“El mundo necesita personas que se puedan hacer cargo de su individualidad en un sentido completo, construyendo su propia auto-cultura”, Carlos Lavagnino, lanzamiento Independnet, Independnet, director general de Riorevuelto, Riorevuelto, Magdalena Mactas, independencia, “cultura independiente”, “cultura en un sentido más amplio”, zona de "no discusión", zonas ciegas, “crítica cultural”, “sensación de soberanía y construcción cultural”, “habilitar una discusión amplia de cultura”, "¿Cuál es tu proyecto de vida?", “mapear" la realidad, “una invitación a tomar conciencia de una complejidad”, “responsabilidad en la cultura”, "autocultura", "ecocultura", "ecoculturalmente”, “no hay sistema más complejo conocido en el Universo que la cultura humana”, "Our world needs people who can completely take charge of their individuality by building their own self-culture", Carlos Lavagnino, launch of the Project IndependNet, General Director of Riorevuelto, Riorevuelto, Magdalena Mactas, independence – “independent culture”, no discusion area, blind zones, blind area, blind spots, “cultural critique”, “sovereignty and cultural construction”, “discuss exhaustively about culture”, “what’s your life project?”, to "map" reality, “an invitation to become aware of a complexity”, “responsibility in culture”, “self-culture”, “eco-culture”, “the most complex system known in the Universe is human culture”, red social cultura, crítica a las redes sociales, crítica a Facebook, crítica a Twitter, concepto de cultura, significado cultura, social network culture, social networks critique, social networks critics, Facebook critique, Facebook critics, Twitter critique, Twitter critics, culture concept, culture meaning, culture in the widest sense, culture in a broad sense, culture in its broadest sense, democracia en territorio de la crítica cultural, intereses de las corporaciones ante el individuo, defensa del individuo ante corporaciones, construir cultura, cultura como un medioambiente, medioambiente y cultura, cambio cultural, creación crítica, tecnología virtuosa, tecnología positiva, tecnología responsable, democracy in culture’s critique territory, corporation’s interests before individuals, defense of the individuals before corporations, building culture, culture as a natural environment, culture as the natural environment, natural environment and culture, cultural change, cultural revolution, critic creation, virtuous technology, positive technology, responsible technology.

A dialogue with Carlos Lavagnino: Our world needs people who can completely take charge of their individuality by building their own self-culture
A dialogue with Carlos Lavagnino, General Director of Riorevuelto, regarding the launch of the Project IndependNet
Interview: Magdalena Mactas
Editing and Page Arrangement: Laura Marajofsky y Greta Struminger
Proofreading: Sabrina Cuasnicú

M: Tell us a little bit about this new platform.

C: IndependNet is attempted to be a platform, a piece of software, which in time will be available for every Internet user, and which has the aim of introducing a set of tools that allow people to do many things: on the one hand, to create a database with different cultural manifestations in a language, and with an interface prepared to such effect, in order to be able to catalog with high precision almost any kind of cultural manifestation you can imagine. On the other hand, with that cataloging system, the idea is allowing users to produce critical elements that relate or refer to those cataloged objects. Besides, all this would be framed in a social network platform. This is, thus, a program that combines all these ideas with the fundamental aim of encouraging people to criticize the culture in its broadest aspect.
"Here democracy is being recognized as equivalent to the impossibility of analyzing a phenomenon and saying: I like this or I don’t like this." M: What do you mean when you refer to the culture in its broadest aspect?

C: Even though attention is paid to a lot of manifestations that are traditionally associated with the concept of culture, such as arts and others, what IndependNet is really aimed at is adopting a wider perspective so as to try to detect transversalities that have become natural to us or that we have incorporated, and which are part of that cultural knowledge that is almost never discussed.

M: Behavior patterns, ways we may not perceive because they have become natural to us, but which are part of what we are?

C: Exactly, the idea is to try and see "through". I mean, we are trying to acknowledge that the manifestations of the specific or specialized culture are the result of something that goes beyond each and every one of those disciplines. So, through that monitoring or that reverse engineering, we could shed light on a whole area of "no discussion", placing that area under critical consideration, and not taking anything for granted.

M: Sometimes it may seem as if we cannot even name or identify certain problems, certain phenomena...

C: It happens that there are some things which don't even seem to have an entity, which drop off the radar. They are precisely what in the field of the biology of vision would be called "blind zones". You know that in the eye there is a whole part of your field of vision that is insensitive, because the "wiring" of your optic nerve has to go somewhere and that prevents you from obtaining certain information. I think, first, we have to give an entity to each and every one of the big problems to discuss exhaustively about culture.

