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Original and copy. Remix and plagiarism. Output and theft. The cycles of persistence and transformation of culture have always been based on these elements that generate still the same challenges. The current disputes about culture, creativity and intellectual property are still echoing with old conflicts. And so the struggle between corporations and the p2p networks, pirate copies and unauthorised usage, touches similar problems, as the first known conflict about copyright that took place in 560. At that time, St. Columba made a pirate copy of St. Finian’s psalter, who demanded to give it back. King Diarmait solved the conflict by giving the right to the owner of the book: “Every cow owns its calf, every book owns its copy“. The spiritual offsprings of St. Finian shout: “don’t steal!”, multiplying the ways of copy control and cultural heritage transformations. In the meantime, pirates, the followers of Columba still copy and remix culture.

Nevertheless, despite the repeatability of these conflicts, it’s difficult to get rid of an impression that a radical influence on their scale have successively emerging technologies. The voice of a dead singer broadcasted by the radio is in its essence shocking, though it doesn’t shock us. The gap between an analogue civilisation and the digital one is being accepted even by thinkers reluctant to predict sudden, revolutionary changes. Technologies bring the world into a whirl of changes, in which it is crucial to work out a new cultural order. Otherwise we will get into a state of a cultural wilderness, or, sticking to the old ways of living and thinking, we shall lose contact with reality. Cultures are not eternal by nature – they vanish while losing contact with their roots.

The concept of “new media” as the new means of communication that are free from the disadvantages of “old media” emerged in the texts of theorists already at the turn of 60. and 70. Nevertheless, “new media” of that time instead of serve to develop the public sphere, helped to manipulate the mass and to change culture into a product. Today the “new media” come into the mass usage again. This time these are digital media that are simbolised by a computer plugged into the Internet. Computers as well as other communicative electronic devices fill our houses and even our pockets. Around the digital contents and gadgets are whirling our thoughts and emotions. Also creating and sharing with ones output has never been so easy before. What to do, not to waste the chance again?

We have to find an answer to a question about the new shape of our culture. Will it be a culture of participation, a culture that we will be able to influence actively by creating our own media productions and displaying them in the Internet, by taking part in discussions, transforming and again distributing others and our own texts? And perhaps it shall be a culture, in which the new means of mass communication will be used as the next, even more perfect tool of society control? A culture in which also in the name of intellectual and individual property we shall cut off the access to our cultural roots and we shall unable the remix that helps culture to evaluate?

The alternative that gains importance in the XXI century is a conception of free and open culture, culture 2.0. It is a new conception, resulting from the possibilities given by the digital media. And at the same time referring to the old tradition of thinking about culture as about „a partner project being developed on the bases of the common good“ – to use the contemporary terminology. It is a culture that looks for its roots both, in the Internet and folk culture. What has to be done not to make this culture just an empty slogan? The concept of a free culture is a positive project and all of we can influence its realisation. Whether we will be able to change the ways of creating cultural goods and popularise the new models of using them is up to all of us. This project requires to be open for the new and unknown, it requires to stay flexible and get rid of the hitherto existing habits. It’s time to stop looking at world through a rear-view mirror. A model of free culture is not only a challenge but also an occasion to escape from the disadvantages existing in the present forms. From the lack of ability to co-operate, lack of respect for innovativeness, parochialism and fear of otherness.

Positive shakeups require changes to be made in the present hierarchy. Let’s show that the amateur moves also have their value in the cultural field. Culture has to become a place of a social dialogue – we don’t want to only listen, but we also want to speak. We believe that the process of creating is a value itself, that through taking an active part in co-creating culture we become better citizens, better people. We also have to find a compromise between the rules of the market, private property and our common good. So that the culture wouldn’t consist only of articles, but also of common things. At the back of the page there are a lot of different quotations that encircle the question of shape of the information circulation, responsibilities and rights of creators and receivers, encircle the rules of creating culture. They shape into a tree, because ideas circulating in our culture are our ecosystem. Let’s not allow to destroy it. Let’s not allow anyone to isolate us from it. Let’s retrive culture.

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Artistic contribution

to Political Potential of Art

Miroslaw Filiciak


„New Culture. Open Culture“



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