This panel traces the shift in the meaning of “openness” and “liberty” in relation to forms of “business disruption”. Since some years a certain vocabulary of freedom and peer collaboration has been adopted by the rhetoric of IT business and social networking. Do-It-Yourself, sharing knowledge, hackability, and similar concepts first witnessed in the underground interventionist realm of hacker culture and networked art are today the core business for many enterprises. Many hackers and activists have pointed out that the rhetoric behind Web 2.0 has been via a progressive appropriation – and often, disambiguation – of hacker and cyber utopias of the 1980s-1990s. In this panel activists and critical thinkers reflect on the subject of co-optation of radical values by business models, shedding light on the constant paradox of being functional to the system while trying to disrupt it. Are openness and liberty forms of business disruption by empowering flexible mechanisms of revenues and the technical genealogy" of anarcho-capitalism?
Panel with Marc Garrett /Furtherfield, Karlessi /Ippolita collective, Nathaniel Tkacz /MoneyLab. Moderated by Tatiana Bazzichelli.
Insider Liberties: A Technical Genealogy of Cryptography by Karlessi. From cypherpunks to WikiLeaks and beyond. We will trace a genealogy of liberties' concepts and their technical implementations, leading from the cypherpunk movement (1990s) to WikiLeaks. We will focus specifically on cryptography as the key-concept in order to foster, and defend, liberties. Cryptography is in some way a disruptive concept and practice. In this endeavour, we only use archives, to employ a foucaldian terminology (Foucault 1969), provided by documents widely published on the Web. We don’t have any insider information, leak or whistle-blown secret. Nevertheless, we are insiders via our methodology because we are not stranger to this genealogy, we are part of it, we are involved in the construction of digital worlds since before the Web. We just use a vast amount of data and act as human filters to reconstruct a reliable account in reasonably good time.
Marc Garrett will discuss the critical intentions behind Furtherfield, its online community, the physical Gallery space, and the new Furtherfield Commons and lab space, and its role as a radical arts collective. For over 17 years Furtherfield has engaged in Art, Technology and Social Change. Through this grounded knowledge, he and his peers have witnessed that the mainstream art world as becoming less relevant, due its reliance on neoliberal values through its unregulated, marketing economies. If we are to disrupt the powers these conditions we need to build beyond our silos and offer valid forms of imaginative emancipation, we need something closer to people’s actual needs. He sees connections between Radical Enlightenment from the 1800s, to new forms of critical theory and art activism as possible solutions, and this includes the practices of Hacktivism, Situationism, Net Art, Media Art practice, P2P culture and networked art, alongside punk, DIY and DIWO culture.
Open Organisation and Monstrous Markets: How to be 'Actually Disruptive'
What does an open mode, an open form of organisation look like? What are the specific problems that it responds to and how does it constitute itself? The problem or challenge of openness is not at all new, and it has always been well suited to certain neo-liberal 'rationalities'. A lot of seemingly progressive aspects of openness (collaboration, participation, merit, ad-hocracy, spontaneous organisation, forking, and so on) are in some ways old arguments in new clothes.
Perhaps the biggest question, or challenge, for openness is its relationship to the ideology of the market in neoliberal thought. This presentation reflects upon the concept of openness as an emancipatory project, questioning organisation structures, and beyond that, economic logic. I finish by turning to recent market experiments in network cultures, experiments that are both compatible with some liberal and libertarian doctrines, but take the logic of the market in monstrous directions.