resistance” against a model that is obstinately aimed to prevail in a space of relations, which limits creativity, confiscates and manipulates the artist’s work diverting its energy towards a sterile confrontation and discouragement.
This presentation centers on the film distribution platform VODO. Case studies from the project’s first three years will be presented and approaches to creating, activating and sustaining audiences in the context of freedom will be discusses. What are the challenges presently faced by independent creators wanting to access the promised land of ‘disintermediated’, gatekeeperless, online distribution? Who is surviving and prospering in the new environment — and how?
The Internet brought the dream of providing access to all knowledge to everyone suddenly within reach. The Universal Public Library once seemed inevitable, a simple intersection of the trajectory curves of global personal computer distribution and Internet access penetration. However, the actual trajectory of the development is pointing in the opposite direction – libraries are being attacked, underfunded and could, indeed, go extinct. The dream of Public Library in the age of Internet, the dream of universal access to all human knowledge, must not be relinquished. And artists and hackers, as in many other instances, are taking upon themselves to make dreams reality.
Shifting Emphasis from the Free and Open to the Commons and the Collaborative Economy.
Lively cultural commons do not replace the expertise of professional cultural intermediaries, such as libraries and archives. They rather depend on them, as a source of trusted knowledge, as a standard for verification, and as a supplier of cultural and knowledge goods. The cultural professionals themselves however face a crucial change in the understanding of their own task: they change from custodians and gatekeepers of culture into enablers and facilitators of a new culture of massive public participation in the creation, interpretation and circulation of culture. This places them right at the heart of an emerging 21st century networked culture and experience economy.