Paraflows 06 – the nets beyond the net

High abstraction goals for local communities

In the year 2006, neither Amnesty International nor Greenspeace have been put out of work, yet new horizons of necessary political engagement have emerged that call on the abilities of computer scientists, lawyers and artists alike – and lots of them.
These alternative task forces have recently formed, like the state-of-the-art movement of Pirate Parties that originated in Sweden and strives to get techaware citizens elected into parliaments on a worldwide scale, the Big Brother Awards that report back and collect local cases of corporate technologialy abuse in more than 15 countries, or the Free Software Foundation that designs operation systems and licenses that can spread freedom from digital abuse in an already abusive environment. They all advise their politicians, lawyers and journalists in their free time to stop steering our societies into a direction where Europeans have little understanding of where it will lead: intimidated citizens, security-obsessed decision makers, atmospheres of faschism, powered by the IT-sector itself and its shareholders.

At this moment in time, participants in the Viennese netznetz-experiment succeeded by being entrusted 500.000 Euro every year, to distribute among themselves and their projects, obliging themselves to the task of stabilizing and re-designing their procedures collectively, step by step, and in a democratic fashion that nevertheless produces results. This complex task seems to be just like "rebuilding the plane as you are flying“ (A. Limi). Yet by co-constructing the local workflows they are already changing the flows of cash and hardware, material and knowledge, information and inspiration in the city of Vienna. Seen from a personal point of view, a lot of them already look back on a hybrid education between the computer sciences, the social sciences and the arts, testifying with their own experience in the netznetz – process that the perception of scientific facts and artistic artifacts, tools for collaboration and devices for self-alienation, promising instability and outmoded routines may sometimes blend into each other rather paradoxically, as if both states were to be true at once, or on parallel dimensions.

But how are these two scales of endeavour related, both the organisation of a local production- and safety-net via the web and the care for interrelated issues like copyrights and patent approaches via international, distributed technologies and communities? The most immediate concern that invokes scrutiny are people. Because just looking back into the ideologies and technologies of the year 1968 or 1996 will not suffice to properly adress these new power constellations that have emerged between the social, the political, the legal, the technological and the personal aspects of our daily life. And be it in Vienna or elsewhere, in order not to paralyse our momentum, these complexities must be adressed in a innovative way, by researching and testing possible re-constellations and current models of collective collaboration for the long term. And by reminding oneself that, within all complexity, "the most important source of energy is the human being and what he or she believes.“ (J.A. Wheeler). Paraflows 06 will present different viable approaches to personal self-organization with a global bandwidth reach.


Rena Tangens (, Albena Yaneva, Gary Danner & Elisa Rose (Station Rose), Hartmut Pilch (, Mirko T. Schäfer, Alvise Mattozzi, Rick Falkvinge (Pirat Partiet, Stockholm; remote), Tom Fürstner, Rainer Prohaska (cntrcpy), Frank Hartmann, Denisa Kera, Florian Hufsky (Piraten Partei Österreich), Felix Stalder, Pamela Bartar (, Thomas Ballhausen, Vladimir Jeric (Creative Commons Serbia), Jan Lauth, Andreas Trawögger u.a.