Selling Compliments & Kisses on Queens Day

Puckering manThese days artists have to work out a way to be profitable. And what better way to start than on Queens Day, the national Dutch holiday on which the Vrijmarkt ('free market') means anyone can sell their wares on the street without a permit? On 30 April as Rotterdam turned into one big jumble sale and piss-up, fellow artists Inge Hoonte, Dave Young and I took the opportunity to set up our own business for the day.

Photos from Post Digital Publishing @ Transmediale 2013

Kristin Tretheway from Sourceforge introduced Booktype, the collaborative book editing software, and we discussed the limitations and opportunities it presents to designers. Geert Lovink and Florian Cramer introduced their forthcoming project, a collaboration between Hogeschool Rotterdam & Hogeschool Amsterdam, to create a toolkit for e-publishing. Designers need to be involved in shaping these media, they said, not just designing 'skins' for pre-determined layouts. Simon Worthington introduced the work of the Hybrid Publishing Consortium. Brendan Howell gave an insight into the design challenges faced by DIY e-publishers, presenting his booksprint project Exquisite Code.

Consent to Print at Transmediale 2013: The Problem of Silence

Consent To Print participants The series of Post Digital Publishing workshops at Transmediale 2013 kicked off today with three workshops on DIY Publishing, one of which was Consent To Print given by Dave Young and I.

Our workshop was an attempt to cross feminist theory, web-to-print tools and group decision-making to see what came out. It asked, is it possible for print publications to be democratically edited? What happens in a consensus-based system when a wealth of online content must be edited down into the limited form of a paper print-out?

Embedding a changing image

an image embedded from pzwart server

A very simple social experiment. I am embedding this image from the server of the Piet Zwart Institute. I've asked a number of students to help by doing the same thing, so it seems only fair that I should participate too.

Each of us can upload a new version of the image if we want to change it. The newest version will appear on all participating websites through a live src attribute in the image tag.

Various Fires in Publishing: The Facebook Problem and Other DIY Dilemmas

Various Fires in Publishing. Image:

When an artists' talk ends with someone deleting their Facebook account, you know it's a a sign of the times. And so it was this weekend at Various Fires in Publishing, with a panel on (digital) self-publishing during the Wereld van Witte de With festival.

Open Wide workshop @ LiWoLi

I gave a workshop on authorship at the LiWoLi festival called 'Open Wide', with support from the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. We looked at the idea of attribution, and how conventional ideas about autonomous authorship are maintained in open or semi-open licensing schemes such as the Creative Commons.

Open to risk: notes from LiWoLi day two

Lovelocks being rearrangedAnother glorious sunny day here in Linz, and today a workshop I'd been looking forward to. The description of Mey Lean Kronemann's Lovepicking workshop says it all really:

Love Locks are a custom by which padlocks are affixed to a bridge or similar public fixture by couples to symbolize their everlasting love. ...By lockpicking the Locks of Love, we question the idea of love or relationships being bolted and barred, closed like a prison or cage, which can only be opened by breaking it. The picked locks will be re-arranged into one long chain.

Now I find this idea really beautiful. It is cheeky and eloquent, and of course the visual symbolism is irresistable. I also like how this project applies the logic of hacking to non-technological forms of social control and ownership, linking 'radical openness' to gender, sexuality and relationships.


What is a person? - Notes from LiWoLi day one

Question: if a salad is made in Britain with Chinese ingredients by Polish workers, what is its nationality? Or: do you own your name? These were some of the impossible questions put to us today by Heath Bunting, round a wooden table in the conspiratorially dark room at the top of the Stadtwerkstatt. After a brief introduction to his Status Project - which maps out ways of constructing a new identity from scratch - we dived right into the juicy debates that this project opens up. Adopting an air described by another participant as "halfway between flight attendant and headmaster", Heath guided us through a rigourous analysis of each of the deceptively simple components composing a legal identity.

Open Everything: drawings & thoughts from Open Design Symposium, Linz

arduinoOpen Source, Open Kultuur, Open Images... now I have another trendy sticker to add to my laptop: "Open Design Symposium". Taking place the day before the LiWoLi festival of 'Art Meets Radical Openness', this symposium at Linz' Kunstuniversitat came as a bonus. And, indeed, a contrast. While LiWoLi concerns itself with radical openness, at this symposium *any* kind of openness seemed to be up for discussion. And open was certainly the word here; it was on everyone's lips and had already been prefixed to more nouns by lunchtime than I had previously thought possible.

My Safeword is Yes: some thoughts on consent

"Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no".
I don't know about you, but I'm getting a bit bored of shouting this.

A favourite of anti-rape activists, this mantra is a vital starting-point in a culture that fosters the parallel violences of playing cut & paste with women's words ("No means yes and yes means anal")[1], and using threats, persuasion and force to do the same with our bodies. Until there is general agreement on the fact that, for example, a short skirt or shiny shoe or fetching hat is not semantically equivalent to the word "yes", we seem doomed to repeat this tediously self-evident phrase. But let's not stop there; let's not settle for the dull pedanticism and legalese that the reality of sexual violence thrusts upon us. We can do better than that.


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