tactical media


info aggiornate: http://www.n5m4.org/ e http://www.n5m.org/n5m4/

First General Announcement March 2002

Announcing the 4th edition of the Next 5 Minutes, a collaborative exploration of tactical media-making from around the world.

For the last decade, Next 5 Minutes has been celebrating and exploring connections between art, electronic media and politics.
The variety of zones where these practices overlap are what we call tactical media.

Next 5 Minutes will transform itself into an interlinked series of Tactical Media Laboratories (TMLs) and smaller scale local meetings organised in collaboration with media tacticians in many different countries. The first Tactical Media Lab begins in Amsterdam in September 2002, and further TMLs are planned for New York, Delhi, Latin America and beyond.

These TMLs and local meetings, nurtured and enlivened by an internationally distributed editorial team, will lay the groundwork for the main N5M4 festival scheduled for May 2003.

This document contains the following sections:

- General Introduction and Background
- Tactical Media Labs and the N5M4 Editorial Trajectory
- The Next 5 Minutes 4 Festival
- A Concise Time-Line of Next 5 Minutes 4
- Organisational Structure & Editorial Board

General information, links and news can also be found on the
website of
Next 5 Minutes 4:


1) General Introduction and Background:

Tactical Media in a transformed semiotic landscape

Next 5 Minutes, is an occasional, large scale, festival of tactical
media making from around the world. Based in Amsterdam, the
event brings together - in various combinations - four distinct but
overlapping cultures: social and political activism, the visual arts,
radical experimentation in electronic communications media and
critical theory. This is not a random cluster of discourses, but a
recurrent nexus that has been embodied in a large enough number
of individual work and collective projects to form a recognisable
pattern of practice which we call tactical media.

Next 5 Minutes exists to reemphasise the media question. One of
the principal values of tactical media is that it deals directly and
pragmatically with questions of mediation in a time where access
to public discourse is gained primarily via electronic media. In this
context, we explore the ways in which vital social and cultural
issues are conveyed in a radically expanding media ecology of
unparalleled complexity.

Addressing a changing context...

The context for tactical media has radically changed. The make-up
of the media-landscape itself has changed dramatically, not in the
least because of the rapid growth of the Internet. The practices of
tactical media and the places where they manifest have also
expanded and diversified tremendously over the last few years.

The growth in the availability of not only powerful production tools
but also new opportunities for distribution has generated a culture
in which greater numbers of people than ever before are
establishing their own media presence. They create their own
representations (or counter-representations), tell their own stories,
and occasionally change their own lives and the lives of others. An
enormous creativity in political, aesthetic and social innovation is
unleashed through this mass exploitation of media tools that were
once monopolised by the state or the media industry.

>From its inception in 1993 the Next 5 Minutes platform
demonstrated that the loci of the tactical went far beyond the
confines of the western world and its post-communist/socialist
counterpart. Former *third world* countries and regions continue to
develop their own tactical media and computing cultures, weaving
in and out of the international media network. Along with the
continuities, new developments and configurations continually
appear - such as the Indymedia network - that mirror the radical
internationalisation of an economic system. A system which
attempts to enforce its logic under the misleading guise of
"globalisation". With the Internet to a degree taking centre stage
earlier forms of critical media- and more recent generations of
computing cultures have moved ever closer. Globally mediated
branding has become one of the principal spaces of contestation,
but the interventions in this 'semiotic landscape' have
become increasingly problematic after the events of September
11th. Finally, new forms of cultural conflict have emerged, complex
hybrids, in part constituted out of the current acceleration of the
long established clash between traditional cultures and the
processes of modernisation. But to this conflict has been added an
additional layer of complexity, as mass movements of enforced
economic migration have created a globally networked Diaspora
riddled with as sense exile, humiliation and anger. These new
configurations have instilled a renewed sense of urgency in the
practice of tactical media (or made their local absence felt even
more painfully).

An important objective of the 4th edition of N5M is to assert a
much broader understanding of tactical media, which has come to
be almost exclusively identified with use of the media in direct
political campaigning. We want to place as much emphasis on
individual voices and their narratives as on mass political
movements and media theory. Our aim is not to create polarisation
but to establish a zone where the powerful and necessary new
social movements can encounter representatives of the multitude of
individual voices they are seeking to represent.

