Openki

Openki is an open educational platform.

Openki exist since early 2015 under its current name, but it grew our of “schuel.ch” (founded in 2012), a calendar for self-learning courses and projects in the context of the “Autonome Schule Zurich” (an autonomos education initiative in Zurich). Among the inspirations for it was Sean Dockray’s project “public school” in Los Angeles, and, more generally, the democratic school movement around the Summerhill School (founded in 1921).

The name Openki refers to a fungus with massive biomass and rhizomatic structure. On a philosophical level, Openki sees itself as an alternative to the commonly known structure of the hierarchical tree of knowledge and ultimately replaces this model with a horizontal network of knowledge-exchange.

Openki is not only a platform, but also a community of self-learner and autonomous teachers/students that organizes local events, such as the openki Festival in 2018 in Zurich.

Self-description

Openki is an open education platform. Courses can be proposed, discussed, developed, organized and published. The focus is on the promotion of self- organization, the bringing together of people, groupings and initiatives, and ensure a barrier-free exchange of experiences and knowledge. The courses are accessible to all, regardless of their fnancial situation. The organization behind it is non-proft and Open Source.

Openki belongs to me, to you and to all who participate in it. The application is open source, is available under the TNU ATPG license and is therefore freely available for non-commercial use. Behind Openki is the collectively organized non-proft association “KOPF” (KursOrganisationsPlattForm), which has been developing Openki during the last year.

The software (current version in development since late 2014) and the main implementation is maintained by a loose collective of about 10 people, based mainly in Zurich.

Openki is based, mainly, on volunteer work. Courses are open to all, course fees (beyond costs for materials and rent) are suggested as donations, not conditions for access. The non-proft foundation KOPF accepts donations, as well as public and private (cultural/social) funding, for example, for the Openki Festival 2018.

Sources:

https://openki.net/
https://about.openki.net/

Further reading:

Do-it-yourself-Schule. Antikapitalistisches Lernen 2.0, in: WOZ Nr. 46/2017 vom 16.11.2017) https://www.woz.ch/1746/do-it-yourself-schule/antikapitalistisches-lernen-20

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.

The Practice of Sharing Knowledge, Interview with Sean Dockray

Sean Dockray is an artist and initiator of the knowledge-sharing platforms The Public School and aaaaarg.

aaaaarg is an online library and open-source platform for freely sharing books and texts. It has its origin in collaborative working groups where resources were gathered in ‘online bookshelves.’ The project eventually evolved as part of the self-organized educational project known as The Public School where it served as a repository for shared study materials. From there it grew to become a major online resource for publications in the field of philosophy, art and political theory with tens of thousands of users, containing material in many different languages. The underlying infrastructure, as well as the contents, are the result of a collaborative effort to which various programmers and the users and editors of the site regularly contribute.

Interview conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, October 19, 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.

Commoning Infrastructures. Promises, challenges, and the role of art. Lecture by Daphne Dragona

Lecture by Daphne Dragona, Thursday 13.09.2018, at HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel)

Cultural scientist and curator Daphne Dragona talks about alternative community-based network systems and the role art can play in their development.

Practices of commoning are driven by affect, a sense of new possibilities and a desire to respond to existing asymmetries of power. In the case of network infrastructures, asymmetries usually refer to issues of access, as well as to the surveillance and commodification of circulating information. Wishing to oppose the structures of the sovereign corporate systems of communication, different examples of alternative networking have emerged in the last two decades. Initiated and built by artists, activists, and other network practitioners, these infrastructures manifest a desire for accessible, user-owned and controlled systems, that respect the needs of different territories, communities and users.

What can we learn from the recent history of alternative and radical networking? What are the promises and challenges of the commoning of infrastructures in times of increasing socio-politcal divides and conflicts? When does commoning need to be readdressed and which forms of learning and doing might be of help? Turning to examples coming from the fields of art, this presentation will examine how the poetics and imaginaries of counter-infrastructures can assist in re-imagining the way we relate to each other and to the world itself.

Daphne Dragona is a Berlin-based theorist and curator. Since 2015 she has been part of the curatorial team of transmediale festival. She has worked with different institutions for exhibitions, conferences, workshops and other events. Dragona has been working in the field of digital and urban commons since 2009, having curated Esse Nosse Posse: Common Wealth for Common People (EMST 2009), Mapping the Commons, Athens (EMST 2010), Off-the-cloud zone (Transmediale, 2016) and “… An Archaeology of Silence in the Digital Age”, solo exhibition of Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud (Aksioma, 2017). She holds a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of the University of Athens.

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

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

AAARG

General description:

Content management platform specialized in texts/books in the fields of architecture, art, philosophy, media theory; project-based sharing of reading material; part of the informal education project The Public School.

Self-description/ objective:

AAAARG is a conversation platform – at different times it performs as a school, or a reading group, or a journal.

AAAARG was created with the intention of developing critical discourse outside of an institutional framework. But rather than thinking of it like a new building, imagine scaffolding that attaches onto existing buildings and creates new architectures between them.

aaaaarg.fail

Interview

The Practice of Sharing Knowledge, Interview with Sean Dockray
Conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 19 October 2017