[NetBehaviour] The Telekommunist Manifesto from Dmytri Kleiner is out now!

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Nov 1 10:21:54 CET 2010


Hi ROB,

 > I do wonder how much of their criticism of the amateur can be attributed
 > to the knowledge that their position of privilege is no more secure
 > against amateurism than any other creative field.

I think you make a strong point here...

The other thing in regard to Geert's reference to professional 
journalists being threatened by amateurs; is that, when one looks at 
British journalism at the moment it seems it is perhaps not, necessarily 
just amateurism & the Internet challenging more traditional forms of 
journalism, but the institutions themselves. The drive to sensationalise 
information and ignoring the (really) essential and important questions 
about what's happening in our world, is now being asked elsewhere...

 >One of the more frustrating aspects of Lovink's apparent criticism of 
Lessig
 >(http://blogs.fu-berlin.de/fcrc/2010/10/08/geert-lovink-keynote-after-the-
 >critique-of-free-and-open-alternative-platforms-and-revenue-models/
 >) is that it isn't. He *agrees* with Lessig's more recent writing on the
 >idea that amateurs should be protected from professional economic
 >exploitation by reducing everyone else's freedom to use their work.

 >On the one hand I recognise that the problem from the point of view of
 >an economic critique of amateur production is that unlike the complete
 >Marxist individual who can "hunt in the morning..." they don't receive
 >the full economic benefit of the exploitation of the products of their
 >labour. On the other hand I don't recall Marxists and Theorists burning
 >down the copy shop, the photo booth or the art materials store because
 >they made far more money from the work of amateurs than the amateurs
 >ever did.

If Geert is being critical about the precarious nature of amateurs not 
being recognised for their own efforts in contributing to a wider 
culture, I think he should be clearer about it.

He touches upon it in a paragraph taken from the site you linked...
"Instead of making demands on the current system, we must look for the 
implications of the alternatives. Lovink proposed that we move away from 
the emphasis on amateur as a victim, and towards the empowerment of 
young professionals, because in Lovink's view, amateurs are emerging, 
starting professionals. What should we demand of our new technologies?"

Yet the text of his discussion on the P2P Foundation site declares a 
contradiction. Although, this may also be due to the complexities of it 
all in relation to how one observes amateurism clearly and its 
multifarious nature. When he suggests looking for alternatives for the 
acceptance or inclusion of amateurism, in creating alternative systems 
where it can thrive. This puts forward the notion that it is not 
thriving, it's just that amateurism has found its own culture, its own 
voice.

He proposes such actions in reflection to his own context, position and 
professional peers. Just like when theorists try to give something a 
name so it is easier to get access.

As we all know, some people are not always amateurs because they wish to 
be. One problem Geert has if he is actually serious about connecting 
with amateurs, is that he has been part of a culture that has thrived on 
dividing professionals from amateurs systemically. Using the term 
'victim' is not a true representation or useful image when discussing 
about amateurs, unfortunately - it serves to redefine amateurs as 
complainers when in reality many have successfully built alternative 
processes of sharing their own contexts on their own terms.

One other thing which also needs be to considered here is, whether 
professionalism will kill the spirit of amateurism and its independent 
voice, or it will all level out somehow? I am suspicious of what he 
really means by professional. Relationally it could mean many different 
things and if we look at all the independent hack-labs cropping up 
everywhere, it is not hard to imagine that there is a lot of talent out 
there ready to farm. Many of these new self-built communities are there 
for various reasons, but one thing we can be sure about, is that 
professionalism is not at the forefront of their minds when 
collaborating and sharing skills, technology and mutually respected 
ideas - they have come about because there is a need for it and because 
there is a lack in the more 'official' forms of society.

Wishing you well.

marc

 > Thanks Marc.
 >
 > A few comments...
 >
 >> there those who feel they know or have a particular perspective of
 >> the bigger picture because of their positions in relation to their
 >> privilege,
 >
 > I do wonder how much of their criticism of the amateur can be attributed
 > to the knowledge that their position of privilege is no more secure
 > against amateurism than any other creative field.
 >
 >> I disagree with the idea that amateurs are the enemy.
 >
 > One of the more frustrating aspects of Lovink's apparent criticism of
 > Lessig
 > 
(http://blogs.fu-berlin.de/fcrc/2010/10/08/geert-lovink-keynote-after-the-critique-of-free-and-open-alternative-platforms-and-revenue-models/ 

 > ) is that it isn't. He *agrees* with Lessig's more recent writing on the
 > idea that amateurs should be protected from professional economic
 > exploitation by reducing everyone else's freedom to use their work.
 >
 > On the one hand I recognise that the problem from the point of view of
 > an economic critique of amateur production is that unlike the complete
 > Marxist individual who can "hunt in the morning..." they don't receive
 > the full economic benefit of the exploitation of the products of their
 > labour. On the other hand I don't recall Marxists and Theorists burning
 > down the copy shop, the photo booth or the art materials store because
 > they made far more money from the work of amateurs than the amateurs
 > ever did.
 >
 >> What he proposes may not necessarily sit right, but they address
 >> important questions around how and why things 'should' always be
 >> free.
 >
 > IMO individuals should be free to participate in cultural life and their
 > freedom to do so not held hostage either by evil corporations or by well
 > meaning anti-corporatists.
 >
 >> It's a bit like accepting democracy without knowing why its there in
 >> the first place - perhaps we just need to remind ourselves why we
 >> have it.
 >
 > Yes I certainly need to get back in touch with the positive basis for my
 > involvement in free culture. This thread has been a great help for that.
 >
 > Thank you.
 >
 > - Rob.
 > _______________________________________________
 > NetBehaviour mailing list
 > NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org
 > http://www.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
 >

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