[NetBehaviour] DIWO: Do It With Others – No Ecology without Social Ecology.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sun Jan 27 11:49:31 CET 2013

DIWO: Do It With Others – No Ecology without Social Ecology.


By Marc Garrett, Ruth Catlow.

The acceleration of technological development in contemporary society 
has a direct impact on our everyday lives as our behaviours and 
relationships are modified via our interactions with digital technology. 
As artists, we have adapted to the complexities of contemporary 
information and communication systems, initiating different forms of 
creative, network production. At the same time we live with and respond 
to concerns about anthropogenic climate change and the economic crisis. 
As we explore the possibilities of creative agency that digital networks 
and social media offer, we need to ask ourselves about the role of 
artists in the larger conversation. What part do we play in the evolving 
techno-consumerist landscape which is shown to play on our desire for 
intimacy and community while actually isolating us from each other. 
(Turkle 2011) Commercial interests control our channels of communication 
through their interfaces, infrastructures and contracts. As Geert Lovink 
says 'We see social media further accelerating the McLifestyle, while at 
the same time presenting itself as a channel to relieve the tension 
piling up in our comfort prisons.' (2012: 44)

Many contemporary artists who take the networks of the digital 
information age as their medium, work directly with the hardware, 
algorithms and databases of digital networks themselves and the systems 
of power that engage them. Inspired by network metaphors and processes, 
they also craft new forms of intervention, collaboration, participation 
and interaction (between human and other living beings, systems and 
machines) in the development of the meaning and aesthetics of their 
work. This develops in them a sensitivity or alertness to the diverse, 
world-forming properties of the art-tech imaginary: material, social and 
political. By sharing their processes and tools with artists, and 
audiences alike they hack and reclaim the contexts in which culture is 

This essay draws on programmes initiated by Furtherfield, an online 
community, co-founded by the authors in 1997. Furtherfield also runs a 
public gallery and social space in the heart of Finsbury Park, North 
London. The authors are both artists and curators who have worked with 
others in networks since the mid 90s, as the Internet developed as a 
public space you could publish to; a platform for creation, 
distribution, remix, critique and resistance.

Here we outline two Furtherfield programmes in order to reflect on the 
ways in which collaborative networked practices are especially suited to 
engage these questions. Firstly the DIWO (Do It With Others) series 
(since 2007) of Email Art and co-curation projects that explored how 
de-centralised, co-creation processes in digital networks could (at 
once) facilitate artistic collaboration and disrupt dominant and 
constricting art-world systems. Secondly the Media Art Ecologies 
programme (since 2009) which, in the context of economic and 
environmental collapse, sets out to contribute to the construction of 
alternative infrastructures and visions of prosperity. We aim to show 
how collaboration and the distribution of creative capital was modeled 
through DIWO and underpinned the development of a series of projects, 
exhibitions and interventions that explore what form an ecological art 
might take in the network age.

Featuring: A Abrahams, Kate Rich, IOCOSE, Helen Varley Jamieson, Paula, 
Feral Trade Cafe, make-shift, Do It With Others (DIWO) E-Mail Art, If 
not you not me.

First published in Remediating the Social 2012. Editor: Simon Biggs 
University of Edinburgh. Pages 69-74

An ebook version of Remediating the Social is freely downloadable.


A living - breathing - thriving networked neighbourhood -
proud of free culture - claiming it with others ;)

Other reviews,articles,interviews

Furtherfield – online arts community, platforms for creating, viewing,
discussing and learning about experimental practices at the
intersections of art, technology and social change.

Furtherfield Gallery – Finsbury Park (London).

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