Starting from the assumption that the increasing commercialisation of the contexts of sharing and networking is transforming the meaning of art and participation, then how do artists, activists and hackers respond critically?
And if hacker and artistic practices are developing in the context of a deep transformation of the meaning of participation, often reflecting a precarious cultural and economical configuration, what are the responsibilities and the role of cultural institutions engaging with art and digital technologies towards a critical articulation of culture production?
In Berlin, hacker, activist and artistic practices are very much realised outside the realm of artistic institutions. Some of those practices are contributing to the transformation of the economy and the cultural asset of the city, but they are also becoming easy targets to be exploited by the market. However, this is not only a local phenomenon: at this present time, while financial markets are deeply influencing the development of cultural production and, more generally, our daily life flexibility, direct participation and common engagement are becoming pervasive business logics.
Analysing the topology and the effects of artistic and hacktivist practices in decentralised social networks implies a reflection on power structures, business methodologies as well as on the relationship between art and economy. The analyses of these subjects imply sharing methodologies whereby artists, hackers, activists and researchers join together to form practice-oriented contexts of reflection and provide feedback to both theory and practice through an interdisciplinary, distributed and polyphonic approach. Artistic and hacker practices are conceived both as a resource for producing cultural innovation, but also as a strategic challenge to generate media criticism – and act as a meta-reflection on artistic production in the framework of digital culture and network economy.
The reSource for transmedial culture is a new framework for transmediale festival related projects that happen throughout the year in the city of Berlin. The objective is to act as a link between the cultural production of art festivals and collaborative networks in the field of art and technology, hacktivism and politics.
The reSource for transmedial culture aims to work towards the creation of a shared knowledge laboratory within transmediale, and a project for local and trans-local distributed networks by organising events, workshops and talks involving artists, hackers, activists, researchers and cultural producers active in the city of Berlin and abroad. Its aim is to involve communities that not only engage directly with network technologies, but that also critically reflect on decentralised and distributed strategies of networking, from hackers and activists to feminist, queer, transgender and porn communities.
Source codes are useful to modify a program or understand how it works. Taking this notion more broadly, the reSource is a starting point from which a distributed sharing process, and a common executable (artistic) program, is produced. The objective is develop a networking distributed platform and an (executable) meta reflection on the meaning and the practices of networked art, hacking and collaborative art production within the context of an international art festival.
The launch of the reSource takes place at transmediale 2012 through different project disseminations such as workshops, talks and performances. The reSource programme at transmediale festival is distributed into five different sub-themes: reSource methods, reSource activism, reSource networks, reSource markets and reSource sex. After transmediale 2012, the reSource will extend its activity in collaboration with partners: CTM/DISK, proposing a series of open events held in the spring 2012; the Post-Media Lab of the Leuphana University Lüneberg and Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien (Berlin), organising a public event in August 2012.
The activity of networking is seen as research method used to explore how collaborative practices among communities of artists, activists and hackers contribute to shape new courses of action, tools and contents within (and beyond) digital culture production. By generating a set of questions and issues which are addressed to local and translocal communities, the main idea is to develop mutual exchanges of methodologies and knowledge, as well as project-space experiences, investigating new ways of forming a cultural public, and producing a meta reflection on strategies of collaborative actions.