>From the outset we saw the tactical as richly textured with the
voices of individuals, particularly the individual's participation in and
subjective responses to public events that are increasingly turned
into media spectacles. September 11th has only served to
emphasise the fact that the telecommunications umbrella has
made these public spectacles into part of the very texture of our
lives. Public events / spectacles are not merely markers in our
private lives but they are also what form our lives, both private and
public. The Next 5 Minutes is a platform where many of these
stories and practices can be assembled and shared. It is a both
space for polemics and reflection, where the profound implications
of these new developments can be explored, theorised and

Changing the structure of Next 5 Minutes...

As organisers we acknowledge the radical changes in context by
decentralising our own structure in a similarly radical way. Next 5
Minutes is en route to become a series of interlinked local
laboratories for action-oriented research and reflection, and
simultaneous platforms for public presentation, debate, discussion:
Local events are nurtured, supported and engaged by an equally
decentralised international group of editorial advisors.

Over the last decade the editions of Next 5 Minutes have been
witness to a generation of experimental media makers, emerging
under the rubric of the tactical, who have completely bypassed not
only the rigid hierarchies and outmoded protocols of broadcast
media but also the tired rituals of the institutionalised avant garde.
Within this ever-changing context the Next 5 Minutes have
identified and developed tactical media as a key component in the
formation of a political poetics for the media age.

2) Tactical Media Labs and the N5M4 Editorial Trajectory

Next 5 Minutes 4 integrates three levels of activity:

- It starts as an interlinked series of temporary public
media-laboratories, hosted in different cities on different continents.
Each of these labs will be devoted to a specific theme or set of
themes, which is closely linked to the interests and concerns of
the local organisers, but connected to an on-going research effort
supported by an elaborate international editorial board.

- The results will be collected on-line in an editorial environment
containing reports, essays, pictures, film and video materials.

- All local events will be brought together in a concluding festival
organised in Amsterdam in May 2003, which is the combined
result of all these collaborations.

The TML - Tactical Media Laboratory

These temporary medialabs are called Tactical Media Laboratories,
or for short; TMLs. They will be environments designed to support
the rapid prototyping of ideas, methodologies, tools, slogans,
artefacts, gimmicks, various kinds of media production and
actions. The TML is envisioned as a shared workspace with a
public interface. While the media tacticians work on their projects,
the space is open for visitors at all times. Proposals,
prototypes, and discussions are developed in a continuous
interaction with the public. The work in the space is combined with
public presentations of the practices which the TML participants
are involved in. Public debates
will be held about the themes of each particular TML.

This model of a work and presentation space in one, is loosely
modelled on earlier events that the organisers of N5M4 have been
involved with, such as the Hybrid Workspace during documenta X
in Kassel Germany (1997), Art Servers Unlimited in London &
Labin, Croatia (2001), Temp in the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki
(1999), and the Acoustic.Space.Lab in Latvia (2001).

Each of these Tactical Media Labs will bring together a working
group of media makers, artists, theorists, technologists, activists,
and other cultural agents for two weeks. The TMLs create an
immediate interface between international artistic and activist
media networks and local practitioners and initiatives.

Where and when?

Five larger TMLs are currently planned as key-locations for Next 5
Minutes 4. This series of labs will be organised in sequential order
to allow for direct exchange of results and ideas between the
different local events. The TMLs will be organised throughout the
Fall of 2002 (see also: Timeline), and the results will be gathered,
filtered and reworked in early 2003.

The first Tactical Media Laboratory will be organised in Amsterdam
as a kick-off of the process in September 2002. Further TMLs are
planned in New York City, hosted by the Center for Media, Culture
and History of New York
University, and in Delhi hosted by Sarai the new media initiative.
We are currently establishing contacts with suitable partners to
host a TML in South America and in the Middle East. The objective
is that these TMLs should be ambitious collaborations, not only in
terms of the level of discourse, but also in terms of capturing,
managing and disseminating the outcomes comprehensively and at
a speed which will ensure their use value to other practitioners.

