#093 June-Aug 2003


ISSN 1488-3635 #93, Part 1, Part 2, June - July - August 2003


* ISEA News
* Editorial by Nina Czegledy
* Introduction by Kristian Lukic
* "The constant state of emergency. Report from Serbian media scene" by Branka Curcic
* "Think in layers. Piracy dilemma in Serbia" by Zana Poliakov

by Angela Plohman
ISEA Coordinating Director

Welcome to Part 1 of ISEA Newsletter #93, a special 2-part newsletter with a 
focus on south eastern Europe, guest edited by Kristian Lukic from the New Media 
Centre - kuda.org, Novi Sad. The second part of this newsletter will be 
published in August 2003. 

We would like to remind all ISEA members that we are always looking for guest 
editors for the ISEA Newsletter. If you are interested in editing an upcoming 
issue of the ISEA Newsletter focused on your region, please contact ISEA HQ.

-- ISEA News

ISEA Meeting at SIGGRAPH 2003
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2003
Time: 12 pm - 1:30 pm
Place: San Diego Convention Center, Room 24 A*, San Diego, California, USA
The Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts (ISEA) will be holding an open forum 
at SIGGRAPH 2003 on the future role of ISEA, including information about 
ISEA2004 (Stockholm, Tallinn, Helsinki), and a discussion of our archive project 
and our new web site. All interested members of the electronic arts community 
are welcome. Bring your own lunch! 

ISEA2006 Call for Bids
ISEA is pleased to announce a call for symposium host candidates for ISEA2006. 
The deadline for letters of intent is August 15, 2003. To read the full call, 
see our website at 
In addition, ISEA has published an updated version of its Guidelines for 
Symposium Host Candidates. To read these guidelines, please see 

ISEA2004 Call for Proposals
ISEA2004 is currently inviting proposals for projects and papers for the 
exhibitions, conferences and associated programs during ISEA2004. Deadline: 
August 15, 2003. For more information on how to submit a proposal for ISEA2004, 
please see their website at .

by Nina Czegledy
ISEA Board

This is a brief personal introduction to a Newsletter from Deep Europe, a 
metaphoric term coined by Luchezar Boyadjev an outstanding Bulgarian artist and 
one of my first contacts in his country. Back in 1992 when eleven artists from 
Croatia to Poland (including Luchezar) collaborated on the "Mittel Europe: 
artists speak on the arts in Central Europe" issue for New Observations (NY), 
which I edited - it was impossible to foresee the current developments as 
reported by the contributors of the ISEA #93 Newsletter. Even in the mid 
nineties media labs, public forums, exhibitions, networked events seemed (with 
few exceptions) a distant dream in Bulgaria or Yugoslavia. In 1996, when 
together with Iliyana Nedkova, (who initiated the project) we were working on 
our first Crossing Over mini festival in Sofia it was hard to imagine a show of 
video installations or extensive digitally based work, by Bulgarians.

In providing a context for the current cultural landscape of the region, one has 
to acknowledge the significant political and economical regional changes since 
1989. While several established institutions (albeit somewhat transformed) 
remained in existence and new organizations have been established - lately 
diverse grass roots initiated collaborations have sprung up across the region.  
Historic evidence of individual initiatives can be always traced, the difference 
is that the current projects contain pragmatic strategies.

To me, who vividly recalls Jello, the techno-magician's improbable juggling 
activities, connecting totally incompatible machines at the Crossing Over 
workshop in Sofia, the miraculous appearance (from some underground pipe) of a 
phone/internet connection in the ancient  Turkish Bath of Plovdiv during the 
first Communication Front events, the special effects wizardry as late as 1998 
at CO by our editors in Novi Sad - the current features of mediascape as 
reported  in this Newsletter (despite all the difficulties) is a true miracle. 
Few people outside the region realize the tremendous efforts and localized 
strategies required to bring these changes and paradigm shifts about. I would 
like to thank our contributors and pay tribute to all those who initiated and 
continue to work for a sustainable networked new media future in Deep Europe and 

by Kristian Lukic

When I was invited as a guest editor, I wanted to conceptualise what is most 
distinctive in a region mostly known during last times as synonym for war, 
criminal, corruption. Fuzzy logic that is ruling principle in the Balkans is the 
best seen through use of two concepts: sometimes it's Balkans (when you want to 
describe Other) and sometimes it's South East Europe (when you want to describe 
a candidate for European Union). 

