Uniform Resource Locator

November 26, 2019 Constant

A guided tour through the history and changing practice of URLs.

Sunday 8 December 14:00-17:00 in WIELS, Brussels
With Martino Morandi

Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), also known as web addresses, specify the location of a resource on a computer network. This once ubiquitous technology for routing between digitally interconnected spaces on the World Wide Web is rapidly being moved out of sight. While URLs are being conveniently replaced by QR codes, URL shorteners and optimized browser interfaces, we started to wonder about the politics of this obfuscation.

This interactive lecture addresses the notions of ‘Uniformity’, ‘Resourcefulness’ and ‘Location’ through hands-on exercises and collective reading. Together with the participants, we will try to experience the many ways URLs are changing, and to interpret what this tell us about today’s networked economies.

Please bring your laptops!

In the framework of the exhibition Open Skies. Guided tour in English.

Geraldine Juarez: Render me grey

November 21, 2019 Possible bodies

Interview with Possible Bodies
http://sink.sexy/texts/rendermegrey

Jara: I am super interested in the potential of grey literature to alter those very technical documents or devices, precisely to affect how they operate. Maybe one thing we could talk about here is bug reports. These are grey documents that circulate among the practice of software-production and they operate differently from other more culturally recognisable kinds of writing.

Femke: Greyness, in the sense of evil media, is also about looking at those breath-taking software processes and 3D extractivist projects through its manuals, licenses, and bug reports. It’s a way to not get too blinded by complexity and at the same time it is a way to sense its cracks and understand their paratexts to get a handle on their structurings. You can see the slippages among different practices through the language around what works and doesn’t, what could, should, or cannot happen. You can start seeing too the limits of imaginations that are there, certain assumptions, values, and priorities. There is something very interesting about software’s grey literature. Sometimes language works and sometimes it doesn’t. You can start to look at how you can be in a conversation, directly, imaging who you are speaking with or writing to.

Jara: In relation to what Geraldine points out, this is how we can maybe understand grey matter or grey literature: a spot from where you can turn the very probable into quite possible. This is where things can be altered. Precisely because this is the place where things can be written down, where things start tracing the too probable trajectories of the contemporary structuring of matter, and can be somehow partly re-written and changed from the probable to the possible in an instant. This at least is where the probable and the possible blur, they are both there. This is the spacetime of transformation.

Femke: Where the probable and the possible co-habit… They are both there.

Right the Right: Re-imagining copyleft

October 21, 2019 Constant

As a contribution to Right the right (a three day event on the crisis in copyright), Constant is invited to report on Authors of the future. During this studyday, we tried to make a start with re-imagining copyleft as a decolonial, feminist and collective practice. Right the Right asks if “the assertions of intellectual property rights will decide what music is created and who can listen to it? How are power relations distributed in times of platform economics and streaming services? How could protective and utilization models be redesigned in the interest of art and the public? What rights and regulations make sense in a globalized world?”

Collective Conditions: Opening

October 18, 2019 Constant

Join us for the festive opening of Collective Conditions, a worksession which experiments with the generative potential of socio-technical protocols such as codes of conduct, complaints procedures, bug reports and copyleft licenses. For one week, a group of 35 artists, activists, theorists and performers from different places in the world will explore complex collectivities otherwise. ‘Complex collectivities’ are collectives where participants with radically different needs, backgrounds and agencies come together. This ‘complex collectivity’ can be self-chosen, or be the result of structural forces such as laws, racism, technology, wars, austerity, queerphobia and ecological conditions.

The session is hosted by Ateliers Mommen, the last of the 19th-century cité des artistes still active in Brussels. Ateliers Mommen is a collectively run space where artists live and work together but also can interract and exchange with their public and neighbourhood.

At this worksession opening, delicious vegetarian snacks will be served and the bar is open. We’ll present the Collective Conditions workbook and discuss the questions that lead up to this session. Environmental conditions are set by artist Loren Britton, who made tables and pillows for the space that we will be working in. Loren wants to offer these objects as opportunities to play with the room, create directional flows with the tables and to consider metaphors around way finding and orientation as ways to imagine what collaboration can be.

Collective Conditions is part of Iterations, a long-term artistic research into the future of collaborative practice in a digital context.

Welcome!