Local Workshops

Besides the larger scale TMLs, a number of local organisers and
initiatives have expressed great interest in setting up local
workshops. They will be devoted to specific regional questions.
Examples of these are; an emerging new media network for
Southeast Europe and the Balkans, the power struggles in the
turbulent Russian media landscape, or topics of special interest,
such as streaming media and the relationship of radio and tv to the
internet. Further smaller-scale workshops are planned in Moscow,
Zagreb, London, Chicago and Berlin that will contribute to the
overall editorial process of Next 5 Minutes 4.

International Editorial Board

This interlinked series of local events, TMLs and smaller
workshops, together will define the final content of the Next 5
Minutes festival, which is planned for May 2003 (see below). To
ensure that the local meetings actually result in a dynamic,
multifaceted but also coherent program, we have established an
international editorial board. The main task of this board is to
facilitate and support the local meetings, and to filter the outcomes
of each of these events.

Through this distributed editorial process we hope to transform
Next 5 Minutes from an occasional 'tribal gathering' into a
sustainable research network for the tactical media. The tribal
gathering aspect of N5M is valuable and will remain, but the
outcomes will, we hope, be both a less 'random' event, and result
in an accessible and developing pool of shared knowledge.

N5M4 Editorial on-line environment

To support the immediate availability of the outcomes of the various
local events, TMLs and other gatherings in the frame of N5M4 - for
a world-wide audience - an on-line editorial environment will be
constructed. This on-line environment will help to create the desired
developing pool of shared knowledge. The editorial system can be
fed by local editors, and can be accessed freely wherever an
internet connection is available. This on-line resource will contain
written reports, articles, essays and other
text materials, as well as audio documents, photographs, stills,
film, and video materials. The on-line environment will be built upon
the open-source architecture of the content-management system
MMBase, originally developed
for the VPRO broadcasting organisation in The Netherlands. The
prototype editorial system to be built will immediately be made
accessible as an open-source application itself.


Developing a community of tactical media practice and making
sure that media tacticians don't have to keep re-inventing the wheel
is sometimes mistaken for institutionalisation. As organisers we
feel, however, that creating a memory for the kind of work that has
been done in this vibrant field of practice is of tremendous
importance. Beside the archive that will be built with the N5M4
editorial environment, one of our main resources is an extensive
N5M/tactical media archive housed at Amsterdam's International
Institute of Social History. The associated databases are available
on-line in the archive section of the N5M website at:

Additional material of value on the archives of N5M and tactical media can be found at:

Next 5 Minutes 4 TV

For the Fall of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, a series of five
documentary TV programs is planned as part of Next 5 Minutes 4.
These TV programs will follow the trajectory of the Tactical Media
Labs, reflect their themes, and document their results. These
programs are produced for dissemination in The Netherlands as
well as for international redistribution via local and national TV
broadcasters. The idea behind the programs is to collect materials
of local media makers involved in, or invited for, the different TMLs.
The final documentaries will be included in the on-line editorial
environment of N5M4, and remain available via the Internet beyond
the actual broadcast dates. The programs will also be included in
the Next 5 Minutes general archives.

Next 5 Minutes 4 Reader

In preparation for the Next 5 Minutes festival in May 2003 a reader
will be prepared as a print publication. This reader will be a follow-
up to the successful Next 5 Minutes Workbook that was produced
for the 1999 edition of Next 5 Minutes. The reader will be
assembled in the beginning of 2003 after completion of the last
TMLs and local workshops. Based on the outcomes and the
materials gathered and produced at the TMLs and workshops, an
international editorial team will collect and filter these materials and
produce a reader that will provide background information and
analyses for the themes of the Next 5 Minutes 4 festival.

3) The Next 5 Minutes 4 Festival

The Next 5 Minutes Festival will happen in Amsterdam in May
2003, and concludes the series of local TMLs and workshops. The
festival will be the aspect of Next 5 Minutes 4 that resembles the
traditional gathering associated with the previous editions closest.
What is essentially different about the new edition is that the
content of the festival is defined by the outcomes and ideas
produced in the TMLs, the workshops, and within the international
editorial board. The festival will thus operate as a showcase and
presentation platform for tactical media making from around the
world, bringing together artistically challenging productions with
socially relevant and politically urgent questions.

The role of the Amsterdam organisers is primarily to facilitate and
enable the exchange of ideas and experiences between these
groups; to act as an intermediary between the international network
of tactical media practitioners, the local Amsterdam cultural
environment, and the wider national and international audience.

