Internet and Vacuum Cleaner

This week I was supposed to take part in the Digital Culture podium discussion organized by the cultural wing of SPD, but I failed to make it to Berlin and I really regret it. Because I missed Geert Lovink — founding Director of Institute of Network Cultures and a lot of important stuff — comparing Internet with Vacuum cleaner.

“Der ist ja auch einfach da und wir nutzen ihn, statt ständig über seinen Sinn und seinen Aufbau zu diskutieren.” Dieselbe Einstellung wünscht sich Lovink auch zum Internet.

“‘It (the vacuum cleaner) is just there, and we use it instead of discussing its meaning and structure.’ Lovink wishes that we adapt this attitude towards the Internet as well. ” — a journalist reports. I’ve asked Geert by email if this journalist has maybe misinterpreted his analogy. But Geert confirmed and elaborated:

One day the internet will be pushed in the background. It will do important work, like the vacuum cleaner. But we are not constantly discussing the politics and architecture of vacuum cleaners.

Honestly, I’m not sure if it is right not to discuss vacuum cleaners constantly. Maybe if we did they would work better and cost less. But there is no way to agree that we should stop to talk about how the Internet works and what architecture is underlaying it. What will happen to the Network of the Networks and what it will be used for, is decided right now. And if not to demand that its architecture stays neutral and the intelligence is on the edges of the network, there will be no network cultures, but only networks of vacuum cleaners.


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