The Net.congestion festival was held in Amsterdam in October 2000. Net.congestion was an intensive three day celebration and critique of the new cultures that have arisen from all forms of micro-, narrow- and broad-casting via the internet collectively known as streaming media.
Although the event coincided with high water mark of the dot.com hysteria it was, nevertheless seen at the time as an antidote to either the hyped up networking events of the industry or rigidities of academic conferences; in contrast Net.congestion offered a celebration of art and networked technology on the fringes of misuse, a snapshot of the back alleys and secret corners where the real life of the internet happens. A place where the worlds of experimental art, weird science, club culture and radical politics overlap and collide. Its not that the key issues implicit in the fusion of the internet with broadcast media won't be found on this archive, the event covered most of the interesting ground, from the transformation of issues surrounding intellectual property to the uses of streaming as a mobilization tool for global resistance through to the more rarefied questions of aesthetics and how narratives are transformed when embedded in networks. However the overwhelming experience of many visitors to Net.congestion was a sense of tools, networks and sensibilities being re-purposed, returning us again and again us to a primary experience of the net as a social space.
Netcongestion occurred just months before dot.com bubble burst, exploding the 'new economy' and 'the long boom' with its fantasies of a world in which the economic laws of gravity had been repealed. There is no doubt that if the same event were to be held now the atmosphere would be markedly different. It is not that Net.congestion was an industry event which depended on the hype for its existence, the very title indicates that we mixed a healthy dose of skepticism with our festivities. But none of us, however critical, can entirely escaped the zeitgeist and there is no doubt that in those brief heady days Warhol's aphorism was re-written; we could all dream of becoming billionaires, if only for 15 minutes. A strange historical phase when (particularly for anyone involved in streaming media) the normally fixed boundaries between business, art, technology, science fantasy and just plain bullshit temporarily blurred to create a moment of unique cultural hysteria. In that sense our timing was perfect.
Geert Lovink (Reader Editorial)
Galit Eilat (Curator of Media Bank)
Particpating and Sponsoring Organisations
Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst
DFM rtv Int.
HKU - Facility for Media & Technology, MFA/PHD Program
Kunst En Televisie Stichting (K.E.T.S)
Montevideo / TBA / NMI
NOB - Bright Alley
Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
r a d i o q u a l i a
Thuis Kopie Funds
Lucas Evers (co-ordination)
Patrizia Baldin (publicity & assistant producer)
Gerbrand Oudenaarden (Technical Producer)
Justin Kniest (Paradiso)
Kees Brienen (Paradiso)
Boris van Vorstenbosch (Melkweg)
Aske Hopman (De Waag)
Robert de geus (Montevideo)
Nik Gaffney (Design)
XS4ALL Web Development (Layout and SMIL / Archive Encoding)
Michiel van der Haagen (Lifesaver)
Marta van der Haagen (Lifesaver)