During the nineties, when cultural framework collapsed together with their 
parent states of real socialism, there were no cultural initiatives that could 
answer to new socio-political milieu that was shaped.  Art scene in the nineties 
in SouthEast Europe was, similar as in other parts of Eastern Europe, strongly 
characterized with Soros network of Contemporary Arts Centres. That network 
structured post socialist art scenes, mostly supporting art initiatives that 
criticized new established proauthoritarian regimes. 

Still, in the end of the last and beginning of the new century, need for an 
independent cultural framework in the sphere of media and Internet, creates a 
wave of new initiatives, organizations and centres, established on grassroots / 
bottom up principle (some of them with the help of Soros network and other 

This Newsletter will be focused on these new initiatives of people who 
articulated themselves besides state or private capital governed interests. 
These projects and organizations are interdisciplinary, run by artists, 
theorists, engineers, and software developers. Instead of waiting for an art and 
culture institutions to recognize their efforts, they start to create their own 
environment, and their impact is growing on wider socio-cultural level.

The fact is, that in the most cases they took a role of disseminator of 
knowledge in the field of media art, net culture and new technology, replacing 
former role of state education institutions. With their independent position 
they can foster public debates on some questions that might be intrigued for 
state based cultural institutions, like for example questions of intellectual 
property rights that, with human resource based new information society, 
presents new challenge for conceiving the concept of intellectual work. Question 
of copyright in recent years had strong impacts in the Balkans regarding law 
enforcements. Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovina like Taiwan were in 
the nineties so called 'Kingdoms of Piracy'. 

In this newsletter we shall see different, subjective approaches to various 
phenomena in media environment, focused on art, theory, social issues, politics...

In Part 1 of this newsletter, Branka Curcic from New Media Centre - kuda.org, 
Novi Sad is focusing on the wider situation in Serbia, and on activities of 
kuda.org, which is focal point for the new media scene in Serbia. Zana Poliakov from 
Belgrade writes about recent developments in the sphere of intellectual property 
rights, with emphasis on her project 'Virtooal exhibition'. 

In Part 2, there is an article by Galina Dimitrova who works as a project 
manager at Interspace Media Arts Centre in Sofia. Both involved in contemporary 
art and video scene, she is giving an overview on developing in new media and 
experimental art practice in Bulgaria with an accent on Interspace activities. 
Seki Tatlic from Kolektiv, an organization in Sarajevo, gives an overview on current 
situation in post-war Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Tomislav Medak from Zagreb is 
writing about activities of Multimedia Centre Mi2, and about larger political 
and cultural situation in Croatia.


Kristian Lukic is media and culture researcher, graduated Art History at Faculty 
of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. Member of Eastwood - Real Time Strategy 
Group. He has been involved in numerous international online projects, workshops 
and residencies. Works as program manager in New Media Centre - kuda.org, Novi 

New Media Centre - kuda.org is a non-profit organisation of artists, theorists, 
media activists and researchers in the field of ICT. kuda.org is a content 
providing platform for new cultural practices, media art production and social 

The constant state of emergency
Report from Serbian media scene by Branka Curcic

Branka Curcic (Novi Sad, 1977) is media researcher and organizer of cultural 
events. BA artist, graduated at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad in 2001. 
Presently working as a editor of Infocentre department in kuda.org, Center for 
New Media, Novi Sad. 



Assassination of the prime minister is not so unusual thing to happen. It 
happened before in many different countries. Consequences of this act are rather 
specific in this specific environment. Current political struggle, personal 
fights and prosecutions in public, media censorship in some way, are just one 
small part of daily news in Serbia. Impression is that we still exist as a 
society, which is manipulated through the information and disinformation flow 
control. It seems, at the moment that this "flow control" means at the same time 
"disorientation", absence of reason. All these events marginalize questions that 
are not directly related to them. One of the margins is presence and development 
of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) in this country. Appeal and 
struggle of Internet providers against telecom is constantly on. Direct 
consequences are poor infrastructure and still very low number of Internet users 
(about 9% of country population).

Long-term consequences in economic, political and cultural relations can be seen 
in present development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in 
general. Politics has great influence on development of this field of human 
activity, its initiation, upgrowth, balance of positive and negative inputs 
(example: endangering privacy and developing ways for its prevention, etc). But, 
high-developed level of technology itself often creates fake picture of its 
independence. Here, things are a little bit different. Sequence is perfectly 
clear (even painfully obvious): October 5th (the fall of Milosevic regime) and 
March 12th (Djindjic assassination) - the whole new worlds/realities are created 
after that.

