From: (Janos Sugar)
Subject: MetaForum (c) Bueno Bye!

MetaForum, Select All/Clear

With MetaForum III / UNDER CONSTRUCTION / Budapest Content Conference came the closing of the MetaForum Conference Series in Budapest. The series, primarily organized by the Media Research Foundation, began in 1994, with the topic of multimedia. This small, chaotic event included CD-ROM and the World Wide Web, which was just gaining attention in the explosive hype of the Internet. There were no commercial Internet providers in Hungary, and just three Hungarian CD-ROMs. The lack of a working Internet connection during the event led to a heated debate between representatives of the Hungarian Telecom and East Edge- a group of Hungarian students well acquainted with the Internet. This debate led to MetaForum II/NO BORDERS/Budapest Networking Conference in 1995. These were international topics, and perhaps even more important in Hungary, where bad telephone lines and a general lack of expendable wealth magnify the issues of new communication technologies in the West. MetaForum III followed with the subject of content, which has become the crucial element in the New Media discourse.

While the series enjoyed a certain amount of fame in its time, we preferred to stand back for just a moment to critique the media in motion rather than become mesmerized by its speed. This moment was that of the wide spread growth of the Internet internationally- perhaps the most important event of the 90's and which has already become the definitive metaphor of a post 2000 global society. We, as organizers, took this moment to take a living snapshot- to bring up topics that exist in the present tense, and look at how these technologies effect culture.

In planning these events we used something like a guerrilla tactic with much less emphasis on showing the new, choosing instead to take part in a critical phase of development of the new- posing questions, presenting conflicting ideologies, and building on existing dialogs in a timely fashion. Our goal was to spark discourses that were in the making. MetaForum was more and less than a conference, lacking proper funding, we focused on the topics at hand rather than the fancy objects that tend to represent new technology. In remaining a small independent organization, we are better able to follow the media and act quickly, thus we were able to achieve a certain level of success without forcing MetaForum to become an institution. We have found that New Media calls for a new way of working, one that is more fluid, open to change and that allows for speedy responses to ongoing developments. This allows a great deal of freedom in how we approach New Media, and in the projects that we pursue. Now it is time to begin production of the MetaForum book and CD-ROM.

We would like to thank our guests for their enthusiasm and participation:
Richard Barbrook, John Perry Barlow, Konrad Becker, Tamas Bodoky, Heath Bunting, Vuk Cosic, Nina Czegledy, H. C. Dany, Erik Davis, Manuel Delanda,Matthew Fuller, David Garcia, Ferenc Gerloczy, Mieke Gerritzen, Rop Gongrijp, Debra Guzman, E. "Gomma" Guarneri, John Horvath, Heiko Idensen, Gabor Kelemen, Max Kossatz, Attila Kotanyi, George Legrady, Olia Lialina, Alpar Losoncz, Eveline Lubbers, Oliver Marchart, Masuyama, Andras Nyiro, Benjamin Perasovic, Miklos Peternak, Gereon Schmitt, Pit Schultz, Alexei Shulgin, Mark Stahlman, Marleen Stikker, Barbara Strebl, Tamas Szalay, Katalin Timar, Jozsef Tillman, Laszlo Tolgyes, Toshiya Ueno, Walter Van Der Cruijsen, Salvatore Vanasco, Willem Velthoven, Charles Wessel, and Peter Lamborn Wilson.

The MetaForum Conference Series was made possible by the generous support of:
the Budapest Autumn Festival, iSYS Hungary, the Hungarian Ministry of Culture, the Soros Center for Contemporary Art, the Austrian Cultural Institute, The British Council, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Pro Helvetia, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science Research and Art, Westel 900, Polaroid, Albacomp, Copy General, Delta Airlines, The Budapest Sun, Magyar Narancs magazine, HVG magazine, Springer magazine, Elet es irodalom magazine.

MetaForum (copyright by Media Research Foundation) Organizing Committee Geert Lovink, Diana McCarty, Janos Sugar