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*Anyone Can Edit*: Understanding the Produser

The Cultural Studies Concentration of Eugene Lang College & the Institute for Distributed Creativity present:

*Anyone Can Edit*: Understanding the Produser
Dr Axel Bruns
Creative Industries Faculty
Queensland University of Technology

10.00AM-11.40AM Tuesday 11th October
room 215 in the Graduate Faculty Buiding
65 5th Avenue (between 14th and 13th sts)
New York, NY

Recent decades have seen the dual trend of growing digitization of content, and of increasing availability of sophisticated tools for creating, manipulating, publishing, and disseminating that content. Advertising campaigns openly encourage users to ŒRip. Mix. Burn.‚ and to share the fruits of their individual or collaborative efforts with the rest of the world. The Internet has smashed the distribution bottleneck of older media, and the dominance of the traditional producer > publisher > distributor value chain has weakened. Marshall McLuhan‚s dictum Œeveryone‚s a publisher‚ is on the verge of becoming a reality * and more to the point, as the Wikipedia proudly proclaims, *anyone can edit.*

The effect of these changes is not simply more (and more informed) consumption, however * we are not turning into Alvin Toffler‚s Œprosumers‚: consumers with an almost professional level of knowledge about what they consume, but consumers nonetheless. Instead, the networked and hypermediated persona that emerges is a very different beast: users are becoming active producers of content in a variety of open and collaborative environments. Whether it is as members of the distributed development and testing community for open source software projects, as authors, editors, and fact-checkers for one of the multi-lingual Wikipedia sites, as reporters, commentators, and pundits in open news publications ranging from South Korean citizen news site OhmyNews to tech-nerd haven Slashdot, or as global explorers and annotators for Google Earth, they are no longer producers or consumers, publishers or audiences, but both at the same time. They are not prosumers, but user-producers: produsers.

While born perhaps out of a collaborative, open source ideology, produsing is now increasingly recognized as both a challenge and an opportunity by business and governments alike. For example, the Sims range of games relies overwhelmingly on its users as content produsers * 90% of content in The Sims itself is contributed by user-produsers. Similarly, Brisbane-based games company Auran has established a community of produsers around its popular train simulator Trainz, with some 200,000 *assets‚ (locomotives, carriages, scenery and other elements) prodused so far. BBC News Online and other agencies now regularly call for their users to send in camera phone footage of unfolding events. And Trendwatching.com even sees a whole *Generation C‚ of produsers emerging before our very eyes.

More broadly, the Chinese government is in the process of initiating a shift in its economic focus from Œmade in China‚ to Œcreated in China‚, aiming to turn the country from the world‚s factory to the world‚s ideas generator. This shift, with its strong links to the recognition by European and Australian governments of the creative industries as a key economic driver, also builds on the move from users to produsers * it seeks to harness collaborative, grassroots creativity as a means of generating new ideas and new content (while at the same time attempting to maintain state control of the process).

So who are these produsers * and how will they fare in the light of increasing business and government involvement? As economic interests begin to explore ways to generate revenue from produsage, will they undermine its collaborative foundations, and will they reintroduce a regime of stricter intellectual property licensing? Or can the grassroots movement of produsers effect lasting change in our engagement with content, establishing a solid foothold for creative commons and other alternative IP licensing systems, and developing an equitable approach to relationships between the produser community and commercial partners?


Dr Axel Bruns
Creative Industries Faculty
Queensland University of Technology
Brisbane, Australia

Axel is currently researcher-in-residence at the Institute for Distributed Creativity. He teaches and conducts research about online publishing, electronic creative writing, online communities and popular music in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (New York: Peter Lang, 2005), and a founding editor of the online academic publications M/C * Media and Culture <http://www.media-culture.org.au/> and dotlit: The Online Journal of Creative Writing <http://www.dotlit.qut.edu.au/>.

He is currently preparing Uses of Blogs (with Joanne Jacobs), an edited collection of scholarly work examining the range of current approaches to blogging (forthcoming from Peter Lang in 2006). More information about this book and other research projects and publications can be found in his blog at http://snurb.info/.

Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

The Institute for Distributed Creativity

08:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Net_User_3 Bulgarian Conference on Media Art



Net User’s mission is to research, analyze and give understanding about the variety of practices in the global network and their current development. The conference aims to initiate collaboration among creative parties developing various Internet activities and to provoke public interest in new media art and culture locally and internationally.

08:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Mousetrap

An international conference on dealing with institutions in contemporary curatorial practice

Dedicated to the memory of Rube Goldberg

WYSPA Institute of Art in Gdansk October 15-16, 2005

Organized by Wyspa Progress Foundation in Gdansk and Büro Kopernikus in Berlin

Participants: Barnabas Bencsik, Nicolas Bourriaud, Sebastian Cichocki, Hedwig Fijen, Maria Hussakowska, Maria Lind, Dorota Monkiewicz, Sune Nordgren, Nicolas Schafhausen, Barbara Steiner, Jaroslaw Suchan, Andrzej Szczerski, Thomas Wulffen

Conference curators: Aneta Szylak, Andrzej Szczerski

“Institution” became a keyword in the debates on art and art theory. At the same time, artists started to confront the institution critically. In their eye, “institution” was perceived as the embodiment of art-world power but also as a world-on-its-own, waiting
to be deconstructed. In contrast to anti-institutional movements in the 1960s, the contemporary reflection was pronounced in new post-conceptual language. Besides, artists no longer wanted to abandon the institutions, but rather reflect on how to enter into a dialogue with them. The principal task was to negotiate and not to avoid.

