Cultural theorist, philosopher, and curator Olga Goriunova focus in her talk on the radical differences between the first 15 years of the World Wide Web (1990 -2005) and the next 15. To speak about artist-run platforms (such as the hub for software art, runme.org) and other experimental projects thriving in these first 15 years, I developed the term “organizational aesthetics”, which was concerned with specific forms of artistic and cultural movements within technological networks.
Typical for such projects was that they incorporate many different, flexible roles through which they are developed and maintained, and which provide models of contribution and use. These roles reflect a specific form of knowledge, and they coalesce around certain figures: learners and lurkers, to start with. (The term lurker comes from online forum culture and stands for a kind of participation, where the lurker is part of the forum, but not actively contributing to. The lurker is a reader who could but chooses not to, write.) With time, the classical knowledge of the learner gave way to the local knowledge of the lurker.
Now, the question is, what kind of knowledge – and with it: what kind of technology – will be created and sustained in the next 15 years? Are projects of at the intersection of the art and commons (that is, freely available resources produced and maintained by a community) developing new figures and with them, new infrastructural aesthetics?
Dr. Olga Goriunova (1977, Ulan-Ude, UdSSR) is a cultural theorist, philosopher, and curator with a focus on digital art and culture. She is Reader and Director of Graduate Research at Royal Holloway University London.