III. An/Other Digital World
Situated along variegated routes of contemporary “information societies,” the work of the artists and scholars included in this section constitute entangled sites of aesthetic, political, and economic arrangements across a range of digital media and Internet practices. These practices reconstruct relations of power in and through global media, and refigure the boundaries of that power, trespassing digital spaces or creating other spaces. They question normative codes, policies, and archives of the digital, while positing, and inhabiting, multiple digital worlds. These works contribute, as do all works in this dossier, to an/other digital thinking.
CCINDEX — Contemporary Culture Index
The contemporary culture index is an independent archive that emphasizes the trans-disciplinary and transnational aggregation of art and scholarship. It initiates new categories of thought and orders of meaning while making available works that are otherwise not considered to be in conversation, thereby creating the possibility for collective thought built upon seemingly disparate sources. Contemporary culture index is a transnational activist media and scholarship collective.
I.Mirror, Part 1 — China Tracy (Cao Fei)
In this video, the melancholic edge of absolute freedom in the new digital cities of Second Life is shared, for mutual suffering or ambivalent celebration. Under the revolving sign of the almighty dollar, the avatar is adrift in digital cities, oddly vacant. She invites us to sing with her. The video (10 min., 2007) is part one of a three-part Second Life documentary produced for the China Tracy Pavilion Project, China Pavilion, 52nd Venice Biennale 2007. Cao Fei is an artist based in Beijing, China.
Intercepting Heteropatriarchy Colonial Normative: Latin@ Queer Media Artist and Their Works (A Work in Progress) — Raul Moarquech Ferrera-Balanquet
This html essay and catalogue, which includes images and an extensive list of titles of recent videos by the author and other artists, reflects on episodes from the histories of U.S. Latina/o and Latin American Queer Video Art. Raúl Moarquech Ferrera-Balanquet is a central figure in these histories, having been involved as a curator, video artist and new media scholar since the 1980’s. He is based in Merida, Mexico and is founder of the annual new media festival and institute, “Interactiva.” Please note that this website was designed specifically for this dossier.
The Network of No_Des — Raqs Media Collective
“The Network of No-des” is an html based audio and visual work that begins with the multi-valences of a news story about an incident of so-called digital “piracy” in contemporary India. The piece proceeds through a nodal structure in which “it becomes impossible to suppress or kill an idea.” As the RAQS Media Collective explains in their introduction to the work, it “uses driftwood from web searches, messages in data bottles, re-mixed fragments of Hindi and Bengali film scenes and research notes from Sarai’s ongoing exploration of new media street culture in Delhi to present an array of associational possibilities.” The piece was produced at the Sarai Media Lab, New Delhi, in collaboration with Mrityunjay Chatterjee and Iram Ghufran, by the Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Jeebesh Bagchi).
Decolonizing the Technologies of Knowledge: Video and Indigenous Epistemology — Freya Schiwy
In this article, Schiwy grapples with the problems of decolonizing thinking about indigenous video through an engagement with recent videos of the Andean region. These videos suggest that we must decolonize the aesthetic norms that have heretofore been defined as decolonial aesthetics. Schiwy radically re-opens the questions of the politics of representation, insisting on understanding the contingency and fluidity of the “techne” and “techné” – the apparatus itself and the uses that the apparatus are put to – in indigenous media. Freya Schiwy is Assistant Professor of Latin American Media and Cultural Studies in the Media and Cultural Studies Department and Vice-Chair of the Latin American Studies Program at the University of California-Riverside. This article is translated from the Spanish, and was originally published as “Descolonizar las tecnologías del conocimiento: Video y epistemología indígena” in Walsh, C., Ed. Estudios Culturales Latinoamericanos: Retos Desde y Sobre La Región Andina. Quito, Ecuador: Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar and Ediciones Abya Yala (2003).
