The Zurich Node of the Planetary Collegium. Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

Trebor Scholz

About the Research The Internet: Playground and factory

This research is about a participatory turn in the use of emerging alternative web media in the digital commons. Participation in web-based environments is not automatic. Very little research has been carried out to discover the motivations for online collaboration. The study will investigate online participation in the fields of 1) political media activism, 2) conference organization, 3) networked cultural production, and 4) media education.With a geographic focus on the United States, the concentration on these areas is new because current research almost exclusively caters to the optimization of corporate efficiency. The field of media education is as understudied as that of alternative social web media. The author chose the mentioned four areas because they are domains in which cooperation-enhancing tools enable alternative economies2. The outlined research will argue that there are new, web-based, collaborative environments that can perhaps function as model for the rethinking of offline civic participation, which is on the decline according to sociologists such as Robert Putnam3. This paper suggests that there is a participatory turn in online behavior. Browsing “net publics” become content providers. They use, customize, author, and contribute web-based materials. The paper concludes with a reflection on the future of alternative social web media threatened by plans for a multi-tiered or centrally controlled Internet in which open protocols are taken over by corporate enclosures as well as access and digital rights management. The author examines the outlined terrain by combining a literature review with examples and in-depth case studies as well as his own reflections and analysis. About the Researcher Trebor Scholz is a German-born, New York-based media artist, writer and organizer who works collaboratively and individually in the fields of media art, event-based cultural practice, new media arts education, and media archeology. He currently teaches at the New York University. His works have been exhibited at the the Venice Biennial (with Martha Rosler/ The Fleas), Hull Time Based Arts, the Sao Paulo Biennial, the Web Biennial of the Istanbul Museum for Contemporary Art and many other venues. Scholz has facilitated several large scale programs such as " Labor" at New York University (2009) "FreeCooperation" (2004, with Geert Lovink), "Right2Fight" (with Dominique Malaquais), "Politics Is Not Enough" (in 2002 at the Santa Fe Art Institute), "At Walmart It Still Looks the Same"(at Bauhaus-University, Weimar and ACC Gallery in 2001), "Crisis in the Middle East" (at The University of Arizona), "Aestheticization of War" (co-curated with Nomads in Residency at PS1), and Kosov@: Carnival in the Eye of the Storm (2000). He has lectured at Symposium on Electronic Arts (Helsinki, Tallin), Multimedia Art Asia Pacific Conference (Singapore), Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art (Helsinki, NIFCA), Stanford University, NewMediaNation (Bratislava, Slovakia), Version3 (N5M, Chicago), Tactical Media Lab at New York University, PS1 (Contemporary Art Center New York City), Haute Ecole d'Art (Geneva, Switzerland), University of California Los Angeles, Dartmouth College, Academy of Visual Arts (Leipzig, Germany), San Francisco State University, University of California San Diego, and The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Website