Feminist Hackspace. Interview with Patricia Reis and Stephanie Wuschitz

Patricia Reis and Stefanie Wuschitz are the founders and members of the trans*feminist hackspace Mz* Baltazars Laboratory, Vienna in Vienna. It is run by a collective and offers on one hand a hackspace with a workshop program for female, trans and non-binary people, and on the other hand runs a gallery space with a feminist exhibition program.

The lab is conceived as a safer space for people who have traditionally been excluded from or have felt unsafe in spaces where science is taught and technology is developed. It invites those people to participate or give workshops that bring together technology, art, and have a critical understanding of social structures.

In this interview Stephanie Wuschitz and Patricia Reis introduce feminist hacking as an artistic methodology. They discuss the relationship of gender and technology, and explain how Mz* Baltazar’s Lab aims at developing other imaginations of technology by conciously developing a community. They discuss the role of the space in developing that community and the importance of creating a safer space both for fostering engagement within the community and for the space but also for reaching out to a wider audience.

Interview conducted by Shusha Niederberger, HeK (House of electronic Arts Basel), March 1, 2018.

Crowd Benefits. Interview with Mauricio O’Brian

Mauricio O’Brian is a co-founder of Goteo.org, a crowdfunding platform foregrounding collective return. The platform was founded in 2011, and is one of the pioneering platforms. It was developed by Platoniq, an arts and media design collective working on participatory culture in the digital realm, working since 2001 and based in Barcelona, Spain.

Goteo is different from other crowdfunding platforms like kickstarter in the way it conceptualises crowdfunding as a participatory project. Central for Goteo is the social return of the projects. It promotes projects working for the commons, open code and/or free knowledge, putting the accent on the public mission and favouring free culture and social development, allowing only projects available under a free and/or open licence. Apart of the usual monetary contributions, Goteo includes collaborations like services, material resources, infrastructure or participation in specific microtasks needed for the development of projects. It is thus as well fostering a network of local communities. It has always put an emphasis on local events, working together with local communities, organizations and public institutions and has sought to involve the community through local workshops and other means in developing new features. Goteo has put a lot emphasis on partnering with wide range of public and private institutions, primarily municipalities in Spain. The principle of “co-responsibility” is also touching on public desicion making processes.
Goteo is managed by the Goteo Foundation, a non-profit organisation which unites all the agents committed to the development of the project.

Mauricio O’Brian talks in this interview about the social dimension of crowdfunding, explains the concept of crowd benefit and social return in crowdfunding. He discusses the vision of a culture of co-responsibility, and how this is also linked to decision making processes, when it comes to partnerships with public institutions.

Interview with Mauricio O’Brian, conducted by Felix Stalder, 15 September 2018, at HeK (House of electronic Arts, Basel).

Ecosystems of Writing. Interview with Michael Murtaugh


Michael Murtaugh is a technologist specialised in community databases, digital archives, and tools for new forms of reading and writing online. He is a member of Constant, where he is also part of the active archive research project,  investigating and developing digital archiving platforms for cultural institutions.

In this interview, Michael discusses how infrastructures shape practices, and how recognizing these performative aspects of infrastructure can be used to question relationships to and through infrastructure. He introduces Etherbox, a RaspberryPi operated network box enabling local communities to collectively write, but is setup as a visible tool to engage with imaginations of software, infrastructure and services. The Etherbox thus takes the concept of active archives a step further. Whereas active archives try to formulate ideas how archives can live on and serve communities in more productive ways than a frozen acoount of a historicel event, Etherbox expands the concern about the performativity of infrastructure into a tool, which adresses both the symbolical level (of speculative infrastructure) as well the functional level (of collective writing spaces). That intertwinedness of the aesthetical and the functional is expanding the territory of infrastructure into an ecosystem of writing.

Feministische Perspektiven auf digitale ästhetische Praktiken. Brown Bag Lecture

Do. 25.10.2018, 12:30-13:30, ZHDK, Raum 5.K03

Das Forschungsprojekt “Creating Commons” (2017-2019) beschäftigt sich mit aktuellen, von der digitalen Kultur inspirierten künstlerischen Praktiken. Im Feld zwischen Kunst und Commons entwickeln sie radikale ästhetische und praktische Modelle der künstlerischen und kulturellen Produktion im digitalen Zeitalter.

In den Research Meetings mit Künstler_innen, Theoretiker_innen und
Aktivist_innen zeigte sich, dass neben der digitalen Kultur der
Feminismus eine zweite zentrale Referenz darstellt. Beide berühren ein
verändertes Verhältnis von Produktion und Reproduktion. Davon ausgehend werden digitale ästhetische Praktiken und die damit verbundenen Institutionen neu gedacht und experimentell gelebt.