Postscript — Dalida Maria Benfield
As the Raqs Media Collective states: “Remixing, repurposing and re-editing are facts of life, as simple, as pleasurable and as necessary for the reproduction of knowledge and culture as foraging, feeding and fornication are for the reproduction and survival of our humanity (2003, www.raqsmediacollective.net). This points to the politics of attribution as well as the attendant geo-politics of intellectual property and copyright. Free and open access to knowledge, multiply conceived, through digital and other circuits, forms the cornerstone of many of this dossier's contributors' scholarly, artistic and political practice. In light of this, it is important to point to the particular modes of distribution that these works suggest, or, in other words, the archival decolonizations that they perform. This dossier is a re-mix of different media and sources, using existing web and print publications as well as newly created works for which the dossier acted as a catalyst. While each of the scholars and artists gave me the courtesy of their consent to link to or reproduce a text, in most cases this was not a legal necessity. Many of these scholars and artists have explicitly adopted policies regarding the reproduction of their work that avoid traditional copyright, and have made their work accessible through varied strategies of distribution.
In Section I, the essay by Sally Burch is accessed through the ALAI website, which supports, publishes, and distributes the work of multiple authors under the principle of copyleft. On its page, http://alainet.org/copyleft, they explain: “This means that all those produced by ALAI can be reproduced, as long as the source is properly cited.” The website by Alex Rivera and Angel Nevarez is copyrighted to the artists but is, of course, accessible and archived on the web. The essay by Ravi Sundaram originally appeared in Lovink, G. and Soehle, Z., Eds. The Incommunicado Reader: Information for Everybody Else. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures (2005). Sundaram allowed us to create a Portable Document File (pdf) of this essay for this dossier, and the entire reader carries the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/.
In Section II, the work by Renée Green appears courtesy of the artist and Free Agent Media. It is housed on a state of California website and is a state of California commissioned work, with a permanent public installation at the Cal Trans headquarters in Los Angeles. The video by Enrique Castro-Ríos appears courtesy of the artist, and is distributed on http://www.youtube.com. Geert Lovink’s interview with Lisa Nakamura is distributed, as is his archive of scholarship, through http://laudanum.net with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical – Share Alike 1.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/. The essay produced for this dossier by Daphne Taylor-García, with my design collaboration, is distributed here with a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works-United States license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/.
In Section III, the CCINDEX link is included courtesy of contemporary culture index, which is itself an open access web archive of works using varied distribution modes. The video by China Tracy (Cao Fei) appears courtesy of the artist and is distributed on http://www.youtube.com. The essay by Raúl Mouarquech Ferrera Balanquet, with my design contribution, is presented here with the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works-United States license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/. The Raqs Media Collective work appears on their site of collected works and writings. They write: “As a colony of conscientious parasites (like the ones that inhabit your gut and keep you healthy by helping you digest your food) we welcome all further re-purposing of what we have produced so as to keep the epidemic alive. Come, be infected, and spread our contagion” (2003, www.raqsmediacollective.net). The translation of Freya Schiwy’s essay is published here, for the first time in English, with a Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/us/. Schiwy’s piece was first published in Spanish as “Descolonizar las tecnologías del conocimiento” in Walsh, C., Ed. Estudios Culturales Latinoamericanos: Retos Desde y Sobre La Región Andina. Quito, Ecuador: Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar and Ediciones Abya Yala (2003).
In closing, my deepest thanks go to each of the artists and scholars for their work, and for their participation in the dossier. The works by Daphne Taylor-García and Raúl Mouarquech Ferrera Balanquet were written and produced specifically for this dossier, so I thank them both for this commitment. Also, thanks to Tara Daly and Freya Schiwy for their speedy work on the translation of Freya's essay. Finally, thanks to Walter Mignolo and the Worlds and Knowledges Otherwise project, which forges such important links between disciplines and time-spaces, digital and non-digital. I also thank Joseph Tucker Edmonds for his crucial support and logistical work on this dossier.