Transmarcations Open Call

July 27, 2017 Constant

Transmarcations experiments with ways to chart heres, wheres and others. This worksession situates itself at the crossing of technolgies with geographies, life’s courses, bodies, terrains and deplacements.

Transmarcations is interested in the complexity that emerges when cartography meets bodies in transition. By bodies in transition we mean migrating bodies as well as bodies that engage in an internal process of change, like gender transitions. By taking a closer look at the situation of these bodies, Transmarcations questions the (ir)relevance of standards and the intrinsic presence of cultural codes. What tools do we use? What language, which parameters, conventions?

Open Call

We invite you to apply for this worksession. Potential participants come from various disciplines to create prototypes, visualisations and models of speculative body-terrain combinations. Bio-mappers, artists, gender- and migration-activisten, science-hackers, cartographers, data-miners, self-quantifiers … are welcome to experiment together with softwares, languages, bodies, navigation and other technologies to develop methods and practices around cartography, diagramming, mapping and technological graphical representations that create place for the extra-categorical, the complexities of contact zones in which people, terrains and other agents are related.

Thirty people will take part in the worksession. Constant already invited some guests to prepare three different cases that will be presented during the worksession. We’re looking for 18 extra participants.

You find more information here: http://www.constantvzw.org/site/-Transmarcations-.html

Worksession?

Worksessions are intensive transdisciplinary moments, organised twice a year by Constant. We aim to provide conditions for participants with different experiences and capabilities to temporarily link their practice and to develop ideas, prototypes and research projects together. We primarily use Free, Libre and Open Source software and material that is available under Open Licenses.

Practical:

Transmarcations takes place in Brussels from Sunday 3 till Saturday 9 December 2017. Participation is free and Constant provides travel costs, lunch and hosting for all participants. If you’re interested to participate, please send an email to peter@constantvzw.org with your motivation before 14 September. We will answer by 20 September latest.

Possible Bodies: Ultrasound Mishearings

June 27, 2017 Possible bodies

This summer, the Possible Bodies inventory travels to Hangar (Barcelona) to mutate with local affinity networks and communities of concern. During a two-week residency, the collective research will focus on biomedical 3D imaging and how it models, scans and renders “real bodies”. Possible Bodies is concerned by the merging of pharmacopornographic, Hollywood and military industries. In this techno-colonial and hetero-patriarchal landscape, violent ableist, misogynous and xenophobe representations keep emerging. Through fictional accounts of actual open source projects such as 3D-Slicer, ITK and echOpen, we want to ask how biomedical imaging composes, displaces and segments “bodies”.

Public presentations and workshops on Thursday July 27.

The Document Transformed

June 21, 2017 a.pass, Possible bodies

Masterclass with Adva Zakai (Thursday) and presentation (Saturday) on the BioVision Hierarchy file format.

BioVision Hierarchy (.bvh) is an ASCII file format used to import data from various motion capture systems into 3D-animation software. It was developed in the mid-nineties and remains one of the most commonly used file-formats for transposing movement captured in physical space, to a computational environment. Around this relatively legible format, a rich ecology of software tools developed. The file-format functions as a boundary object between practices and bodies, as it is used by animators, game developers, interface researchers, medical professionals, dance-historians, sports-analysts and engineers.

Together we will analyse the .bvh specifications and samples of the file format in order to understand what imaginaries of the body are encoded into it, what a bipedal skeleton hierarchy consists of, and how rotational data for rigid bodies might constitute a movement in itself.

The reading of the .bvh file format is developed with Adva Zakai in the context of Possible Bodies, a collaborative research initiated by Jara Rocha and Femke Snelting on the very concrete and at the same time complex and fictional entities that “bodies” are, and the matter-cultural conditions of possibility that render them present.

Image: Rigging Biovision Hierarchy with Sina Seifee.

The Techno-Galactic Walk-in Clinic

May 29, 2017 Constant

Do you suffer from the disappearance of your software into the cloud, feel oppressed by unequal user privilege, or experience the torment of software-ransom of any sort? Bring your devices and interfaces to the World Trade Center! With the help of a clear and in-depth session, at the Techno-Galactic Walk-In Clinic we guarantee immediate results.

The Walk-In Clinic provides free hands-on observations to software curious people of all kinds. A wide range of professional and amateur practitioners will provide you with Software-as-a-Critique-as-a-Service on the spot. Available services range from immediate interface critique, collaborative code inspection, data dowsing, various forms of network analyses, unusability testing, identification of unknown viruses, risk assessment, opening of black-boxes and more.

