[iDC] The Lure of Internet2

John Hopkins jhopkins at neoscenes.net
Thu Feb 16 21:27:55 EST 2006

Gees, Trebor, you have to stop being so provocative these days.  I 
can't get anything done for posting in this list.  My apologies to 
those who are getting tired of my rants:  stop here.

>[Dear all,
>These are a few thoughts on Internet2. This loosely relates the
>conferencing thread. I'm curious if somebody knows about
>the technical details of I2.
>The Lure of Internet2

techno-seduction strikes again...

>Internet2-- if that does not sound like the future!! Next week on a
>panel at The conference of the College Art Association in Boston we will
>discuss Internet2 as vehicle for global artistic practice. What is

is that panel being streamed?

>Internet2? If you speak acronym-- just call it "I2." Slate.com writer
>Alexander Russo introduces the issues surrounding I2 in his article
>"Internet 2. It's better, it's faster. You can't use it." He describes

I am not surprised (or am I) that CAA has a retro-looking 
materialist-based panel on a "better, faster" technology upon which 
the same old same old in institutionalized education will take place. 
(from the AccessGrid pages: "used for large-scale distributed 
meetings, collaborative work sessions, seminars, lectures, tutorials, 
and training.")

My experience with I2 (at CU-Boulder) was that it was tightly 
controlled, exclusive, and largely unimaginative in its application. 
Can't understate the exclusivity -- to get access you have to 
interface with IT technocrats who are in charge -- I don't know the 
exact figure, but I2 is also very expensive for host institutions -- 
that expense makes access more difficult -- one has to go through a 
more bureaucratic series of hoops (to justify benefit-to-cost rate). 
Because the infrastructure requirements are higher than 'normal' 
Internet, you need a larger organization/institution to participate 
and therefore, the onerous weight of that institution will be sitting 
on the possible outcomes, everything will take huge amounts of time.

My solution at Boulder was to do a search among the actual sys/admin 
people -- which did not help me to get to I2, but it did uncover a 
full-licensed Real Helix server parked on a phat backbone 
(25k/year??) that was used for only local file-serving and up to the 
time I began facilitating international streaming collabs with my 
students -- it had never been used for live broadcast streaming!  The 
sysadmin gave me admin access within 30 minutes, and bingo, who needs 
the hassle of I2?

This would be a series of panels --

The Telephone: Radical Educational Practice ;

The Modem: Aiding Transformative Learning ;

Art and the Fax Machine;

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (whups, that's already taken)...

If you can't design a game with a normal laptop and a TCP/IP, you 
won't be able to design one using Internet 2.

Good you mentioned keyworx, Trebor, in your list of references.  If 
you have any interests in doing remote audio/video collab -- first 
try it with keyworx with your students between two ends of the same 
room.  If you can get over that hump, solve the inevitable technical 
issues, and maintain their interest for more then 15 minutes while 
they work with their classmates -- then move on from there.

When will the illusion -- that better/more 
machines/materials/infrastructure/wealth/power somehow relates to 
better creative expression -- be finally put away.  Or is this just 
one of the pillars of a society that rests on CONSUME?

Time and time again, I have seen projects with incredible attributes 
on slick web sites be complete flops because the directors were not 
facilitators, nor did they take much into account concerning HOW to 
connect humans, nor did they have a clue on how to get others 
interested in connecting with total strangers half-way 'round the 
world.  The non-technologists using the technology thought that the 
technology would do the remote facilitation and keep everybody 
connected.  The technologists thought -- this is a great way to 
legitimate our offices and budgets.  The students who were brought to 
the trough to be inspired creatively simply wondered what was 
different between this and watching teevee with friends whilst 
IM-ing, texting, and vid-streaming porn from their dorm rooms.  At 
least they could drink beer at home.

Just because you can heave large (full-rez! weeee!) video files 
around does not mean you are in creative collaboration with a remote 

It's NOT the machines!

Scientists (for example, researchers at NOAA in Boulder, have been 
tossing around HUGE datafiles for (2) decades -- mostly for 
distributed processing purposes).  I2 helps this process -- bigger 
data files to more accurately predict the beginning of Global 
toasting due to the emissions of giant consumptive petroleum and 
extractive infrastructures upon which clean and elite infrastructures 
like I2 sit.

my take...


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