Walled Garden

April 27, 2009
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If in urban megapolises, upper class living is moving into gated communities, is there an emergence of walled gardens online, where the so called open Internet is slowly withering away? A conference by Virtueel Platform titled Walled Garden – Communities & Networks post Web 2.0 looked at this question, but beyond that, it asked how could cultural organizations take up web 2.0 ideas and technologies and push them further. Each moderator was asked for a quote, a kind of starting question. Mine was:

Rhetoric of open and free in the context of software and networks have become, besides being also sites of useful and creative practices, idealized dogmas. In networked communication in general, as well as in new media art and content creation, we will increasingly need a sense and sensibility of combining open and closed as tactics, rather than as ideals. In my walled garden, there are many gates with different protocols for entering and leaving. Also its walls are porous. Visiting my garden proper will require a keyword combination, or being part of a social network assemblage. There are waiting rooms, and a huge compost for spam. I eagerly look forward to life beyond e-mail.

I co-hosted a workshop with Adam Somlai Fischer from Kitchen Budapest on the topic of Social & Semantic Serendipity: Crafting networked environments for new media arts and culture.It was  an autopsy of contemporary communication & publishing media environment in order to open up a discussion of what could be done, in practice, to improve the communication intense, spam infested, and highly unsustainable lives of new media practitioners and organizations. We intended to raise conceptual and contextual autopsy debate while drafting modular synthesis of a social & semantic software that could be crafted. But rather than being pragmatic only, we insisted on raising an approach, that of serendipity, to distinguish also the communication and software design practice from that of the functional mainstream.

The dialogic outcome was a kind of a mind mapping exercise done on PREZI, a great slideshow + mindmapping software Adam has created with colleagues from Kibu. Please see the presentation on-line here. Walled Garden publication will come out in May – an essay of mine will be in it.

Adam interviewed on video by Network Cultures during Walled Garden.

Tapio interviewed at Walled Garden.

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