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

https://vimeo.com/309009024

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.