Project: About

More about Constant

Constant was founded in 1997, at this time the goal was to:

(..) encourage audiovisual media (film, video, media, electronic arts, software) and support them (through production, exhibition, publication, research, financially, in-kind) in the broadest possible framework. We cherish an ethical approach and respect for cultural differences and gender. We focus on various groups or individuals (artists, public institutions, including schools, colleges and universities, theorists, media institutions, creative industries). The list of audiovisual arts, target groups as well as the different ways of support and stimulation is not exhaustive.

(Statutes of the association, 1997)

Over the years, the field of interest of the association expanded into Free Software, feminisms, gender, copyright alternatives, science-fiction and networked artistic work. Constant developed projects in the fields of visual arts, radio, design, urbanism, the web, using mainly digital media. For Constant, it continues to be important to make connections between feminisms, Free Software and Copyleft approaches. Together they allow us to re-imagine networks, digital and social infrastructures, algorithms, data processing, and principles of authorship.

Today, Constant is an association run by artists, designers, researchers and hackers. They work together to create collaborative situations that engage with the challenges of contemporary techno-life. Constant operates in Dutch, French and English and is active in Brussels as well as in an international context.

The development of artistic practices is at the core of Constant. It means generating new shareable content, different perspectives and ways of working in collaborations between artists and designers. Constant creates research-oriented situations around themes that are relevant for practitioners who are interested in critical relationships with contemporary technology. This development takes place on different levels:

  • Together with individual artists, researchers, designers etc we develop an understanding of computing, Free, Libre and Open Source software, networks and technical infrastructures. The artistic experiments at the basis of our program allow for study, practice and proximate critique of technology.
  • Participants contribute to collective knowledge by sharing their experiences and skills with each other in group situations. Personal networks are created around common fields of experience. This allows for lasting relationships that promote long-term exchange.
  • Constant contributes to the development of the digital art field. We develop new Free, Libre and Open Source tools and infrastructures (active archives, feminist infrastructures, collective writing environments, experimental publishing platforms). We foster collective initiatives and emerging structures. We share our work and experiences through cross-disciplinary collaborations (media labs, cultural organisations, educational institutions, academic research, artist collectives, activist initiatives, governments, civil society organizations). Our presentations, publications and production are research-oriented: they are experimental and investigative in content, form and means of production.

The programme that Constant will develop from 2023 to 2027 revolves around what we call SPLINT, "Speculative, Libre, Intersectional Technologies". SPLINT is a term coined to signal Constant’s commitment for the next few years of its research programme. Namely, the intention to answer the question: What could/should be and do libre, intersectional technologies? More specifically, what kinds of devices and practices could address and counteract the systemic discriminations, oppressions and exclusions at play in today’s technologies? SPLINT explores the potential of technology for artistic practice and vice versa, at the intersection of intersectional feminism and open source software. SPLINT examines the discriminations and structural problems inherent in technology, and nurtures the imagination and imaginative capacity of techno-realities that can contribute to an open, experimental and equitable digital art field.

SPLINT is fueled by four themes that will formulate various approaches within the research object. The articulation of these four themes is the result of interests, observations, worries expressed within, towards and from Constant. We hope they offer openings and starting points for different participants and partners to join Constant.

The four themes are:

  • 1. Techno-disobedience (2023). This year focuses on artistic-activist resistances against technological dominations from state control regimes as well as from GAFAM corporations.
  • 2. A cane, sticky notes, another body (2024) is a research project that takes seriously the problems of accessibility of physical and virtual spaces and opens up a field of technical-artistic experimentation addressing these urgent issues. The title of this trajectory refers to several dimensions of accessibility. The cane is a physical tool, the adhesive memo refers to means of aiding memory, such as a post-it note, or a voice assistant. The other body represents the collective care, formal and informal, that binds people together.
  • 3. Otherworldly communications (2025) proposes to transfigure our understanding of dialogue. What might we learn from otherworldly technologies that do not see their environment as resources to be extracted, but rather as allies in existence? What might we understand by understanding the movement of tectonic plates as a form of communication? To understand the survival strategy of a tomato plant as an act of solidarity?
  • 4. Unbordering (2026) is a call to critically and radically rethink the technological apparatus of visual control erected near and far from European borders. It is a dive into repressive and authoritarian technologies as an internalisation of the violent politics of Fortress Europe. Unbordering examines border technologies in order to unravel the ways in which the border becomes a means of making violent cuts, literally and figuratively, across bodies, lives, livelihoods, cultures, nations and ecosystems.

For all these themes Constant will, as always, rely on collective learning practices and hopes to meet and invite researchers, activists, artists, designers, hackers who are engaged with these topics in many different ways.