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

Monday Readings

December 29, 2017 a.pass

@ a.pass
Delaunoystraat 58/17 (third floor), 1080 Brussels

From January to April 2018, Femke curates the research centre at a.pass, a programme for advanced performance and scenography studies in Brussels. As part of this, she proposes five Monday Readings that bring habitual tool-situations apparent in a.pass in conversation with theoretical and political thinking. They are intimate collective situations on the articulation of technique and the performance of boundaries. The Mondays attempt to develop further connections between artistic research and techno-political practices such as software-as-a-critique, active archives and techno-galactic software observation.

With: Seda Guerses, Martino Morandi and Sina Seifee.

Monday 15 January: Text processing (with Martino Morandi)
Monday 5 February: Local server (with Martino Morandi)
Monday 26 February: Encoding + compression (with Martino Morandi)
Monday 19 March: Key cards (with Seda Guerses)
Monday 16 April: Databases (with Sina Seifee)

More info: https://apass.be/monday-readings

Possible Bodies: Phenomenal 3D

November 8, 2017 Possible bodies

What norms are shaped through 3D technologies? Who invented those three “dimensions” in the first place and why to stick with them as “true”? Can tools produce realities and presences and if so: what possible bodies do they activate?

With Phenomenal 3D Possible Bodies turns to the modern regime of truth that still tangibly affects daily lives and how they are lived. It is an occasion to collectively wonder how to responsibly grasp the apparatus of 3D and to explore tactics for un-naming and re-naming so-called bodies in order to decolonize and de-binarize them. Together we will manipulate the components of 3-dimensional renderings, verbalize volumetric behavior and change the rules of presence and agency.

From 22-25 November, a transdisciplinary group of researchers will gather in Bau College of design (Barcelona) for conversations, workshops, presentations and a reading session. For more details on the programme, see: http://possiblebodies.constantvzw.org/inventory/?Barcelona

Image: ROOT 0082, Technoflesh/Simone Niquille 2017

The Materiality of the Invisible

October 20, 2017 Possible bodies

In the framework of the exhibition The Materiality of the Invisible, Femke has been invited together with Eyal Weizman to dig deeper into the topic of the relationship of objects – and their devised narratives – to the body and social, political, technological or cultural power-structures, a recurring theme in the exhibition.

Eyal Weizman reveals the materiality of the immaterial narrative, blurring the distinction between objects and subjects. Femke will talk about the industry of bio-medical imaging, digging through software environments that interface with CT, MRI and PET-scans.

https://www.janvaneyck.nl/nieuws/eyal-weizman-femke-snelting/

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: Imagined 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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