[-empyre-] OSW: open source writing in the network
xdxd.vs.xdxd at gmail.com
Thu Jan 19 21:30:33 EST 2012
On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 5:28 PM, Penny travlou <sp.travlou at gmail.com> wrote:
> Your response to my post has raised some of the issues I am dealing with
> as a cultural geographer and ethnographer. It is of great interest to see
> that while my questions focus on open source writing and publishing
> initiatives, your examples are strongly linked to the appropriation of
> public space.
yes, definitely so. And, in a stronger sense, all our projects are
dedicated to the invention of *new* public and private spaces.
this mostly because we don't believe in the conflict, in whichever form,
between power structures and alternatives. We really believe in the next
steps which can be taken.
we live in times which represent a deep transformation. and from what we
have been able to see from history, these kinds of times have always been
characterized by the dialogue (conflict) between power and alternative. we
simply don't conform to this, as this has produced confrontation,
transformation and then the emergence of new power schemes.
what we want is to step-aside and promote autonomy.
now we have the chance to promote autonomy, to invent new spaces, new
processes, new expressions.
For example we find truly interesting the research produced by Matthew Zook
and Mark Graham ( http://www.zook.info/ ) which represent insightful
suggestions on the ways in which we, as human beings in the contemporary
world, are already defining new experiences of spaces and processes which
fill our daily lives, using digital information and networks to redefine
and completely re-program our spaces.
technology has been going in this direction for years now. There is this
by Paul Du Gay in which the story of the design of the Sony Walkman is
described from the point of view of cultural studies. Great emphasis is
dedicated to the "personalization of space", as a fundamental issue in the
ways in which technologies change our perception of the world, the ways we
learn, relate, work, communicate.
This trend has been rising at impressive speed during the last few years,
and now we constantly have our offices, libraries, sounds, visions,
relationships, work, todo list, geographical points of interest, knowledge
sources about the environment all constantly with us, in our pockets or
from the book of Paul Du Gay:
"Also, more metaphorically, the very modern practice of being in two places
at once, or doing two different things at once: being in a typically
crowded, noisy, urban space while also being tuned in, through your
headphones, to the very different, imaginary space or soundscape in your
head which develops in conjunction with the music you are listening to
[...] By situating the Walkman in these different practices we appropriate
it into our culture and expand its cultural meaning or value."
and, a bit after,
"This twentieth-century soundscape is composed of actual sounds. But there
is also a 'soundscape of the mind' in which music plays a key role. Music,
like reading (another private pleasure which can be done in public, on
trains or buses), has often offered a sort of inner landscape feelings,
emotions and associations to which we can retreat from the bustle and
hassle of the 'real world', a sort of 'second world', adjacent to but
separate from the everyday one."
This can get really radical if re-interpreted in terms of the technologies
and networks which we have available right now, allowing to design and
enact entire new spaces, spaces for communication and relationship,
services, new spaces for commerce, for knowledge, for action.
basically, we can stratify multiple autonomous, emergent versions of the
world on top of the "ordinary" one, and act there.
In this, among the most interesting things which we find in this set of
opportunities, is the fact that we actually don't need a "revolution",
meaning that we don't need the revolts, and the ideals, and the violence
(be it verbal or physical) and, then, after it all, the emergence of new
we just need to research, design, make it sustainable, and liberate
ourselves. We don't need to "change the world", we have to change
ourselves. do things differently.
make something work and then, as soon as you have it, spread and
communicate o other people. a TAZ with legs, a 1-meter revolution, and an
intense communication phase after it.
and this is exactly what we do: invent new spaces and new sustainable
practices stratified on top of the existing world. and as soon as they're
there, explain to people how we did it, give them the tools and support,
and proceed in doing the next step.
