Next 5 Minutes

Next 5 Minutes Conference
Amsterdam, 1993

"The next 5 Minutes is a working conference and festival on art, politics, activism and media; a general role is played by Tactical Media, a term that was born at the first Next 5 Minutes conference in Amsterdam 1993; the second and third conference was in 1996 and in 1999, both in Amsterdam; organised by De Waag (Amsterdam), De Balie (Amsterdam), De Digitale Stad (Amsterdam), Paradiso (Amsterdam) and V2 (Rotterdam)." (src(external link))

N5M2 - 1996
N5M3 - 1999

"At the turning of the year 1992 I received the program and manifesto for the Next 5 Minutes Conference in Paradiso. As professional collector of documents by and about social movements for the International Institute of Social History, the list of videos to be shown caught my attention immediately. This was an excellent opportunity to realize something for which I had been trying already for some time, to make an international sample collection of products from the movement of new independent video makers.

In the collection of my department were already examples like a complete set of a samizdat video journal from Czechoslovakia and video tapes from the Hungarian and Yugoslavian cultural opposition in the mid eighties. Recordings of pirate television emissions on the Amsterdam cable system (Vrije Keyzer TV, are also part of the collection at the International Institute of Social History.

My experience during another recent conference on the role of video and television The media are with us [a slogan inspired by the calls in the streets of Bucharest "armate e cu noi" (the army is with us)], held in Budapest in April 1990, made me especially aware of the difficulties involved in collecting this kind of material. The video material shown there consisted of recordings of the historical TV transmissions in Rumania itself and comparisons with coverage of the same event elsewhere in the world from France and Spain to Japan and the United States. There was also video footage and some documentaries of the same event by professionals and amateurs from different countries and commentary by those directly involved in the live broadcasts from Bucharest and the handling of these events by international television networks.

The conference was a unique opportunity to compare how the showing of the same event (the fall of the Ceaucescu regime) on television can have quit different meanings in other contexts. Hailed in the beginning as a revolution set in motion by television, it soon was seen in a different perspective as the 'pyama revolution' where most people stayed passively at home day and night glued to their television set. As Villém Flusser said during the conference "the effect of the information revolution consists of the fact that we have to stay at home when we want to be informed". (...)

"Amplifying an idea is easy when the social space is ready for it, impossible when it's not", is a conclusion reached in the book 'Guerrilla Television together with Raindance Corporation, the counter culture analogue to the Rand Corporation. The book is split up in two parts, one a reflection on the implications of the new media for society, the other part a practical manual with examples of past and ongoing projects. All ideas that now, after twenty years, start to materialize are already there: 'community video', 'video theatre, a 'media bus' (Ant Farm), using central antenna systems in apartment buildings, video in meditation and therapy, setting up of a videocassette network, use of cable television.

The authors saw all this as a "techno-evolution" which would in the end help "to restore media ecological balance to TV". The way they thought this was best done was by "re-structuring communication channels, not capturing existing ones". The magazine 'Radical Software' published in the same period is another visionary source full of ideas which deserves to be republished now."

Tjebbe van Tijen: A context for collecting the new media(external link)
Article published in 1993 in "Next 5 Minutes Video Catalogue, catalogue of videotapes shown during the festival on tactical television held in Paradiso Amsterdam, 8-10 January 1993"; Bas Raijmakers and Tjebbe van Tijen (editors); International Institute of Social History; Amsterdam; 1993.

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