Programming for People - From Cultural Rights to Cultural Responsibilities

Economic and Social Council Chamber
New York, 19-21 Nov 1997


Statement as encouraged by the organizers of 'vision televison' to sustantiate and make available the core messages of the intervention by the author

Surviving Cyberculture's impact - what can be done!?

Dear contributors, participants and interactive 'observers' of the VISION TELEVISION conference/initiative,

this message provides links and the background to the intervention in support and extension of the intervention of ms. Yang Lan, Anchorwoman, Hon Kong at the 'Programming for People' session on Thursday 20 Nov. at about 5:20 hrs by Heiner Benking, freelance writer and consultant.


The above COUNCIL of EUROPE (CEC) event which took place in November 1996 made note of a report of the CEC from October 1996 ( CEC Report CC_CULT (96) 27 B ) : 'The SECOND FLOOD - Report on CYBERCULTURE': final remark: The conference chairman Raymond Weber of the COUNCIL OF EUROPE conference - NEW SPACES FOR CULTURE AND SOCIETY, NEW IDEAS IN SCIENCE AND ARTS, (see also excerpt on CYBERCULTURE above) stated in his CONCLUSIONS part of the conference report, page 156: that the Council of Europe can adopt three ways of approaching these issues: (excerpts)

1. an intellectual approach, important to continue the discussion that was started here. Confrontation, discussion, exchange which would end up in projects and better define what is at stake today fora ll of us and for our societies. I would support Don Foresta's proposal - to set up a virtual university, or expernet as it was otherwise called.

2. A normative approach, to develop some sort of approach with industrial contacts and see how we can establish partnerships with them namely in the field of teaching and with other international organisations, set up some sort of ontological code for relationships between industry and art. This should be followed up in the COUNCIL OF EUROPE. I am also king bout cultural rights. We should add up to the convention of Human Rights by adding a declaration of certain cultural rights, including that of access to these means of communication.

3. Finally ... a directly operational approach through networks of art schools, research centers and museums. Also to set up a stock-exchange of projects where artists could compare and discuss their projects with sponsors and people who might subsidise them.

The author's intervention at the UN TELEVISION FORUM 1997 was in direct response to:

Friday: Day Three: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Not in My Backyard

Yang Lan, Executive Producer and Anchor of Phoenix Satellite Television in Hong Kong, explained how Asia has maintained local content. The United Nations World Television Forum, United Nations Headquarters, New York

The issue raised of Yang Lan ( which sounded like the dismissal of the CONDUIT Metaphor) is considered by the author of great relevance and concern, as it is not the ACCESS only but the ASSIMILATION of information, the thoughtful and artful knowing, understanding, connecting and transcending of messages received and transforming these messages into a fabric of useful data which can lead to the sharing of information and action. The indispensable step beforehand, which is to cross-reference and checking the data regarding their relation, scale, usability, immediacy and importance is an often neglected, even more as the information is received without context and framework.

In the same way as we need to develop FILTERS AND BROKERS for information, we need the MAPS and the CONTEXT at a prerequisite to understanding. (maps of what we know and do not know - see COGNITIVE PANORAMA project on homepage). Providing information only in jam-session - 2 minutes piecemeal slots leads to overload, fear and apathy. Specially the 'slices' of international pieces have the tendency to create a feeling of feeling empty and without orientation - 'lost in space' - as such messages make us know even less (practicable/applicable knowledge) but might leave us with the idea of knowing something - when we in reality - know even less as we have lost the feeling for reliable and applicable knowledge.

The author made aware of projects

He informed about past activities, ideas, experiences and proposals 'out there' which might be ready for a second evaluation and some updates, such as: ? the Harmonization Efforts of the G7, UN, and SRU (German Environmental Advisors) projects the author helped to get started in the late 80ies and beginning 90ies, or ? the GLOBAL CHANGE - Challenges for Science and Technology touring exhibition which is 'touring' since 1990, started in the German Chancellery, but was never translated....

As such contributions are seen by teh author as basic ingrediences which address the issues related to 'CYBERCULTURE's IMPACT' and have already passed some tests with people from all strands of Life, children, scientists, philosophers, managers,... they are warmely recommended...



There is knowledge & experience out there, we can either connect and transcend, or hide it. THE CHOICE is OURS.

To tackle the issues, challenges and concerns addressed in the CEC reports - which are raised in the same token also at the WORLD TELEVISDION FORUM - the author informed about the recent reports and activities and made materials and ways to receive them available at the WORLD TELEVISION FORUM Specific focus was on NEW MEDIA, CYBERCULTURE, multi-cultural multi-lingual Information Society, etc. Below you find an excerpt, somehow the first two paragraphs from the following homepages: and and

Objective: To counteract Cyberculture's anticipated impact due to its

as reflected in the metaphor of the 'Second Flood' (Pierre Lévy 1996), the proposal of a 'Cognitive Panorama' allows us to embody and map concepts in their context and develop 'common frames of reference'.

The paper highlighted as a METAPARADIGM proposes a Conceptual Superstructure. It defines and identifies topics as logical places, displays relations, and connections within this topics or issues, and helps us in this way to locate and become more aware of

By avoiding a 'flat' chaotic mess of data which leads to the known 'lost- in-space' syndrome, we actually define cognitive spaces, making use of the known orientational and organisational benefits. Through reflection on conceptual positions, outlining and embodying situations or topics (logical places or containers), we can follow meaning into embodied context and semantic spaces and also scrutinise abstract 'realities' by exploring participatory, co-creation, and co-laboratory approaches.

The full text is available as Reports which I recommend to order. In the meantime maybe you want to visit the homepages, some ideas, entries and more details, some links and more ... see homepage as listed below:

for more see:
Questions, concerns, critique and challenges are most welcome.

With warm regards,

Heiner Benking