Douwe Osinga's Blog: The Next 5 Minutes

Friday, September 12, 2003

The next 5 minutes is a festival that brings together media, art and politics, according to the site. If you visit the site and think 'what the hell are these guys doing?', you're not alone. That is how a lot of people react.

n5m represents the hope that technology somehow will set us free. That the new media will allow the little guy to take up media arms against the big conglomorates. Tactical media, it is called. And it is true, nowadays anybody with a webcam and a relatively fast connection, can set up a broadcast. Indeed, you can follow the proceedings of the next 5 minutes live with real player.

Free software, the amazing power of the Internet when it comes to colaboration and the blog movement give rise to this kind of optimism. With enough bandwidth, anything seems to be possible, and as we all know, bandwidth will drop in price until it is almost free. This is the same gospel that Wired has preached for years.

But a sour note is creeping into the speeches of the new revolutionaries. Big Media is fighting back and it turns out that technology isn't only good. Maybe information wants to be free, but Big Media wants to lock it up and technology gives it possibilities to do so. Revolution isn't an AOL keyword, but Digital Rights Management software is.