Open Access Week in Croatia: We are the Showmen!

Comic workshop during the SHOW was held by Damir Steinfl

Show me why your regulation of culture is needed. Show me how it does good. (Lawrence Lessig)

We asked everyone “why” and “why not” the copyright laws should regulate how we do culture, how we do science, how we do music. We got ideas floating among students last Wednesday and Thursday and we still wonder: “Did anyone manage to keep one for himself only?” We observed an intellectual property rule set as nothing more than a Humpty Dumpty that can not be put together again unless shattered, blown to fragments and mulled over. Finally, we have seen the SHOW, turning from what was once a piece of writing, thrown together by a few enthusiasts, into a two day event, first of its kind to celebrate Open Access Week in Croatia, lasting from October 26th through October, 27th. We think it was a success.

Disemboweling Property

Faculty Staircase

Wednesday was the day to batter at that “egg”, to see what property laws were made of, what is their battle and is it a losing one, how the copyright model has eroded over time and what are the possible new modes of creation and expression in a digital age. We have seen a presentation by Tomislav Medak introducing us to Creative Commons licensing model; the round table where philosophy professors joined by the student’s debating club pointed to some ontological errors in making copyright “right”; and wrapped up with a presentation by Aleksandar Blagojevic from the Pirate Party of Serbia where some more ground for the debate was actually found. That is how the pirate got bombarded with questions from students afterwards and once it continues, you know that the conversation was successful.

Sage Advice

Sara Uhac and the Publishing Academy

As culture builds on culture, Thursday built on Wednesday, and while the debaters were resting, we had a session that started rather early, on open access publishing. Our own Sara Uhac joined by the girls from the Publishing Academy, made an introduction to the model – offering a basic tutorial on how to publish open access and the girls explained editing, copy-editing, translation, design, marketing and book trade business. A presentation of the free-access journal followed, and the guys from Hrčak did a thorough overview of their portal, central portal to collecting Croatian scientific journals. We wrapped up this session for the OA sages of the day with comments on Open Access in Croatia, that we were very pleased to hear from Ivana Hebrang Grgic who recently did a research paper on the topic.

Free Flow of Information, Music and Energy

Marino Franusic giving a speech on Free Energy

Part 2 of day 2 was to concentrate on the concept of free energy and free music that was to take us swimmingly towards the end of the SHOW. We have managed to listen with great ease and excitement, although it was later in the afternoon, to speeches on free energy and an energy harvesting project by Marino Franusic, David Blazevic and Ervin Kamenar, the brilliant guys from the Faculty of Engineering in Rijeka, Croatia. What followed immediately was the debate on digital music and remix culture that saw most engagement from both audience and the speakers. It involved local disc jockeys and a representative from the town council, Ivan Šarar. A student that acted as a moderator, Luka Rodela, was very skillful in directing the debate flow. What can bring us back our creative integrity? How are we redefining this creative process in a digital age? Should industries stop treating this process as a product? This debate finally had a beer or two starting to go around.

Debate: Digital Music and Remix Culture

How to end such an event but by playing the music from the year 2430? We have seen a collective of artists that goes by the name of Ducks Records and makes music that is free online and builds different sound-making-machines out of pieces of discarded whiteware, defunct computers and household utensils – turn our SHOW into a mutant that now started to attract dogs, small kids and parents that were all dancing to the tunes. They all came to see the SHOW.

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