M: In your opinion, how does criticism suit this culture?

C: We live in a society that appears to be tolerant and diverse, but it actually has a very curious counterpart: tolerance based on the impossibility of criticizing another person, because that would be interpreted as a demonstration of intolerance. Tolerance is not about not criticizing, but about legitimizing criticism, and at the same time, understanding that everyone, every agent in a situation, has every right to do what they want. If you approach the concept of democracy from cultural criticism, that democracy turns into authoritarianism. The discussion about tolerance stops being relevant when it comes to culture, in the sense that in that case it turns into a prerogative: it is already known that everyone does what they want. I see this many times when I ask people: "What do you think about this?" or "what is it that you don't like about this model, or that situation? And most of the times, do you know what's the answer?

M: What?

C: That everyone does what they want. But that is clear, that's not what I'm asking about, you know what I mean? Here democracy is being recognized as equivalent to the impossibility of analyzing a phenomenon and saying: "I like this" or "I don't like this"

M: I'd like you to tell us about the way you came up with the interface idea and which is its connection to Riorevuelto.

"How can there be that with so many different distances, realities, landscapes, and stories in the world, the answer to the question “what’s your life project?” is so similar everywhere?"
C: From its very beginnings, Riorevuelto tried to reach the possibility of working on culture, of trying to find which were those tools, those processes, and above all, those predispositions, that would make an approach to a feeling sovereignty and cultural construction possible. Riorevuelto has seventeen years of experience, and it is only now that this project could crystallize. Some of its components were actually discussed for the first time more than ten years ago.

M: Then, explain to us what is Riorevuelto, so as to understand clearly where all this process that ends up in IndependNet comes from, even though it keeps growing into a bigger project.

C: Riorevuelto is actually a group of projects that have the fundamental aim of creating points of view, technologies, and procedures to make a broad discussion about culture, in the sense we mentioned before, possible —the possibility to discuss once and again certain parameters that no one deals with, which are, curiously, those main vectors most people in the planet base their lives on. When a person is asked: "What's your life project?," it is amazing to see the similarity or the homogeneity between different social classes, in different countries. As far as I'm concerned that is one of the things that shocked me the most and invited me to get involved with this issue. How can there be that with so many different distances, realities, landscapes, and stories in the world, the answer to the question "what's your life project?" is so similar everywhere?

M: IndependNet may be useful to make people aware of this homogenization, helping them to "map" reality...

C: You've just mentioned a key word: "map". We have to start making maps, because identifying the relationship existing between things is a fundamental part of our intelligence. IndependNet is a language of association, a tool to build visualizable webs. Nowadays everything is a net, but the way we visualize nets reduces that complexity. Let's take an example from Facebook: it is an incredible web, as regards its structure. However, when you want to see your friends, you visualize them in a list, in a sequence, which is one of the most extreme ways to reduce the complexity of something. Many times we escape or avoid the contemplation of complexities, and nets are an invitation to become aware of a complexity.

"It is the individual that we have to think about here. How he or she protects himself or herself from the interests of corporations or certain niches of culture." M: Would the aim of IndependNet be to see the relationship between isolated episodes and tendencies?

C: Precisely, because we need to see that there are not only episodes, but situations that are part of patterns, tendencies; and that those tendencies are also a net that is highly interrelated. This homogenizing vision of culture we talked about before is based, on the one hand, on great naivety, and on the other hand, on great irresponsibility.
M: What do you mean by "great naivety"?

C: Naivety is generated by a reduction of complexity, and an inability to see the underlying order of events. That's why we are not only cataloging a cultural manifestation, but we also provide a language useful to catalog all human and productive relationships that it encompasses. I can catalog a movie, but I also can catalog everything, all the people who worked in it and the organizations that related to it. What IndependNet provides is a language to appreciate that complexity and relationships. And, in my opinion, that is overcoming naivety. Why? Because people who contemplate a cultural manifestation many times seem to lack the necessary tools to analyze the context of what is happening. And what IndependNet provides those people with is a powerful contextualizer. That is: what is that object?, how was it created?, who created it?, under what circumstances?, with how much experience?, and what tendencies is it part of?

M: And that implies a personal responsibility, since you also mentioned irresponsibility before...

