House of World Cultures Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Net forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin
Themes and Questions

Association of Friends - HKW


At the ISAD Conference in South Africa in May 1996, Thabo Mbeki, Executive President of the host country, noted in response to the promise of a »Global Information Society« that half of all humanity had never made a telephone call. Without question, there is a large discrepancy between the announcement of a »digital age« and the reality of the lesser developed regions of the world.

However, in spite of all limitations and disproportions, Internet is becoming increasingly wide-spread, even there. This forum is therefore meant to focus on the chances which Internet use can provide the cultural exchange with and between Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America. In any case, there exists for the first time a medium by which one's own culture, independent of established mediation structures, can be brought closer to an audience of millions around the world.

Questions at the forum's start, in October 1998:
•   Can the Internet help to overcome the dichotomy between »curated and curating cultures«?
Does the medium contribute to the changing of established value systems? Does the Internetās dissolution of geographical borders support a multicentric view of art, and thereby the overcoming of the »center-periphery« paradigm?
What sort of cultural interactions between local and translocal agents exist on the Internet? How does the interaction function in translocal contexts?
What experience has been made with culture-overlapping Internet projects, brought into existence through the initiative or with the definitive participation of African, Asian or Latin American artists?
What has been genuinely useful until now in building cultural networks on the Internet?
What repercussions would be felt by the »real« cultural operation system by working with the Internet?

The most important topics, discussed in the first phase of the forum (12 October - 22 December, 1998) are summarized in the Intermediate Evaluation.

All incoming contributions from this period, the 10 introductory statements, 9 weekly reviews and additional texts can be found in the Documentation.

If you are interested in taking part in or following the discussion, please join the mailing list - see Modalities.

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Project direction: Gerhard Haupt -

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