First Monday: Volume 8, Number 2 - February 3rd 2003
Reconciling interiors: The screen as installation
by James Charlton
In examining the failure of contemporary art to understand the relationship between the screen and the sculptural context in which it is seen, this paper critiques current notions of the screen and compares them to the spatial modalities of installation art.
Firstly identifying the screen as a product of parts — the apparatus,the image and the space — the essay draws together arguments presented by artists and theorists and exposes the strategies and assumptions that enable the viewer to experience the screen installation almost as a seamless whole.
It is argued that the spatial incompatibility of the screen and installation that effectively splits the viewer in two is reconciled in certain Net.Art projects, which bring both image and space together within one site specific frame that uses location as both content and context.
Various forms of apparatus for a new kind of wiki or blog (weblog) are described. In particular, ways of bringing together a collective deconsciousness are presented. The systems works with CyborgLogs (cyborglogs or "glogs") from a community of portable computer users, or it can also be used with a mixture of portable (handheld or wearable), mobile (automotive, boat, van, or utility vehicle), or base-station (home, office, public space, etc.) systems. The system enables a community to exist without conscious thought or effort on the part of the individual participants. Because of the participants' ability to constantly experience the world through the apparatus, the apparatus can behave as a true extension of the participants' mind and body, giving rise to a new kind of collective experience. In other embodiments, the system may operate without the need for participants to bear any kind of technological prosthesis.
Given the cost of content, the under-resourcing of universities and the scattered nature of expertise in Africa, the collaborative development of open content seems like a useful way to get high-quality, locally-relevant content for using to enhance teaching-and-learning. However, there is currently no published operational model to guide institutions or individuals in creating collaborative open content projects. This paper examines lessons learned from open source software development and uses these lessons to build the foundations of a process model for the collaborative development of open content.
Electronic citizenship and global social movements
by Liza Tsaliki
This paper is an attempt at a more systematic study of the impact of new social movements on participatory politics and citizenship at a European level. It presents the empirical findings from my work on ecological NGOs and addresses the following questions:
- In what ways is the Internet conducive to discursive democracy when used by grassroots organizations, and more specifically by environmental groups in Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and Greece?
- What kind of information is offered on the Web sites of some environmental organizations in the five countries?
- How is this related with the level of Internet development in these countries?
It concludes that ecological organizations use the Internet for publicity purposes and for diffusion of information mainly, while the dimensions of discursive, interactive communication and the establishment of 'nexuses of global action' are still underplayed.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the level of utilization of the Internet for academic research at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Questionnaires were administered to postgraduate students spanning art and science based programmes. The results from the analysis of the responses showed that the use of the Internet ranked fourth (17.26 percent) among the sources of research materials. However, respondents who use the Internet ranked research materials (53.42 percent) second to e-mail (69.86 percent). The study concludes that the use of the Internet for academic research would significantly improve through the provision of more access points at Departmental and Faculty levels.
E-media in development: Combining multiple e-media types
by Robin van Koert
This paper, on electronic media's potential contribution to rural development in less-industrialized countries, builds on the content of two earlier First Monday papers: "The Impact of Democratic Deficits on Electronic Media in Rural Development" (April 2002) and "Providing Content and Facilitating Social Change: Electronic Media in Rural Development" (February 2000).
The former provides a theoretical argumentation on the influence of democratic deficits on the role of E-media in rural development, supported by case material, whereas the latter presents case material from Peru on how the different types of E-media contribute to rural development in that country. This paper also introduced the "information traffic pattern (ITP)" and "media richness" concepts.
The February 2000 paper ends with the conclusion that combinations of different types of E-media are more likely to be successful in contributing to rural development than the isolated use of a single E-media type. Recently, this approach of combining multiple E-media types has been labeled "mixing media" in a paper by Bruce Girard (2002) and the approach is also being used for the "Radio Reed Flute" initiative in Afghanistan, started by Bruce Girard and Jo van der Spek.
In this paper, the case for the multiple E-media approach will be made from the perspective of a need for multiple information traffic patterns, a concept introduced and elaborated in the two previous First Monday papers. Based on this theoretical argumentation, the paper will provide suggestions for ways forward for the use of E-media in rural development in less-industrialized countries. Two of the main suggestions are to use existing local radio station as "anchors" in prospective E-media projects in rural development and to establish partnerships between local radio stations and local development NGOs, the latter aimed at stimulating the collection and dissemination of locally generated information.
Cybermethods: An assessment
by Hellen Megens and Brian Martin
Methods of communication and action on the Internet, such as e-mail, encryption and hacking, can be broadly grouped into four categories: expressing, protecting, information gathering and interfering. This classification helps explain the distribution of concern about cybermethods and offers a guide for assessing and designing future methods. As forms of technology, cybermethods are neither neutral nor autonomous. Methods of expressing and protecting are most suitable for promoting a society with greater equality and participation.