> I was intrigued by your reference to skateboarding as a publishing form
> that re-programmes the city and directly writes on the world creating new
> spaces for action. This reminds me of Henri Lefebvre’s Writings on the
> Cities but mostly Michel de Certeau’s ‘strategies’ and ‘tactics’ where the
> city of urban planners and administrators is overturned by that of the
> everyday citizen who systematically liberates spaces by counteracting
> against the strategies of bureaucrats.
we are dedicated to multiplicity.
the possibility to define words, boundaries, practices, borders,
classifications is one of the strongest sources of power for governments
and other organizations.
on food ("natural aromas" even if it is a chemical compound, "bio" if it
respects a few rules designed by an organization... ), spaces (this is a
space for work, this is for entertainment, this is for knowledge),
practices (this is legal, this is illegal), genders (you are male, you are
this makes it possible to enforce a single vision onto the population (if i
always only perceived the choice to be between "male" or "female", the idea
if transexuality will sound "strange", for sure).
the possibility to autonomously create and use definitions, and to share
and use them with other people/organizations opens the way for different
processes in our spaces.
from our point of view we would say that we "publish" new definitions onto
spaces. And we share this concept with what has been going on with rave
parties, street arts, squats etc.
we grab a space/process and we redefine it and, thus, appropriate it, in
our own way.
for example in the Squatting Supermarkets project we used augmented reality
on corporate logos and on the spaces of supermarkets and stores.
on one side, the spaces of supermarkets are designed and engineered for
very few "voices" to be expressed: everything you see, hear, smell,
traverse is designed by very few subjects, basically defining your complete
sensorial and cognitive experience of spaces and objects, and putting a
whole lot of strategy and resources into it.
on the other side, corporate logos and packaging is one of the most
powerful tools in defining people's experiences and perceptions while
dealing with products and services. Any designer or copywriter will tell
you that there are multiple simple ways to have something perceived as
being natural, healthy, sustainable, democratic, positive for the world.
"natural aromas" instead of "dangerous and polluting chemical compound
produced in a factory along the river in New Jersey". Green/brown instead
of black/blue. etc.
With Squatting Supermarkets a computer vision system on your smartphone
recognized logos and packaging visuals. Once the logo is identified it gets
associated to a wiki (an ubiquitous wiki), meaning that anyone can publish
information, videos, texts or interactive experiences onto the logo or
graphic. When people scan the same logo again they can access that
The corporate logo, companies most precious asset in identity and
communication, becomes a liberated space for discussion.
The controlled space of supermarkets becomes a liberated space for
communication, information, knowledge and action.
Squatting Supermarkets is, in our intention, an ubiquitous publication of
the kind we've been discussing.
> You then argue that (ubiquitous) publishing - as FakePress – can be also a
> form of “writing onto the world as a possibility to liberate spaces and
> enact emergent, multi-author, non-linear, open-ended narratives”. In this
> model (your vision) of publishing is there one single text/narrative that
> is written and published collectively or multiple texts of different
> authors? How do these texts relate? What kind of cartography do they
> create? Do they contain multiple layers and intersections?
this is exactly the scenario.
narratives are multiple, emergent and open-ended.
imagine you are in a city and there is not a single map to it, but a
multitude of them. By single individuals, along certain themes, designed
for specific purposes.
If all are equally accessible, you could say that you are in different
cities at the same time.
if, in creating them, i am autonomous, i can say that i am the "mayor" of
that specific version of the city, and can manage, share, design it in any
way i want, providing my personal infrastructures, communication,
interactivity, economy, products, services...
our publications are like this: open ended
they are fraeworks for expression and also meta-frameworks for expression,
meaning that each "book" comes out with the software platforms that we used
to create it and with a program in workshops, tutorials, lectures, lessons,
opportunities for collaborations which allow you to take the "book" and use
it on your own.
recently we did the RWR workshop in Italy: a full immersion workshop about
ubiquitous publishing in which we created an augmented reality movie (
for us this was a publication. it included a multi-actor narrative (meaning
that workshop participants produced the augmented reality movie, which is a
series of narratives around a central theme which people can experience
non-linearly by traversing city spaces), a series of technologies (the
MACME and NeoReality products which allow you to transform your wordpress
blog into an AR publishing system not unlike Layar or Junaio, but
autonomous and free/libre), and the possibility for people to get suport in
using the technology for their own projects and goals.
RWR in particular was peculiar, because it included a meta-publication of
the same kind, meaning that it is part of a series of projects through
which we "squat" education institutions, institutions of other kinds,
places and processes to create something which could be referred to as a
"nomadic university" or academy.
all the best!
Art is Open Source
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