The Work of Art in the Age of The Digital Replicant v.1


{ Schokoladen in Ackerstr., under threat of eviction. }

Notes On…

The Work of Art in the Age of The Digital Replicant v.1

( work-in-progress )

To begin, many thanks to Chaos Clubbers, Telekommunisten, Interflugs… and the Mindpirates programmers, for illuminating Many things last night!

Dear Mindpirates: ” Great atmosphere last night ! So glad to see someone setting up extended family, lush living room jam session nites … like slow food for the ears and mind/body-belly. We had just come from an intense,  deeply Nerdy, Very political … but also ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY discussion on Netwrks + Free Culture set up by Interflugs – an autonomous students’ Org at UDK. And then coming afterwards to Mpirates home base was like … OH SHIT! … WITHOUT exquisite PHYSICAL SPACE, i.e. living FREEZONES, all this internetz debate is just the pus in the boil. ( Funny how Travis’ sampled txt loop at the end of the jam – poking fun at all that buzz + babble about net + gadgets – read my mind completely).  Keep on jammin in a free real world !”  Podrescu, psychomedia analyst + composter for player pianos.

Resistance to corporate culture requires a questioning of the virtual migration, and the digital pipelines. The age of mechanical reproduction advanced to the digital stage has in fact greatly mutated our concepts of what culture can be. Capitalism, or more specific to say transnational Corporate Capitalism, has uploaded some strangely alluring + viral notion into our heads, that we must all strive to aim our ‘cultural hoses’ towards the globalized user (the prosumer).

In most cases this migration feels more like a trick of the current Evil Operating System – the content + culture + distro + news fabricating mafia – to shape and capture all our creative output with… an easy net.  Delusions form that to survive making art + culture would mean we must ultimately connect w/ audiences everywhere, to exist within this dangerously limited but ubiquitous OS. To brand ourselves on multiple platforms. To feed our souls into the webbed machines. To become one’s own spewing public relations unit. This all lends itself to mind-melding with globalization culture meets the “filthy rich fantasy”, than perhaps becoming some sweet and socially productive realm of Free Communications.

Should an artist, or any cultural producer, (always) aim for that globalization net and marketplace, an idea now entrenched by the silicon vulture ideal ?

It is fun, intriguing  and stimulating for us to generate some interest in our art or our concepts in some faraway remote… Japan, Russia , the Philippines, Taipei or Timbuktu, Topeka. But in reality what happens on the ground, in one’s own immediate community, is where you live and breath the Art World, and where one tries to live fully in the present moment. Are we just stepping into an extremely superficial + hyper-capitalist (art) market when we plug into this game? What occurs when we all try to reach beyond our immediate environments before we have contributed to painting our own neighborhood w/ our creative gifts?

Signs are all around us that this shell of the corporate netherworlds has cracked, and the realities are rushing in. The necessities of utilizing all our arts to DEFEND our own hood, and to make a living where one exists a sustainable praxis, may far exceed in its relevance to an inhabitable future than the seductive trend to become a node in a simulated alias version of the whole !

XLterrestrials do not deny that there’s a powerful allure to become a transnationalist mass mediated art star… “connected” … or reaching out and around for knowledge and friendships throughout the great diversity of this planet. But this focus on making our mark on the web to “make it”… has the artworld running around like Little Big dogs trying to piss on every tree at once. And what goes on for art in these containers is often laughable to everyone except the institutions which are funding it.

If we take the music world as one example …

Music has become one of the forms that made a somewhat logical transition to this digital reproducibility, and now it’s hard to see the difference of what the musical culture is in its fullest and most potent form, a full-bodied and spatial event.

Following the Interflugs talk at West Germany, a great series of lectures called Behaving Differently,  we went to the Mindpirates space which has set up a whole week of live jam sessions ( 4-6 hours long or more ) … in a kind of lush living room environment. It wasn’t exactly free culture, yes, a little commerce + bar biz goin on. And it was connected w/ a kind of marketing hipness – with some semi- electro underground celebs from mostly the US?, a scene which the XLt has grown a little weary of.  But it was still a powerful reminder that music, and environments to share them in together, are the primary and essential use of music, the place where music lands to engage life forms.

Music is Not about consuming it in enclosed packages, packets + files, to keep up with the hipper joneses, to find the latest coolest flavor of the month, to listen to on gadgets and in isolated headspace.

