Riga hosts meeting of NICE [Network Interface for Cultural Exchange]

Decision-makers on different levels of central and local government should finance the investigation into new models for self-sustaining networks of new media culture as part of the process of accommodating the emerging new media culture...

Riga 25.08.2000

The main aim of the NICE network is to promote the development of new media culture and to support emerging and established media centres and labs initiated by artists and cultural activists locally and in the region of the Baltic Sea, North-East European countries, and beyond.

The NICE meeting on new media and cultural policy development in the region of Baltic Sea and North-East Europe held in Riga on 25th August 2000, during the 4th International New Media Festival "Art+Communication" was entitled "InterCultural Jamming". It was organised by E-LAB and RIXC - the newly founded Center for New Media Culture.

The NICE meeting in Riga brought together both policy makers and more then 60 new media practitioners primarily from countries in the Baltic-Nordic region. The aim of the event was 'cultural jamming, opening up borders and minds. Media artists and net radio activists from Italy, Belarus, Argentina, Indonesia, Colombia and other countries took part.

* background:
The first meeting of new media culture initiatives from the Baltic Sea & Nordic Region took place in November 1999, within the framework of TEMP - the Temporary Media Lab project in Kiasma Museum, Helsinki. The participants in TEMP established a network for new media culture [NICE] as a supporting structure for information exchange and collaboration within the region. This structure also serves as a link to similar initiatives in the rest of Europe.
The NICE meeting in Riga was a follow-up to this event, and included the aim to promote dialogue between practitioners and policy-makers in the region.

* opening up:
At the meeting in Riga it became evident that a relatively small environment had grown to include representatives from Central Europe as well as Asia and South America. The network does not wish to be geographically exclusive and the meeting decided that a main issue is the situation of small cultures and languages in an emerging new media culture with global impact.

* mutual support strategy:
Within NICE mutual support has been employed as both a local strategy (e.g. Norwegian production network) and a tool for investigating and supporting development of new models for organisational infrastructure (e.g. RIXC - the Center for new media culture in Latvia, M-Cult in Finland).
As a next step towards developing self-sustaining media culture practice, in April 2001 NICE plans to organise the Training Programme for New Media Cultural Management, and a Practice to Policy meeting.

* projects:
Mobile-NICE is the pilot project developed by NICE members. It is an educational, artistic cultural mapping of the countries around the Baltic Sea, planned as a bus which will travel to all media centres and other relevant initiatives in the area.

* conclusion:
NICE confirms an uncompromising dedication to its main aims. NICE will continue its strategy of practical support and collaboration through projects as well as continuing the search and discussions for good models that ensure the vitality of the local and international media culture scene. This involves methods of financing, engaging in cultural policy, co-operating with other networks in the field as well as continued media culture practices.

* participants:
Participants in the Riga NICE meeting included representatives from: Atelier Nord/Oslo, VLI (Institute of Vincent Lunge)/Oslo, BEK/Bergen, CRAC/Stockholm, Natverkstan/Gothenburg, M-Cult/Helsinki, E-Media Center/Tallinn, Mediaswamp/Tallinn, Backdoor-Media/Tallinn, E-LAB/Riga, RIXC/Riga, Locomotive/Riga, Jutempus/Vilnius, OFFicyna/ Szczecin, WRO/Wroclaw, NoD Media Lab/Prague, Media Art Lab/Moscow, Contemporary Arts Association/Minsk, Bootstraplab/Berlin, Southspace/ London, De Balie/Amsterdam, as well as individual artists from various countries of Europe, South America and Asia.

* For further information, check the NICE website: