Sovereign Media and the Data Dandy. Two fragments of Adilkno’s Media Theory


Session Title:

  • High & Low

Presentation Title:

  • Sovereign Media and the Data Dandy. Two fragments of Adilkno’s Media Theory



  • Intro

    The two fragments below are part of the media theory of ADILKNO (the Amsterdam- based Foundation for the Advancement of Illegal Knowledge, founded in 1983). The concept of sovereign media and the figure of the data dandy are examples of UTOs (Unidentified Theoretical Objects). UTOs are potential media; their existence is unlikely, their forms vague. Many UTOs were first sighted in Mediamatic magazine and then brought together in the Media Archive book (originally published in Dutch in 1992 and updated in a German edition in 1993). Potential media are a recent phenomenon in the history of the Amsterdam alternative media movement. Potential media (figures) incorporate and move beyond alternative media strategies. In Amsterdam there exists the freedom to experiment with media, not just with respect to concrete political and economic issues but in other ways as well. The Californians imagine the fusion of high and low tech for the rest of the world in corporate dreams of virtual reality and data highways; but the future can be imagined in other ways. ADILKNO’s writings mix and cross-pollute cultural commodities and technologies. The paper will illustrate this practice through the example of the multirational Amsterdam pirate Radio Patapoe. Patapoe is anti-information and anti-fashion, preferring instead to reprocess society’s cultural waste. Patapoe laughs in a Nietzschean way at fascination for the new; it is an example of a sovereign medium which has emancipated itself from any potential audience or target demographic. The paper will also discuss the data dandy as an example of the phenomenon of the potential media figure. The data dandy searches for an aesthetic way to deal with information overload. (The Data Dandy is also the title of ADILKNO’s most recent German lecture tour and book.) Like the cyberpunk, the data dandy is a product of literary fiction and should not be viewed as a role model.