Free software observations provided. Last intake at 16:45

The walk-in clinic is a service provided by the Techno-Galactic Software Observatory, a worksession organised by Constant from 7-12 June.

Interfacing the law @ Cinema Sauvage

April 27, 2017 Constant

Le Festival Mondial des Cinémas Sauvages est un lieu et un moment ouvert, traversé par des courants contraires. Il cherche à rassembler des films et des démarches qui ne s’embarrassent pas des notions de propriété, de droit d’auteur ou de copyright. Consciemment parfois, via les licences libres ; naïvement souvent, n’écoutant que leur énergie.

Lors de l’événement en amont du festival au Cinéma Nova et déjà en route pour la Journée du Domaine Public, Constant présentera le projet Interfacing the law comme un outil de réflexion autour des parallèles et les différences entre le partage des films et des livres.

Let’s build a library together

April 27, 2017 Constant, Memory of the world

Let’s Build a Library Together invite des graphistes, des artistes, des théoréticiens, des hackers, des bibliothécaires et des activistes à joindre les forces pendant une semaine intense de discussion, prototyping collectif et d’échanges autour des avenirs des Bibliothèques Publiques dans l’ère numérique.

Femke Snelting contribue à cet atelier initié par la Public Library/Memory of the World et l’Institute for Contemporary Art à Graz.

Testing the testbed

February 16, 2017 Constant

As a preparation for and critical evaluation of a proposal by Princeton University for a Internet of Things Inspector, participants from Constant, Dyne:BXL, Cosic Leuven and others gather in WTC25 to do code inspection, compare the Princeton proposal to Dowse and develop heterogeneous approaches to “smart” computing.

The Clouds are Not an Option

January 4, 2017 Constant

Data-driven systems do not arrive from nowhere, into the world like magic. Like all technologies their development and deployment follows particular historical trajectories and continuities which are influenced by larger forces. In contrast, most of the research on ‘social impact’ has drawn attention to the micro-effects of Big Data: the invasion of personal privacy, their non-transparency, and how they can lead to unfair discrimination between citizens or consumers.

These framings do not recognize the way in which these larger infrastructures are put into place, but rather assume that the clouds, with all the accompanying labor, material and financial practices, are vast, illegible and inevitable. As a result, possibilities for intervention seem to be limited to tweaking algorithms or putting constraints on data collection and processing, leaving the clouds untouched. In this meeting, we hope to sharpen our research agendas in a way that allows us to identify potential collective inquiries informed by political economic, geopolitical, or techno-infrastructural perspectives to engage the cloud.

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Disobedient action-research

January 4, 2017 Constant

As a contribution to a symposium on design research organised by the department of design at the Hamburg University, Femke introduces the Technogalactic Software Observatory (TSO), a temporary study center, poetic training camp and walk-in clinic that Constant will open in the World Trade Center this June.

The TSO invites artists, activists, engineers and designers to dive deeper into the social, economic and political aspects of the various softwares they practice. How can we understand the ideological orientations of software? Are there ways to talk about technology beyond programming languages, innovation-speak and solutionism? What if we study digital networks, software and services based on their artistic quality, poetic potential, solidarity or intersectionality?

The TSO employs performative and collaborative action-research methods for intervention in technological processes. It invokes disobedient practices of remediation, from academic paper to bugreport, from interface experiment to critical fork. In an action-based approach, the passive imaginaries of the probable mutate into active imaginations for the possible.

Reading Room: The BioVision Hierarchy Format

November 9, 2016 Possible bodies
Contribution to Reading Rooms, a series of evenings dedicated to the act of collective reading organised by Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam
Simultaneous movement and space chords (Noa Eshkol)

Simultaneous movement and space chords (Noa Eshkol)

This edition will be dedicated to a collaborative dissection of the BioVision Hierarchy file format. BioVision Hierarchy (.bvh) is an ASCII file format used to import data from various motion capture systems into 3D-animation software. It was developed in the mid-nineties and remains one of the most commonly used file-formats for transposing movement captured in physical space, to a computational environment. Around this relatively legible format, a rich ecology of software tools developed. The file-format functions as a boundary object between practices and bodies, as it is used by animators, game developers, interface researchers, medical professionals, dance-historians, sports-analysts and engineers.