Was bedeutet es, wenn man die Forderung von Silvia Federici ernst nimmt und die Commons feministisch denkt, also all die auch mit der Schaffung und Verwaltung von Gemeingütern verbundene reproduktive Arbeit ernst nimmt? Welchen Stellenwert bekommen darin Institutionen, Infrastrukturen und Tools? Und wie drückt sich das spezifisch auf dem Gebiet der digitalen Commons aus?

Ausgehend von im Rahmen der Research Meetings entstandenen Interviews stellen wir einige Positionen vor und diskutieren, wie solcherart gelagerte künstlerische Praxen sich konkret artikulieren und wie sie sich im ästhetischen Feld verorten.


Research Meeting III: Tools and Infrastructures

13.-16. September 2018, HeK (House of electronic Arts, Basel)

Participants (from left to right):
top row: Shusha Niederberger (CC research project), Urban Sand (openki.net), Femke Snelting (constant Brussels), Felix Stalder (CC research project), Mauricio O’Brian (goteo.org), Spideralex (feminist infrastructures), Panayotis Antoniadis (mazizone.eu / nethood.org)
front row: Eva Weinmayr (AND publishing), Michael Murtaugh (constant Brussels / Etherbox), Cornelia Sollfrank (CC research project), Daphne Dragona (Berlin), Lioudmila Voropaj (HFG Karlsruhe), Alessandro Ludovico (neural magazine)

Research Meeting II “Commoning the Institution”

19. – 22. April 2018, HeK (House of electronic arts, Basel)

participants (from left to right):
top row: Stefanie Wuschitz (Mz Baltazars Laboratory Vienna), Laurence Rassel (erg Brussels, constant Brussels)
2nd row: Ruth Catlow (furtherfield London), Rahel Puffert (University Oldenburg), Patricia Reis (Mz Baltazars Laboratory Vienna), Marc Garrett (furtherfield London)
3rd row (middle to left): Cornelia Sollfrank (CC research project), Mario Purkathofer (Dock18 Zürich), Zeljko Blace (MaMa/ccSPORT)
bottom row: Marek Tuszinsky (tactical tech Berlin), Shusha Niederberger (CC research project), Peter Westenberg (constant Brussels), Felix Stalder (CC research project).
not in picture: Penny Travlou, University of Edinburgh

Z. Blace

~% Zagreb/Berlin-Stuttgart/Brussels-Ghent

Z. Blace is (in+)consistently working (in-)between fields of contemporary culture and arts, digital technology and media, community sports and activism – by cross-pollinating queer perspectives and methodologies with social and political practices.

Z. Blace co-founded and curated media projects and exhibitions at the Multimedia Institute/MaMa and LABinary in Croatia (1999 – 2008), and Silent*Observers at UCSD in 2006.
He instigated the sport-culture-activism initiatives qSPORT/QueerSport.info in Croatia and ccSPORT.link in Berlin/Germany. His engagements from 2014 to 2017 include: Pop-up Rainbow with ToolsForAction.net, Kickertables with TimeLab.org, Entorse.org & Recommerce/Bains.be.



Josephine Bosma: „contesting/contexting SPORT 2016: Interview with Zeljko Blace“, 2016, https://www.furtherfield.org/contestingcontexting-sport-2016-interview-with-zeljko-blace/

Tactical Technology Collective, Berlin

Tactical Tech provides information, tools and knowledge for activists, technologists and engaged citizens on the use of information technology. It was founded 2003 Marek Tuszinski and Stephanie Hankey. Its main objectives are awareness raising on issues of privacy, digital security and mobilisation. In the last two years they embraced exhibitions as a medium for communication.


Technology is impacting on our civil liberties, our rights, and our autonomy. Tactical Tech is a non-profit organisation who has been responding to these shifts for the past 15 years by finding practical solutions for a global network of activists, technologists and engaged citizens. Their outputs are shared with over three million people worldwide through applied research, capacity building, trainings, workshops, events and exhibitions. In doing this, Tactical Tech hope to raise awareness about privacy, provide tools for digital security, and mobilise people to turn information into action.



nervous system exhibition 2016 at HKW Berlin


Mz Baltazar’s Laboratory, Vienna

Mz Baltazar’s Laboratory is a trans*feminist collective of artists and researchers, founded 2008 and running a space with various activities in Vienna. Its activities compromise of workshops, gatherings, talks and lectures. It hosts a reading group and organises and joint activities in the field of art, technology and feminist practice.


Mz Baltazar’s Lab aims at generating a culture of fearless making! An environment that fosters creativity, activism and provocative thinking! We try to build an accessible, inclusive, open, safer and radical space, from which to evolve as people and as community. Open Source Technology is at the root of our philosophy, it enables us to share and collaborate without restrictions. We need this space to experiment with things as gender, hardware or our selves.

