Re: mixed means 2

Nick Rothwell (
9 Apr 1998 18:12:56 -0000

> I have a concern that the internet will only become ubiquitous after
> it has been so commercialized that it is no longer available to
> alternative voices.

I have that concern as well, but unless the basic economic models
underlying the provision of connectivity and bandwidth suffer a major
overhaul, I think the "micro-publishing" access by anyone for anyone
will stay in place. I don't intend to bet on it, though. (Like I was
saying about the predictability of long-term effects.)

> I'm just saying that, through a combination of students who have
> actually been through these programs, and through support of
> workshops, public events, and other cultural activity, academia does
> help provide a mechanism for increasing use of new technologies.

I agree. Academia is best at producing people with good experience and
working methods, rather than promulgating technology itself.
(Commercial organisations tend to be the opposite.)

> You're also right, though, to suggest that these
> technologies (look at MIDI as a prime example) don't become widely used
> until they are commercialized.

I'm not sure I understand your choice of MIDI as an example. MIDI was
*always* commercialised; in fact, it was developed and supported for
clear commercial reasons: to aid the sale of commercial electronic
instruments. It defeated the stagnation in the instrument market
brought about by a series of incompatible control standards designed
by competing companies. (MIDI was designed by Dave Smith at
Sequential, but it was only its immediate support by Roland which
enabled it to survive.)

> Access to the tools may be the job of the
> marketplace, but access to the intelligent use of them may through a wide
> variety of non-market support mechanisms, including academia.

Absolutely. Academic institutions are often good at designing and
prototyping tools, and developing creating paradigms for using them,
but they are never much good at promulgating their ideas in commercial

> The bottom
> line is that there are in increasing number of young artists who have been
> through college coming out with sophisticated senses of and uses for new
> technology, and this in the end must affect the community as a whole. I
> think this is more true in Europe (ironically) than it is in the US.

Continental Europe possibly, but not in the resource-starved,
commercially-inhibited UK...

        Nick Rothwell, CASSIEL            contemporary dance projects            music synthesis and control

NOTICE - this vessel has triple screws - keep clear of blades