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Regime Change

October 31, 2016 a.pass

As a contribution to the a.pass event The Artist Commoner : Public Meeting, Kate Rich, Femke Snelting and Magdalena Tyzlik-Carver propose a day long session, aimed at aligning the a.pass computing infrastructure with the ambitions and aspirations summoned by the commons.

Tech giants currently dominate all forms of digital communication, from cloud-storage to production tools and archiving systems. For cultural institutions like a.pass and many kindred spirit organisations, there is potential for resistance. Kate, Magda and Femke will use the common power of their intersecting practices in art, technology and theory, to break the spell of this paralysing digital regime. With the aid of Free, Libre and Open Source software, the transposition agents will begin to transform the a.pass relation to its computing technology. Throughout the day the trio will conduct fieldwork, draw up solemn oaths & commit the institution to a rite of passage: from efficiency to curiosity; from scarcity to multiplicity and from solution to possibility.

Champagne served all day.

DiVersions – an afternoon in the museum about collaboration, divergence and the digital archive

October 6, 2016 Constant

Constant starts its worksession DiVersions with an afternoon in the Royal Museum for Art and History. Inspired by the way versions are embedded in the daily practice of software-development, we will explore tools and infrastructures that invite different and divergent histories.

The program includes two lectures and a performance. Laurence Rassel will join us to reflect on how digital archives can transform institutions. How to do things when we consider the institution as a space for encounters, creativity, possibility and risk? Organizing information is never innocent. This is the motto for Geraldine Juárez’ preemptive history of The Google Cultural Institute, an effort to “make the world’s culture accessible online”. Viewing Google Art, Google Cultural Institute and Google Art & Culture through the lense of digital capitalism, she critically tracks the evolution of services that appears at a moment in time when public institutions are increasingly de-funded.
Christine De Smedt performs a first sketch of a series of movements based on her work Untitled 4. 4 choreographic portraits. Her radical appropriations have now become historical material that could be archived in a museal context. These transformative gestures allow for new readings that are not only determined by the logic of the archive, but also by the context in which they are read.

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Baia mArea Network?

September 1, 2016 Constant

img_4301

Let’s make our own internets! This workshop explores the differences and similarities between the Internet and a bunch of computers connected by cables. The aim is to start a conversation about how to imagine networking beyond conventional global communication infrastructures and the relations of power they evoke. By connecting our laptops to each other, we will see how any computer can be turned into a server, a node in a network. Through this basic exercise we start to develop a situated knowledge of the networks we use. It performs a direct approach to the communication technology we use everyday without much reflection.

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Mondotheque::a radiated booklaunch

September 1, 2016 Presentation, Publication, Walk
Mondotheque in front of the former entrance of Palais Mondial — Brussels, 24 September 2016

Mondotheque in front of the former entrance of Palais Mondial — Brussels, 24 September 2016

In 1919 the Mundaneum occupied half of the majestic Cinquantenaire building in Brussels. The ambitious project was imagined by Paul Otlet and Henri Lafontaine as a mix between documentation center, conference venue and educational display. “The Mundaneum is an Idea, an Institution, a Method, a Body of workmaterials and collections, a Building, a Network.” (Paul Otlet, Monde)

In 2013 a band of artists, archivists and activists set out to unravel the many implications of a statement that routinely compared the Mundaneum to “Google on paper”. Under the moniker Mondotheque they organised discussions, reflections and workshops in various locations. A Semantic MediaWiki functioned as a platform for writing, editing and bookdesign. The publication of Mondotheque::a radiating book creates a moment, an incision into this collaborative process. It is an invitation into the entanglements of knowledge infrastructures, geo-politics and local histories.

Welcome!

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Call for participation: Diversies

July 1, 2016 Constant

Screenshot from 2016-06-22 23:22:03
DiVersions is inspired by the way versions are inscribed in daily software-practice, and explores how parallel to their conventional narrative of collaboration and consensus they can produce divergent histories through supporting difference. This one week session is organised by Constant and hosted by the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels.
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Machine Research

July 1, 2016 Constant

The research/Phd workshop Machine Research contributes to the transmediale festival programme for 2017. Participants participate in closed seminars and talks in Brussels, the generation of online and offline publications, and public presentations at the festival in Berlin. The 2017 transmediale festival focuses on the elusive character of media and technological change and how it is articulated in the contemporary moment of messy ecologies of the human and non human. It explores perspectives of the nonhuman that suggests a situation where the primacy of human civilization is put into a critical perspective by machine driven ecologies, ontologies and epistemologies of thinking and acting.
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Opt Subject: Issues with modifier mechanism, UTS #52

