|NETCAST CHANNEL PROJECT
In many post-industrial economies, increased bandwidth is just around the corner, which will allow live video transmission over the net with the quality of television. Even the third generation of mobile phones, now being developed, will allow video to be recorded and transmitted in real time. This playing field is animated by so many competing interests: the jockeying of media conglomerates is over who will set the standards, control the access, etc., to the immersive commercial information society now in formation. We are talking about a system from which most of the world will be excluded. It is crucial to pay attention to who will speak, who will be represented. As media practitioners we must act fast, developing ways of bringing others into this system: of interjecting diverse presences, opening up heterogeneous cultural axes, pushing toward a politics of presence in the networks. The stakes are high. For those who think 500 channels is a lot : well, soon we will have 500,000. Where do you want to go today ?
We are not only talking about a medium, but a new kind
" communication can also be defined as the constant effort
PROJECT DESCRIPTION :
This project proposes a format for a netcast channel. Here is how it works. Each 'program' revolves around a particular news event. We will begin with the recent American strikes in Iraq. There is a central switching-station, which can route a series of live or recorded video feeds, which are sent from local stations or personal video recorders. These transmissions are very particular regional perspectives on the event - local articulations that see the same event differently. On the interface itself, the links allow you to access these perspectives. Therefore, you read the event by viewing it through several cultural conduits at the same time. The event provides a rallying point around which many people speak, and through which many presences become known. A public space is opened up around it.
The event can be interpreted via commercial broadcast or personally, by recording it as it occurs, by recording its aftermath, by recording the impact it is having on local culture, by recording a specific cultural reception of it, etc., or by simply turning the camera upon oneself and speaking about it, assuming the role of a newscaster. A text overlay will appear over the image, providing information, which can be translated when translation software improves. Ideally, one can flag the system and 'pull up a chair' to intervene. The only requirement is that one deals with the same event. Rather than sampling many news events around the world from one viewpoint, like CNN does, and rather than providing a batch of links that disperse one's attention and encourage surfing, as is the rule on the Web, this channel stays focused on one event for a substantial period of time. It fractures open the singularity of the event, by probing deep within it and scattering the places from which you are seeing it. It forces you to move about, occupying several often incompatible positions, in a kind of movement that is very different from hyperlink clicking. It uses the event as a device to foreground networks, to mobilize diverse presences, to introduce ranges of issues.
Here artistic image strategies will have a place alongside established news media. The critical will have a place alongside the commercial. This is very important as there are no venues on this scale where critical network practices can hold their own against commercial media, existing side-by-side. We have to invent them. Access to the means of representation means power in the information age. And for those of us who do have the power of access there is the responsibility to project the outside into the field of view. The question is : when we do have the video cameras in our hands, when we do have the access to this enormous medium of distribution, exchange, and presentation, what will we say ? How can critical media gain power, how can it have space in the public eye ?
Release date : June 1999