[-empyre-] OSW: open source writing in the network
xdxd.vs.xdxd at gmail.com
Tue Jan 17 11:13:10 EST 2012
hello Penny, Adam and everyone,
and thank you, Penny, for the introduction which brings me directly onto
several issues which we, as FakePress Publishing and as Art is Open Source,
have been focusing on in the last few years.
I will say "we" multiple times, as FP and AOS are composed by multiple
people coming from different backgrounds, such as communication sciences,
anthropology, design, arts, engineering, hacking and marketing. In all this
variety it is really difficult to define when to say "I" and when to say
"we", as all our efforts are focused precisely on this: creating
environments for emergent, multi-actor, behaviors.
All our approaches are really different, yet they point in similar
For example, i come from skateboarding and italy's rave party movement.
When you skateboard, you are in a constant state of architectural
You are constantly re-programming your city.
You can take an ugly broken bench in the saddest neighbourhood of your city
and you transform it into a magical place for acrobatics.
This kind of scenario happens with rave parties, as well: you go to some of
the ugliest places that constitute your city's fabric and you transform
them into liberated spaces.
Or with squatting. Or graffiti writing.
What you are doing is re-interpreting.
You are creating something new from re-interpretation of a space of your
city. You are layering new meaning onto a place.
Before your action, that place had a series of meanings: administrative,
economic, bureaucratic, social...
But through a series of practices you are able to "publish" new layers of
meaning onto those building, spaces, walls, houses, benches, handrails,
All these practices (which are all "squatting" practices, in one way or the
other) are "publishing" practices, and correspond to "forms of writing".
You are not writing on a piece of paper or on a wiki page, you are writing
on the world.
When Gilles Clément speaks about the "Third Landscape" one of the issues
which i really find interesting is the focus on the ways in which
classically the natural environment in cities is defined institutionally,
by bureaucracy and administration: a flower bed in a roundabout; a park;
flowers along the sidewalk. Classical preservation or environmental
conservation tools such as surveillance, protection and the creation of
limits and borders cannot apply to the Third Landscape without destroying
its characteristics: as Clément writes "not property, but space for the
John Barrell wrote a book titled "The dark side of the landscape: the rural
poor in English painting, 1730-1840" in which he pointed out the imposition
of the point of view of a single social class by defining the "shape" of
the environment, by describing its usage, its meaning. With Clément, for
example, we could talk about a "light-side" of the landscape, for the Third
Landscape is not an exclusive model but an inclusive one: "a shared
fragment of a collective consciousness". It is based on a planetary remix
(brassage) and it is at the origin of the current richness of ecosystems.
One peculiar thing about the Third Landscape in Clément's definition, is
the fact that, in a way, it exists "only if we look at it", only if we
learn how to look at the world differently and if we learn how to recognize
it and attribute value to it.
The Third Landscape relies on us learning how to reinterpret the world
recognizing new schemes and stratifying our interpretation onto the world,
with our new definition of value, opportunity and possibility.
Multiple authors have investigated in this direction, such as Almo Farina
in his definition of "Cognitive Landscape", according to which we can
define a territory by taking into account all the ways in which living
beings perceive it: a multiple, constantly mutating definition of the
landscape; emergent, multi-author, open-ended.
All these concepts point to an issue which found wide interest in
anthropology and ethnography. In 2010 the book "Beyond Ethnographic
Writing" came out, edited by Luca Simeone (a FakePresser, by the way) and
Ana Maria Forero Angel with contributions by George E. Marcus and Massimo
Canevacci Ribeiro. In harmony with the title, the book is focused on the
possibilities to reinvent ethnographic writing, by including in the
scenarios the opportunities which are available to us to go beyond the
scenario according to which the ethnographer performs his/her research,
takes notes, pictures, observations and then essentially writes a "novel",
representing, in the end, only one point of view: his/her own.
This is a "problem" faced by multiple disciplines, such as architecture and
design: from a certain point of view architecture, for example, can be
thought as a very "violent" series of processes, forcing onto people the
sight and experience of those buildings, roads and bridges which
essentially come out of a single point of view.
All these scenarios (skateboarding, raves, squatting, the landscape,
architecture, design) are only some of the ones which are currently at the
center of a radical set of processes, which involve multiple disciplines,
actors and perspectives.
Our idea of "publishing" starts here.
It has been a few years since when we started perceiving the concept of
"publishing" to be at the center of a possible novel form of radical
More information about the empyre