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.
The Museum is, like all other federal museums in Belgium, in the final stages of digitizing its very diverse collection: some 330,000 objects including clay tablets, tapestries, mummies, ancient jewellery, vases, coins will be inventoried this year. The concrete practices of art-history and digitisation technologies will be put in relation with the reflections, prototypes and other types of experiments generated during the worksession.
Version-control systems, Wikis, Etherpads and other digital writing tools save log files and ’diffs’ routinely, potentially changing linear relations between original and copy, redefining questions of authorship and the archive through technological conditions. Meticulously logged workflows promise to make the process of shared editing a transparent process because any action can be reversed or repeated at any time, and errors or unwanted inputs can be later corrected. But what types of alternative collectivity do they make possible and impossible? How can we use these timelines, histories, traces not just in terms of safeguarding production, but for other ways of inscribing multiplicity and variety?
The worksession brings together collaborative practices, active archives and Free Software tools; each of them long time interests of Constant. By working through and with tools that operate on data along temporal and social dimensions, DiVersions explores the potential for divergence within technological infrastructures. We want to experiment with conditions for multiple authorship (including machines as author) and explicitly make space for ambiguity. We want to speculate on digital practices that do not erase conflict and variation, and can work with, not against, misunderstandings between people and machines, and among machines and people themselves.
Worksessions are intensive transdisciplinary moments, organised twice a year by Constant. We aim to provide conditions for participants with different types of expertise 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. DiVersions starts on Sunday afternoon with a public event. We will start from 5 different cases prepared by artists, designers, performers, programmers and historians that will no doubt mix and merge as the session develops.
DiVersions takes place from Sunday 4 until Saturday 10 December 2016 in Brussels. Constant has invited twenty participants from different disciplines and backgrounds to ground the subject. We are currently looking for an additional ten participants to extend our perspective. Participation is free and Constant provides lunch, two dinners and hosting for all participants. There is a modest budget available to support travel costs. If you would like to participate, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com motivating your interest before 12 September. We will answer you by September 20 latest.