Networked_Performance

FutureSonic:Environment2.0 2009

FutureSonic:Environment2.0 2009 by Ruth Catlow and Olga Panades Massanet, Furtherfield.org: The stated aim of FutureSonic 2009 was to consider how the city disconnects us from “nature and the consequences of our actions”. As Drew Hemment puts it in the curatorial statement, “the tarmac of the road cuts us off from the earth beneath and the festival set out to find the ‘cracks in the pavement’ and look for ways to reconnect with nature through the use of new media technologies and participatory processes.”

With its theme of Environment 2.0, FutureSonic proposed that we revise our notions of the world we inhabit. Described as the place we all “share, connect with and create”, Environment 2.0 attempts to bring together the enterprise culture of the ‘social Web’ with an ecological understanding of environment (in which interdependent entities and conditions co-evolve).

So how does the festival’s espousal of web2.0 mantras of empowered togetherness fit with an ecological approach? The new tools of networked sociability can mask functional inversions of the communitarian impulse to which they appeal. In contrast with Free and Open Source Softwares (often social softwares) published under the GNU GPL[1] whose workings are transparent, web2.0 social softwares (such as Twitter, Flickr and Facebook) are ‘free’ to use because their creators have found (or soon expect to find) a discreet way to harvest the hidden value of some aspect of the unwitting users’ behaviour. Value is built by users’ interactions and activities and when successful, the utility, its users’ content, habits and personal data are put to work on the financial markets in the service of industrial “bottom line” principles. So what? This looks like a winning formula doesn’t it? We get useful, free stuff, and technical innovators get rewarded.

A recent interview with new media theorist Douglas Rushkoff describes how we have internalised corporate values and then replicated and deployed them in the modelling systems of computers and the Internet. We are just simply corporate ourselves and we made it in our image again.[2] He sets out in simple terms the toxic consequences of the process. A consumer society has been created to perpetuate economic growth. It is based in speculation through colonial activities rather than the creation of ‘real’ more local value. It seeks short term satisfaction over long term work leading ultimately to the destruction of developing nations, our environment and to our own bankruptcy.

What follows is a reflection on these themes with reference to some ideas and works presented at the FutureSonic festival. This account focuses especially on artists’ and technologists’ explorations, of participation and agency in a networked society in the context of environmental crisis. It also reflects on some of the effects of a partial application of an ecological approach in this celebration of the new techno-green-enterprise soon to become FutureEverything.” Continue reading >>


Aug 29, 14:32
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