Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE credits
It has been claimed that there was a clear correlation between the fall of the Soviet Unionin 1991 and the exponential growth and democratization of information technology in thelater decades of the 20th century. The last head of state of the Soviet Union, MikhailGorbachev, admitted in 2005 that emerging decentralized electronic communication was“a big factor” for fostering democracy in the Soviet Union.1For my generation, born in the late 1980’s, computers and the Internet are used on a dayto-day basis and provide possibilities that, for the most part, lead to less dramaticconsequences. On the other hand, I believe that these information technologiesnevertheless force us to constantly reevaluate norms about the relationships betweenconsumer and business companies and private and public life.My practice is founded in an examination of questions about media, popular culture,consumers and real events; more specifically how communication and trading systemsbetween these “territories” are organized and what effects it has on culture. I will in thischapter give a description of recent developments in information technologies. Althoughbrief and simplified, it serves to illustrate how they help to determine the ways in whichwe consume culture.It may be impossible to summarize “post-Cold War culture” but one definingcharacteristic is the decreasing distance between the professional and the amateur.Today’s hackers and bedroom programmers may turn into tomorrow’s billionaireentrepreneurs, as a result of the information age. In this fairly new situation, culturalconsumption, production and exchange of media often occurs in front of screens.As the view of the consumer and the audience as passive entities becomes more nuanced,so too does old notions about visual communication and interaction. A 21st centurycitizen is equipped with different - some say significantly better - tools for reading,decoding and reacting to media than a person living in the early 1900’s.2The dreams of a totally transparent Internet/society, born in the minds of cyber pioneersin the 1980’s, have not yet crystallized. Neither have we seen a true, global “creativeclass” come to fruition.2 Despite this, one could sense that today’s consumers are to alarge extent a cross between consumers and producers, givers and takers. Americanmedia scholar and professor at University of Southern California, Henry Jenkins, writesabout this cultural and technological shift:Rather than talking about media producers and consumers as occupying separateroles, we might now see them as participants who interact with each otheraccording to a new set of rules that none of us fully understands. Not allparticipants are created equal. Corporations – and even individuals withincorporate media – still exert greater power than any individual consumer or eventhe aggregate of consumers. And some consumers have greater abilities toparticipate in this emerging culture than others.3If there is any truth to this description, one must ask what the implications are for asociety that is partially governed by a new set of puzzling rules. It is not always simple tomap out a definitive answer of who will succeed in being heard and seen. As Jenkinswrites, a power struggle still exists. Questions that are linked to these matters are part ofthe framework of my artistic practice.
2011. , 15 p.