kNOw Future Inc.

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Anthropology of P2P: “A Day in the Life…”

Much hullabaloo has been raised by the disregard of internet users towards the sanctity of copyright law. “A Day in the Life…” is concerned rather with the anthropological change in how we discover culture, and how we use it to relate to others. As individuals join communities more closely attuned to their interests than the commercial offering, their choices change, the economy of time of their daily life shifts and new problems emerge. Following a participant in one of these communities through a 24 hour cycle, the text explores these processes and their social spaces, taking a snapshot of 21st century subcultures with the occasional nod to the past.

A first version was prepared for Transmediale in Berlin earlier this year, and was then revised and abridged for a performance organised by EXGAE/Conservas and their gala event Los Oxcars in Barcelona last night.

A Day in the Life…
It’s midnight in Berlin. Not a fact of particular importance in the global 24 hour all-you-can-eat buffet that is the file-sharing world. The community is always awake, and the participants are as likely to be up at 6AM GMT+1 in Britain or Taiwan. The significance in it being midnight is simply that it allows us to measure how much activity takes place in one small file-sharing community, and to watch the daily life of the community during a 24 hour cycle.

I browse the list of files available, organised according to most recently posted: in the last 24 hours 55 new files have been uploaded, 40 older files have been bumped back up the list, having been reseeded by someone who had previously downloaded the file.. Perhaps it doesn’t sound like so many, but here there are rules: A maximum of two copies of any file are allowed, a DVD version and a compressed version. No films are allowed which have not yet been released on VHS or DVD unless it’s so long since their production that the owners have clearly decided not to bother. Mainstream cinema of the Hollywood type is discouraged and often actively eliminated, unless the work is considered to be a classic, which means that a certain amount of time must pass.. Those 55 files then, join the existing 25044 in the library. 25099 in all then. About 32,000 hours of uninterrupted viewing, or three years and seven months.

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October 29, 2008 Posted by | /, copyright, p2p, social cooperation | 6 Comments