Unbound Libraries Worksession

“Tools cannot be separated from the knowledge systems in which they have been imagined and made”
Frozen Social Relations and Time for a Thaw: Visibility, Exclusions, and Considerations for Postcolonial Digital Archives by Martha Nell Smith, 2014

Unbound Libraries is a worksession that questions and experiments with libraries as knowledge systems. We look at libraries with physical and digital presences alongside their distinct elements (materials, categorisation systems, protocols, human labor, locality, missions, means...) variously configuring the libraries’ form(s), implications and significance.

We understand libraries in their multiplicity and potentialities; from an authoritative position interwove with colonial and patriarchal legacies to community-based processes rooted in local urgencies, libraries have many facets. Also, importance is given to digital infrastructures and tools which have the potential to question-by-doing the dominant practices, by widening the library’s terms of accessibility and agency.

This worksession is organised in collaboration with Muntpunt (Brussels), BNA-BBOT (Brussels), BAL (Brussels), OSP (Brussels), Infrastructural Manoeuvres (Amsterdam), Hackers & Designers (Amsterdam), Mayday Rooms(London), The People Speak (London).
With a big thank you to KBR (Brussels).


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. As worksessions are multi-modal, this particular worksession will be shaped in response to our current global situation into which closeness, exchange and togetherness are drastically altered.


As the exceptional circumstances resulted in a significant change of format, no call has been opened for this worksession, unfortunately. Unbound Libraries will attempt to support collective research with different configurations of exchange and temporality. Participants will not be together physically, and will be using different online tools to keep in touch. Participants will join this worksession through an invitation to 5 days of intensified research and exchange from June 1st till June 5th. The research period is meant to be phased by individual or group research and online exchanges between participants.

We prefer to work with Free Software and distribute work under Open Content Licenses. While we favour Free and Open source philosophy, we’re also conscious of the links of Open Access ideology to colonial extractivism. We see this worksession as an occasion to experiment with ways of sharing that go beyond the open/closed binary. This model can obstruct the imagination for complexity and porosity. In addition we want to take into account the rights to opacity in access and transmission of knowledge, especially in regard to marginalized communities.

@ on-line / en ligne