Public Sphere and Web2.0

Isla Leaver-Yap in her essay concerning Freee’s contribution to the ICA’s ‘Nought to Sixty’ programme of exhibitions and events, considers their work as allowing for a ‘casual and repeated dissemination across various media and sites’. She continues to their strategies as undermining the ’uniqueness of the original aesthetic encounter, dispersing the experience of the work across a number of formats and promoting the message of the collective over the individual, whilst also retaining the conviction behind each message’.

Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge’s “Toward an Analysis of the Organization of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public Spheres.” (a critical response to Habermas’ “The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere”), puts forward their belief that there is more than one public sphere, and that it is not the exclusive property of the bourgeoisie. They contend that there are at any one time various public spheres that exist simultaneously, formed by different and often competing constituencies, often constituting themselves in contexts that are not usually recognized as legitimate public spheres.

Whilst Negt and Kluge wrote this in 1972, before the development of Web2.0 this can be seen as a direct link and the use of open source software and social networking sites. Craig Calhoun, in his essay ‘Rethinking the Public Sphere’ discusses this as ‘a “space” for communication and as a result transcends any particular place, and weaves together conversations from many. It also transcends particular social groups involving people who are strangers to each other. Publics grow less place-based as communication media proliferates, yet the spatial image remains apt.’

About Ben Jones

I am an artist and curator, interested mainly in web-based work, video, drawing and animation. I have exhibited locally, nationally and internationally gaining commissions as well as working with communities and in schools on projects. I have worked for a variety of different organisations from an artist run studio and gallery to a large contemporary gallery in a number of different roles. My practice deals with how the reality we live in is constructed by media, where there are many different beliefs, which can be accepted, rejected or modified. I am interested in the disintegration of traditional social discussion and debate, due to media saturation, and how it now manifest’s itself in many new and technological ways.
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