Saturday, January 26, 2008

M.A.D. - Media Art Database(s)

If media art is to be accessible to its potential champions and disseminators, to being curated, researched and studied, then new partnerships need to be initiated and ingrained rivalry behaviour patterns replaced by constructive exchange between media competence, creative and theoretical, scattered across the globe and, wherever, gained through much effort, and the infrastructures and resources that have developed through the years. That is the only way that sustainable, i.e. self-supporting projects can be launched with good prospects of survival. M.A.D. sees itself as an information system true to these tenets, at the disposal of media art and its theory; and as a networking interface between material and knowledge while being as independent as possible of individual figures, locations, their respective preferences and interests.

'Top-level networking' in media art history and theory demands a transparent and universally accessible information system that does justice equally to the work done by the sites of production, distribution and data archiving and by the individuals engaged in the provision and scholarly processing of information on media art. Previous experience world wide has shown that the laborious, but for the survival of that information system, crucial task of compiling such a database is at odds with the hitherto customary top-down structures. The signs are that in the longer term, there will be no real alternative but that media theory and practice must meet at eye level.

M.A.D. therefore proposes the networking bottom-up structure to be the decisive motive force in assembling potent aggregates of knowledge and expertise. That should be the forum whence both are delegated/constituted, the 'distributed editors' and an 'advisory board' responsible for development and co-ordination.

M.A.D. should offer a suitable platform of presentation, distribution and interaction - for the proponents of horizontal and collaborative, grass-roots networking with social-networking sites, Wikis and other Web-2.0. attributes, and for artists, theorists and developers interested in setting up a semantic Web 3.0.

The quality of the M.A.D. is to be assured and sustained not least by minimising editorial stipulations so as to maximise the input from distributed competent potential contributors. Acquiring data and information 'first-hand' will also reduce the time and effort called for in gaining permission from copyright holders and in other editorial matters, as experience has shown - and as users are coming to expect. Lastingly minimised costs and increasing data acquisition speeds are at once among the M.A.D.'s foremost objectives and among the preconditions so that the ultimate aim might be achieved, i.e. the sustainability and durability of data and discourses.

The Internet in the (as yet) Browsing Age is without doubt a playground of entropy and a lack of structure - and so, of frustration. Luckily it also lets every and anyone see how removed our offline world still is from a functioning democracy. It shows us the useless waste of creative potential while it is suppressed or squandered.
All, artists, academics and researchers, those on the left, liberals and conservatives, have long understood that human attention represents an economic value. All the more reason why the already acute proliferation and abuse of testimonials, evaluation services, grading and selection, sloganisation and individual criteria should be discussed in an open, decentralised manner and at the same time be evaluated by 'third parties'.
That current state-of-the-art terminology should almost inevitably lead to concepts expressed as tagging and web 3.0 or the Semantic Web lies in the nature of a living language. Irrespective of whether or how far we are removed from this vision, the relevance of M.A.D. will be given, too, in the context of these most recent developments. If the web of the future - the 'Semantic Web', the 'Live Web', the 'Intelligent Web', 'Web 3.0' - may be described as a database of databases, then the M.A.D. could, in the sense sketched out here, serve as a model; for the methods of recording used in and for media art projects are pre-eminently suited also for the description of any 'objects' and 'subjects' real or virtual.

Let's find out what we may achieve together in rule-free discourse, ubiquity, global consciousness, open and active archiving, and distributed knowledge. Become a part of the M.A.D. community and help shape M.A.D. as a model for a meeting of creative competence and competent discussion in media practice and theory. Please visit M.A.D., find out the missing links, and help create new mind mappings out of yesterday's and the future's media meta-noise. With your contribution, the important initial steps so far taken by media creators, curators and thinkers could continue in a more constructive, joint way for any of the interest groups mentioned (and not mentioned) above.

note: head Slavko Kacunko

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