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Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October, 1998 - ... open end

Date:Wed, 02 Dec 1998 11:35
Author:||||||||S\a\\|||m  []


This list appears to be really interesting. I've only seen a few emails but thought I'd make a contribution. (The work 'I' is used a lot in the email too !! )

Culture is occuring everywhere - and often I find that when people talk about 'culture' and the exchange of cultures - they are talking about the the exchange between peoples from different geographical regions. Often the discussion tries to promote an increased interaction by people of a stronger culture with a weaker culture - or is it the other way around?

Recently I travelled through parts of South East Asia - exploring whether and how new media and the internet had penetrated the region. I found that in the well-touristed places - access to the internet wasn't a problem. Many guest houses and small hotels seemed to have a Pentium tucked away in the corner. Most of the users were tourists (who would prefer be called travellers) - and the locals would simply watched and didn't take part. However, there was an occasion where one of the operators of a guest house pointed to the computer and claimed 'Now we have access to the whole world' - and he was sort of right - but the default home page was the CNN website - and I wandered if this was just a glimpse of the future for the rest of us. His daughter was swapping email addresses with a loud American tourist promising to keep in touch. I wandered if this was all a good thing.

I find myself realising that what can be exchanged through the internet is so limited - it is essentially just text - and through the web - maybe a few pictures. But we all know about that - so I won't go down that path.

A project I would like to be involved with - and perhaps it is happening or has happened somewhere in the world - is to enable communities and peoples - especially young peoples - in remote parts of this planet to be able to express their culture using video, images, sound and text - through the internet. The project will require 'neutral' people to assist - and to guide - and also there would need to set up a facility so these peoples can get feedback from those who 'experienced' their cultures.

But the problem I have is that it wouldn't really be an exchange. I would find out about their lives, the way they live and the way they've lived for thousands of years - their secrets - their myths and stories. What would I be able to tell them - do I talk about television, shopping centres, banks, money? But maybe the reality is - if they are using the internet - they would also only be talking about the same things I would - television, and shops and money. Or maybe they'd ask me questions about these things... Does anyone have any examples ??

Culture - for me - is everywhere. I am particularly interested in groups of people who are making noise and are perceived as a problem to the establishment. These groups exist throughout the world - and the internet has become an invaluable tool for enabling these like-minded groups - these groups that share the same culture - to exchange their stories, develop relationships and implement strategies.

Maybe I misunderstand the word culture - but maybe definitions are the problem. Anyhow - I shall stop rambling. But feedback is always appreciated.

I've only been on this list for about a week - and time-dependent discussions seem to be good things - there is a sense of urgency to them.

Best wishes from Sam.
THEY order to the money where to flow and
people follow the money automatically.

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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