Gomma@decoderbbs.csmtbo.mi.cnr.it (Gomma) (by way of Pit Schultz ) on Sun, 17 Dec 95 02:36 MET

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Decoder-ShaKe history part 2

On the starship

Many of our choices of that period were more spontaneous than
reasoned, but we found ourselves exactly in the middle of an
extremely confusing historic phase of changes throughout the world
of production phases of work, while, in the cultural field, the
crisis of the punk opened new and large contradictions.
Living in chaos had become a normal condition, so we created a
DECODER, as an instrument for survival. That which we saw around
us was a psychic dimension that we defined as an "imaginative
cloak" that prevented from seeing new utopias.
This same concept was defined a few years later by Hakim Bey
"closure of the map". Our DECODER had to search, projecting into
the future, to create breaches in the block of the mind and to
favour the birth of new imaginaries. The first consequence made to
study was that of the mutation of the body and of the spirit in
respect to the epiphenomenon, more importantly, of that which
resembled being a new era: the invasion of technology. If we would
have been able to demonstrate that the transformations were
already happening, we should have modified the relation between
the temporal perception and the possibility of action in the

A look from outside: Cyberpunk!

For these reasons we have always tried to approach articles
reguarding work together with forms of culture and the creative
avantgard. The first numbers of DECODER brought articles
reguarding production in outer space, how to revolutionize
television, the demistification of the informatic sciences, on
free festivals, Japan and drugs. These tendencies in the choices
of themes have never been modified. At this point we started
traveling throughout Europe and we discovered that there were
other magazines, or groups, that had more or less our feelings and
perceptions of reality. The "Encyclopaedia Psychedelica" and
"Vague" were our points of reference in the U.K., while in Germany
there was the Chaos Computer Club. In exactly the same period
speech was beginning to be heard of a new current in Science
Fiction literature: the "Cyberpunk". This label exists in reality
of human behaviour and more or less was interpreted as a "head in
technology and the feet in the street". It was used as a point of
symbolic reference for all of a series of people in the world who
thought that technology could be used in an alternative or
transgressive manner. The Cyberpunk, in the facts, represents the
figure of the rebel of the new era.

The ShaKe cooperative

As we didn't feel alone anymore and we had found brothers all overthe global
village, we had not only intensified in strength but
together with others we founded a publishing cooperative. We
wanted to extend and rend the effectiveness of the messages of the
magazine. This crosses into a series of books, videocassettes,
multimedia installations and everything with hereditation
resembling a way of conceptualizing communication with the
libertarian culture, punk and cyberpunk. Our first book was
entitled "The Cyberpunk Anthology". It was not a literary
anthology, instead it was put together with texts of real
cyberpunk subjects: computer hackers, experimental artists, phone
phreks, enthusiasts and anarchists of technology. This book
produced diverse reactions It was a best seller (eleven editions
were printed), many reviews were written in the press, and clearly
it grabbed the eyes of the police (our office has been searched,
and we we're the objects of two relations with the secret
services). But most importantly, an enourmous debate on the part
of the freedom of information was unchained, and now, when any
Italian newspaper speaks of new technology of information it's
constricted to quote the alternative experience described in our

The hard work phase.

WE understood in that moment that with a very hard job we could
change things. This is how we began to construct a catalog of
books that would be a kind of hammer for the heads of the people.
With work rhythyms of 12-14 hours a day in four years we were able

1) make 11 issues of DECODER, that is always becoming more of a
magazine of social informatics and at the same time a publication
for mutants. Decoder has around 50 contributors spread all over
the world.

2) publish 25 books and we have provisions of publishing at least
8 a year starting in 1994.

3) open a Bulletin board system, that works like an everyday
telematic journal for 400 users in the Milano area and an
information network that has 32 hosts throughout Italy with around
2000 users. Open a web site.

4) organize about 30 media parties, where interactive
installations are made and elementary courses for the use of new

5) participate in over 250 debates on the question of new
technology and the liberty of information.

It's clear that in all this process the philosophy of the "refuse
of work" has become a distant memory but, although in Italy those
benefits or dole don't exist from the part of the government, no
one in the ShaKe is paid for the work that's done, so the relation
with the market is particular.

Our intentions for the future are to create through editorial activity the
conditions and the countercultural humus, because the
movement can regenerate, this is how it happened at the end of the
sixties. We want to intervene into what could be called the
"crisis of the social center", a valid model of resistance during
the eighties, but it must necesarilly mutate and evolve in the
view of the year 2000. In a paradoxical epoch where the maximum of
the diffusion of technology for the distribution of information,
corresponds with the minnimum of real communication between social
subject, the only prospective is to reason around a hypothesis of
upturning this of this relation of dominion.

Anyone interested in collaborating with the magazine DECODER or
with the ShaKe editions, is invited to send articles, reports,
book reviews, books, videos, and projects of installations.

Contacts: ShaKe Via C. Balbo 10, 20136 Milano, Italy
Tel. +39-2-58317306

DECODERBBS: +39-2-29527597 (from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.)

E-Mail: decoder@stinch0.csmtbo.mi.cnr.it



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