Collective Conditions reader + playlist

An evolving companion to Collective Conditions


This reader is an evolving companion to Collective Conditions, a worksession held in November 2019 in Brussels. Together with a group of 25 international participants we explored the generative potential of socio-technical protocols such as codes of conduct, complaint procedures, bug reports and copyleft licenses. Collective Conditions was activated by the work of trans*feminist collectives on ally-ship, non-violent communication, score-making, anti-colonial and intersectional activism, but also by ways of doing developed within Free Culture and Free, Libre and Open Source software. Out of commitment to the tools and methods that these collectives propose to intervene in cultures of harassment, we wanted to take serious the role that self-invented protocols might play in the (different) imagination of “complex collectivities”. What protocols would for example work for non-normative human constellations, or collectives where participants with radically different needs, backgrounds and agencies come together? What different needs do “complex collectives” have when they are the result of structural forces such as laws, racism, technology, wars, austerity, queerphobia and ecological conditions? How to avoid self-invented protocols in turn becoming excluding and ostracising law-like ways of doing? How to imagine ally-ship as a non-equalizing form of togetherness?

Whether you prefer to read, watch or listen, this collection of resources contains different lines of thinking for further research into non-divisive ways of doing “complex collectivity”. The materials are explicitly experimental, non-stable and non-exhaustive. We invite anyone to activate the reader and parts of it in whichever way — adding, deleting, changing, translating, whispering or other ways of activation we could not yet imagine but look forward to hear about. We especially want to acknowledge the blank spots present in this version of the reader as one possible direction of activation. An area of study we for example find important for approaching “complex collectivity” but struggled to find material on, are reflections on the connection between disability studies and the pull towards extractive platforms because of their higher degree of some kinds of accessibility.

The reader was updated in October 2020 by Loren Britton, Peter Hermans and Constant. We added various audio-visual materials and some textual ones; for the printed reader we auto-translated all articles into English and extended the French, Dutch and Spanish articles for the on-line version. This on-line version also contains an updated collection of sample documents.

Allies / Accomplices /

Assemblages / Intersections /

Ecologies / Politics /

Structures / Support /

Sample documents