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 Going NODE.L

Posted in about (RSS)

Heller - Compact mai 2006

Der Medienstammtisch ist eine Initiative von VertreterInnen Linzer Kunst- und Kulturinstitutionen, MedienaktivistInnen und WissenschafterInnen, die sich um die Diskussion von „Linz als Medienstadt“ als AktivistInnen innerhalb der „freien Szenen“ gefunden haben. Es handelt sich hierbei um einen von Institutionen unabhängigen, offenen Zusammenschluss (incl. Mailingliste) , der sich in regelmäßigen Abständen zu medienpolitischen Fragen trifft. Mittelfristiges Ziel ist es, eigene Positionen zur Medienstadt für freie Linzer Kulturschaffende zu entwickeln, positionieren und umzusetzen. Auftakt einer internationalen Vernetzung war der Besuch von Tim Boykett und Aileen Derieg bei node.london - networked, open, distributed events – London im März 2006. Relevant ist dieses Modell für die Linzer Szene, weil im Rahmen von NODE.London ausgearbeitet wurde, wie eine gleichberechtigte Zusammenarbeit zwischen autonomen Initiativen/Kunstschaffenden und Institutionen gestaltet werden könnte und wie bestehende Ressourcen sinnvoller und effizienter nutzbar wären. Neben der Einführung einer Organisationsform, die eine Verteilung von Verantwortlichkeiten und Kompetenzen unter den "freiwilligen OrganisatorInnen" ("Voluntary Organisers" - VOs) vorsieht, wurden auch Software-Tools entwickelt, die auch für Linzer Verhältnisse sinnvoll adaptierbar wären. Für die kommenden Monate sind Diskussionsveranstaltungen mit VertreterInnen von node im KunstRaum Goethestrasse, Ludwig Bolzmann Institut und dem AEC geplant.

Autor: Time Boykett

London, home of so many fashions and freedoms, is not a Medienstadt in any classical form. Except as a medium itself, the city as medium, as Vermittler between the communities. London is full of community networking, community building, building community infrastructure. Some media arts communities started talking, realised that they were doing related things, but they weren't relating to one another. They were cohabiting the same city with being part of the same community. A network was needed. In order to fight the tendency to procrastinate, a fixed time of realisation was found and the NODE.L season for the media arts was born.

"Networked, Open, Distributed Event. London" is the basis for the acronym NODE.L. The basic principles are openness, acceptance and inclusiveness to the point of subsuming anything relevant in its hunger for size and spread. Some money was organised, some people came together, some volunteers started organising and taking responsibilities upon themselves. At some point late in 2005, something shifted and the organisers realised that their baby had become a monster and an interesting one at that.

It is not appropriate to summarise NODE.L here: space does not allow it and the website suffices. More interesting are the parallels with Linz and the suggestions that these parallels offer. London is a large city with a large number of media arts people and groups, often unaware of one another. Media arts are notoriously impossible to mediate and explain to the media, media arts are often inpenetrable for a public, media arts do not get much coverage in the everyday media spectacle. There is no "Time Out" for media arts. One avenue for the NODE.L continuation is to carry on collecting and promote media art events within London, to maintain the momentum and the connectedness of the communities. This is NODE.L's greatest and most public success; the informational infrastructure to join communities, to enable them to communicate effectively with one another and an interested public.

Although NODE.L is in some way a festival, there was little funding for projects within NODE.L. Total funding was around 100,000 Euro. Most of this went on paying a few people to work more consistently on the project. A problem: spending money on admin and none on projects. "Those who can, do; those who administrate, get paid" is a phrase I have used often. The people who make stuff, who produce work, are those who have the most personal investment in the work they are making. Selbstausbeutung is pre-programmed. The ones who don't get their hands dirty and “just blather on” get paid. Tim Jones, the main organiser, explained it this way. Some jobs will not get (competently) done without people being paid for them. Cleaning toilets is one such job, fundraising and marketing are others. Toilet cleaners haven't managed to convince other people of their higher value but marketers have and need to be paid. However the expression "produce" has two meanings, and this was Tim Jones' very valid point. There can be great works produced by great artists, but without the necessary "production" the work gets lost. Details include marketing and toilet cleaning, but also lighting, audience facilities (seating, intermission, drinks), fundraising and the Gestaltung of a complete event. NODE.L's most important contribution outside of networking were a series of workshops where practitioners could learn these production skills. Not video editing but fundraising, promotion, grant application, staging, conflict resolution, planning and suchlike. This could be called "professionalisation" without the nasty aftertaste that this expression has with managers of arts institutions.

There is a lot more to be said, regardless of the problematic aspects: "doing culture" for free reeks of the starving artist model and the process of professionalisation can often lead down alleys that are tainted with the smells of very certain and rather unpalatable ethics. Besides that and regardless of the difference in the sizes of Linz and London, there are important things that we can learn from their experience. I hope we will have a chance to hear their side of the story sometime soon.


Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 by