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Geert Lovink - Biography

Geert Lovink, Ph.D., is a Dutch/Australian media theorist and innovative philosopher. Geert was born during the year of 1959 in Amsterdam. He is the Research Professor of Interactive Media at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) and an Associate Professor of New Media at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Geert Lovink earned his master's degree in political science at the University of Amsterdam, and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne on the Dynamics of Critical Internet Culture. After a postdoctoral position at the University of Queensland he became the founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam.

In his role as director of the Institute of Network Cultures, Geert Lovink has been an active organizer of conferences on media theory and issues currently being debated in the field of new media. At the Institute of Network Cultures, he worked on organizing four international conferences on new media in 2005 alone. These conferences were on the themes of 'Art and Politics of Netporn', 'alternatives offered by ICT for development', 'history of web design', and 'urban screens'.

Geert Lovink was a founding member of ADILKNO/BILWET, also known as the Foundation for the Advancement of Illegal Knowledge, founded in 1983 as a critical project of underground media theory. Along with Geert Lovink, the original members included Patrice Riemens, Arjen Mulder, Lex Wouterloot and BasJan van Stam. One of their most important books, Bewegingsleer (1990), which was translated into English as Cracking the Movement, was written from the perspective of the squatters movement of Amsterdam from which the group emerged. As it says in the foreword to the book, 'the smoke which the Movement Teachings (like any good theory) expel smells not of incense, myrrh and gold dust, but of tear gas, tires and mattresses' (1990). ADILKNO/BILWET referred to their writings and manifestos as UTOs – Unidentified Theoretical Objects. A few of the UTOs which ADILKNO/BILWET have produced are Empire of Images (1985), The Media Archive (1992), The Datadandy (1994), and Electronic Solitude (1997).

From 1989–94 Geert Lovink was the editor of Mediamatic Magazine, in which many of the writings of ADILKNO first appeared. Geert Lovink has authored numerous books, including Dark Fiber (2002), Uncanny Networks (2002), My First Recession (2003), The Principle of Notworking (2005), Tactical Media, the Second Decade (2005), and Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture (2007); he also co-edited Everyone is a Designer (2000), Catalogues of Strategies (2001), and Mobile Minded (2002), three books which chronicle the collaboration between Geert Lovink and the designer Mieke Gerritzen. Geert Lovink's contributions to the concept of 'tactical media' have been highly influential in critical and/or militant wings of media theory.

Geert Lovink says of the future of the internet:

Real-time change – this is where the internet is heading at the moment – there is a need to reflect, to study what is emerging. I think theory should be ambitious and set further goals. I think there should be ways not to just reflect on what has been emerging last two months, years or even weeks, but it should regain a certain status, not as futurist knowledge, though that would be a good goal. I don’t think we could go back to good days of post modern theory of 80’s and 90’s where theories were being made up – that type of theory production is in crisis – decline.

In his various creative and administrative roles Geert Lovink has been instrumental in organizing conferences, meetings and projects of various kinds through the years. A few of the early conferences co-organized by Geert Lovink were Wetware (1991), Next Five Minutes (1993, 1996, 1999), Metaforum (1994, 1996), Ars Electronica (1996, 1998), and Interface 3 (1995). Since 1996 he has been teaching an annual workshop at the IMI media school in Osaka. Geert Lovink organized the Tulipomania Dotcom conference in Amsterdam in 2000. In 2001 he co-founded Fibre Culture, an Australian forum for research in internet culture. In 2006, together with Ned Rossiter, Geert Lovink organized the conference and reseach network My Creativity, dedicated to critical research into the 'creative industries'. Then, in 2007 Geert Lovink organized the New Network Theory conference and the launch of the conference series called Videovortex (Brussels, Amsterdam, Ankara, Split). In order to study the internal dynamics of network cultures, a large real life experiment took place in early 2009, entitled Wintercamp.

Geert Lovink is one of the most innovative media theorist of contemporary culture. His works have been translated into German, Spanish, Romanian, Italian and Japanese. Geert Lovink is instrumental to theory developing the idea of tactical media, which he defines as:

What brings these tactical initiatives together is their carefully designed workings, their aesthetics beyond the question of taste. Being neither cute nor ugly, good or bad, tactical media appear, strike and disappear again. Instead of the old school rituals of negation and refusal, tactical media engage both makes and users, producers and viewers, into a game of appearances and disappearances.

To Geert Lovink tactical media is an important concept that grasps at the possibilities of engaging media in revolutionary ways to form powerful groups and networks. Tactical media holds the potential of radically altering the way in which humans organize and deliberate in a new media dominated world. As Geert says in an interview: "it should be possible for grassroots organizations, activists, artists and others to change the very structure of information technologies and networks."



Geert Lovink is a Professor of Media Theory at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts an Intensive Summer Workshop.