Deep Europe: The 1996-97 edition
Reader from 1997 containing various texts relating to the Syndicate mailing list and the Deep Europe project, edited by Inke Arns and Andreas Broeckmann.
V2_East, Syndicate, Deep_Europe: The 1996 - 1997 edition
A User's Manual
For almost 22 months now the Syndicate mailing list has been the most important means of communication for the members of the V2_East/Syndicate network. V2_East/Syndicate is a translocal network of people and institutions who are involved in media culture and media art in Europe and who want to create contacts and an infrastructure for projects and cooperations. In the winter of 1995/96, the Rotterdam-based V2_Organisation launched its 'V2_East' initiative, dedicated to enabling and enhancing contacts and co-operations between people interested in media art and media culture in Europe. The most important result of the V2_East initiative has been the formation of the 'Syndicate' network. The name came from a comment that Vladimir Muzhesky from Kiev made during the initial V2_East meeting at the end of the Next 5 Minutes conference in Rotterdam in January 1996: 'Individually, we are rather weak when it comes to negotiating with funding bodies and governments about support for new media and electronic art projects. However, if we could join up and form something like a syndicate, then we would be able to speak with one voice when it is strategically necessary, and become more powerful than we are now.'
Since its first meeting with 30 participants from a dozen east- and west european countries, the V2_East/Syndicate network has been growing continuously. Today, in the autumn of 1997, there are more than 170 participants from 28 European and 3 non-European countries. The network which originally started out as an 'East-West initiative' almost two years ago, has since reached a stage where those symbolically laden terms mean less and less. With its mailing list <email@example.com>, website <http://www.v2.nl/east/> and regular meetings, the Syndicate is becoming an important tool for fostering ties within the media art community and a platform for discussing the changing role of media culture in the 'new Europe'. Over the past two years, we met regularly in the context of festivals and conferences, like at the DEAF festival in Rotterdam (V2_East Meeting on Documentation and Archives of Media Art in Eastern, Central and South-Eastern Europe, September 96), the Video Positive festival in Liverpool (LEAF, April 97), the documenta X in Kassel (Deep_Europe, August 97), or at the ars electronica in Linz (Net.Shop, September 97).
The idea for producing this reader came up during the Deep_Europe workshop which took place at the end of August 1997, during the 10th documenta in Kassel, Germany. For ten days, about 20 members of the V2_East/Syndicate network were guests at the Hybrid WorkSpace at the Orangerie. Besides many other important themes, we discussed the creation of a Syndicate Publication Series. The Series will include original publications and multi-directional trans-lations about Deep European media culture, covering the fields of media theory, media art, media history, politics and media activism concerning the Deep European region. It would be interesting to have various essay collections covering e.g. media theory from a certain country or region. There could be a Russian, a Romanian, a German or a Bulgarian edition, each of which should be put together by an editor from the country or region this essay collection is covering. The idea is that the authors who contribute texts to the essay collections write in their native language. The whole essay collection is then being translated into English and thus made available for an international audience. Another important project within the Syndicate Publication Series is the "cross-language series": Text translations and bilingual publications which could do a lot for the mutual understanding between communities in neighbouring countries (Hungarian-Romanian, Macedonian-Greek, German-Czech, etc.). Especially texts about media theory, philosophy and history are often painfully lacking, and we might think about finding cheap and fast ways of publishing in this field, 'making the differences productive.' The aims of the Syndicate Publication Series are the broadening of the visibility of and the insight into Deep European media culture, thus showing the richness and the diversity of this 'new European' culture.
Deep_Europe: The 1996 - 97 edition
This reader is a first step towards the planned Syndicate Publication Series. Basically, Deep_Europe: The 1996 - 97 edition consists of a collection of essays and texts that were posted on the Syndicate mailing list during the first 22 months of its existence. The 1996 - 97 edition is meant to be a documentation of V2_East/Syndicate's activities since it was created in January 1996 in Rotterdam. You will find four sections in the reader: Texts includes essays, discussion threads and polemics covering a wide variety of themes such as the Soros debate, discussions on 'Art, Power, and Communication' and the changing role of women in Eastern Europe, posted to the list between February 1996 and October 1997. The following section Reports: Travels & Conferences comprises personal impressions from non-virtual trips through Deep Europe, reports on conferences, meetings, and the recent scandal in Montenegro as well as discussions, a diary and some papers delivered at various conferences. The content of the third section Deep_Europe @ Hybrid WorkSpace is quite obvious, but still: here you will find a full version of the creative output of Deep_Europe, the ten day V2_East/Syndicate workshop at Hybrid WorkSpace (July/August 1997, dX, Kassel). Included are the initial concept, interviews with the participants, letters home and from home, suggestions towards a european media policy and some enlightning remarks about the computer game Europa. And finally, the fourth section entitled Fresh Actions includes amazingly fresh deep european activities, such as writing parallel histories of 'the Empire', collections of strange european words, a dive into corporate undergrounds and a report on the impressive hijacking of the dX web site.
Besides that, we have been scanning the archives and came up with a genuine 'historical' document: the original hand-out which was prepared for the first V2_East meeting during Next 5 Minutes in January 1996. As the data body has not been saved, we will confront you with the genuine xeroxed 'original'. Further, we thought that it might be interesting to compile the introductions of the monthly V2_East/Syndicate newsletters, which Andreas Broeckmann has relentlessly been putting together. To get the whole story, just press the button 'Replay', it comes right after this user's manual.
Two or three texts were initially crossposted from Rhizome <www.rhizome.com>, and some more texts were originally posted on the Nettime mailing list <www.desk.nl/~nettime>, whose generosity and support has been an important inspiration for many Syndicate members and activities. We have done only minor editing to the texts, correcting typographical mistakes and adding updated e-mail and web addresses where we know them.
The production of this reader has been made possible with generous support from the OSTranenie 97 festival at the Bauhaus Dessau - thanks!
Inke Arns / Andreas Broeckmann, Berlin / Rotterdam, October 1997