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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October - 4 December, 1998

[as of December 1st 1998 the forum has been prolonged - ... open-ended]

Subject:a contribution to the forum
Date:Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:06
Author:Teoman Madra  []

as a contribution to the forum of - cultural exchange with internet - I would like to divert the discussion towards the frequently stated arguments on internet: the argument is: "as a multi media communication tool the internet provides us, surely a mega technological new invention, to reach and to comprehend worldwide environments and global aspects within numerous media formats".

to my opinion this statement locates internet into the world of tools/artefacts and defines the user within the classical cultural context. in other words it states that the user can manipulate this tool as he/she manipulates a stone-tool, a plough, a car etc.; as all these tools have opened new horizons in men's adventure one should consider that computer is more the extension of the brain than the hand or body. It is the external completeness of mental abilities and should be categorized as such. it has been developed out of a necessity of abundance of knowledge. mankind has merited this new "techno-logos" through the pathways of creativity territories, and complicated mental procedures. whilst the internet is the new platform formatting the cyberspace, and all its attributes, as the extension of men's ultimate accomplishment, internet should not be faced or articulated with past/old habits and skills, with modernist or post-modernist patterns, with rigid capitalist convictions, with concrete or abstract divisions as leftovers of 20th century idologies. once television and video were saluted in an unsuspected and awkward manner and now we witness that they have created an uncontrollable alienation which has no comparison in men's cultural history..... television and video has been ab-used for convention, conformisms and consumerism and so-called "well-fare" and it became a unabashed alienation ready-made in the center of men's life.
we experience that internet gives way to the opportunity, to quickly survey both the immediate past and the ultimate future; which means that men can define his/her position within this in-between moment through the internet. it also means that men can decide about his/her identity by interpreting the informations he is getting not only from "all over the world", but specially from all the sub-informations (in other words from the inofficial channels, from the supressed identities, from the underground mowements). although the internet and the cyberspace are tools, with possibilities to convert the earthy realities into the virtual realities, men always needs a meta-level (a transitory level) to understand the meaning of his existence.
the simulations may create unexpected modalities, but men will learn to perceive and interpret them as he/she has done it before when he/she saw the cave paintings or photograph or cinema. artists should lead the way to this new venture. men has supplied his/her barin with computers and the outcome is the answer to the needs of this brain. therefore multi media cultural exchanges and communications, enchanced with contemporary art creativities taking place (or space) can very well be a major mentally hygienic tasks to be encouraged. in these perspectives, all discipline artists are expected to interact in the cyberspace; this time again, in the contemporary vein or with neo-modernism. And needless to say, in the future art history they will be named "cyber-gards".

teoman madra

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Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, on the use of Internet in the cultural exchange with and between Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.

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©  House of World Cultures, Berlin. 1998