ENVIV | Das neue Buchprojekt von Dirk von Gehlen


We use this phrase when we talk about software: “There is a new version available” isn’t very common when we talk about books, movies or music – so far. With this book the german journalist Dirk von Gehlen shows that we can think about cultural products as we think about software – in versions. “There is a new version available – How Digitalization Changes our Idea of Culture” simultaneously describes and proved this assumption that we have to regard books, movies and songs as we regard software: as a process not only as a product. Like software that is delivered in versions culture can also be opened to its versions. With this assumption this book wants to stop the narrative of the danger of digitalization. If we understand the conditions of this change, it will be open up opportunitys to creative persons in journalism, music or film business that are much stronger as the negative implications of digitalization.

Let’s talk about the process not only the product

“I think the digitaliziation is like a climate change for cultural products”, Dirk von Gehlen explains his idea: “It changes their aggregat state from solid to liquid.” Like Wikipedia liquefied the idea of an encyclopedia every cultural item changes under the condition of digitalization: it becomces software. “We can write books like we write software”, von Gehlen goes on. “Together and in versions.” That is the reason why he opend his desktop to his readers, they became spectators of the writing process that started in autumn 2012 with a crowdfunding-project on startnext. “My readers did not only buy a book (that was delivered on paper and as an eBook in June 2013), they took part in the development from the first sentence to the final copy-editing.”