We identify as intersectional feminists, and we come from a variety of educational backgrounds. The lab is intended as a safer space for people who have traditionally been excluded from or have felt unsafe in spaces where science is taught, or technology is being used, and we invite those people (women, and trans* individuals) to participate or give workshops that bring together technology, art, and have a critical understanding of social structures. Our exhibitions and events are open to all audiences, and are intended to support women* in the broad sense of the political terms, and those who work on feminist issues, empowerment, and overturning patriarchy.

As a collective we are more or less fluid in our composition. Some of us travel a lot, others need to take care of families and friends, and almost all of us have some paying job. We therefore are flexible and try to support each other in whatever journeys we set out on. We come from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and some of us have lived in Vienna longer than others. Working on, in, and with the collective is a fruitful experience, and a challenge, and we are always happy to meet people interested in working with the collective in whatever capacity they can.



Beaudoin Rachelle: Dear Arduina: An Interview with Miss Baltazar’s Laboratory, in: Journal of Peer Production, Issue# 8 Feminist (un)hacking, 2016 http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-8-feminism-and-unhacking-2/art-essays/dear-arduina-an-interview-with-miss-baltazars-laboratory/

Stephanie Wuschitz’ PHD at Visual Culture Unit, Architecture Dept., University of Technology Vienna: “Feminist Hackerspaces. A research on feminist space collectives in open cultures”, http://grenzartikel.com/projects/?p=1307

Stephanie Wuschitz / Cindy Lin: The Nenek Project (2014-2018),
Investigation in the cultural tradition of women organisation as a background to Lifepatch (citizen initiatives in the arts, science and technology) Yogyakarta, Indonesia, http://grenzartikel.com/projects/?p=1319

furtherfield, London

Furtherfield is an artist run space founded in 1996 by Ruth Catlow and Marc Garret in London. It features a broad range of activites about art, technology and media, both in its space and online. Its program includes exhibitions, workshops and a variety of events, different communication channels and distributing content in diverse forms – from online posts, interviews to books.

At the heart of Furtherfield is a concern for exchange and community and they are incorporation this concern in everything they do.


“Furtherfield connects people to new ideas, critical thinking and imaginative possibilities for art, technology and the world around us. Through artworks, labs and debate people from all walks of life explore today’s important questions”


Ruth Catlow: Situating the Digital Commons, http://ruthcatlow.net/?works=situating-the-digital-commons

Penny Travlou: Ethnographies of Co-Creation and Collaboration as Models of Creativity, https://elmcip.net/critical-writing/ethnographies-co-creation-and-collaboration-models-creativity

furtherfield: “Do It With Others (DIWO). Participatory Media in the Furtherfield Neighbourhood”. Di Rimini, Francesca (Eds.): A Handbook of Coding Cultures. Sidney: d/Lux/MediaArts and Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2007, p. 21–28.


Dock18 – Institut für Medienkulturen, Zurich

Dock18 is a cultural organisation founded 2005 in Zurich. It is operating a small space located inside the alternative cultural center Rote Fabrick. It is closely associated with the local DIY and media art/culture community. It runs a diverse event program with a focus on the public domain, game culture and DIY culture.
The program is only marginally curated, and most events are set up in collaboration with local actors bringing in themes, ideas and formats. As it says in its self-description: it is more a breeding ground than a showcase.

Its focus changed over time, mostly due to changing collaborators.

Dock18 Space for media cultures of the world is alternately and from time to time a simultaneously independent art space, TV studio, media lab, meeting point, bar, club, dance floor and interactive breeding ground for different media cultures of the world.


constant, Brussels

Constant is an artist-run organisation founded 1997 in Brussels. It is working in collaborative situations of groups of artists and researchers working together for defined periods of time. Often these settings are collaborations with other institutions, and take part at other places. This is only partly due to the absence of permanent place, but also reflects some of the core practices of the organisation, which could be described in an interest in collaboration, translation, negotiations, explanations and the care of shared resources. Constant is thus not a space, it is an organisation.

It features different formats of working together (cyclic exhibition projects, reading groups, publishing, exploration of open source tools, research, workshop, education and all kind of inventive formats that go between and beyond).

Constant’s program is concerned with media, technology and artistic practice.

„Constant is a non-profit, artist-run organisation based in Brussels since 1997 and active in the fields of art, media and technology.

Constant develops, investigates and experiments. Constant departs from feminisms, copyleft, Free/Libre + Open Source Software. Constant loves collective digital artistic practices. Constant organises transdisciplinary worksessions. Constant creates installations, publications and exchanges. Constant collaborates with artists, activists, programmers, academics, designers. Constant is active archives, poetic algorithms, body and software, books with an attitude, cqrrelations, counter cartographies, situated publishing, e-traces, extitutional networks, interstitial work, libre graphics, performative protocols, relearning, discursive infrastructures, hackable devices.“


Laurence Rassel: Notes from Field-Workers, in: Art & Research, a Journal of Ideas, Contexts and Methods, Vol. 2, Nr. 2, Spring 2009


Laurence Rassel: Rethinking the Art School

Institution, instituted, instituting, common, commoning.

