Institutional Practice: Interview with Peter Westenberg

Peter Westenberg is an artist and a member of Constant, an artist-run organization in Brussels, active in art and technology.

In this interview, Peter discusses the possibilities of licensing in artistic contexts to think about the future context of one’s work. He explains the format of situations, a way of working collaboratively across disciplines Constant has been developing over the years. How do institutional practices like organizing events and developing formats relate to artistic practice and aesthetics? And how can that practice be situated in the discourse about the commons?

Interview conducted by Felix Stalder, 4 March 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.

Networking Institutions. Interview with Z. Blace

Z. Blace is one of the founders of Multimedia Institut / MaMa in Zagreb.

In this interview, he gives an overview of the activities of Multimedia Institute and it’s public space MaMa in Zagreb until today. He discusses the work of networking institutions and cultural advocacy in the political context of Croatia and draws connections to the discourse around the commons.

Interview conducted by Felix Stalder, March 3, 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.

The Micropolitics of Publishing. Interview with Eva Weinmayr

Eva Weinmayr is an artist, designer, educator, and researcher based in London. Her long-standing engagement with digital and print publishing includes projects such as The Piracy Project, AND Publishing and other practice experiments that are all based on the idea of alternative knowledge production and the exploration of the agency of books.

Interview conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, September 15, 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.

Negotiating Space in Culture and Technology. Interview with Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett.

Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett are the co-founders of furtherfield, an artist-led organisation and community platform located in Finsbury Park, North London. Furtherfield asks critical questions about art and technology, and addresses today’s important questions through exhibitions, labs and debates across many platforms and spaces.

In this interview, Ruth and Marc look back on how they started from an online community and grew into a multidimensional space for different practices in and through technologies and art culture. They highlight the importance of communities and public space, and how they reflect their concerns in their curatorial practice in today’s techno-political situation. They explain how furtherfield is working as a community-driven institution, how formats and subjects are developed, how they position themselves in the cultural landscape, and how they manage to get funding. Alongside these insights into the inner life of furtherfield they provide a detailed discussion about the importance of data as a commons, how this discussion is related to historical events, and what an informed, critical mindset could achieve for the future of us all.

Interview conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, September 15, 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.

Working with the Paradoxes of Technology, Interview with Marek Tuszynski

In this interview, Marek Tuszynski, one of the two co-founders of Tactical Tech, explains what the goals of their non-profit organization are, how it is structured, how it aims to reach a wide audience through a variety of public engagements, and what its basic assumptions are. Originally dedicated to train human rights defenders and social justice activists in safe handling of technology, the organization has expanded over time and now also provides easily accessible information about critical use of technology for the average user. This is mainly done through exhibitions, workshops and freely accessible training materials on its website. Working with the paradoxes of technology means for TT to present technology, information and data in all their ambiguity, raising awareness of the political aspects of technology, including both empowerment and disenfranchisement.

Interview conducted by Felix Stalder, September 16, 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.

From Notepad to Cultural Resource. The Aesthetics of Crosslinking at Monoskop, Interview with Dušan Barok

Dušan Barok is a researcher, artist and cultural activist based in Amsterdam. His practice involves networked media, participatory events, and experimental publishing, and he runs and edits Monoskop. Monoskop is a media wiki that evolved from linking and contextualizing information on Eastern European experimental and media arts to host rele­­­vant files, such as books, texts, documents, and media files, and thus became a publishing initiative in its own right.

Due to its constant growth, Monoskop has transformed from a special interest archive to become a significant cultural resource. Today the wiki comprises of 6,744 entries and 13,616 documents, and the related WordPress log introduces new publications on a regular basis. Increasingly, Monoskop also triggers off­line events, frequently with cultural institutions that have come to appreciate the unique resources of this autonomous archive.

Interview conducted by Felix Stalder, October 22, 2017, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.

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 between gender and technology and explain how Mz* Baltazar’s Lab aims at developing other imaginations of technology by consciously developing a community. They discuss the role of the space in developing that community and the importance of creating a safer space – both 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.

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.

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.

Sources:

www.zeljko.blace.name
http://www.ccsport.link

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

Interview

Networking Institutions. Interview with Z. Blace
Conducted by Felix Stalder, 3 March 2018

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.

Self-description:

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.

Sources:
https://tacticaltech.org
nervous system exhibition 2016 at HKW Berlin

Interview

Working with the Paradoxes of Technology, Interview with Marek Tuszynski
Conducted by Felix Stalder, 16 September 2018

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.

Self-description:

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.

Sources:

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

Interview

Feminist Hackspace. Interview with Patricia Reis and Stephanie Wuschitz
Conducted by Shusha Niederberger, 1 March 2018

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.

Self-description:

“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”

Sources:

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.

www.furtherfield.org

Interview

Negotiating Space in Culture and Technology. Interview with Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett
Conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 15 September 2018

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.

Self-description:
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.

http://dock18.ch/

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.

self-declaration:
„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.“

Sources:

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

http://www.constantvzw.org/

Interviews

Experimenting with Institutional Formats. Interview with Laurence Rassel
Conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 4 March 2018

Institutional Practice. Interview with Peter Westenberg
Conducted by Felix Stalder, 4 March 2018

Forms of Ongoingness. Interview with Femke Snelting and spideralex
Conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 16 September 2018

Ecosystems of Writing. Interview with Michael Murtaugh
Conducted by Shusha Niederberger, 15 September 2018

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 (Ecole de Recherche 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 constructed 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 a founding member of Constant, a non-profit association and interdisciplinary arts-lab based and active in Brussels in the fields of art, media and technology. Currently, she is Director of erg (école de recherche graphique – école supérieure des arts) in Brussels.

 
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For any other use please contact us.