January 1996: Syndicate is founded in Rotterdam.
September: meeting during de DEAF96 festival, Rotterdam.
July 1997: Deep Europe workshop at Hybrid Workspace, Kassel. (incl. "Deep Europe Visa Department")
November 1997: ostranenie 97, Dessau, Germany.
April 1999: Spring '99 Syndicate Meeting, Budapest.
October 1999: Designing the Future State of Balkania, workshop at Temp Media Lab, Helsinki.
August 2001: the Syndicate mailing-list "implodes". A new mailing-list, SPECTRE, is created.

The Syndicate was founded in January 1996 on the last day of the Next 5 Minutes 2 Festival in Rotterdam. It was a network which devoted itself to fostering contacts and co-operation, improvements in communication and an exchange between institutions and individuals in Eastern and Western Europe active in the media and media culture. By allowing regular e-mail communication between participants regarding forthcoming events and collaborative projects the Syndicate mailing list developed into an important channel and information resource for announcing and reporting new projects, events and developments in media culture. The complete mail archive is kept at http://www.v2.nl/mail/v2east/(external link)

Syndicate meetings and workshops have been held regularly, in most cases as part of festivals and conferences. The main meetings have taken place at half-yearly intervals in Rotterdam (Sept. 96), Liverpool (April 97), Kassel (July 97), Dessau (Nov. 97), Tirana (May 98), Skopje (Oct. 98), Budapest (April 99), and Helsinki (Oct. 99), with many smaller meetings and joint projects, presentations and workshops happening in between. Readers edited by Inke and published on the occasion of some of the meetings (Rotterdam 1996, Ostranenie Dessau 1997, Junction Skopje 1998) have collected the most important texts from the mailing list in printed form.

In the winter of 1995/96, V2_Organisation launched ist 'V2_East' initiative which has since been a conceptual attractor for different network, collaboration and presentation projects that were held in Rotterdam and elsewhere. V2_East is dedicated to enabling and enhancing contacts and co-operantions between people interested in media art and media culture in Europe. The most important result of the V2_East initiative has been the formation of the 'Syndicate' network. The name came from a comment that Vladimir Muzhesky from Kiev made during the initial V2_East meeting at the end of the Next 5 Minutes conference in Rotterdam in January 1996:

'Individually, we are rather weak when it comes to negotiating with funding bodies and governments about support for new media and electronic art projects. However, if we could join up and form something like a syndicate, then we would be able to speak with one voice when it is strategically necessary, and become more powerful than we are now.'

Since that first meeting of 30 participants, the Syndicate network has been growing steadily. It arose from an East-West co-operation idea and is now, in the late summer of 1997, a network that connects more than 170 people from 28 European and 3 non-European countries. The East-West axis is becoming less and less relevant for defining the character of the Syndicate which is, at the moment, turning into a European platform for media culture and art. We meet regularly in the context of festivals and conferences, like at the DEAF festival in Rotterdam (September 96), the Video Positive festival in Liverpool (LEAF, April 97), the Hybrid WorkSpace/dX in Kassel (Deep Europe, August 97), or at the ars electronica in Linz (Net.Shop, September 97). We organise publications, either by producing cheap readers or by editing special issues of magazines. There are always more ideas and possibilities than can actually be realised, but high on the current wishlist are a Syndicate Publication Series, the creation of a Translators Network, and the formation of a Student Fund for Digital Media Training.

"Andreas started administering the Syndicate mailing list after its installation on the server of the Ars Electronica Center in Linz (aec.at) in January 1996, helping people to subscribe, unsubscribe and post to the majordomo list. As the subscriber base grew from the original 30 subscribers to about 300 in 1998, Inke joined in administering the list and - together with Arthur Bueno of the V2_Organisation in Rotterdam, who also maintained the Syndicate website and archive on www.v2.nl/syndicate(external link) from 1998-2000 - mostly managed the list administration through these years." (Arns & Broeckmann: Rise and Decline of the Syndicate)

http://mail.v2.nl/v2east/(external link) - Syndicate mailing-list archive 1996-2001
Broeckmann, Andreas: V2_East, the Syndicate, Deep Europe(external link), text from ostranenie 97 catalogue.
Arns, Inke & Broeckmann, Andreas: Rise and Decline of the Syndicate(external link), Berlin, November 2001.

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