Lovink, G., in: G. Leidloff: "l o g - i n / l o c k e d  o u t", in: O. Breidbach, K. Clausberg und K.P. Dencker (Hg.): Video, ergo sum, Hamburg 1999


The Next Five Minutes conference in Amsterdam, taking place from March 12 to 14, 1999, will be one of the stations of the l o g - i n / l o c k e d o u t  project by Gabriele Leidloff. The presentation will focus on the aspects of speech <-> narrative structure based on political, social and cultural patterns of networked communication.

In the age of the Network Society, it is tempting to no longer question the communication paradigm. We send and receive messages. In case of failure we are being notified. Lines are busy, fax paper is missing, server access is denied, a mailbox was switched off by mistake and the mobile phone is not able to connect to nearby stations.

The human-to-human misunderstandings reached an atavistic status of the left-behind wetware, are fighting in the back benches of the Techno Concerto, whilst producing little more than background noise.

Gone are the good old days of Post-Modernism. There is no time left for sophisticated studies on derailing exchanges, incomprehensive languages, stumbling discourses, the private universe of the local genius and refined sign systems - unable and unwilling of being converted to the universal standards of current technology.

The earlier advancements of self-referential systems disappear. Self-replicating differentiations turn into protected reservations, ready for commodification, victimized by the touristic, media-driven eyes of the spectators.

This is the time of interrelations. No more closed worlds. This even counts for Internet, which is hardwired to the reality of global capitalism. Escapism is becoming a luxury option for the well-offs, the cultural elites and the left-over aristocrats of vanished centuries. "Cyberspace is our land" now sounds like a romantic slogan of the marginalized cyberpunks, refusing to turn themselves into hippie entrepreneurs.

The "Business-as-usual attitude" has taken over and with it the need for interchangeable components, transparency, regulation and surveillance. The mystery of being sealed off has vanished and been transformed into a state of pitiful redundancy, ready to be pulled into the basket case of human tragedies.

Geert Lovink
Net critic, Amsterdam