The term “Mousetrap” in this context is being used in conjunction with Rube Goldberg’s machine project, which influenced the imagination of many, starting from artists and ending with computer game creators. The very idea of big and funny machinery that accomplishes a little appears to be a good metaphor for the ambiguity with which the art institution is being seen today.  The entrapment of the artists or the
curator, and sometimes even the artwork, in the context of a complicated and structured institutional engine is more than a shared conviction. It is a commonplace. But there is a treat inside the trap that makes it also alluring and attractive. The question we are asking through the conference is the position of the curator working within the institutional structure and outside it. How can one overcome the
obstacles of institutionalization? Are there any subversive strategies that allow the independent curator to collaborate with such a structure? What about an independent becoming a part or even the head of an institution? How can the artists circumnavigate the boundaries of an institutional framework? And what about new concepts and examples of institutions, anti-institutions or quasi-institutions?

There is a good portion of new and innovative projects or older institutions getting a refreshed image in the reaction to the collapsing institutional décor. Regardless of that, the availability of funding for spectacular institutional projects puts art professionals into the game between fulfilling public expectations and realizing individualistic ideas. Focusing on this cultural phenomenon, “The Mousetrap” brings together curators working within and outside these structures, as well as art theorists and historians. Many of them share their expertise between the fields of theory and practice. The intention of the conference is to give an insight into today’s reflections and practices in encounters with institutions.

Located intentionally at Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdansk – an experimental and quasi-institutional environment for contemporary visual culture – the conference appears in Poland in the context of an ongoing local debate about the contemporary art museum in Warsaw and  the regional collections of contemporary art, which are to be the nuclei of future local museums. Within the plethora of conferences, this particular one is intended to be the theoretical and practical point of reference for the debate, bringing a more international voice, and to mine the conventional ideas and strategies in this field.

[i] Rube Goldberg was the American cartoonist “who drew intricate diagrams of very complicated and impractical contraptions that accomplished little or nothing (1883-1970)” See Reuben Lucius Goldber at www.answers.com

10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Art Formerly Known As New Media

An exhibition to mark the 10th anniversary of the Banff New Media Institute
Curated by Sarah Cook and Steve Dietz
Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre
September 17 - October 23 2005

Shu Lea Cheang, Francesca da Rimini, Sara Diamond, Garnet Hertz, irational.org, Michael Naimark, Greg Niemeyer, r a d i o q u a l i a, Catherine Richards, Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg, Maciej Wisniewski

September 17 1 pm (in JPL 204): Artists' Talks - Garnet Hertz and 
Greg Niemeyer followed by performances of the works of Greg 
Niemeyer and Catherine Richards in the gallery

September 17 2 pm (in the gallery): Curators' Tour of the exhibition and Opening reception

Press Release and images available:

Souvenir t-shirts available also!

05:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Common Hands



In recent years, a renewed interest in collective work and activity can be discerned more and more clearly in the art world. Collaborations of various sorts Ð between artists and artists, artists and curators, artists and others Ð have begun to appear as alternatives to the predominant focus on the individual so often found in the art world. At the same time, these collaborative efforts often constitute a response to specific, at times local, situations, and they constantly run the risk of being swallowed up and incorporated into the very systems against which they are reacting. In a variety of projects, the form and basis of collective activities have been presented, examined, and called into question: how people work on a short-term basis, as well as on more long-term bases; how they spread their attention across various subjects, methods, lifestyles, different political orientations; how they hope for some kind of emancipation; and last but not least, what sort of satisfaction results from working in a group.* Taking the Matter into Common Hands is a symposium in two parts which, against the background of this development in the art world, seeks to map these activities and to discuss the working relations and conditions of artists and other producers of culture. It also aims at exploring the future prospects for the kind of collective action in the art world that is geared towards long-term research and production of knowledge.

11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

WWW Collaboration Projects


This is a list of resources about collaboration technologies and WWW projects that support collaboration by participants.  Please add others to the responses below or on the appropriate page.

11:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ubicomp 2005


UbiComp 2005, the Seventh International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, will be held September 11-14, 2005 in Tokyo, Japan. The annual conference provides the premier forum in which to present research results in all areas relating to the design, implementation, application and evaluation of ubiquitous computing technologies, bringing together leading researchers from a variety of disciplines and geographical areas who are exploring the frontiers of computing as it moves beyond the desktop and becomes increasingly interwoven into the fabrics of our lives.
Last year, over 400 people attended the UbiComp 2004 conference, representing 4 continents, 24 countries and a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives. 

11:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposim on Podcasting


Duke University is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the first-ever academic symposium on podcasting from September 27-28 of this year. The two-day event will feature a hands-on podcasting workshop, as well as panel discussions of the economic/business, legal, political, journalistic, and cultural impacts of podcasting by bringing together prominent members of the podcasting community with policymakers, scholars, and media experts.

The symposium is being held in conjunction with the Duke Digital Initiative and is the result of a collaboration among several departments and centers at Duke, including the Information Science + Information Studies program, the Jenkins Chair in New Technologies & Society, Office of the Vice-Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies, The John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Center for Instructional Technology, Center for Documentary Studies, Program in Film/Video/Digital, DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, Duke Law School, Fuqua School of Business, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Music, and the Department of Cultural Anthropology.

The symposium will be free of charge and open to the public. The symposium proceedings will also be webcasted, videocasted, and (of course) podcasted. Addresses for the various feeds will be announced soon. 

11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)