Open Call Techno Cul de Sac

This is an open call for application to the worksession Techno-Cul-de-Sac.

Deadline: September 15
Confirmation: before October 01

We invite artists, city dwellers, activists, electronic scavengers, conflicted urbanists and reluctant designers to spend a week together sharing practices related to the city’s zones of attention, contact, conflict.

The worksession Techno-Cul-de-Sac will take place from 20th to the 25th November 2022 in Constant Studio in Brussels and will investigate the city as a woven fabric of territories of inclusion and exclusion, of availabilities and scarcities, of obligations and potentials. It starts from observing the relations between three different forms of zoning and the technology they involve in the Brussels context.

First, the institutional zones: pedestrian zones, special economic zones, 30km/h zones, low-emission zones, zones of prevention and surveillance... Each of these coming with their economic, legal, and political structures.
Then, the areas materialized by communication infrastructure, sketched in the city by network coverage, whether by cables or by the aether: phone lines, optical fibers, 4G, 5G, FM... Old and new networks that enable connections to elsewhere. Thirdly, the patchwork of user-zones sketched by a bunch of recently arrived agents in the city: the platforms that are entangling many inhabitants with their new networks for working, eating, moving in the city thanks to geo-localized "services".

Considering their interactions and their technological manifestations can offer a scary picture... Surveillance, policing, profit-over-everything, development for development’s sake, phone tracing, analytics of all kinds... Living in the city is now inseparable from being turned into data, profiled, analysed, correlated, quantified. For some inhabitants, that means being excluded, gentrified, harrassed out of certain zones. How to avoid being paralized by the ruthless extractive eye of capitalist platforms and real-estate developers? Is there a way out of this tech-infused impasse?

Techno-Cul-de-Sac will stubbornly explore the possibilities to do and think the city differently, both existing and imaginary ones.

We will focus on modes of activation of mutual support, on mapping issues and developing strategies to act on them, on sharing techniques to detour, recul, resist. Learning from alternative mesh networks and pirate radio we’ll look into communication network infrastructures as common goods. Opening up the black boxes of the devices that fill up the city’s streets and the inhabitants’ phones, we’ll question the shadowy public and private processes that re-think the city without its inhabitants.

What are possible strategies to express disagreement, temporarily or structurally in the urban space? Does a passer-by consent to rules and regulations during a stroll in the city? As private property and public space melt into each other, what modes of dissent help us re-think public space and public action? Did we really opt-in for all-round corporate surveillance, and how do you collectively opt-out?

Techno-Cul-de-Sac invites lifeforms that are engaged with or interested in ways to divert, derange, re-appropriate and study these urban-technical processes, and who want to contribute critical deviations out of the dead-end tech-alley.

TCdS will take place in the shared space that Constant and allies recently started rebuilding and inhabiting. TCdS offers opportunity for collective exchange mixed with city trips, presentations, film screenings. Participants will have time throughout the week to develop artistic investigative concepts and proposals, individually or with others.
Departing from curiosity, participants are invited to think of possibilities that occur through different modes of ’broadcasting’.
Accomplices will include Urban Species, Radio Panik, IEB, ZinTV.

What we offer
Participation is free of charge. Constant will cover costs of transportation, breakfast+lunch, and lodging for all participants.

If you are interested in joining, please send us an email with a few lines describing your interest in these questions and possibly links to work you find relevant.

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