DiVersions v2

January 6, 2021 Constant

a stack of books on a wooden table

Second version of a digital and printed publication with new and reworked contributions by among others Rahel Aima, Anaïs Berck, Gert Biesta, Z. Blace, Daniel Blanga Gubbay, Cristina Cochior, Sarah Kaerts, Anne Laforet, Phil Langley, Marie Lécrivain, Nicolas Malevé, Elodie Mugrefya, Zoumana Meïté, Mia Melvær, Martino Morandi, Michael Murtaugh, Colm o’Neill, Hari Prasad Adhikari-Sacré, Kris Rutten, Amir Sarabadani, Femke Snelting, Saskia Willaert.

DiVersions engages with the potential of on-line cultural heritage for welcoming various forms of collaboration, allowing conflicts to show up, and make space for other narratives. In dialogue with cultural institutions and their collections, the project experimented with digitized and digital heritage to open up databases, metadata, catalogs and digital infrastructures for other imaginations.

DiVersions is initiated by Constant and developed in partnership with: UGent – Department of Educational Studies, Werkplaats immaterieel erfgoed, meemoo – Vlaams Instituut voor het Archief – Expertisecentrum Digitaal Erfgoed, RoSa – Kenniscentrum voor gender en feminisme.

Editorial team: Constant (Elodie Mugrefya, Femke Snelting)
Wiki-to-print publication designed and developed with Open Source Publishing (Sara Magnan + Gijs de Heij)

Printed copies: 10 euro (excl. shipping). To order, send an e-mail to info@constantvzw.org

Infrastructure solidarity: a conversation with Miriyam Aouragh

January 6, 2021 Constant, TITiPI

A conversation about current and future technological infrastructures for solidarity. Elodie Mugrefya, Femke Snelting, Wendy Van Wynsberghe of Constant, speak with media anthropologist and activist Miriyam Aouragh about the relations between political activism and technological criticism. How to organise for social change on-line when Tech Giants profit from our interactions?

In the context of (Staying) in the Movement and following from the panel discussion Revolution and Solidarity This Time organised by De Wereld Morgen and moderated by Omar Jabary Salamenca and Joachim El Yacoub on 13 January.

Collective Conditions Reader (update)

October 30, 2020 Constant

This reader is an evolving companion to Collective Conditions, a worksession held in November 2019 in Brussels. Whether you prefer to read, watch or listen, this reader offers different lines of thinking for non-divisive ways of doing “complex collectivity”. It contains materials from trans*feminist collectives on ally-ship, non-violent communication, score-making, anti-colonial and intersectional activism, but also ways of doing developed within Free Culture and Free, Libre and Open Source software. The reader was recently updated by Loren Britton, Peter Hermans and Constant.

Download compiled PDF: http://constantvzw.org/collectiveconditions/reader.pdf
On-line version: https://constantvzw.org/wefts/ccreader.en.html
To order a printed copy (5 euros excl. delivery), send an email to: donatella@constantvzw.org

So-called plants: items from the Possible Bodies inventory

October 1, 14h Akademie Schloss Solitude (on-line)
Performative guided tour of items from the Possible Bodies inventory + conversation
As part of the series Nepantlas: Infrastructures for World-building curated by Daphne Dragona

How do “so-called plants” exist with and through technologies, infrastructures and techniques of 3D? Weaving between technological writing, fiction and theory, Possible Bodies contributes to Nepantlas with a trans*feminist experimentation on volumetric presences in hypercomputational regimes. We write “plant”, or “so-called plants” to signal the political fiction of treating “plants” as individual entities, as species and as kingdom. Possible Bodies wants to problematize these normalised figure-background divides in favor of a multiplicity of potential dysphorias.

Thinking along the agency of cultural artefacts that capture and co-compose so-called bodies, Possible Bodies has by now inventoried over a hundred items. For this event, they bring together manuals, mathematical concepts, art-projects and micro-CT images to wonder about the vividness of so-called plants in the context of software tools for botanical data processing, 3D-visualization of plantations and computational vegetation and cracks and porous membranes in-between the vegetal and other forms of existence.

Cracks can be seen as void and sterile spaces in-between known entities, but they can also be taken as wide open, inhabitable bridges; interporouss places to be in-relation (non-neutral and also not innocent at all): connecting and fertile surfaces that provide with the blurring travel form one isolated unit of life onto another, in specific ways. Rooting for the possibilities of naturecultural topologies seems important in computational environments where the exciting complexities are routinely erased and weeded out for the sake of efficiency.

Possible Bodies develops alongside an inventory of cases and results in texts, workshops, visual essays and performances. For this occasion, they will perform a guided tour through several items of the inventory. The tour will be followed by a conversation with Daphne Dragona.


Rock Damage

Rock Damage, performed by Helen Pritchard, Jara Rocha at Sonic Acts Academy, 22 February 2020 + Queering Damage in Sonic Acts Academy Catalogue (with Helen Pritchard, Jara Rocha and Laura Benítez Valero).

Paul Otlet: An Omissum

April 17, 2020 Mondotheque

“This omissum is an attempt to address a blindspot in Mondotheque::a radiated book, and intends to intervene in the way Paul Otlet has been portrayed in general. Terms like ‘visionary’ or ‘pacifist’ are used, among others, to paint a romantic image of Otlet as a charismatic, heroic figure. An omissum is attached to Mondotheque::a radiated book to signal the fact that the figure as well as his oeuvre are committed to a colonial and racist project.”

Omissum: https://diversions.constantvzw.org/paul-otlet-an-omissum.html

Intervention in Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Paul_Otlet&diff=950711784&oldid=949099522&diffmode=source

The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest

April 10, 2020 TITiPI

The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest emerged on April 10, 2020 as a bugreport. With current members Myriam Aouragh, Seda Gürses, Helen Pritchard we collaborate on research, discourse and experiments that impact policy and public discourse as well as reconfigure socio-technical practice. Throughout we assume a tight coupling between what to address and how to address it. Developing methods for relating between different kinds of expertise, experimenting formats for convenings and alternative infrastructural toolsets.

More about the institute-in-the-making: titipi.org

Radio Implicancies

April 7, 2020 xpub

Weekly self-hosted broadcasts developed for and with XPUB, Piet Zwart Media Design Master in Rotterdam.

4 waters: deep implicancy (filmstill). Denise Ferreira Da Silva + Arjuna Neuman (2019)

From the way the Latin alphabet has become ubiquitous in human-machine interfaces to the naturalized alignment of computation with binary separations, from mis-directed critiques on algorithmic discrimination, or harm done to marginalised knowledges by on-line learning platforms, to eco-solutionism immersed in technocapitalism … we know that technology orients knowledge and constrains what world(s) can be thought, studied, imagined and critiqued. We also know that dominant knowledge systems and technological systems are soaked in colonial thought, if not practice. But where do we start when we want to do things differently?

BodyBuilding: ROCK REPO

January 6, 2020 The Underground Division

The Underground Division (Helen Pritchard, Femke Snelting, and Jara Rocha) contributes to BodyBuilding, an exhibition curated by Hackers & Designers @ Tetem, Enschede. Opening 20 February 2020.

Change detection based on LiDAR data. In: Hutchinson, D. Jean, Matthew Lato, Dave Gauthier, Ryan Kromer, Matthew Ondercin, Megan van Veen, and Rob Harrap. “Applications of remote sensing techniques to managing rock slope instability risk.” In Canadian Geotechnical Conference, Quebec City, pp. 20-23. 2015.

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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.

Geraldine Juarez: Render me grey

November 21, 2019 Possible bodies / Leave a reply

Interview with Possible Bodies

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.


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/