Call for participants: Collective Conditions

June 23, 2019 Constant

Collective Conditions is a worksession which experiments with the generative potential of codes of conduct, complaints procedures, bug reports and copyleft licenses. We understand these socio-technical protocols as artistic and activist media and are curious about the role they can play in the (different) imagination of complex collectivities.

By ‘complex collectivity’ we mean, for example, non-normative human constellations, or collectives where participants with radically different needs, backgrounds and agencies come together. ‘Complex collectivity’ can be self-chosen, or be the result of structural forces such as laws, racism, technology, wars, austerity, queerphobia and ecological conditions.

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The Bitflipping Mixtape launch

May 23, 2019 Constant

ATTENTION: launch postponed due to a SEU!

Broadcast Sunday 23 June from 21:00 until a bit after midnight. Place and frequency to be announced. If you bring a used cassette tape, we will make you a magnetically enhanced copy on the spot.

With The Bitflipping Mixtape, The Flipping (de)Ontologi(ci)sts set out to answer a simple, burning question: What is happening in the forbidden zone? The result was nothing short of a revelation. Finally turning all Truth Tables, The (de)Ontologi(ci)sts burrow into the past and future of Ageing Companions, a worksession that explored the interconnected ageing of bodies and technologies, to bring you this coercive statement towards Non-Coercive Computing. The Bitflipping Mixtape is a soundtrack for the summer solstice, emerging exactly one year after having observed the impact of cosmic rays on a chamber saturated with ethanol fumes. It’s a rich and messy mélange of real real new new wave, particles and particles, carrying a luminous sheen and a bittersweet undercurrent. Instead of constructing a playlist around catchy hooks and brisk 16-bar verses, the tracks revel in pregnant pauses, stop frequently to insert a BUT-gate, flip lines several times, and generally falter and stumble blindly across the middle ground of the tape’s lush production, which is characterized by thick, buzzsaw bass lines, glittering arpeggiated synths, and juicy vieillissant harmonies.

Interfacing the law: The library is open

May 22, 2019 xpub

Dear readers,

The Library Is Open invites you to an afternoon of workshops that make the operations within libraries visible. Join us in exploring the actions and roles of legal and extra-legal libraries (municipal, pirate, academic, +++), their custodians, and the public that form a community around collections of texts.

Registration is not necessary, as on arrival you will be assigned to two workshops. After the first session there will be a short break, after which the second session of workshops will begin. At the end of the event we’ll have a moment to share the outcomes of the workshops all together. We’d like you to attend both sessions if possible, in order to maximise the experience.

The event is divided into three parallel workshops which will be held twice, giving participants the opportunity to encounter different experiences: Marginal Conversations, Knowledge in Action and Blurry boundaries

The Library Is Open is a participatory event developed by the Piet Zwart Institute’s Experimental Publishing program as part of the research project Special Issue #9: Interfacing the Law, in partnership with Constant. Interfacing the Law is a recurring thematic project which looks at how publishing practices develop in accordance, or in dissonance with legal frameworks.

Contributors: Simon Browne, Tancredi Di Giovanni, Paloma García, Rita Graça, Artemis Gryllaki, Pedro Sá Couto, Biyi Wen and Bohye Woo.

Special thanks to: Bodo Balaczs, Dusan Barok, Anita Burato, Andre Castro, Aymeric Mansoux, Michael Murtaugh, Martino Morandi, Leslie Robbins, Steve Rushton, Amy Suo Wu, Eva Weinmayr.

From Split Sheets to the Streets

September 25, 2018 Constant

Contribution to a symposium organised by Q-02 werkplaats in collaboration with Melissa E. Logan (University of Craft Action Thought / Chicks on Speed). With Christian von Borries, Prodromos Tsiavos, Melissa E. Logan, ooooo, Yoni Van Den Eede.

The one-day symposium and reflection day From Split Sheets to the Streets: how we credit, share and collect for intellectual property today and tomorrow will examine the worlds of intellectual property and ownership of music – beginning from the present and extending into models for the future. It aims at dissecting and reconstructing ideas of copyright, the distribution and monetisation of intellectual property, and at analysing formats for appropriation. It brings together experts from diverse sides of the copyright universe from practical publishing to sharing culture thinkers, artists and philosophers.

