The New Technologies To The People® System By Jacob Lillemose In 1999, when the art and technology festival Ars Electronica awarded The Golden Nica, first prize in the ”.net” category, to the programmer Linus Torvalds for his development of the Linux operating system, it was pointing in general to the relationship between free software and art, and more specifically to the affinity between free software and that part of contemporary art which is concerned with software’s constantly increasing influence on social, economic and political conditions. Like Linux, this part of contemporary art works against the proprietary software industry’s standardization, repression and rationalization of the software culture, and instead explores alternate possibilities for freeing the software culture through more open, expressive and speculative processes. On a more indirect level, Ars Electronica’s choice of Linux also emphasized another relationship between free software and this contemporary art, i.e. the idea informing both that software is not just a question of programming, but of producing culture - of understanding and using technology as a means of engaging in a social context. According to the founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Richard Stallman, free software is about ”practical material advantages” but also about ”what kind of society we want to live in, and what constitutes a good society”. 1 Stallman himself imagines an extremely collective and creative society founded on the freedom to ”use, study, copy, modify and redistribute software”. For him, the free software’s fundamental abolishment of intellectual property rights represents a chance to structurally and conceptually ”reprogram” society for the better, and this is an opinion he shares with much of contemporary art.
May 2007 9-11 May Conference 11-13 May Exhibition, Workshops Locations: IT-Huset, IT-Parken, Aarhus Universitet & Aarhus Kunstbygning, Denmark Information about Aarhus here. Map of IT-Parken/IT-City here (the conference takes place in building 5510)
The interface is the primary cultural form of the digital age. Here the invisible technological dimensions of the computer are given form in order to meet human perception and agency. This encounter is enacted through aesthetic forms stemming not only from the functional domains and tools, but increasingly also from aesthetic traditions, the old media and from the new media aesthetics. This interplay takes place both in software interfaces, where aesthetic and cultural perspectives are gaining ground, in the digital arts and in our general technological culture – keywords range from experience oriented design and creative software to software studies, software art, new media, digital arts, techno culture and digital activism.