[iDC] open source radicalism...

low loreso at oginoknauss.org
Fri May 25 10:51:39 EDT 2007

Hi all,
I'm Lorenzo, Italian, recently resettled in Germany, town planner and  
media artist.  It's the first time I intervene; I often wanted, but I  
must say that as a non native english speaker, somehow it's hard to  
react in time to the lively exchange of this list!  but I find it  
really enriching to follow anyway... well, I just received from  
another list the following text of the opening speech at the SUMMIT  
in Berlin, and I found interesting the positions expressed here by  
Florian Schneider, especially with regards to the final demands for  
the summit. So, I propose it to you, hoping that is not too off topic...

Opening speech by Florian Schneider
Ladies and Gentlemen,
dear SUMMIT delegates and SUMMIT contributers,

it is my utmost and sincerest pleasure to welcome you to the first  
SUMMIT non aligned initiatives in education culture.

I am supposed to deliver a speech since a summit is usually opened by  
a speech. But of course such a speech would be un-speechable. Who am  
I that I could possibly take the chance to claim the right to open  
such a thing as a summit? For whom could I speak -- hardly for what  
is supposed to be myself? Whom should I represent? Why should you  
believe such a performance is relevant at all?

I am mentioning these questions not in order to impress you (or our  
guests from britain) with some autodidactically appropriated  
understatement. I am mentionig them since it refers to the condition  
that characterizes the aporia of the project SUMMIT and its process  
as such.

i learned today, impossibility might be the wrong word: what i mean  
is an inverted potentiality, or if you like: a negative potentiality  
in the sense that we feel an urgency to do exactly what seems to be  
unthinkable, unfeasable, unforseeable and way beyond our power or  
actual capacities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
let me reflect on this basic condition of the event for a few minutes  
at its very beginning and lets start by describing some phenomena: We  
are meeting in an extremely interesting place at a very distinct moment.

The main venue of SUMMIT is a theatre. Truly one of the most exciting  
theatres in Germany and we are very grateful for the hospitality we  
encountered over the past few months -- we really know that this is  
everything but a matter of course and we appreciate it very much.

But why did we choose a theatre, and not a conference center, an art  
academy or any other more or less appropriate space for a gathering  
like this?

The reason may be obvious: a certain playfulness, a kind of mockery  
or mimikry. Something like a parody in the truest and driest sense of  
the word, a parody understood as a melody that is slightly misaligned  
and by that uncovering the mechanisms in which authority operates due  
to a small delay and a certain distortion. Let me please make thi  
absolutely clear: It is not about humorous effects or satirical  
exaggerations, but about gaining access to the courtly theater by the  
relatively simple means of copy-paste.

But there is also another reason. That reason implies the opportunity  
to stage something, to make an experiment, to create a certain  
artificial mis-en-scene that would not be possible by nature. We  
understand the SUMMIT as a dramatic laboratory that calls into  
question all that exists.

SUMMIT is taking place less than two weeks before the heads of  
governments of the eight most powerful nations of this world are  
going to meet in a rundown luxury ressort a two hours car-ride north  
of here. We have chosen this moment explicitely not in order to  
protest, not in order to lament, and not in order to propose  

We are meeting here and now, since we feel the urge and desire to  
open up new fields.

At the moment SUMMIT consists of 82 working groups, workshops,  
presentations, caucuses, dj-sets, and parties. We are sure that there  
will be further, ad-hoc sessions that are going to be scheduled on  
the fly.

The wide range of delegates is characterising the specific concept of  
SUMMIT: From professors of universities and art academies to  
delegates from migrant self-organizations, from software developers  
to artists, curators and museum directors, from the initiators of  
free and self-organized academies to precarious labor activists and  
union organizers.

It would have been unthinkable in advance, impossible to envision,  
let alone planning it, and in fact it is nothing we can rely on:  
there is no common ground or common agenda and i promise you: there  
won't be anything like that.

Non-alignment is a non-identitarian and non-representative category.  
It is neither nor. It does not call for unity, it does not claim a  
territory, it rather tries to overcome blockages, escape dichotomies  
and liberate itself from a self-inflicted immaturity and dependence.

We are perfectly aware that on this basis we can only produce  
misunderstandings and i really do hope that these misunderstandings  
become as creative, enlightening, unexpected as possible.

So, what can be the goal of SUMMIT? What can we achieve in these four  
or five days?

I do not believe that we should try to start a new project. Most of  
us are already busy enough and can hardly manage to cope with our  
manifolded commitments, mostly unpaid and extremely urgent.

i also believe, that we do not just have to renovate and realign an  
existing body of knowledge, update its organizational structure and  
methodologies. No, we really need entirely new terminologies, we  
urgently need really new concepts and new categories...

I am very confident that these four days offer us the extraordinary  
opportunity to formulate the challenges and demands, compile the  
sources and release a program that might outline the main  
characteristics, lay out the infrastructure and make available the  
pre-requisites of a multitude of networked educational, pedagogical  

Please allow me to mention quickly three points that seem important  
to me and might work as an example how we could proceed last but not  
least in terms of an "impossible" declaration or action plan:

1. open source radicalism

We are not satisfied by the wikipedia. The button with the logo of  
the creative commons license is defientely not enough. If free  
software is not free beer, free knowledge is more than information  
about some ingredients and on this basis we want to take over and run  
the entire brewerie and create two, three, four, many open, free,  
nomad, monad, pirate, peer-to-peer universities

2. new configurations of the self

in order to struggle against the ongoing privatization and  
proprietarization of knowledge production we need to invent and  
create new models of multiple ownership. This seems to me the only  
chance to deal with increasingly fluid forms knowledge and would  
enable us leave the common notion of individual mastery behind. A  
generecally open notion of mutual owenership that might enable us to  
reappropriate the means of immaterial production

3. increasing complexities

we all know, that we live in a world that undergoes dramatic changes  
and is commonly perceived as increasingly complex. Instead of  
reducing these complexities, simplfying them, the enormous challenge  
we are currently facing is to fold and unfold, or better: multiply  

Tomorrow night we have scheduled the first session with a public  
editing of the declaration and we are going to use that opportunity  
to start from scratch, with a blank sheet of paper and

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear SUMMIT delegates,
we are all more or less familiar with the fundamental problem of  
emancipatory pedagogy: in the moment when I try to teach somebody how  
to liberate him or herself, i re-align to an infinite line of  
regression and power reappears even stronger than before. The more I  
try to explain, mediate, communicate or teach, the more I reaffirm  
the distance, inequality and dependency of those who lack knowledge  
on those who seem to possess it.

Lets cut this gordic knot, lets take advantage of a this enormously  
privileged situation where we have the opportunity to meet and  
discuss, argue with each others and question ourselves in such a  
great company for about four days and nights.

Lets come forth and lets unalign!

Thank you very much!

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