View online (including recording): http://www.q-o2.be/en/event/from-split-sheets-to-the-streets/

All-Inclusive Cyborg Talks: Diversity vs. homogeneity

September 25, 2018 Possible bodies
Technology offers many people the opportunity to participate in society. Technology as enabler of accessibility. The practice is different. The paradox of technology is that, despite the possibilities, the instrument is often used to control, manage, and homogenize society. Contact lists on smartphones consist for 95% of people looking like us. Algorithms still produce stereotypes, seemingly farfetched, but stubborn nonetheless. Conscious human feedback is needed to realize a digital society that is as diverse as real life.”

Chair: Danielle Arets. With Jennifer Kanary and Luis Lobo Guerrero.

https://robotlove.nl/event/cyborg-talks-uniformiteit-vs-diversiteit/

Books with an attitude @ FLAT

September 24, 2018 Constant

Presentation at the FLAT Art Book Fair of Torino:

Books deserve their hallmark “with an Attitude” when they are made with Free, Libre and Open Source Software and published under an open content license by Constant. This Brussels’ based association for art and media, collaborated with different designers to experiment the interrelation between tools, design and content. After almost ten years, the catalog now includes e-books, manuals, software-releases, workbooks, pamphlets, theory collections, literary works and a cookbook. Whether through bespoke publishing platforms, custom-made fonts and collaborative editing … each of these books plays differently with its conditions for sharing.

Rhythmic contingency

September 24, 2018 Constant

For five days, Alex Zakkas and Kurt Tichy joined the ranks of various human and machinic agents already watching over the Brussels’ Muntplein. How do different flows and different forms of power intersect on this square? Starting from their observations, Constant hosts an evening discussing surveillance methodologies and the ways in which they change as a result of technological developments. What is the relationship between preemption, prehension, and prediction? In what way are public data streams manipulated in order to prevent/stimulate/anticipate certain courses of events?

With guests Dennis Pohl and Inigo Wilkins we will reflect on the problems of the neoliberal politics of surveillance and, more generally, on the notions of control, randomness, and unpredictability and how they differ across physical, biological, cognitive, and social systems. Moderation: Femke Snelting.

An evening the context of The new local and part of Precarious Pavilions, curated by Michiel Vandevelde and produced in collaboration with the Kaaitheater and its program CITY:LAND.

11 October 2018, Brussels
http://thenewlocal.org/

The Techno-Galactic Guide to Software Observation

July 16, 2018 Constant

The Techno-Galactic Guide to Software Observation gathers methods from the Techno-Galactic Software Observatory, a worksession that took place in June 2017. It was collectively edited by Carlin Wing, Martino Morandi, Peggy Pierrot, Anita Burato, Christoph Haag, Michael Murtaugh, Femke Snelting, Seda Gürses and designed by Christoph Haag.

“The Techno-Galactic Guide to Software Observation is the obsessive fantasy of optimization turned on its head and stuck to the ceiling of a self-reflecting elevator. It is the ultimate book, with almost 300 pages of dos and don’ts, of forgotten histories and un-inevitable futures, of mindful agile actions and improvisational service architectures, of any and all things that you can and cannot imagine needing in a techno-galaxy.” ☆☆☆☆☆☆

Books 5,— and/or download at http://www.books.constantvzw.org/nl/home/tgso

Somatopologies

July 1, 2018 Possible bodies


September-November 2018: 소마토폴로지 at Seoul Mediacity Biennale, as part of Monoskop Exhibition Library


September-November 2018: Somatopologies at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial


July-September 2018: Somatopologies at Constant_V, vitrine of Constant, Brussels.

Somatopologies is a movie-in-the-making which contains 3D-renderings of diverse densities, wondering about the regimes of truth that converge in volumetric biomedical images. There is a coalition between tomography and topology at work to align math, flesh, computation, bone, anatomic science, tissue and language. But when life is made all too probable, Possible Bodies asks obliquely: what other “bodies” can be imagined?

Somatopologies moves through the political fictions of somatic matter. Rolling from outside to inside, from a mediated exteriority to a computed interiority and back, it reconsiders the potential of unsupervised somatic depths and (un-)invaded interiors. Unfolding along situated surfaces, this post-cinematic experiment jumps over the probable outcomes of contemporary informatics, towards the possible otherness of a mundane (after)math.

Somatopologies is a trans*feminist exercise in and of disobedient action-research. It cuts agential slices through technocratic paradigms in order to create hyperbolic incisions that stretch, rotate and bend Euclidean nightmares and Cartesian anxieties.

