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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