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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