In a microeconomic experiment, unemployed inhabitants of the area around Kottbusser Tor, Berlin, were given the chance to develop concepts for unused decks of a massive parking garage. The top deck was used for agriculture, while the deck below it had a mixture of grocery vendors and small repair shops. A group of illustrators creating custom comic strips on demand seemed to draw the most customers. All in all, the atmosphere was not much different from a pre-Christmas bazar in any given old-folks home, though. Good will was showing, but there was no emergence of new socio-economic practice in the air. The problem with such microeconomic experiments: If you still use money as medium of success, you reference the entire socio-economic complexity of today’s society. Not a good start for an escapist experiment. Read more on the project page (in German language).
The grassroots approach of last.fm already proves extremely powerful in regulating our access to music at our desk. But one more important connection has been made in last.fm: The pooling of global links with local interaction. Based on your taste profile, you get recommendations for concerts in your neighborhood. Thus, last.fm provides a viable structure, making links in communication between global and local possible that used to require complex promotion embedded in the roots of the local music scene. The selection appears as contingency, but is that really true for everyone? Make no mistake: Last.fm may look grassrootsy, but it is already an institution of social power.
July 12-14, 2007. Annual workshop “The Computer as a Medium”. This year’s focus is on the histories, visions, and phantasms of computers in the society.