Interfacing the law: XPPL

May 30, 2018 Constant, xpub

Launching XPPL: Xperimental Potential Pirate Library, Xperimental Private-Public Liaison, Xperimental Pretentious Performative Labor, Xperimental Platform for Potential Legality, Xperimental Post-Public Library.

XPPL was developed in the context of Interfacing the law, a collaboration between Constant and the Experimental Publishing program in Rotterdam. The project experiments with and openly discusses shadow libraries, piratical text collections and other forms of disobedient sharing.

XPPL interfaces and infrastructure by: Alex, Tash, Joca, Alice, Zalán, Angelika. With a guest contribution by Dubravka Sekulic.

“XPPL is a space for potential pirate librarianship aimed at people who are studying the field of media culture, or as we like to call them: knowledge comrades. This library gathers all the books and articles floating around on PZI shelves and our hard drives and memory sticks, so that they can be shared. As a web interface, it hosts a curated catalogue of books and articles, and instances for uploading and downloading. It starts at XPUB, but can go anywhere we want it to.”
https://issue.xpub.nl/06/

View on-line: https://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mw-mediadesign/index.php?title=Interfacing_the_law_(2018)

Close Encounters: Conditions for the work

April 23, 2018 a.pass

Close Encounters is a series of presentations and public conversations organized by the a.pass Research Centre. These informal events are designed to take the time to meet, listen and evaluate an idea, a project, a research, or a specific point in a research trajectory. What to study? What to research? What to practice?

For this episode of Close encounters, Sofia Caesar and Femke Snelting have invited each other for an afternoon of conversation about contracts as propositions and elements as conditions. Both are involved in related but very different practices that they will present and bring into discussion with each other and the public.

Image: detail of Spaghetti plot, vinyl on wall, Sofia Caesar, 2018. Photo: Gilles Ribero

View online: https://apass.be/conditions-for-the-work

Trans//border: Boundaries do not sit still

February 26, 2018 Constant, Possible bodies

TRANS // BORDER takes the work of Nathalie Magnan as its point of departure and looks at the relevance of her work through the creations and research of a number of artists, scientists, (h)acktivists and students who are continuing to cultivate the territories she was exploring.

As a contribution to the track Frontières et technologies et Rencontres Zelig, Femke proposed a collective exploration of three-dimensional biomedical images.

View online: http://nathaliemagnan.net/transborder

Feminist Futures: Automated environments

February 25, 2018 Possible bodies

What does a feminism that has adapted to technological mediation, abstraction, the virtual, and complexity look like? And what are the new forms of occupying, segregating and contesting space that automation can facilitate? Femke participates in a debate organised by the Royal Academy, London in the context of International Women’s Day. With Marina Otero, Nina Power, Ellie Cosgrave, Susan Schuppli and Grace Quah.

View online : https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/event/automated-environments

Call for participants: Ageing companions / Geprogrammeerde veroudering / Les cyborgs vieillissants

February 24, 2018 Constant

Call closes: 18 April 2018

The lifecycles of different species are linked via electronic circuits with limited lifespan: accessories that measure biorhythms or monitor the growth-rate of specimens; interactive medical implants, networked pacemakers or wireless defibrillators are an everyday reality. As minerals, plants, animals, people and machines wear out, the technologies they carry and/or are part of, age as well. Their batteries might be empty, their computer chips break down or remote monitors can no longer handle the latest update. The ageing processes of biological and technological merge and it is not always so clear whether we are faced with physical or programmed obsolescence.

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Close Encounters: Active Archives

January 5, 2018 a.pass, Active Archives, Constant

In the context of the series Close Encounters, Nicolas Malevé and Femke Snelting and a.pass researcher Pierre Rubio will discuss the long history of Active Archives. Active Archives started in 2006 as a Constant project concerned with digital archive practices of cultural institutions. The project is currently activated by Michael Murtaugh and Nicolas Malevé in the context of SICV.

Close Encounters is the name of a series of presentations and public conversations organized by the a.pass Research Centre. These light and irregular events are designed to take time to meet, listen and evaluate an idea, a project, a research or a specific point in a research trajectory. What to study? What to research? What to practice?

“Within Active Archives, we aim to set up multi-directional communication channels, and are interested in making information circulate back and forth. We would like to give material away and receive it transformed: enriched by different connections, contexts and contradictions.” Active Archives manifesto, 2006