Talk by Laurence Rassel

Thursday, 1 March 2018, 18.30, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel)

A school of art is a zone of convergence studded with a multiplicity of individuals, things and flows, stories, fictions and stagings, with social, cultural, material, singular and interacting asperities. And it is also a common territory by default: if we choose to come there to work or to study, we do not choose those with whom we will share this ephemeral biotope.

Taking her current position as head of the Brussels-based art school e.r.g (École de rechereche graphique) as a starting point, Laurence Rassel reflects in her talk about how the art school as an institution can be conceived as an environment for developing a sense of collectivity. Assuming the double definition of the word “institution” as a potential to be developed as well as an established form, Rassel identifies alienation where the “instituted” takes precedence over the “instituting.”
In her work, the common is thought, and will be contructed as the result of an action composed of the differences in presence. The common will not erase these differences, and it will not only be composed by them. The common is always the result of a “common doing” rather than a fixed group and or an “institution.” The paradoxical task then is to sustain the collective, the common, while preserving heterogeneity and the singularities in place.

For the participants, workers, collaborators related to the institution, however, it is a real instituting movement that is at stake. The inspirations for Rassel’s models for work processes come from open source/free software culture, but also from institutional psychotherapy. The school is a place full of hierarchies, governed by texts, decrees but also by consciences that reveal themselves there as brutal, feverish, urgent, generating a desire to reach a “whole” and a desire to question “the whole,” and nevertheless build a common. By opening up this layer from “read-only” to “read, write and execute,” the very structure of the school can be turned inside out – to serve new purposes. People can get involved and affect the structure by their history to be made. The process is the collective development of the “how.”

Laurence Rassel is a cultural worker who can act as curator, teacher, organizer. She is currently based in Brussels. From 2008 to 2015 she was Director of Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, an institution created in 1984 by the artist Antoni Tàpies to promote the study and knowledge of modern and contemporary art (http://www.fundaciotapies). From 1997 to 2008, Rassel was member of Constant, a non-profit association and interdisciplinary arts-lab based and active in Brussels in the fields of art, media and technology (http://www.constantvzw.org/). Currently she is Director of erg (école de recherche graphique – école supérieure des arts) in Brussels (www.erg.be).

The talk takes place as part of the collaboration of HeK with the research project “Creating Commons”, Institute for Contemporary Art Research (IFCAR), Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK). The research project “Creating Commons” investigates exemplary projects which develop, as symbolic artistic works as well as operative infrastructures, new models for free access and use of cultural resources.

Thursday, 1 March 2018, 18.30

HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel)
Freilager-Platz 9, 4142 Münchenstein
+41 61 331 58 40 (office)


Die Performativität des Archivs

An der Veranstaltung zum Launch der online-Plattform des Archivs der Shedhalle Zürich sprach die Slavistin Sylvia Sasse über ihre Erfahrungen mit Archiven in ihrer Forschung. Dabei sprach sie zwei wichtige Punkte an: einerseits warfs sie die Frage auf: “was macht das Archiv mit mir?”, andererseits sprach sie von der Perspektivität von Archiven am Beispiel der “Dokumentation” von Performancekunst durch die Staatssicherheits-Dienste im ehemalingen Ostblock.

Continue reading “Die Performativität des Archivs”


Das Archiv in der künstlerischen Forschung

Brunner/Hiltbrunner beziehen sich einerseits auf das Anarchiv, als “dichte, komplexe und wertvolle Arbeits- und Projektarchive”, andererseits auf das Archiv als kreative Kulturtechnik. Ihre Hypothese: Kunstpraxis ist forschend, wenn sie archivarische Züge annimmt.
Dieses “kulturelle Paradigma” wird historisch verortet in der Geschichte der alternativen Archiven wie dem Knastarchiv (bis 1988 betrieben vom Autonomen Knasbüro Bochum) oder der Frauengesundheitsbewegung um 1970, und kulturwissenschaftlich mit Foucault als wissens- und machtkritische politische Praxis verortet (demgegenüber stehen laut Brunner/Hiltbrunner die strikte Praxisorientiertheit der Archivwissenschaften).

Continue reading “Archivbegriffe”

Olga Goriunova: Next few years of art and commons: on idiosyncratic learners and radical lurkers

Cultural theorist, philosopher and curator Olga Goriunova focusses in her talk on the radical differences between the first 15 years of the World Wide Web (1990 -2005) and the next 15. To speak about artist-run platfoms (such as the hub for software art, runme.org) and other experimental projects thriving in these first 15 years, I developed the term “organisational aesthetics”, which was concerned with specific forms of artistic and cultural movements within technological networks.