Sure we can do that, and it may help us thru our difficult + highly cubiclized days… but we would fare better not to forget that music in all its glory is both a shared intimate ( + public) experience. ( big hall + stadium concerts are btw another pet peeve, but we’ll leave that one aside for now ).

And somehow this concept of SHARING has become a mass communications and technicality fixation, or worse a bastardized piss stream on the corporate game board.  And here we are, currently enduring the new digital post-modern ‘freedom fighters’ discussing the means to up the ante in a digital arms race, out-maneuver the culture mafia for a few months, to slip our friends that new track or remix which anyway the entertainment industry had stuffed onto our brain-shelf.

Of course we know and fully respect the heavy-hitter hackers are aiming for user/ producer formulas and formats, so we are not a society of downloaders, petrified consumers, but co- creators… but even this struggle gets a little tangled in the “techno dope” of all those global mechanical + wired tentacles + consume portals. Those mediums that have turned our art forms into the self-referential logic of PIPELINES!

There Are HUGE political reasons to fight for all manner of positive social outcomes via the digital spectrum, if only not to become thoroughly colonized by the new wave of (military+consumer) technologies. And there is a whole potential to create a new territory from the ashes of the existing corporate wastelands. Of developing whole labor practices and social production that are not environmentally dependent + destructive! But we should be aware of the impacts this media+capital arms race /  factory is having on our cultures. And avoid the pitfalls of reductionist bureau-like communications and exchanges, and only making ourselves so easily plumped for the spiritless empire’s fast-foodly feasting.

ANd speaking again in regards to this one form of cultural production, Music is nothing but a product ( and an intellectual exercise) without the spaces to make it and celebrate it together!

For Berliners this means fewer and fewer Opps for sharing ‘pure’ music experiences (social events) without our Schokoladens, our Klub der Republiks, a Mindpirates Verein ( not currently in danger) , a Tacheles, a Maria, Kiki Blofeld, etc, etc.etc….

And for those reading elsewhere, we realize your fight may be far more extreme. For as metropolises and urban space go these days, Berlin by comparison, is still considered an oasis, abundant with cultural spaces.


{ Klub der Republik, – Fbook link – the latest neighborhood club about to fall }

p.s. A crucial footnote, or angles for more investigations : Clubs are only one level of this struggle for freezones… More importantly how often do you experience a non-commercial artists’ or citizen’s HOME, where you come together to experience a great concert, a great creative gathering, where people met up to share food and art as a way of life, as a common ritual, a non-bizness related art event?

We don’t just want club spaces, WE WANT THE WHOLE FUCKIN BAKERY !

That is to say we want art + culture production to occur in the places that we live, not relegated to some club district, some ‘joy division’ depot ( the name derives from a military brothel) where you are allowed to tank up on the art products for a price ! And Neither will we be reduced to producing art worlds only upon tools fit for office-typing slaves, and extracting from our minds so as to be folded into the virtual and disembodied confines !

To borrow from a fascinating series of events/lectures some years ago in Berlin, is our cultural production ours or is it the “Oil Of The 21st Century” ( referring specifically to the fight against commodification , intellectual property captures, control flows. ) ?  We can already see the net has done a fine job turning the user into the product. (Rushkoff). And this may not only be because of who controls the environment,  but that the nature of code environments may just simply be gearing us towards production of a Replicant culture.

In Part 2 : We will have to address some incredible thoughts and ideas brewing in the free culture struggles… ideas from the Interflugs discussion last night from Dmitry Kleiner, Frank Rieger and Constanz Kurz et al… controlling the means of cultural production !! Kulturwertmarkt !! etc.

( but we had to rant first : )

[ added :It may be awhile before we can analyze this further from the XLt perspective of "Media Self-Defense", but in the meantime here's Dmitry Kleiner's description and analysis of the proposed Kulturwertmarkt project, which is a new autonomous "pipeline" or an alternative economic lifeline structure for cultural production in the digital era. ]

< this week > Schokoladen concerts

< this weeK > Mind Pirates Jam Sessions

< Last week > KDR’s Finale, 10 days , 100 djs – R.i.P.

And while not directly related to this story, but a great new indie venue w/ lots of hungarian and balkan flavors, XLT recommends:

< 28.01 > Chinese Man at Szimpla’s Badehaus, invite at fbook


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