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Geert Lovink

Geert Lovink is an independent media theorist and net critic. He is the founder of nettime mailing lists, a member of Adilkno, and a cofounder of the online community server Digital City.

Titles by This Author

Dialogues with the Virtual Intelligentsia

For Geert Lovink, interviews are imaginative texts that can help to create global, networked discourses not only among different professions but also among different cultures and social groups. Conducting interviews online, over a period of weeks or months, allows the participants to compose documents of depth and breadth, rather than simply snapshots of timely references.

The interviews collected in this book are with artists, critics, and theorists who are intimately involved in building the content, interfaces, and architectures of new media. The topics discussed include digital aesthetics, sound art, navigating deep audio space, European media philosophy, the Internet in Eastern Europe, the mixing of old and new in India, critical media studies in the Asia-Pacific region, Japanese techno tribes, hybrid identities, the storage of social movements, theory of the virtual class, virtual and urban spaces, corporate takeover of the Internet, and the role of cyberspace in the rise of nongovernmental organizations.

Interviewees included Norbert Bolz, Paulina Borsook, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Kuan-Hsing Chen, Cãlin Dan, Mike Davis, Mark Dery, Kodwo Eshun, Susan George, Boris Groys, Frank Hartmann, Michael Heim, Dietmar Kamper, Zina Kaye, Tom Keenan, Arthur Kroker, Bruno Latour, Marita Liulia, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Peter Lunenfeld, Lev Manovich, Mongrel, Edi Muka, Jonathan Peizer, Saskia Sassen, Herbert Schiller, Gayatri Spivak, János Sugár, Ravi Sundaram, Toshiya Ueno, Tjebbe van Tijen, McKenzie Wark, Hartmut Winkler, and Slavoj Zizek.

Tracking Critical Internet Culture

According to media critic Geert Lovink, the Internet is being closed off by corporations and governments intent on creating a business and information environment free of dissent. Calling himself a radical media pragmatist, Lovink envisions an Internet culture that goes beyond the engineering culture that spawned it to bring humanities, user groups, social movements, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), artists, and cultural critics into the core of Internet development.

In Dark Fiber, Lovink combines aesthetic and ethical concerns and issues of navigation and usability without ever losing sight of the cultural and economic agendas of those who control hardware, software, content, design, and delivery. He examines the unwarranted faith of the cyber-libertarians in the ability of market forces to create a decentralized, accessible communication system. He studies the inner dynamics of hackers' groups, Internet activists, and artists, seeking to understand the social laws of online life. Finally, he calls for the injection of political and economic competence into the community of freedom-loving cyber-citizens, to wrest the Internet from corporate and state control.

The topics include the erosion of email, bandwidth for all, the rise and fall of dot-com mania, techno-mysticism, sustainable social networks, the fight for a public Internet time standard, the strategies of Internet activists, mailing list culture, and collaborative text filtering. Stressing the importance of intercultural collaboration, Lovink includes reports from Albania, where NGOs and artists use new media to combat the country's poverty and isolation; from Taiwan, where the September 1999 earthquake highlighted the cultural politics of the Internet; and from Delhi, where a new media center explores free software, public access, and Hindi interfaces.