Disrupting Business @ Art Meets Radical Openness

radical_art_servus_52mmTatiana Bazzichelli is curating a Disrupting Business Conference Track at the Art Meets Radical Openness Festival in Linz, Austria (28 May – 1 June, 2014).

The festival, under the theme “Autonomy (im)possible?”, is dedicated to art, hacktivism and open culture and organised by Us(c)hi Reiter – servus.at, with the contributions of external curators: among Tatiana Bazzichelli, Heath Bunting, and Margaritha Köhl (read more about the team here).

Disrupting Business at Art Meets Radical Openness Festival

The increasing commercialisation of sharing and networking contexts is transforming the meaning of art and that of business. Business is progressively adopting hacker and artistic strategies of disruption in the field of social media and information technology. In the business culture, disruption not only means rupture, but innovation and the re-design of behavioural tendencies, acting in ways that the market does not expect.

The Wikipedia Encyclopaedia shows the example of ‘new-market disruption’ caused by the GNU/ Linux Operating System, which initially was inferior in performance to other server operating systems like Unix and Windows NT, but by being less expensive and collectively improved, in 2010 Linux was installed in 87.8% of the worlds 500 fastest supercomputers. As pointed out by Tatiana Bazzichelli in her book Networked Disruption (2013) and in Disrupting Business (co-edited with Geoff Cox, 2013), to investigate the progressive commercialisation of sharing and networking platforms, it is necessary to understand business culture from within. What is the challenge facing artists and activists working on a critical dimension of networking?

Saturday May 31, 19:00-19:40
## Disrupting Business: Towards a Critique of Art & Activism
by Tatiana Bazzichelli

At the core of this presentation is Tatiana Bazzichelli’s research on business disruption as artistic and activist practice. Her hypothesis, described in the book Networked Disruption (2013) is that mutual interferences between art, hacktivism and the business of social networking have changed the meaning and contexts of political and technological criticism. Hackers and artists have been active agents in business innovation, while at the same time also undermining business. Artists and hackers use disruptive techniques of networking within the framework of social media, opening up a critical perspective towards business to generate unpredictable feedback and unexpected reactions; business enterprises apply disruption as a form of innovation to create new markets and network values, which are often just as unpredictable.

Bazzichelli proposes the concept of the Art of Disrupting Business as a form of artistic practice within the current economical and political framework. The notion of disrupting business becomes a means for reflecting on immanent practices of hackers, artists, networkers and entrepreneurs, highlighting empirical and theoretical interconnections and contradictions, as multiple layers of intervention.

Saturday May 31, 20:30 – 22:30
## Openness and Liberty as Business Disruption
Panel with Marc Garrett /Furtherfield, Karlessi /Ippolita collective,
Nathaniel Tkacz /MoneyLab. Moderated by Tatiana Bazzichelli.

This panel traces the shift in the meaning of “openness” and “liberty” in relation to forms of “business disruption”. Since some years a certain vocabulary of freedom and peer collaboration has been adopted by the rhetoric of IT business and social networking. Do-It-Yourself, sharing knowledge, hackability, and similar concepts first witnessed in the underground interventionist realm of hacker culture and networked art are today the core business for many enterprises. Many hackers and activists have pointed out that the rhetoric behind Web 2.0 has been via a progressive appropriation – and often, disambiguation – of hacker and cyber utopias of the 1980s-1990s.

In this panel activists and critical thinkers reflect on the subject of co-optation of radical values by business models, shedding light on the constant paradox of being functional to the system while trying to disrupt it. Are openness and liberty forms of business disruption by empowering flexible mechanisms of revenues and the technical genealogy” of anarcho-capitalism?

# Insider Liberties: A Technical Genealogy of Cryptography by Karlessi.
From cypherpunks to WikiLeaks and beyond. We will trace a genealogy of liberties’ concepts and their technical implementations, leading from the cypherpunk movement (1990s) to WikiLeaks. We will focus specifically on cryptography as the key-concept in order to foster, and defend, liberties. Cryptography is in some way a disruptive concept and practice. In this endeavour, we only use archives, to employ a foucaldian terminology (Foucault 1969), provided by documents widely published on the Web. We don’t have any insider information, leak or whistle-blown secret. Nevertheless, we are insiders via our methodology because we are not stranger to this genealogy, we are part of it, we are involved in the construction of digital worlds since before the Web. We just use a vast amount of data and act as human filters to reconstruct a reliable account in reasonably good time.

# Marc Garrett will discuss the critical intentions behind Furtherfield, its online community, the physical Gallery space, and the new Furtherfield Commons and lab space, and its role as a radical arts collective. For over 17 years Furtherfield has engaged in Art, Technology and Social Change. Through this grounded knowledge, he and his peers have witnessed that the mainstream art world as becoming less relevant, due its reliance on neoliberal values through its unregulated, marketing economies. If we are to disrupt the powers these conditions we need to build beyond our silos and offer valid forms of imaginative emancipation, we need something closer to people’s actual needs. He sees connections between Radical Enlightenment from the 1800s, to new forms of critical theory and art activism as possible solutions, and this includes the practices of Hacktivism, Situationism, Net Art, Media Art practice, P2P culture and networked art, alongside punk, DIY and DIWO culture.

# Open Organisation and Monstrous Markets: How to be ‘Actually Disruptive’, by Nathaniel Tkacz
What does an open mode, an open form of organisation look like? What are the specific problems that it responds to and how does it constitute itself? The problem or challenge of openness is not at all new, and it has always been well suited to certain neo-liberal ‘rationalities’. A lot of seemingly progressive aspects of openness (collaboration, participation, merit, ad-hocracy, spontaneous organisation, forking, and so on) are in some ways old arguments in new clothes. Perhaps the biggest question, or challenge, for openness is its relationship to the ideology of the market in neoliberal thought. This presentation reflects upon the concept of openness as an emancipatory project, questioning organisation structures, and beyond that, economic logic. The presentation ends by turning to recent market experiments in network cultures, experiments that are both compatible with some liberal and libertarian doctrines, but take the logic of the market in monstrous directions.

More about AMRO Festival here: