DMC2 Session 01: Intro

This lecture series will explore how artists, activists, corporations and non-profit organisations use/have used online and digital networks to encourage people to actively participate in collective action, and in particular, in the world around them


Untitled: Emerging Cultural Forms in the Digital Age

“The age of mechanical reproduction had profound effects on the creation, distribution, and perception of art and other cultural forms (Walter Benjamin)

In the age of digital reproduction processes, change is becoming equally, if not more, radical.”

“Culture and creativity are, of course, inextricably tied to technological developments.

The rock paintings of the Stone Age would not have been possible without tools, like charcoal, for making them.

The development of oil paint and perspective were as crucial to Renaissance painting as patronage (Berger).

Literary historians note that the existence of the novel was dependent not only on the 'invention' of the Gutenburg press

but also the development of a literate population with enough time for leisure time and money to form an audience.

The new cultural forms of the 20th Century were based entirely on technological developments.

The reproduction of sound led from Edison's auspicious recordings to the revolution in popular culture epitomized by the Beatles.

The reproduction of images led to the cultural forms so successful that it was, and still is, feared that film and television may eclipse earlier technologies like the printed word.

The technological changes we are currently witnessing are not without precedent, but human lives have not been changed so fast since the industrial revoulution.

New interactive technologies have colonised most, if not all, of our cultural practices within just 20 years.

From the development of online galleries, to online gaming communities, to websites that allow us to share music or photographs with our friends and family,

we are seeing new forms of expression and a subtle change in our expectation of what is possible.

Access to a computer and the Internet equip people not only with the means of production but also distribution.”

From "Untitled: Emerging Cultural Forms in the Digital Age"
Introductory article by Mark Blythe, Ann Light, Shaleph O'Neill

Published in Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, Vol 3 (1), Feb 2007



Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us


On shutdown day

What are the goals:

  • To introduce each other
  • To learn about each other's motivations for non-digital media culture things
  • What is important to each other in the physical-corporeal environment

Social matrix:

  • eg. Groups of 2, followed by group circle


30 mins


  • note-paper and pen/cil or a good memory

Introduction (5 mins)

  • Speak about the ambitions and way to get know each other, leading towards what might be personal causes to encourage others to get involved in offline.

Activity (15 mins)

  1. eg. Pair off with someone you dont know so well
  2. Take note/remember the other person's answers to the following:
  3. Their name
  4. What would they do if they had to be offline for 24hrs?
  5. What would they do to encourage a friend to do the same?
  6. And to encourage 14 other people to do the same?

Discussion (15 mins)

Have a look at:

What did we learn from each other?
Documentation (for when?): Write in student-name of the other and notes here


Layout and expectations of the course



Participatory platforms
To participate; historical interpretations; Art theory; Allan Kaprow: Elimination of the Audience; Happenings; Participatory Arts; Platforms; Web 2.0; Convergence Culture; Art platforms

Crowd-sourcing labour and action
Talkoot; Crowdsourcing history and examples from online platforms; User-labour; Mturk;
Art projects, Peter Watkins 'La Commune'
Examples: Threadless, Wreck-a-movie, Vocalo

Everything Open & Free
Principles of openness, transparency, participatory, flexibility,
open-source applied to many aspects of social-organisation

Online Media-Sharing Politics & P2P Networks
Social Media; Online Video; Sharing is Caring; Piracy; Kopimi; Fair Use;
Torrents; Good Copy Bad Copy

Collaborative Working and Building Environments
Open-source software and hardware; Replication
Examples: BUG Labs, Arduino, RepRap (Rapid Prototypers)

Locative media and fieldwork
Art projects; Map interfaces; Fieldwork;
Examples: Open Street Maps, Green Maps

Serious game-play and simulation
(Advergames; Edutainment; Games-Based Learning; Edumarket Games; News Games; Simulations or Simulation Games; Persuasive Games; Organizational-dynamic games;
Games for Health; Art Games)
Procedural Rhetorics
Examples: Games for Change; Rock Band.

Virtual worlds and real environments
MMORPG: HABBO, Sims, Second Life, Home, World of Warcraft
Art projects in mixed (Virtual and Real) environments
Carbon Footprint; Virtual Economies, Gold Farming

Peer-funding and investment
Rotating Saving & Credit Schemes, Microcredit, LETS, Crowdfunding, P2P Finance,
Examples: MyFootballClub, The Age of Stupid, Sellaband




Imaginary Platforms

The self-identified 'Imaginary platform' project by each student will consider how they might employ these forms to encourage and inspire others to get involved in activity beyond themselves. An historical awarenesss of how such might have been achieved at other times in media/communication history is to be included.

Etympology of 'Platform' in English

  1. A raised stage from which speeches are made and songs are sung.
  2. A political stance on a broad set of issues, which are called planks.
  3. A raised structure from which passengers can enter or leave a train.
  4. (automobiles) A set of components shared by several vehicle models.
  5. (computing) A particular type of operating system or environment such as a database or other specific software, and/or a particular type of computer or microprocessor, used to describe a particular environment for running other software, or for defining a specific software or hardware environment for discussion purposes.
Examples of previous year's Imaginary platforms..
Playing SuperMario offline in Alppilapuisto
Requesting photos from peers online
Mobile clubbing map on night out
Blog for underappreciated features in the City
Art Poster sharing platform
Band sample/Instrument/Member sharing scheme
LAN Parties
Modder's club for sport games


Example: Teeme Ära ('Lets Do it!', Estonia, 2008)

“We had an outrageous plan – to clean up Estonia from illegally dumped or littered waste, in ONE day! For that we needed at least 40 000 volunteers all over the country.

Since Estonia regained its independence in 1991, illegal dumping of garbage in our forests had been a growing problem. The issue was not just limited to the garbage itself, but also the mindset of some people which lead them to treat our beautiful nature as their private dumpster. Though attitudes have changed somewhat during the last years, a significant number of people had been continuing the habit. The amount of garbage littering our nature had grown too big for our government to tackle alone. And the problem was not in the garbage itself, it was in the mindset of those people who didn't respect our nature. So we knew that we had to do something drastic to shake things up, to make a real change.
We wanted to make it everybody's business and put the situation out there - for everyone to see. So that it couldn't be ignored anymore and something could be done. While doing so, it was essential to gather the attention and support from all different groups of the society - no exceptions by age, language, profession or lifestyle - we needed everybody!”

“There was more than 10 000 tons of illegal waste lying around in Estonian nature. In october 2007, as a group of active citizens, we realised that something drastic needs to be done. We developed a special software and geomapped more than 10 000 dumping sites all over the country. And on 3rd of May 2008, engaging hundreds of organisations and more than 50 000 volunteers, we cleaned it all up in just 5 hours!”

Watch [05:00]: | |

My background and experience/mediums:

Broad view of digital media culture: video, audio, text, syndication, internet, games, communications, virtual environments, networks, peer production

Digital Media Culture -> Open Source Ideology -> Action in (offline) places/spaces.


"Open Source and New Media Artists"

Article by Katri Halonen, Metropolia
Published in Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, Vol 3 (1), Feb 2007


1-to-1 Tutorials


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