The Virtual Institute for Research into Media Culture Amsterdam (VIRMA) is a group of Amsterdam new media institutions that come together to work on collaborative projects. The organizations involved are De Balie - Centre for Culture and Politics, Netherlands Media Art Institute - Montevideo/TBA, De Waag - The Society for Old and New Media, STEIM and Paradiso. All the member organizations of VIRMA have strong reputations for encouraging innovative experimentation and creative knowledge building with new media, and are committed to disseminating this knowledge over a vast global network.
In collaboration with the Institute for New Culture Technologies / Public Netbase t0 (Vienna, Austria), VIRMA organized the 2002 Amsterdam edition of World-Information.Org,
a continuing collaborative project dedicated to building a theoretical framework for the arts in the digital domain, to lobbying for digital human rights, and to promoting access to research results and digital artistic practice for a large international audience. The mission of the project is the following:
is a collaborative effort of organizations and individuals who are directly concerned with issues of participatory involvement in Information and Communication Technologies, and the Internet as we know it today.
addresses the rise of electronic information and communication technology in which our society is subject to deep structural changes and transformations that affect all aspects of social life.
recognizes that ICT is not Science Fiction; it is now that we experience a steady increase in the importance of intelligently processed information and communications and this demands new ideas at the interface of culture and technopolitics.
declares that not only the influence of communication and information technologies on culture and arts needs to be examined but the artistic and cultural practice with and within digital networks and the resulting changes in society, politics and the artistic practice itself.
demonstrates artistic practice in an increasingly immaterialized world, in which reference-information on situations are more relevant than the situation itself, and the use of digital networks for symbol-manipulation becomes more and more important.
shows that the "digital revolution," the expected changes both within the sector of work and everyday life through the increasing use of ICT in analogy to the profound changes in our society through the "Industrial Revolution" or the so-called "Gutenberg Revolution," is also very much related to what is happening in the field of biotechnology, biometrics and the fusion of "flesh and machine." (1)
In 2000, World-Information.Org
launched its first events in Vienna and Brussels. In 2002, Amsterdam hosted another series of events featuring an exhibition and symposium similar in structure and theme to the events in 2000. The World- Information Exhibition
took place from November 15 to December 15, 2002. The Foundation has partly funded the exhibition component that focused on cryptography, privacy and civil rights organizations, Echelon, electronic surveillance and information politics, hacker activities and ethos, and information security.