Call for participants: Collective Conditions

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.

We will work with different modes of ’writing’ that go beyond typing protocols on a keyboard. We invite you to experiment with codes, rhythms, frequencies, scripts, scores and non-verbal agreements that regulate, challenge, stumble and collide; that pose questions and problems. We articulate conditions using time, material, bodies, spaces, machines, habits, repetition and chance.

The worksession is inspired by trans*feminist collective practices, anti-harassment and allyship-work, non-violent communication, score-making, decolonial and intersectional activism, but also by ways of doing developed within Free Culture and Free, Libre and Open Source software. Collective Conditions focuses on a-polarizing methods, affirmative habits that can stretch and reorient frameworks, that represent new vocabulary, gestures and forms of expression:

  • Making room for support, sympathy, misunderstanding and difference in network protocols?
  • Codes of conduct for servers, collectives, networks, rooms, authors, data, software ... that accommodate intra-collective alliances, or multi-species participants from different zones and eras?
  • Considering material circumstances in the formulation of collectivity?
  • Articulating togetherness but not avoiding problems and conflicts, or re-affirming existing boundaries and barriers?
  • Interpreting techno-social protocols as changing infrastructures?
  • Temporary, polyphonic, generative procedures?
  • ... ?

Collective Conditions is part of Iterations, a long-term artistic research into the future of collaborative practice in a digital context. Through a relay of residences and presentations, alternating groups of artists work on joint installations with copyleft source material and open source tools. A reflection on the conditions for collectivity is part of the artistic experiments that cross institutions and technological infrastructures. Iterations is subsidised by the European cultural program Creative Europe and developed in collaboration with Hangar (ES), esc medien kunst labor (AT) and Dyne.org (NL).

background material (ongoing)

This session is developed in collaboration with Ateliers Mommen, with contributions by amongst others Queering Damage and Loren Britton.

Worksessions

Constant organises a worksession every six months. They function as temporary research labs, collective working environments where different types of expertise come into contact with each other. Worksessions are intensive otherwise-disciplined situations to which artists, software developers, theorists, activists and others contribute. During worksessions we develop ideas and prototypes that in the long-term lead to publications, projects and new proposals. Auto-documentation and generous exchange of ideas and knowledge is key. For this reason, we prefer to work with and on Free Software and distribute work under Open Content Licenses.

Practical

The worksession will take place in Brussels from 8 to 16 November 2019. Participation is free; Constant will reimburse travel costs, and provide accommodation and lunch. You are welcome to participate in the full period, or you can join one of the blocks mentioned below:

  • Transmissions, activations and experimentations
    Full period, Friday 8/11 12:30 → Saturday 16/11 15:00
  • Transmissions
    Friday 8/11 12:30 → Sunday 10/11 18:00
  • Transmissions and activations
    Friday 8/11 12:30 → Tuesday 12/11 18:00
  • Activations and experimentations
    Monday 11/11 10:00 → Saturday 16/11 15:00

We will work with ca. 30 persons in total, and there is room for another 15 participants. We are looking for individuals and/or representatives of collectives, such as: ecological software programmers, copy-left lawyers, intra-performative choreographers, other-autonomous artists, queer network managers, experimental activists, federated composers. Constant chooses participants based on available travel budget and diversity of expertise and experiences.

To apply, send an example of an existing or imaginary socio-technical protocol that interests you and explain why. Also let us know what block you would like to join. E-mail before 10 September 2019 to femke@constantvzw.org and we will let you know by 21 September latest.

Image: TransHackFeminist Agreement