[NetBehaviour] An interview with Geert Lovink

Randall Packer rpacker at zakros.com
Sat Oct 3 15:17:07 CEST 2015

Alan, it is so interesting to talk about the depth of discussion in the context of a text-based environment. Perhaps you are right, but it reminds me of the MOO user environments in the early 90s, when people were having this same argument about virtual reality: that text-based multi-user environments were far more compelling, rich and nuanced than the highly rendered, immersive ones. This argument still continues.

On the other hand, you can’t just say absolutely that adding "bells and whistles" won’t work, because something new will inevitably come along, it’s just a matter of time. I doubt in 25 years that future generations will be using the same text-based tools as we are today for online discussion, in fact most aren’t even today. 

That said, I am interested in depth too. While I agree that the conversation here is a great opportunity to converse with a community distributed across the world, I am also very restless, always curious, always trying to discover new ways to communicate, create new work, explore the possibilities of a changing technological world. That’s really at the heart of my work.  In the 1990s, I created performance works with laserdisc players, cd-roms, samplers, synthesizers, and other media and technologies I wouldn’t use today. 

So it’s always been an adventure of discovery. I am sure all of us are constantly experimenting with new ideas, strategies, and technologies in our work.  It is in this spirit of experimentation that I would want to explore how virtual communities and discourse can take new form. 

On 10/2/15, 10:58 PM, "Alan Sondheim" <netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org on behalf of sondheim at panix.com> wrote:

>It is no more antiquated than the wheel. It permits and tenders a place 
>for conversation, discussion. Adding bells and whistles just doesn't work; 
>I haven't seen any discussions anywhere near the depth of empyre or 
>netbehaviour - precisely because there aren't avatars running around. 
>Facebook is precisely scattered.
>I could go on and on; I'm interested in depth; even my own fireworks are 
>nothing more than urls here, alive or dead. But the depth of discussion is 
>intense and there are almost no places for that anywhere online at this 
>- Alan
>On Fri, 2 Oct 2015, Randall Packer wrote:
>> Rob, this is an interesting point and one I have been thinking a lot 
>> about: why are new media discussions using list software that is perhaps 
>> 20 years old, which don?t allow for the possibilities of embedded media, 
>> avatars, search, database, etc. (I know there is a Web version of this, 
>> but who looks at?) For me, there is a paradox here. Many complain about 
>> the glut of email in their lives, and yet lists are perhaps the number 
>> one producer of email for those who subscribe to lists. Is it because 
>> email is still our main channel of communication, the go to for 
>> correspondence, discussion, social media notifications, etc? Matt 
>> Mullenweg, the founder of Wordpress, never uses email for business 
>> communication, rather P2, a bulletin board web-based interface where he 
>> can follow everyone?s conversations in a threaded, searchable 
>> environment. He claims this to be the future of social networks, and I 
>> tend to agree, but it takes commitment among the community to learn to 
>> use the new tools. I am not condemning listserves here, they serve a 
>> great purpose and they are super-easy to use. However, we all have to 
>> admit it is an antiquated system and there is no reason really not to 
>> overhaul the whole thing and move into the 21st century.
>> OK, I expect to be heavily criticized here, but that?s my position. :)
>> On 10/1/15, 10:41 PM, "Rob Myers" <netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org on behalf of rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
>>> On 01/10/15 02:21 AM, ruth catlow wrote:
>>>> But I too have had a feeling of un-ease about a disconnect with the
>>>> conversations that happen here on the list. This list is one of my
>>>> favourite places, and yet I find it hard to advocate for it, to people
>>>> who are not already here. Perhaps because email has now acquired toxic
>>>> associations for many people because of the demands it places on
>>>> 'immaterial labourers'.
>>> They're all exploited via apps now aren't they? :-)
>>> At the risk of solutionism, modern discussion systems provide web forum
>>> -style interfaces to mailing lists (and vice versa).
>>> https://www.discourse.org/
>>> http://groupserver.org/
>>> - Rob.
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