Next 5 Minutes deliberately positions itself at the meeting point of
poetics and politics, making it always more than 'merely' an arts
festival, an activist gathering, or a conference. The festival is both a
meeting place for specialists as well as an open public
presentation platform. Theory and reflection have always been an
essential part of Next 5 Minutes. Although for tactical media
practice is prime - it always deals with the concrete lived local
realities -, this practice never operates in isolation: It is developed
in a continuous dialogue with critical theoretical analysis and
reflection. Next 5 Minutes consciously mixes the formats of an arts
festival and a conference to stimulate cross-fertilisation of theory
and praxis, and to emphasise that they cannot operate in isolation
from each other.

Expected Audience

The target audience of Next 5 Minutes reflects the inclusiveness of
its character. The festival should bring together a diverse cross
section of artists, media makers, designers, communication
specialists, educators, activists, political analysts, media
theoreticians, networkers, internet and ICT professionals,
technologists, writers, media researchers, radio makers,
performers and sound artists, and a wider audience interested in
contemporary arts and media cultures, global politics and new
social movements. Although the range of target groups is wide, it is
certainly not arbitrary. We intend to bring together those people
and initiatives who share a concern for the cultural diversity, the
democratic organisation, and public accessibility of the future
media and communication landscape, but who normally rarely
meet. Next 5 Minutes, in short, brings together those people who
wish to share a responsibility in promoting media for social change.

Structure of the Festival

The festival will cover a wide array of themes and presentation
forms, all of which are open to the wider public. The main events of
the festival will be concentrated in three days, while certain
specialised workshops and seminars may be carried out shortly
before or after these main festival dates. The exact dates of the
festival will be announced in the spring of 2002.

Seminars & Debates

The seminars and debates program of Next 5 Minutes 4 will be the
theoretical backbone of the festival. The debates will build upon the
themes explored in the local TMLs and workshops, as well as
complementary thematic discussions not yet addressed in
previous meetings.


Next 5 Minutes 4 wishes to extend the tradition of creating
elaborate performance programs, with radical arts practices that
challenge conventional formats of both media and performing arts.
In the spirit of the infamous Low Tech Show during Next 5 Minutes
3, and the highly successful performance programs of the
"net.congestion" festival of streaming media (2000), we will invite
performers from around the world whose approach to media
challenges modes of representation and framing imposed by
mainstream media formats and technical architectures.

Artist Projects

Next 5 Minutes 4 intends to commission 3 works by artists or arts
collectives, to be created for the festival. These commissioned art
works can result in installations, or works realised in the public
space. We will prefer artist works in the selection of proposals that
involve clear and intimate ties with existing local and/or translocal
communities; works that reflect and embody the ideas investigated
within the frame of tactical


Specific thematic screening programs will be developed that seek
combinations with other parts of the festival program, connect the
theoretical debates with actual film and video production, and
create interdisciplinary exchanges in the performance nights that
are planned. In the previous edition of N5M, the combination of live
Slam poetry performances, mediated performances between
different locations, and film screenings of important films about the
culture of slam poetry, turned out to be highly successful. We will
actively search primarily for such hybrid combinations. Besides the
formal screening programs, an important element of each Next 5
Minutes gathering is the possibility for media makers from around
the world to show their work to each other and exchange their
materials. We will create a large number of private screening units
where film and video makers can show and exchange their works,
thus creating a maximum capacity for interaction and cross-
fertilisation between N5M4 participants.

TAZ - Temporary Autonomous Zone

The TAZ or Temporary Autonomous Zone was introduced to Next 5
Minutes in 1999 for the first time, and proved a more-than-
worthwhile addition to the official festival program. The TAZ is
essentially a fully equipped presentation space that is entirely
unprogrammed at the start of the festival. Participants can register
themselves for a presentation block and use the facilities for
whatever presentation they want to hold, i.e. film, video, internet,
CD-ROM or live performance. There is no editorial control but also
no editorial responsibility for these spaces, save for the presenters

Social Space

Social processes can not be programmed, but they can be
facilitated. We will deliberately create a social space in the festival
that will enable informal exchange and encounters between festival
participants and audience. Although such a social space is
necessarily unprogrammed, we consider it a vital element in the
overall set-up of the festival.