But, marginalized events don't necessarily need to stay marginalized. There are 
always some initiatives, which are trying to resist already established events, 
no matter how established they are. Strategies are diverse. 

Notion of collaborative work
After political changes in 2001, kuda.org, New Media Center was founded in Novi 
Sad, second largest city in Serbia. Permanent non-existence of basic information 
and absence of dialogue are heritage of the last decade. kuda.org established 
itself as kind of prevention of existing isolation in local political and 
cultural practice. Promoting the phenomenon of Information and Communication 
Technologies is way to bring to the people what's happening on the global scale, 
in terms of changed relations between politics, economy and culture in today's 
society. At the end it mustn't be forgotten that what¥æs important is: position 
of this country in this kind of environment and how it responds in global media 

After two years of work, kuda.org increased collaborative platform of artists, 
theorists, economist and programmers. It is based as a facility, in a few 
different levels. Free access to the Internet, free use of library and 
mediatheque, free lectures and presentations, free music, free software, piracy, 
are just one part of its activities. kuda.org is conducting its activities in 
few different programs: kuda.lounge, program of lectures, discussions and 
workshops; kuda.info, open facility - web, library, mediatheque, archive; 
kuda.production and kuda.edu, educative program, although this distinction by 
programs is conditional because of its unstable content. First period of two 
years was dedicated to present different initiatives, theories, practice, 
projects, actions, etc. that became references in contemporary media scene 
created by key theorist, practitioners, artists, programmers, etc. Parallel with 
presenting what are the main tendencies, kuda.org started involving people in 
different kinds of workshops, where knowledge transfer was realized in more 
focused way. 

Svet informacija / World-Information.Org
"I hear we're in the state of emergency in this country. Believe me, I have a 
feeling we have state of emergency in the whole world. And here, at least, you 
are little bit aware of it." Konrad Becker

In that framework, kuda.org presented to Serbian audience World-Information.Org 
project and World-Information Exhibition in March and April 2003. It was 
organized in Novi Sad in Museum of Revolution and Belgrade's Museum of 
Contemporary Art afterwards. After essential exhibitions in Brussels, Vienna and 
Amsterdam, mutual decision of exhibition's producer, Viennese Institute Public 
Netbase and kuda.org, was to present exhibition in this specific environment. In 
this case, term specific relates to not so technologically advanced surroundings 
on one side, but on the other, great responsiveness based on, let me say, 
militaristic experiences in past decade. It seems that this kind of environment 
fosters educational notion of the exhibition. What was even more suitable is 
that World-Information.Org presents its research in very user friendly way, 
through exhibits and attractive visual diagrams; it's using attributes of a 
classic exhibition and forms very accessible different subjects based on 
interrelations between technology and society, politics, culture, art and 
economy based on complex sphere of information production, manipulation, control 
and distribution. Multifaceted structure of the exhibition makes different kinds 
of influences, starting with basic fascination by populist part of it, to 
thoughtful results of constant process of monitoring the latest events on 
technological stage. 

It was very important to do research and to present some initiatives from media 
art scene in Serbia. As a result of that, some art works were presented: The 
Absolute Sale by Apsolutno, Explorer98 by Eastwood, Safe Distance by kuda.org, 
Hic Cineres Ubique Nomen by Goran Strugar, Noise by Zoran Todorovic and Multi 
Consumer Trauma Experience The Sims by Vladan Joler. As I already mentioned, 
Serbia in general is not highly developed technological environment, but still, 
consciousness about importance of communication technologies is slowly rising. 
Media art scene is very small: few initiatives and individuals that are dealing 
with interdisciplinary models to build something that do not necessarily need to 
be presumed as art. Usually, it is collaborative work that uses for example, 
modifying/dismantling structures of existing computer games in order to create a 
new one, where this process of dismantling existing structure presents way to 
talk about different problems: intellectual property right and piracy, 
definition of Europe and its integration, immigrants, war industry, political 
totalitarianism, etc. 

Vivid atmosphere at the exhibition was created with accompanying program of 
lectures and discussions - World-Information Lounge and with visit of about 
eight thousands of people during four weeks. World-Information Lounge presented 
variety of themes that were discussed, accenting speakers from Serbia and 
Montenegro. World-Information Lounge was acting as an open and interdisciplinary 
forum, where discussed problems were: artistic practice in information 
saturation, intellectual property and software, ICT and new social movements, e-
government vs. e-society - monopoly in infosphere, case Serbia, Intelligence 
service in war and peace, as well as some documentaries and art projects (Safe 
Distance video by kuda.org and Nybble-Engine-Toolz project by Margarete Jahrmann 
and Max Moswitzer).