May 2, 2016 Possible bodies

Feedback submitted on Monday 2 May 2016, 09:00 CET to http://www.unicode.org/review/pri321/

emoji-default-modifer

Opt Subject: Issues with modifier mechanism, UTS #52

We are submitting these comments to the Proposed Draft UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms because we think there are serious issues with the general implications of the modifier mechanism that was already introduced in Unicode 8 with Skin Tone Modifiers. We believe UTS #52 possibly contravenes both the mission and bylaws of the Unicode Consortium. We wish to identify issues that we hope will have an impact on decisions and future policies. We suggest a reconsideration of the underlying logic of the modifier mechanism as applied to emoji.

These comments were formulated by an international, multilingual group of researchers working in the field of software and media. We investigate and produce a wide-range of projects around the role of standards and the politics embedded in infrastructures of communication, and are using emoji intensively in our communication. We are thus deeply concerned about the directions that emoji related standards have taken so far, and are being proposed to take in the future.

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Libre Graphics Meeting 2016: Other Dimensions

December 3, 2015 Libre Graphics Meeting

http://libregraphicsmeeting.org

The eleventh annual international Libre Graphics Meeting 2016 will take place Friday 15th until Monday 18th April 2016 in London, UK. This yearly event is an occasion for teams and individual contributors/artists involved in Libre Graphics to work together, to share experiences and to hear about new ideas. By Libre Graphics we mean Free, Libre and Open Source tools for design, illustration, photography, typography, art, graphics, page layout, publishing, 3D modelling, digital making and manufacture, cartography, animation, video, interactive media, generative graphics and visual live-coding. The Libre Graphics Meeting is not just about software, but extends to standards, file formats and actual use of these in creative work. LGM has become the place in which they can discuss their projects, coordinate their efforts and, crucially, to meet in person. Participants in the LGM include developers, designers, academics and activists from around the world, who are all passionate about Free/Libre graphics software and technology.

Special focus: Other Dimensions

In Toronto we celebrated the first decade of LGM, reflecting on the past and considering the future. For the 2016 edition of LGM we continue speculating and will expand Libre Graphics into Other Dimensions. We are looking for presentations and workshops that explore the dimensions of space and material: 3D modelling and animation, Libre architecture, Open Source product design and other fields of digital making and manufacture. We are also seeking contributions that offer reflections on the ‘other dimensions’ of open source communities and that engage with FLOSS tools in various contexts including but not limited to teaching, learning, practice and co-production. This represents a desire to address the future sustainability of the Libre Graphics movement, through a growth of the core projects and topics that will, we hope, allow us to welcome more and more FLOSS projects and participants to our community.

Read the call for participation: http://libregraphicsmeeting.org/2016/call-for-participation/
Submission deadline: 10 January 2016, content selection notification by end of January 2016.

In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub

December 1, 2015 Memory of the world

Contact: little.prince@custodians.online

In Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s tale the Little Prince meets a businessman who accumulates stars with the sole purpose of being able to buy more stars. The Little Prince is perplexed. He owns only a flower, which he waters every day. Three volcanoes, which he cleans every week. “It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them,” he says, “but you are of no use to the stars that you own”.

There are many businessmen who own knowledge today. Consider Elsevier, the largest scholarly publisher, whose 37% profit margin1 stands in sharp contrast to the rising fees, expanding student loan debt and poverty-level wages for adjunct faculty. Elsevier owns some of the largest databases of academic material, which are licensed at prices so scandalously high that even Harvard, the richest university of the global north, has complained that it cannot afford them any longer. Robert Darnton, the past director of Harvard Library, says “We faculty do the research, write the papers, referee papers by other researchers, serve on editorial boards, all of it for free … and then we buy back the results of our labour at outrageous prices.”2 For all the work supported by public money benefiting scholarly publishers, particularly the peer review that grounds their legitimacy, journal articles are priced such that they prohibit access to science to many academics – and all non-academics – across the world, and render it a token of privilege.3
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Her, Him, It

November 10, 2015 Possible bodies

Her, Spike Jonze (2013)Her, Spike Jonze (2013)

What if instead of a throaty Scarlett Johannson, Spike Jonze had dared to make Theodore fall in love with a synthetic voice?

It.txt (save file as It.sh)