Category Archives: Constant

A non-profit association, an interdisciplinary arts-lab working from Brussels since 1997. The artistic and activist practice of Constant is inspired by the way that technological infrastructures, data-exchange and software determine our daily life.

www.constantvzw.org

Zone Public

December 16, 2019 a.pass, Constant

What happens to artistic research when it is made public? As a contribution to the ongoing conversations in a.pass on the dynamics of publishing generated by technologies of artistic research, Zone Public (re)considers the conditions for dissemination of these specific forms of knowledge production. It activates the tension between research-as-process versus the crystallisation that publishing requires. It wants to open up the exhibitionary regimes which seem to articulate -our- current artistic research practices and the infrastructures of knowledge production that -we- are both using and possibly used by.

Four public sessions will take place on Thursday nights between February and March; dates, times, places and guests to be announced on apass.be.

Zone Public is co-curated by Pierre Rubio (a.pass), Peggy Pierrot (erg) and Femke Snelting (Constant).

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.

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.

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/

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

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)

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

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

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.

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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