Libre Graphics Research Unit

De Libre Graphics Research Unit (LGRU) ontstond uit een gedeelde behoefte naar reflectie op en ontwikkeling van digitale gereedschappen voor ontwerpers en kunstenaars. Dit tweejarige project is een samenwerking tussen vier medialabs : Medialab Prado (Madrid, ES), WORM (Rotterdam, NL) en Piksel (Bergen, NO), aangevuld met een zestal gespecialiseerde organisaties. De activiteiten zijn georganiseerd rond vier hoofdaspecten van de hedendaagse digitale praktijk : Networked Practice, Piksels and Lines, Abstracting Craft en Co-position. Op het programma staan vijf ’researchmeetings’, vier onderzoeksopdrachten, een grootschalige conferentie, een intensieve workshop en een on-line reader. Constant is als hoofdaanvrager verantwoordelijk voor de inhoudelijke en praktische coördinatie van de Unit en ontwikkelt daarnaast specifieke onderzoeksprojecten.


Libre Graphics Research Unit

The Libre Graphics Research Unit is a traveling lab where new ideas for creative tools are developed. Its diverse activities range from the practical to the theoretical via writing, research meetings, experimental prototyping, conferences and workshops. The Research Unit is an initiative of four European media-labs actively engaged in Free/Libre and Open Source Software and Free Culture. This cross-disciplinary project involves artists, designers and programmers and is developed in dialogue with the Libre Graphics community.

What future practices can we imagine, and which tools can make them happen ?



Appel à Participation : Libre Graphics Meeting

La rencontre Libre Graphics Meeting aura lieu du 29 avril au 2 mai 2015 à Toronto, Canada. L’événement accueille vos contributions et est à la recherche de présentations conséquentes sur les (...)

Libre Graphics Research Unit à Porto

Du 22 au 23 mai la Libre Graphics Research Unit se réunit à Porto et cette rencontre conclut le projet de deux ans. Accueilli par le partenaire associé la Manufactura Independente dans Maus Habito, (...)

Libre Graphics Research Unit in Porto

Van 22 tot 23 mei komt de Libre Graphics Research Unit voor een laatste keer bijelkaar om het twee jaar durende project af te sluiten. We zijn te gast bij partner Manufactura Independente in Maus (...)

LGM2013 : Gereedschappen voor de Toekomst

De jaarlijkse Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) is een ontmoeting tussen gebruikers en ontwikkelaars van Free, Libre and Open Source software voor creatief werk. LGM wordt georganiseerd door de (...)

LGM2013 : Les Outils de l’Avenir

La réunion annuelle de Libre Graphics (LGM) rassemble les utilisateurs et développeurs des Logiciels Libres pour le travail créatif. LGM est un événement auto-organisé, mis sur pied par des designers, (...)

Appel : Libre Graphics Meeting

La rencontre Libre Graphics Meeting aura lieu le 10 au 13 avril à Madrid. L’événement accueille vos contributions et est à la recherche de présentations conséquentes sur les technologies pour le (...)
Atelier · 2013

Collision 1 : Badness and Conflict

Si on considère les objets typographiques et cartographiques comme “des arrangements spatiaux de textes et d’autres éléments grpahiques”, alors leur design est essentiellement un travail d’organisation (...)
Atelier · 2013

Collision 1 : Badness and Conflict

Als we typografische en cartografische objecten beschouwen als "ruimtelijke ordeningen van teksten en andere grafische elementen", dan is het werk van een ontwerper het organiseren van (...)

Presentaties op de Libre Graphics Meeting

De Libre Graphics Meeting vindt plaats van 10 tot 13 April in Madrid. Het evenement kijkt uit naar je bijdrage en is specifiek op zoek naar diepgaande presentaties over Libre Graphics (...)
Open Call · 2012

Open Call : Tools for a Read-Write world

Medialab-Prado et The Libre Graphics Research Unit sont à la recherche de projets qui peuvent être développés de façon collective lors d’un atelier de deux semaines organisé à Madrid, du 15 au 27 (...)


2014-06-17 14:20:10

making tools that punch holes into walls

Interesting discussion on whether or not cultural organisations should 'oblige' artists to work with free licenses (thread starts with

"In the end, free culture has been an essential step and great opportunity to sync all sorts of individuals, groups and communities who would probably not have connected with each others, and maybe the recruiting loop needs now to transit towards something else more effective, maybe for instance in the area of copyright reform while at the same time keep on making tools that punches holes into walls and not just prettify them."

2013-07-15 23:52:44





Bruce Mau's Incomplete manifesto for growth was originally published in 1998. It was recently revisited by students from ERG, Brussels.