C: I think that what we have today, in a very interconnected world and culture, is a great challenge to restore the role of responsibility. We talk a lot about social responsibility, or responsible tourism, or creating a responsible industry. But, where is the cultural responsibility? How can we create responsible advertising, responsible films, responsible novels? We agree that it is not the function of the State, except in extreme cases, such as advertising that breaks a law —that is the case of many commercials that have broken the national traffic law. The only bastion we have left so as not to end up in an authoritarian State that tells us what to do is the existence of critical individuals. We live in a context where those who build our culture are dimly aware of the impact of their actions.

M: Is it about providing people with more tools to relate and detect possible cultural patters?

C: Absolutely. It is the individual that we have to think about here. How he or she protects himself or herself from the interests of corporations or certain niches of culture. It would be interesting that, at least once, the individual be the one who has the ability to create intelligence, and not only be part of "focus groups" or surveys as it usually occurs. IndependNet is the net that fosters independence and encourages individuals to have tools to counterweight that observation which they have always been subjected to.

M: Can you tell us a little bit about the concepts of "self-culture" and "eco-culture" that you have been working on?

C: Self-culture is the acceptance that we have to build our culture drawing inspiration from a lot of elements, which are many times external, shared; however, individuals have to remain independent to choose what to accept, what to change, and what to dismiss. Our world needs people who can completely take charge of their individuality by building their own self-culture.

"The most responsible order is always the one where power is not centralized, where everyone has to be in charge of improving their lives and the world."
M: But is it "eco-culturally" sustainable that all individuals do this?

C: I think it is sustainable in the sense that it involves a personal view and real responsibility from individuals. The most responsible order is always the one where power is not centralized, where everyone has to be in charge of improving their lives and the world. It is the same as saving the planet, it cannot be done by a government or a corporation; the only way of saving the environment would be that we all had the maximum degree of responsibility. You have to think about culture as an environment that is composed by a physical environment, but also by so much more. How can you make that culture be as healthy as possible? Trying to make as many agents as you can responsible for their culture.

M: And what role may IndependNet have in this cultural change?

C: Well, it is an incentive, an invitation, a small open door to start, little by little, to exercise our ability to visualize, criticize, and support ideas. And, besides there is something very important that IndependNet has, which is one of its functions: the development of our own projects. It represents the possibility of changing criticism into tangible proposals through the projects. It is a double game. When we can see the complexity of the things that surround us, we can, on the one hand, dare to criticize and, on the other hand, we also become aware of the responsibility involved in the building. And the more you build, the more you dare to criticize; and the more you criticize, the more you have to build. The result is a cycle that promotes the "critical creation". That is, a balance.

M: Maybe we need models that don't deny the complexity of culture...

C: That's right... points of view. IndependNet promotes the possibility to find an angle that is accessible, but at the same time reflects the complexity of what is seen. From then on, it is an attitude we expect to spread so that we can demonstrate that the technologies created have to be also committed to a critical concept. Nowadays, I think IndependNet, beyond its cultural aim, is very important in the sense that it is a different model of technological creation.

M: What do you mean by those last words?

C: I mean that creating technology is the same as creating anything else; the idea is trying to create something virtuous, something which makes productivity easier and tries to do good. Especially today, when it is pretty evident that any technological instrument is glorified due to its massiveness, to the fact that everybody uses it and it's new. In that sense, I'm extremely critical about tools such as Facebook or Twitter, because they are applications which, in my opinion, do not contribute to develop a more critical culture. On the contrary, they amplify the contradictions.

"The more you build, the more you dare to criticize; and the more you criticize, the more you have to build." M: Do they also amplify the cultural homogenization?

C: I think so. You see, Facebook has the option "Like", but it doesn't have the option "Do not like". This tells you something about your tool, which evidently is not so critical.

M: Expressing an opinion entails some degree of responsibility, which is related to what we talked before about individuals who can build their autonomy and who are more responsible.

C: I really like the word "Independence". Freedom is more general, and it allows people to become responsible for a series of issues. Independence should be a maximization of that freedom, a progressive acceptance of our responsibility to the point where every person is the main builder of his or her cultural fabric. That is how we get happier individuals, with less resentment that serves as an excuse, less frustration coming from decisions people didn't really make, or actually made under the pressure of the environment. That would generate an availability of energy and personal commitment to establish a relationship with the world that is not so traumatic, but much more virtuous. It is a world where happiness and building have to go hand in hand, and where we have to be aware of complexity. And so far, the most complex system known in the Universe is human culture.
August 30th, 2010. 
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