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Das Wiener Experiment als Prototyp urbaner Selbstorganisation in Digitalen Künsten und Kulturen

“The best Critique of something is to improve on it.” – Such a challenge towards a constructive attitude is also a valid introduction to the “Vienna Experiment”. It may be the world´s first project of its kind. In parallel to the development of Facebook and the Web 2.0 since the year 2004, some dozens of Viennese actors have been conceptualizing translation methods of self organization and swarm intelligence known from their participation in online communities to their local
scenes of Digital Arts & Cultures. The interest of the City Politics for Culture and a 700% increase of the free budget then lead to the emergence of a highly diverse “meta-community” of local and international players. The participants range from Net-, Media- and Concept artists to digital freedom activists, from security professionals who work for a bank in daytime to media theoreticians and economic scientists, from VJs and electronic musicians to nerd cabaret artists, from network technology experts to social utopians and young programming talents on their way to found the first start-up.

In the beginning, a collective Einbildungskraft (I. Kant) was necessary to desgin a practical alternative to the data-flow organization in a 20th century jury process that decides on allocations for funding in “New Media”. Over the years, again a jury model has played its part in Vienna, but this time with internationally acclaimed persons voted on by the community. In retrospect, for over 5 years and under the name netznetz.net, no less than 2.5 Millionen Euro have been “re-distributed” in an innovative manner, flows of money have been coupled with flows of attention. More than 450 actors were enabled to support their favorite projects and, in parallel, become something like co-curators of their creative environment. At no point of time has the model been governed by a hierarchical gremium or classical Verein.

In the meantime, some international hacker guests or curators speak of Vienna as a much-admired and most clearly structured scenes of Digital Arts & Cultures in Europe, others of the becoming visible of a rising abuse of power from the side of the city administration, some, again, of blatant social cannibalism, some of a communicative Gesamtkunstwerk on par with our technological Zeitgeist.

The talk will reflect on experiences that have been made concerning possibilities of and limits to interoperability between groups in Digital Arts & Cultures and a shared information space between them. It will introduce some elements of annual dramaturgy for meeting, funding and celebrating and present exemplary project results of such a prototype of a “funding 2.0″ scenario. This will include distribution models based on game theoretical analysis, a validation board for the build-up of a group of more than 400 people allowed to allocate funding, or methods for an anonymous registration of distribution flows in real time. The Vienna Experiment, from the `Third Man´ to the Self-Organisation of a Multi-Valued Urban Space.