Marina Grzinic-Mauhler on Sun, 1 Jun 1997 09:20:19 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Grzinic- Insider's nettime report

Dear Nettime(rs) 

I wrote a report  on our  Nettime
meeting in Ljubljana for  Teleopolis "Pop-Tarts", as I am contributing as
pop-tarts "agent". As the myth goes, everybody coming from ex-ex-Eastern
Europe works for the secret police!

Usually when something is written concerning my own activities or works I
am the last to know about it.  Therefore I am sending YOU  the report

Tomorrow I will send the report to Teleopolis, so your comments are most
welcome.  Any remarks will be precious for the development and further
re-thinking of nettime related topics.

Marina Grzinic, Ljubljana

An Insider's Report from the Nettime Squad Meeting in Ljubljana
22 & 23 June 1997

By Marina Grzinic, Ljubljana 

>From time to time the Nettime floating community chooses to replace it's
on-line invisibility for genuine eye to eye discussion.  Ljubljana played
host on the 22nd and 23rd of June to such a meeting following the events in

The so called founding group of Nettime, the Central Committee,
together with representatives from the Soros Foundation in Ljubljana, and
specifically it's media branch "Ljudmila"  organised the conference.  Our
dear "Uncle from America" Mr. Soros (as we,  from time to time,  carelessly
referred to him, trying to discuss his almost obscene power position in
Eastern Europe) funded the conference. In this ocassion the Zentral
Komeetee Nettime Book of Texts  - "ZKP 4"  was printed  in the popular 
Herald Tribune Newspaper format in 10.000 copies.  (Try to get your hands
on it.  It is a precious   62 page manual for surviving Internet euphoria!)

Topics were presented in morning and afternoon sessions over the two days.
These topics, which were not widely announced to the public were the
following: What is net-art?, on/offline publishing , media activism and
"The Beast" - the East, as the title of the Nettime conference in Ljubljana
was the  "Beauty and The East".  Evening programmes, which were widely
publicised covered the following: pirate radio, lectures by Peter Lamborn
Wilson and Critical Art Ensemble, and an all night party with various D.J.s
 in the K4 club in the centre of the city.  A venue which was an
 disco club in the eighties.

Nettime was and is, in it's material version, a kind of mise-en-scene of
the rhizomatic non-linear structure which is evolving everywhere.  This
structure  seems not to have a centre nor a periphery, just some topical
nodes here and there.  However, at some point during the meeting it was
obvious  that in some instances in these fully open structures, one can
find even more hierarchical constraints.  When everything seems so
informal, one
can lose time searching fixed nodes or references. You might find yourself
"caught in the act". Where there are supposedly no borders, you may find
yourself detecting them, and soon this open, non-structured field begins to
feel claustrophobic.

>From the Nettime meeting it is possible, generally speaking, to detect two
broad lines of thinking.  One being a restructuring of Nettime as an
informal but important critical network and the other  positioning our 
"being in the world".

Both of these two directions, from my point of view, can be grasped
also   from the "NetTime Piran Manifesto", which was formulated after
the two day conference when the members moved for weekend free floatings
meetings out of  Ljubljana. (Piran is a  small city, typically Slovenian,
on the Adriatic coast).

The first direction deals with the individual or group acting as a kind of 
entity which is neither historical nor geographical fixed, consciously
taking the position of the scum of society.  Not of  the capitalist one 
but of' the "god" - Capital  itself.   (Capital is no longer wearing it's
post-capitalist, nor post-industrial clothes? )   However, and this is
where things become complicated, the scum of society matrix  that was
possible to detect at the Nettime meeting, and which  reffers mostly to the
positioning of the so  called Western participants,  was not a  kind of
parasitic body trying to get everything possible from the already
established society structures. 

The scum of society matrix proposed autonomy and a kind of
progressive political option: new autonomous economy and new structures
developing from the appropriation and restructuring of the  so-called old
ones. It was proposed to go back to writing only (e-mail boxes), as a 
possible counterculture  intercommunication strategy and not simply
improving the Internet, i. e,  to erased the images -- pictures and the
pushy internet software industry in the background of it.

In the guise of such  utopian mind, it is possible to find genuine
strategies for fighting and acting, not just simply reproducing through

The second possible direction is the one that generated  from
the intersection of East and West Europe topic of the second day meeting.
As Wilson stated the second world was erased (we are lucky, aren't we?) and
what is left is the first and third world.  Is it possible to detect a new
mathematics proposed by the "god" - the Capital? Instead of the second
world, there is a big hole from which one jumps into the third.  
I will call this hole  and the second direction "The Matrix of the
Monsters", again with reference to the general title of the Nettime
conference "Beauty and The East" ( The Beauty and the Beast!!).

The "Matrix of the Monsters" poses serious political and analytical
questions related to the key question - Who are the new and old actors in
the construction of this "Brave New World"?  It is quite telling that the
second "non-existing" world has to be perceived not only as the image but
as the articulated actor of this  world. 

When it comes to the differences between East and West, it has to be
cleared that the actors from "the black hole" the so called Eastern 
Europens are  not only simply mirroring the first world -  the developed
capitalist societies, but articulating, interpreting  it. And such
articulation  is in my view a very different vision (as Donna Haraway
noticed), from the post-modernist observations that all the world is
reproduced in images or replicated in copies.

New networks of actors have emerged in Europe and
elsewhere since 1991. They do not want to
simply adopt the mask of either self or other offered by previously
dominant narratives of identity and politics. "The Monsters", as were
pricesely articulated by themelves  in Ljubljana,  insist on difference - a
critical difference within and not as a special classification method
marking the process of grounding difference, such as apartheid. (Cf. Trinh
T. Minh-Ha, Slavoj Zizek). So this is why on the second day meeting, the
role of the Soros foundation in the ex- East Europe contect was  posed, the
relation  between the state and the NGO's,  and last but not least,  about 
the dialectics of interpretation -  who, when  and how is allowed to write 
about the (Art, Culture, Political) History of the once known Eastern 

At the end of the millenium, I have found the two  matrices not only
raising questions of reflection and of correspondence, but offering  
elements of  political and analytical intersection that must be  discussed
and articulated together.

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