Today's infosphere facilitates quick and easy exchange of digitized information. The tools of creation and the means of distribution are becoming more affordable all the time, continuously expanding the range of creators and users. Yet, not everyone is happy with this. A coalition of large media conglomerates calls for Draconian measures to stop this free flow of information. New restrictive technologies and new oppressive laws are being developed right now, in an attempt to create scarcity out of the digital abundance. The current security fears are manipulated to equate openness with danger in a cynical effort to protect the assets of large industries against the forces of innovation.
Against this backdrop, a counter movement is taking shape that is guided by the idea of 'the commons': resources accessible to all.
Rather than expanding the means of control to catch up with the ease of data processing, this movement takes the free availability of information as its starting point. It recognizes that a free society needs free flows of information, that the attempt to control information quickly leads to controlling people. Creativity - commercial, scientific and artistic - requires the ability to easily and freely built upon what others have created.
The conference will survey the new territory of the commons by bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners from across the spectrum. We want to strengthen the understanding of the shared visions and goals, learn from the different experiences and approaches. We also want to send a signal that, yes, openness is possible, indeed, it's the only direction to move forward.
Location: KARLSPLATZ Project Space, Kunsthalle Wien, Treitlstrasse 2, 1040 Vienna