Call for participants: Networks with an Attitude

7-13 April 2019 @ Antwerp/BE

"Networks do not tell all stories equally. Networks, like all entities with stories, tell most readily those stories in whose reflection they see themselves." [Eleanor Saitta, 2012]

The internet is dead, long live the internets! In 2025, the internet will consist of either gated communities or decentralised independent instances. For those who want to be connected while choosing their own dependencies, there is no other option than to draw up new networks and experiment with both historical and innovative protocols.

Hacktrices, financial idealists, privacy-engineers, LGBT militants, ethno-queers, radio-amateurs, biotech fans and surfing artists opt for federated networks: far from standard and not always reliable but intra-active, copyable, open, hackable and/or parallel. They acknowledge the electromagnetic spectrum as a critical resource and install community WiFi systems or throw their server in their backpack, pluggable only when needed. They host a community somewhere in the Fediverse to communicate, publish and connect with certain social networks while staying away from other layers of what once was called the digital highway. A changing climate challenges the landbased infrastructure and floating routers serve communities living on the open sea. Networks with an attitude do not only have a ’standpoint’, they offer a clear perspective on their own specific orientation, whether or not connected within the internet.

Networks with an Attitude is a six-day worksession organised by Constant. During this intensive week we stretch the imagination of what a network is, and what it can be. It is an invitation to experiment together with net-affinities from two different but interconnected attitudes:

The internet is dead. The first three days start from the assumption that in the near future, the internet is something to be avoided. So, what if we disconnect from the current World Wide Web and build other networks, parallel, off-line, peer to peer, decentralised or differently related? What network topologies and forms of organisation can we think of, which relations can we imagine? What if we think of other materialities, humanly tangible or not? Could the disintegration of its continuous fabric, or the emergence of splinternets not just be a threat but also a potential for different networked spaces and protocols, directed by shared concerns and net-affinities rather than uniformed profit?

Long live the internets! In the second three days we will explore how to re-appropriate existing infrastructures and historical protocols for other means. The multitude of social networks and protocols that are spreading, with different degrees of filters and access and opacity bears some similarity with the early times of computer networking. Back then different separate physical networks and protocols where experimented with, before they where aggregated under the umbrella of the American TCP/IP internet model. This model grew to be a globalized and globalizing project, intertwined with the unfolding of neo-liberal capitalism due to its capacity for value extraction and circulation. But the extension and capillarity of the one network, has also reached a point in which the complexity of network dynamics is the occasion for new openings and attempts. How might the coming shape of the internet(s) remind us about its past?

Worksessions are intensive transdisciplinary moments that Constant organises twice a year. We create a temporary working environment where participants can link their different types of expertise in order to develop ideas and research projects together. We develop prototypes, models and concepts and prefer to use Free, Libre and Open Source software and data available under an open license. Working language: English, with inserts in Dutch and French.

Participants from diverse disciplines, ages, genders, skill levels and backgrounds are welcome to apply. We are looking for example for network natives, data feminists, fediverse fans, tunnel diggers, captains and pirates, artists that embody network technologies, activity pub adepts, scuttlebutt seekers, LoRa’s, peer2peer network participants and other networkers with an attitude.

Networks with an Attitude takes place at various locations, of which some might be floating ≃ in Antwerp from Sunday evening 7 April to Saturday evening 13 April 2019. We invite you to explore both attitudes (the internet is dead + long live the internets) but you are also welcome to apply for the first or the second attitude. The first session starts on Sunday evening 7 April and ends Wednesday 10 April late evening. The second session starts Wednesday 10 April evening and ends Saturday 13 April late evening.
Participation is free of charge, Constant provides lunch and travel (up to 300,— per person, if you need it) plus accommodation if applicable. Constant already invited a number of participants to start the session. In addition, 12 places are available via this open call.
If you are interested in participating, please send an e-mail to before 10 February 2019 and briefly motivate your participation. Also tell us for which sessions(s) you are applying. We will reply no later than 17 February 2019.

Networks with an Attitude is developed by the association for art and media, Constant in collaboration with ooooo, and amongst others Samenschool, City harbour, Wireless Antwerp.