Mikro e.V. Verein zur Förderung von Medienkulturen in Berlin 
KONTAKT: info@mikro-berlin.org

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Initiative for the Advancement of Media Cultures, Berlin/D

9 May 2001, 14:40, updated by inke@snafu.de


In March 1998, fifteen artists, theoreticians, journalists, organizers and other cultural producers founded mikro e.V., a Berlin-based initiative for the advancement of media cultures. The founding members work mostly in the field of independent media culture – from video art and electronic music, independent radio and TV production, to creative use of the Internet and digital multimedia technologies. What brings this multi-faceted group together is the need for a critical discussion of the cultural, social and political impact of media in today’s society. This discussion takes place not only within the initiative itself, but also during events that address an interested public. In this way, within the last two and half years an independent Berlin-based platform for media critique has emerged. 


mikro’s aim is the creation of a democratic media culture. It fosters the development of such a media culture by presenting and discussing the artistic and cultural applications of the digital, computer-assisted media in public events, including panel discussions, project presentations, conferences (Wizards of OS, House of World Cultures in Berlin, July 1999, http://mikro-berlin.org/wos), workshops (net.radio days '98, different spaces in Berlin, June 1998, http://mikro-berlin.org/Events/19980606.html) and accompanying publications (Print, Internet, CD-ROM, vgl. http://mikro-berlin.org). In the beginning of 2000 mikro initiated Rohrpost, a German-speaking mailing list for media and net culture <http://mikro-berlin.org/rohrpost>, as well as the bootlab (http://bootlab.org, since July 2000), a cooperative work place and media lab located in Berlin-Mitte right next to the WMF club.

The monthly mikro.lounges which take place at the Berlin WMF club deal with specific questions of media culture (from copyright and cryptography to art and politics on the Internet) and combine the different formats of video screenings, lectures, panel discussions and DJ sets. Besides inviting representatives of Berlin-based cultural initiatives and companies for a presentation of their work, mikro also invites guests from other parts of Germany or the world. In cooperation with national and international partner organisations, mikro invites experts from media culture to Berlin, thereby enriching cultural debates in the city. The consistently increasing number of visitors serves as evidence of the need for these events. 

Network Structure 

The name „mikro" is programmatic: the initiative does not intend to develop into an institutional makro structure, but instead focuses on small, distributed, yet no less influential capillary structures, through which the media and technologies exercise power within art and society. mikro and its members are a genuine part of this mikrological field which is characterized by its heterogenous, multi-faceted and networked elements. These networks, from which mikro's work emerges, exist parallel to commercially formed social structures and are based on relations of trust and the gift economy. The diversity and the fragility of this network of relationships is the reason for the careful formulation of the aim of the association: "advancement of media cultures". mikro thereby stresses the importance of the heterogeneity of social and cultural practice.


Over the past ten years, a network of independent media cultural institutions and groups has developed in Europe and beyond. Big media centers, artistic research laboratories, producers’ galleries, media art festivals, magazines, Internet radios, etc., are cooperating in ever new project-bound constellations and thus create a dynamic, translocal process of media cultural production and reflection. Engineering and cultural research, artistic and technological development, production, presentation, and critical analysis and discussion influence and permeate one another. mikro takes part in these processes within both a local and international context as its members, while organizing mikro's own events, are regularly invited to take part in events inside and outside Germany. The collaboration within the association bundles and strengthens these movements and this energy. The explicit aim is to contribute to the development of an open and democratic media culture in the often mentioned knowledge and information society.