2013-04-02 16:05:13

Future Tools Diary

... I switch to diary mode this month to record some of the events that are about to happen in Madrid: LGM2013 (10-13 April) and Interactivos?'13 (15-27 April)

In Brussels for a few more days, I keep all on-line channels open so I feel in touch with Madrid and can respond to last minute questions from other remote Libre Graphics Community members that are about to pack their suitcases.

It is impressive to experience the full Medialab Prado team at work, making the meeting happen. After a long period of insecurity, Medialab finally moved back to their own building and LGM2013: Future Tools will be the first large scale public event taking place in this new location. The excitement is tangible even from here and I am sure that the international Libre Graphics community flying into Madrid next week will be energized by it.

A new old building: La Serreria Belga (The Belgian Sewmill)

For me, the upcoming events are above all an occasion to connect the Libre Graphics Community as-we-knew it with Spanish speaking developers, Open Design enthusiasts, local DIY people and the growing network around the Libre Graphics Research Unit. We purposely chose the slogan Future Tools because it is about time to take this yearly meeting serious as a rare occasion for research and development specific to Free Software in the creative field. For this to happen, we need to bring the conversations between software programmers, users, designers and tinkerers to another level.

A few years ago we tried something along these lines when Constant hosted the meeting in Brussels. Soon we found that beyond bringing people physically together, it was not easy to sustain a dialogue between diverse members of the Libre Graphics community. Three years later Libre Graphics has certainly gained momentum in art schools, design collectives and cultural organisations. There are also many new Libre tools being developed (and used!) in the context of creative coding and web technologies but I don't think we solved that community problem yet. The involvement of core developer teams this year seems minimal and I'm not sure how to interpret their absence.

One interesting example of the growing presence of Libre Graphics in cultural organisations is Medialab Prado itself. Pioneering maker-communities, 3D printing, data journalism, The Commons Lab and many other Free Culture initiatives, Medialab used the incentive of the Libre Graphics Research Unit to experiment with Libre tools on their own communication material.

In the summer of 2012 they invited Manufactura Independente to work with local designers on the collective design of Serreria Sobria and Serreria Extravagante, a Libre font-family based on historical lettering that can still be found on the outside walls of the Belgian Sewmill. It not only resulted in a beautiful typeface, but spread interest and expertise amongst people interested in Libre typography in Madrid.

Serreria Sobria is available from the Open Font library

A few months later, Myriam Cea began to work on The Libre Graphics Workstation, a mobile 'center' for learning about Libre Graphics. With artschool Arte Diez she developed exciting activities such as Me pica el kerning (I hack my kerning) and formed Colectivo Gráfica Liebre, a group of designers that exercises their new found knowledge on designing conference bags, badges and complicated typographical objects such as the printed programme for the Libre Graphics meeting. In the mean time OSP finished a new brochure announcing all upcoming activities at La Serreria and since last week, Medialab has a new logo too. It is of course using the Serreria font:

The Libre Graphics Workstation is now part of the "lab of labs"-structure at Medialab Prado and will continue to generate and host activities around Libre Graphics. I am also convinced this is not the last time we heard from the Gráfica Liebre collective!

Colectivo Gráfica Liebre ... Free hares?

2013-02-11 12:29:24

Read-Write Libre Graphics

2012-12-21 18:54:12

How to communicate libre graphics ?

Brainstorm by participants in the workshop Estación Nómada de Diseño (Libre Graphics Workstation) at Central de Diseño /DIMAD

Image: Myriam Cea

2012-12-14 12:18:42

Interoperable play

Forward compatible toys: The Free Universal Construction Kit

2012-11-23 10:43:27

Tools for a read-write world II

A-synchronous collaboration on what could be an image for Interactivos?'13: Tools for a Read-Write World1

IMG_20121122_172826 IMG_20121122_172811 IMG_20121122_172800 IMG_20121122_165810 IMG_20121122_165800 IMG_20121122_165751 IMG_20121122_165742 IMG_20121122_165434 IMG_20121122_165409 IMG_20121122_165357 IMG_20121122_165337 readwrite

And sketches are being plotted by Manufactura Independente!

  1. Featuring Pierre Huyghebaert, FS, Manufactura Independente, Dia, Inkscape and Roland

2012-11-21 13:38:37


Contribution to 'Perspective: Artist - The position of individual artists in the performing arts in Flanders' (VTi Institute for the Performing Arts, Brussels)

"None of the work that we discuss here is actually hidden, but its dullness and technicality make it prone to blend into the background and it's only with some effort it can be rendered tangible. We think it is essential to pay attention to data practices in order to understand the value and validity of data, especially when we focus on what it can tell us about the roles of individuals in the field.

We would like you to read this contribution as a collection of annotated snapshots, a glimpse of how the VTi-database (like many databases) is the product of long term institutional work but also of micro decisions informed by intuition, technical artifacts and common sense."

All sources can be found at: