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NODE.London

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States of Interdependence

There is a Sufi fable in which a group of foreigners sit at breakfast, excitedly discussing their previous night’s exploration. One starts saying “…and what about that great beast we came across in the darkest part of the Jungle? It was like a massive, rough wall.” The others look perplexed. “No it wasn’t!” says one, “It was some kind of python”. “Yeah…” another half-agrees, “…but it also had powerful wings”. The shortest of the group looks bemused- “well it felt like a tree trunk to me.”

This fable aptly illustrates many aspects of the NODE.London experience. The name, which stands for Networked Open Distributed Events in London, indicates the open, lateral structure adopted to develop a season of media arts. It is intentionally extensible, suggesting possible future NODE(s), Rio, Moscow, Mumbai etc. As participants/instigators in the projectÂ’s ongoing conceptualization and praxis, we are just two individuals positioned on the interlaced, scale-free networks of NODE.L (more on these later). As such, our descriptions of this collectively authored project are inevitably incomplete and contestable, with a complete picture emerging only in negotiation with others.
Scale-free networks such as the network of Nodes are constantly adopted by NODE.LÂ’s to facilitate the emergence of a grass roots media arts culture in London and in building its own organisational and communication structure. The Internet is a scale-free network. Scale-free networks are described by scientists as maintaining their levels of connectivity regardless of their size. They do this by linking small ‘clustersÂ’ of locally networked nodes to more massively linked hubs, which are in turn connected to each other. Theoretically this allows one to link from one node on a local cluster to another distant, local node with just a couple of steps through the hubs. This creates the “small world” phenomena whereby anyone on the network is felt to be close to any other as well as to the centre.” From NODE.London – States of Interdependence, a collaborative text written by Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow, for “Media Mutandis: A Node.London Reader” (to be published in February 2006).


Jan 31, 10:29
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