Shared Digital Futures

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* Conference: Shared Digital Futures; June 12/14/15, 2013 in Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien / Project Space, Karlsplatz, MAK, Rhiz


Shared Digital Futures is a two day conference that explores the impact of digital network technologies for cultural production. (Kunsthalle Wien, Rhiz)


The New Access to Culture is a workshop and public debate on Austrian cultural institutions and their digital future. (MAK Wien) Program →

Over the last decade digitization has reached deep into our societies, invaded the archives, transformed production and distribution. The established divisions of labor are called into question, and deep challenges emerge to the theory and practice of in many domains of culture.

A diverse group of people – artists, researchers, critics, entrepreneurs and an engaged audience – will exchange experiences, debate ideas and reflect on some essential challenges:

  • How can expanded access to digital networks benefit diverse cultural landscapes?
  • What opportunities are offered by the blurring of boundaries between artists and audiences?
  • What does it mean when cultural works are both finished works and material for new works?

The popular resistance against ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) in early 2012 showed that current attempts to support established business models in culture have reached an impasse. Simply expanding copyright legislation and enforcement is not only not working, but also politically no longer viable. This has led to a number of outcries by authors and publishers who see the basis of Western culture threatened, but relatively little in terms of new ideas and approaches how to adapt to the changing times. Is there simply a change from old monopolies, based on copyright, financing and distribution, to new monopolies, based on access, intelligent filtering and interactivity?

But then the future is unwritten and there is an urgent need to examine these issues. “Shared Digital Futures” contributes to this debate from the point-of-view of a new solidarity between artists and audiences, of innovative cultural producers and engaged publics. A view where increased access is matched with increased opportunities.

Participants include: Philippe Aigraine (FR), Michel Bauwens (BE), Ewen Chardronnet (FR), Dirk Gehlen (DE), Lena Henningsen (DE), Eric Kluitenberg (NL), Jamie King (UK), Zoe Leela (DE), Jonathan Saldanha (PT), Olivier Schulbaum (SP) a.o.

“Shared Digital Futures” will feature panel presentation, open debates, hands-on workshops and live performances." (



Politics of Sharing

16:00 – 18:00 h

The rise of sharing as a new paradigm is embedded in large-scale social and political transformations. Some speak of the 3rd industrial revolution; others envision a world beyond capitalism. While the crisis of the traditional paradigms, particularly in the cultural industry is a matter of daily experience, is necessary to understand more about the larger dynamics driving this. How to understand these transformations? How to develop models that do not simply support new business cycles but rather increase transparency and participatory aspects? How can such a new model relate to state and markets?

Funding the Commons

18:00 – 20:00 h

From Free Software to Wikipedia, from Alpine meadows to new urban gardens, the commons are increasingly identified as an alternative mode of production; a model which rather provides use-value to communities than exchange-value to markets. However, immediately the question of how to finance these commons is raised. If this is to be sustainable beyond certain niches, there is a need to raise money outside the commodities exchange market. State support plays a role, but cannot provide the main funding. A new regulatory framework needs to find a balance of interests to maintain and expand the commons. Different models of how to address this question will be investigated with a focus on the field of art and culture. How to realize the benefits of a commons and what are pitfalls to be avoided?