[NetBehaviour] A campfire in a ruin in a forest

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 11 02:44:47 CEST 2021

I agree, thanks Adam and many others for the great descriptions and images of the list!

It is so much more than just protocols or guidelines, somewhat in the sense that a forest is not "instance 43 of forest type A" but a wonderful ongoing fabric of everything that happens and doesn't happen there, plus more.  This list is also, I think, quite imaginatively active and not "a machine that makes copies of things ABC happening in a forest."  This is an aspect of culture having natural spontaneity and not easy to replicate, impossible to mass produce, sort of like a good soil that can support lots of other related phenomena in diversity.  It surprises!  Which is both wonderful and too uncommon.

Only posting rather recently, I'm happy to go with the current and where that means change I'll definitely support it.  Perhaps additive rather than prescriptive change is achievable and there are plusses to that approach when it can work.  The name is a good guide maybe, encapsulating a non-determinative but avid awareness, in that "behaviour" is from the Old French "to have," but ephemerally, and "net" connotes both web and sum.  Also from the reverse perspective: the behavior of the medium (or instrument) itself, its tone or tuning, is equally present.

Locality and diversity are easy to overlook and always merit attention, even more so as the world starts revving engines again (not all great ones) and the post-pandemic world emerges.  Postings about walks and green spaces convey a lot for me so I greatly enjoy others sharing similar experiences from time to time.  Kind of like in lines from Tintern Abbey:  "While with an eye made quiet ... / We see into the life of things."  I get glimpses like that often from the list, in contrast to algorithm-driven content streams which always have a certain maddening hum of accelerant to them.

Participatory spaces that allow for imagination may have more importance than we realize.  Or as Calvino wrote:

"Think what it would be to have a work conceived from outside the self, a work that would let us escape the limited perspective of the individual ego, not only to enter into selves like our own but to give speech to that which has no language, to the bird perching on the edge of the gutter, to the tree in spring and the tree in fall, to stone, to cement, to plastic.....
"Was this not perhaps what Ovid was aiming at, when he wrote about the continuity of forms?  And what Lucretius was aiming at when he identified himself with that nature common to each and every thing?"

All best wishes and regards,


From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Annie Abrahams via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2021 5:02 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Cc: Annie Abrahams <bram.org at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] A campfire in a ruin in a forest

What a beautiful text Adam.  Thanks.

The idea of living in the ruins of media art feels akward to me. Media art, or at least part of the people concerned with it, tried to go beyond the "art" system where money is the big thing, tried to make something outside of canons and hierarchical systems. Furtherfield is part of that. Media art had something revolutionary and I would like to keep that spirit, with or with out the media and the internet.
Existing in the ruins of art as we knew it.
I wish it could be true.
de-school, re-learn, re-turn, dare again

I would love to have intimate conversations in small groups on subjects that are important to me, but have no idea how to organise these in a way that wouldn't be "exclusive". Intimate, means being few, and taking the time to understand backgrounds, contexts etc. I also wouldn't like these conversation to be recorded and available to all afterwards. But there could be a kind of anarchive made by the participants consisting just of notes and maybe some images. (an anarchive - a potential for continuation)

Two subjects that actually bother, intrigue me are:
- Care and staying with trouble as attitude is excellent, was refreshing, but isn't it also contra-productive, because it is not directed to "change" ?
- the NFT craze, wh

On Wed, Jun 9, 2021 at 10:05 AM Gretta Louw via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org<mailto:netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>> wrote:
I find the notion of existing in the ruins of media art and the idea of the internet as a positive force absolutely compelling - electrifying really!

Actually I think this is what all of my current work is doing. Thank you!


On 9. Jun 2021, at 09:32, F3ydrus via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org<mailto:netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>> wrote:

Ironically, I broke my long lurking silence on this list earlier today in response to Simon's 'cochineal' message, without yet having read the recent and ongoing discussion about the list, which included the question of who all these 600+ lurkers might be... Last night I had 2hrs to catch up on the whole genealogy of the recent explosion of posts, and then it was too late to write. I see further indication this morning of 'moving on' from the explosion, and a return of activity about other things, which is great. I hope another long response on this isn't too disruptive / painful.

Like Johannes I found Ruth's "campfire in some unmanaged ancient woodland" analogy extremely resonant, partly because I too have been reconnecting with my local physical space + place over these past 15 months. In fact as we come out of lockdown in the UK I continue to get further connected locally. I live in Cornwall in the far south west and there aren't many great woodlands but some beautiful pockets, often inland away from the beaches (which I tend to avoid due to their popularity). I live in Penryn, an 800 year-old town where the most important work of literature in Cornish was written, the Ordinalia - mystery plays, now understood to have been played in the round in the so-called 'playing places' of Cornwall, circular arenas with raised embankments, in the pre-modern theatre era. The Ordinalia were written in a pre-Reformation lay college called Glasney College, which was a grand structure built on low damp ground near the old harbour (in what was once woodland). Since the destruction of the monasteries and the raiding of all the stones of Glasney by the townspeople, there is almost nothing left. Just the eponymous Glasney Field, a big open space that's been kept clear of construction for hundreds of years, and a fragment of an archway just outside the field in somebody's back garden. In the remaining woods nearby there are other larger but less significant ruins, from more recent times, overgrown and unattended.

NetBehaviour strikes me as more than a campfire in the forest. It is a campfire *in a ruin* in the forest. The ruin of itself, of new media art, of the ideas of the web, of the internet as a positive force, and so on. Maybe don't knock it down, or clear all the weeds, or rebuild it. There is something intensely fertile about congregating in ruins. The most beautiful wedding I ever went to was in a ruined church open to the sky and floored with grass. We need ruins, to confront us with mortality. To remember. To connect with deep time. To think about what we want to build, perhaps elsewhere.

As for the mysterious lurkers in the dark woods around the campfire, don't fear them. We are woodland creatures, attracted to the fire but nervous of it. We won't hurt you. I imagine we're pretty much all like me, nurtured and encouraged by the all-so-rare atmosphere of conviviality and consideration here. These ruins are beautiful and a good place to take inspiration, like Ruskin. By all means hold events in the ruin, concerts, processions (NetBehaviour Jitsi meets). But don't fear the forest, its labyrinthine paths and trackless undergrowth. Fear the clearing of woodland for commerce and the fenced path. The saddest forest experience I ever had was going to see the Old Oak in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. There was a low-fenced path from the visitor centre to the fenced-off tree. It was clear where to go.

Warmest regards to you all,

Adam Russell

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