Communication Front 2000 Book, "Crossing Points East-West"

Excerpts from the round-table discussions

Jen Southern, United Kingdom:

"The controlling factor is knowledge and communication. We need some kind of controlling factor with which to define our identity. We need this order within the interactive space, so that we can continue to exist and to develop. We need a stepping point, structure, the logic of language.

In communication, a standard is a way to set up a process. The question is how certain questions are posed, which means how certain standards are set. Sometimes one participates in processes, in the creation of products, in which one does not understand the social links. Communication acquires a new meaning in interactive space. In order to understand each other, in order for the social links to develop, it is necessary to accept a certain standard - a common language. If certain processes are skipped, we will repeatedly return to the initial chaos, fall back to the level we started out from.

The question remains: What makes us important, personally as people and authors, in the creation of a common product? We need to decide what we want to say through the site, and how we want to be understood. These are substantial and fundamental points in the working process.

Communication has an entrance and an exit - a provider and a receiver, a producer and a user. These are dependencies."

Tapio Mäkelä, Finland:

"The process of defining standards goes along with the discussion about the interface and the Web design. What key positions do we want to come to the surface? Which values do we define as important to us?"

Dimos Dimitriou, Greece:

"We can choose between two different approaches to the topic, our work and the aims we have through the CFront Web site. These are two totally different principles - the geographic point of view and the virtual approach.

The geographic, subjective approach notes the distinction between the personal and authorship, between the personal and the common, between personal elements and the geographic surrounding.

Communication, this is a new approach. Communication is what creates languages, sometimes even nature. I'm not speaking only about the latest period in which communication has been needed for us to be human, but also about communication as one of the products of the technological society.

The subjective, personal approach is entirely contrary to collaboration. There is a danger that the differences between us are lost in certain standards. I propose that we seek a common approach, but that we remain critical enough so that geographical differences are visible right away in the different parts of our common project."

Steve Bradley, USA:

"What does all this mean on a practical level?"

Alexandru Patatics, Romania:

"Maybe it will be very important to discuss structure first. Through the structure we can find our personal approaches - the different points, how these relationships form the inner structure. Structure turns into relation and constructs our relationships within the common Web project."

One of us:

"How can we present the critical discussions on the Web site? This effort to divide, in the sense of being here or there. The difference in location must be present. But it cannot be the key element, and of course the question about technical standards is quite important. Art is never created in a vacuum. We can start out with the topics that are imposed from the outside, and the critical discussion existing from within."

Jane Brake, United Kingdom:

"We need to find our new values, need to relate to our local languages in a project like this that is linked to the Net. We can see how the values imposed by language are broken up in a list or a poem that assembles different words.

In the project we are working on for CFront we are looking at the social link between language and communication. The words acquire different characteristics. The meaning and working of the words is not limited to passing on information. The words possess attributive and rating features that form the social actions. The hierarchy of words changes the social structures.

There is a similar situation in English, in which the dynamic of how racism and relations towards people who are coming from Eastern Europe works is changed. For instance, bogus asylum seeker cannot directly be translated to Bulgarian.

This all has to do with the idea of home, of belonging to a group of people, with the social and political state, the geographic belonging, with what it means to live in a different social situation, what it means to live in a limited urban environment."

Honor Harger, New Zealand/United Kingdom:

"In the problem of translation there are different ways of thinking, the idea of getting lost in the labyrinth of thoughts, and the idea of intellectual junk. It's interesting to speak about the role of translation for the CFront Web site and within our topic of crossing points. Some words do not exist in other languages. The question is how to visualize this fact in the working process. The point is not only about interpretation, but rather about how you feel at home. These things cannot be translated. Their remain blanks."

Geert Lovink, Netherlands/Australia:

"We still have no defined, final aim. This requires the efforts of many people, so that we can find out some definition or answer to the topic posed. Let's make a debate about East and West, comment on it and use it for the Web site."

Tapio Mäkelä, Finland:

"Some discourses on the new media, especially about the translocal and the global, are nothing new and can be found back in the socialist and communist discourse."

Eric Kluitenberg, Netherlands:

"I would like to come back to socialism, which is becoming a forbidden word in Western Europe. In a similar way, when the economic vocabulary dominates, any social activity will be described in economic terms. The economic vocabulary may be seen as a common language, a standard. An example of this is how the idea of the citizen is being replaced by the idea of the user."

Nina Czegledy, Hungary/Canada:

"In social and institutionalized relationships we either use softer words that hide certain relations or we do not at all speak about certain things. An interesting example of this is how the student becomes a client."

Tapio Mäkelä, Finland:

"In communication it seems as if the very media is the common language. When we speak of the new economy, about different classes, about unemployment, when socialism and similar processes are mentioned, we are not looking for a final result. In our case we need to look for things in common, for links."

Ana Peraica, Croatia/Netherlands:

"It looks like this has come up in Communication Front. The idea of the interface can be used to hide some differences. Our debate reminds me of the discussions of communist times, where it's not the final result that is so important. New and newer ideas are invented, without looking for anything concrete.

These ideas pile up as intellectual junk. The ideas continue to exist in different forms to this day. To what extent is the idea of communism radioactive and can contaminate, irradiate?"

Alain Kessi, Switzerland/Bulgaria:

"Already during the industrial revolution in Europe and the introduction of machines, there was sabotage of machines. People took the side of the attacks against technology. It's very important to distinguish between the technological means and our wishes, to keep in mind the context in which technologies are launched - the relation between our personal needs and technological control. The algorithmic logic stands against the logic of life. Technologies and life are complete opposites. The historic force behind the development of technologies does not take into account the needs of people.

You see technology as a means to attack the system. I'll be curious to understand how a critique of the Internet can be presented on the Internet! Maybe through some kind of self-irony. Let's destroy the Net!"

Dimos Dimitriou, Greece:

"I don't think that we can make an absolute distinction between technologies and the real life of contemporary people like this."

Nina Czegledy, Hungary/Canada:

"Our project for the CFront Web site interprets the idea of the impossibility to make a unified package of criteria and values in the language of technology. The difficulty of translating languages through the language of informatics is not only a symbol of the different linguistic codes, but also a search for compatibility of languages and machines. The language of information technology imposes a definite logic and limitations. The message attains a different form. It is clear that with the means of the machine language it is impossible to translate a linguistic text, genetic codes, linguistic concepts."

Tazi statiq na bylgarski / This text in Bulgarian
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