To evaluate, learn and distribute by sensing
The way a networked event, which happens in the public domain, is evaluated is very different to how a scientific experiment is evaluated. People sense and feel and discuss. Audience response is not measured, it is 'sensed'. Being part of the event, one is confronted with the nature of one's own practice by seeing the work of others and this triggers deep conversations. In this sense a concept like 'contextual reflexivity', which will be discussed in chapter 5, is very appropriate for understanding the accumulation of knowledge and insight in the development of the early digital culture. The amazing talent and skills of some artists and activists has changed the perception and understanding of the time and space configurations of their audiences forever. Debates and conversations have only ameliorated this effect. In so doing they influenced design and industry in ways that are hard to trace. People who participate in an event also work elsewhere, and their work is influenced by the new insights and visual understanding they have acquired. To witness each other perform and to witness each other's presence (natural and mediated) is a key feature of networked events.
Every subsequent networked event aims to demonstrate the latest new possibilities and best practices in order to keep its own reputation up to scratch. My perception, having been part of this 'scene' in the 1990s is that through a series of events in which best practices were shared and discussed, the early digital culture evolved. When, in the mid nineties, the commercial realm entered into the Internet culture deeply, many of the dynamics changed.