[NetBehaviour] Solutionism Re: An interview with Geert Lovink

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sun Oct 4 21:59:12 CEST 2015


On 04/10/15 07:23 AM, Randall Packer wrote:
> 
> This is the idea of a distributed communications network of participants
> not depending on a centralizing organizing principle or platform to
> generate conversation, collaboration and virtual community: all the
> interactions are interdependent of one another and aggregate at the
> individual level rather than the group. Everyone has their own unique
> Website or authoring platform that receives communications feeds from
> those they are linked into. 
> 
> I think the idea is so highly evolved that it would require a great deal
> of time, technical savvy and ingenuity to implement. No? 

GNU social (and various other systems) currently implement this as
"federation".

It's possible to run such a system on e.g. a Raspberry Pi with a dynamic
dns system to expose it to the Internet. I did this a few years ago with
an old plug server -

http://foocorp.net/projects/fooplug/

Or there are systems to create virtual servers -

https://apps.sandstorm.io/

And then there are distributed systems like retroshare or ipfs.

This range of options touches on two issues that are of particular
interest to me. The first is who controls and benefits from our
computing - a remote and hostile company, some sort of co-operative,
ourselves locally, or ourselves together. The second, which is related
to this, is what kind of work we do together with technology.

I've recently read Stephen Willats' "The Artist As Instigator"

http://occasionalpapersshop.tictail.com/product/the-artist-as-instigator

which focuses on task-based community-building. I think there's
something to be said for having a common social task within (or as the
form of) a community, and I believe that mastering email and mailing
lists and transcending their limitations was once (part of) this work.

Annie's point that email dates to the start of the Internet is well
taken - this is a medium that has lasted. Some protocols don't last
(Gopher), some do (Usenet is still used for sharing media). Their uses
change.

So if we are still using a mailing list, and this is not simply
historical re-enactment, what still unresolved work are we doing with it?

- Rob.




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