Hybrid Media Studio

As in previous editions, Next 5 Minutes is more than an event for
presentation and debate about media, it is also an event where a
lot of media-output is produced on site. The nerve centre of the
media production during N5M4 will be the Hybrid Media Studio. The
concept takes the fusion of different media-forms within a
hybridised digital media network as its starting point. Radio,
television, internet, wireless transmission, satellite and other forms
of electronic media production continue to exist in their own right,
but they are also more and more often combined into expanded
media formats that involve two or more media at once. The Hybrid
Media Studio brings these different media-forms together in one
space, and connects them to all available media-infrastructures.
Amsterdam offers unique possibilities for non-commercial free
media programming on local TV and radio, as well as various web-
casting facilities. From the Hybrid Media Studio continuous live
programming will be fed to local media outlets, to international
(satellite-) outlets, to national broadcasting organisations, and to
local media partners in other cities in the world. What makes the
studio hybrid is its trans-genre approach, and its trans-local

4) A Concise Time-Line of Next 5 Minutes 4:

January - March 2002:

Inititial Peparation and formation of the International Editorial Board

Publication of initial announcement

Launch provisonal web site

April - August 2002:

Preparation TMLs and workshops

Start of editorial Discussion


First TML in Amsterdam

Launch of the on-line editorial environment

October 2002 - January 2003:

4 further TMLs in other cities and regions

Local meetings and workshops

February 2003:

Filtering of results of the TMLs & local meetings

Editing of Next 5 Minutes 4 reader

May 2003:

Next 5 Minutes 4 Festival in Amsterdam

5) Organisational Structure & Editorial Board

The production office of Next 5 Minutes 4 is housed at De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam.


Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10
1017 RR Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Tel. +31.20.553 51 71
or: +31.20.553 51 51 (General number De Balie)
Fax. +31.20.553 51 55

e-mail: n5m4@balie.nl

Web site: http://www.n5m.org

Organising Institutions:

Next 5 Minutes 4 will be organised and facilitated by a closely collaborating group of cultural organisations in Amsterdam: De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, De Waag - Society for Old and New Media, Montevideo
Netherlands Media Art Institute, ASCII, SALTO (Amsterdam local broadcasting organisation).

Main International Partner-Organisations:

Center for Media, Culture and History, New York University
Sarai - The New Media Initiative, Delhi

Amsterdam Editorial Team

Carolien Euser - Media Producer & Researcher / Cut-n-Paste
David Garcia - Co-founder of Next 5 Minutes / HKU /Porthsmouth University
Menno Grootveld - Co-founder of Next 5 Minutes
Derek Holzer - Production coordinator of Next 5 Minutes 4/ acoustic.space.lab
Eric Kluitenberg - Media theorist / De Balie

International Editorial Board
(in alphabetical order)

Barbara Abrash (Center for Media, Culture & History, NYU)
Josephine Berry (Mute Magazine, London)
Andreas Broeckmann (Transmediale, Berlin)
Zeljko Blace (MAMA, Zagreb)
Greg Bordowitz (New York)
Ted Byfield (New York)
Critical Art Ensemble (Chicago)
Micz Flor (Center for Advanced Media, Prague)
Honor Harger (Tate Modern, London)
Graham Harwood (De Waag, Amsterdam)
Sheri Herndon (Indymedia, Seattle)
Adam Hyde ( r a d i o q u a l i a , London)
Manse Jacobi (Freespeech.Org, Indymedia, Seattle)
Zina Kaye (Laudanum.net, Sidney)
Oleg Kireev (Moscow)
Daoud Kuttab (Palestina)
François Laureys (IICD, The Hague)
Geert Lovink (Sidney)
Arun Mehta (Delhi)
Gerbrand Oudenaarden (Engage!, Utrecht)
Drazen Pantic (New York)
Joanne Richardson (Subsol, Cluj)
Saskia Sassen (University of Chicago)
Cornelia Sollfrank (Hamburg)
Jo van der Spek (Radio Reed Flute)
Ravi Sundaram (Sarai, Delhi)
Renée Turner (De Geuzen, Rotterdam)
Faith Wilding (Chicago)

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