With the advent of the world wide web came the idea of a globally connected network of information and on-line communities. It was part of the ideals of the postindustrial ‘information age’, promising immediate connectivity, instant access and ease of communication. The hype and promise of this new era has been created and radically influenced by the information moguls – whose communications and media corporations control a huge proportion of global information. In an ironic twist, empire-builders such as Murdoch, not only output the information, but influence or own the methods of transmission such as computer and satellite networks, television, the cinema and information super highway.
This nexus of information command and control creates a situation where the content is driven by profit, and the nature of information is dictated by the tenets of consumerism. Whoever controls this information influences and dictates not only global economies, but the global status quo. Information is big business, and its influence is exerted in all spheres of public and private life. Media corporations directly influence state regulation of telecommunications law and ownership, so in many ways the state succumbs to and is indebted to these media empires. The concept of information in the late 1990s is intertwined in a highly complex process of relationships between the state, media corporations and the public sphere.
The mutant offspring of information economies will dissect the mass media, opening up the body of information for analysis and scrutiny, it will ask the question – how as cultural thinkers and practitioners can we work as active agents in defining and creating a diverse and smart information culture? Artists are no longer passive agents… we must engage and use the tools of information to understand the nexus of state and power which is driving the new digital era.
- Julianne Pierce (Australia), Artist/Curator