One day conference, World-Information Forum on "Total Disinformation Awareness: 
Conflict, Control and Freedom of Information" was held in Belgrade and it 
comprised this recent development. Forum was directed to the questions of new 
security paradigm and conflicts that are influencing the world of infostructure 
in many different ways. Speakers at the forum were: Petar Milat (HR), Sjoera Nas 
(NL), Marko Peljhan (SI), Gordan Paunovic (SCG) and Eric Kluitenberg (NL).

Catch Us if You Can! Only for public use, not for personal interest
One of direct consequences of government action after prime minister 
assassination is bringing out different laws in fight against terrorism. Funny 
thing is that piracy also jumped in this category. The new law against it is on. 
Very cruel one: person could get 8 years in prison for piracy. A thousand of CD 
shops were closed, street dealers don't exist anymore and some people got 
arrested because of this illegal action. Still, piracy industry is live and 
vivid, and it's functioning through less visible channels. Wouldn't be great 
that piracy, which became a kind of a habit in Serbian society, could be 
understood as a collective consciousness of people about importance of copyleft 
and intellectual property right. But, I'm afraid this is only the question of 
collective poverty.

In this situation, where person must switch from 100 dinar (1,2 euros) for one 
movie or music CD to the price of 1000 dinar, people in kuda.org decided to give 
their own contribution. This action was part of workshop that was realized with 
members of Critical Art Ensemble. Subject of action was blockbuster movie in 
that period (April 2003), "Catch me if you can" by Stephen Spielberg. 
Intervention consisted from extra titling the movie, as a kind of reaction on 
usual copyright sentence: "This DVD is for screening purposes only and is not 
for Public Presentation." which showed up many times in the movie. Extra titles 
were added in terms to point out how copyright issues can influence to the 
development of cultural production in general. Some of them are: "Catch Me if 
You Can" was produced for $50 million and has already made $160 million. Expect 
millions more to be made when released to video and cable. You are under 
economic and cultural attack... This DivX has been created for public use and 
not for private interests!

The appropriation of digital information is a form of cultural self-defence. The 
production and distribution of digital information should not be centrally 
controlled. Access for all is a requirement for world democracy."

Think in layers
Piracy dilemma in Serbia
by Zana Poliakov

Born in 1973. virgo/leo. writes, designs, cooks, initiates, teaches, talks and 
compiles. surface navigator & explorer. communicator & perpetuator. web author. 
cd rom concept player. electronic publishing coordinator. brand manager. 
hacker's icon. cyber queen. creative adviser. stiletto feminist. fraulein 
activist. cultural provocateur. on-air, on-site, on-line.fanta-phenomenologist. 
in constant state of flux



There is no a single document of culture which at the same time would not be a 
document of barbarianism 
Walter Benjamin 

Of course, there is a political element in antipiracy treats and wars and anti-
copyright and copyleft/freeware/shareware ideology, regardless of how we define 
politics. Personally, and judging by some experience, I perceive it in widest 
terms possible. Are you rough and macho or effeminate and gentle? Do you believe 
human nature is fundamentally good or evil? Should we be open or mysterious? How 
do we treat the ones who think differently? Do we consider moral values fixed 
and invariable or negotiable? Is art merely cultural masturbation? Is sex always 
dirty or only when it is done properly? 

The thing considered Evil in one part of the world, seems pretty obvious that in 
the other parts is working in the name of Good. Intelligentsia, open-minded 
people, technology lovers ¥Îthey were the first to go into the technological age, 
although our Minister of Finance disappointed us announcing that only 9 % of 
Serbia population is using computers. The tool that we define as basic literacy 
nowadays?! It is more then obvious that only the Chosen ones had the will power 
enough or the savings enough ruined by inflation of pyramidal banks, to get into 
the WWW and explore pleasures of the Net. Crucial point is why - as an escapist 
therapy of flammable political and social situation or to communicate with 
Others. By Being Online, whatever you do or whatever you think, you soon realize 
that - you are not Alone. 

In art Serbia and Belgrade of the year 2000 was marked by radical pressure 
exerted on all possible types of artistic forms to engage in politics. This 
would have been perhaps a customary way in which art would warn life or how art 
would emulate life (or vice versa) had it not grown into an interesting and 
increasingly posh concept called activism. The end justifies the means. We will 
subscribe to this in the situation - 'save Serbia and kill yourself Sloboooo'. 
Nothing is true, everything is allowed. 


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