Framed by her long-standing research on collaborative practices, geographer and ethnographer Penny Travlou introduces two projects she has been involved lately: Platohedro, a space, a platform and community based in Medellín, Colombia, and the Feminist Autonomous Research Center in Athens (FAC). Platohedro refers to the indigenous concepts of Buen Vivir and Buen Conocer and works on adapting them to the contemporary living conditions in urban societies, while FAC puts an emphasis on commnity-based autonomous knowledge production. Both are concerned with forms of thinking and working together that allow for creating alternatives to extractivist, colonial, racist and anti-feminist modes of (knowledge)production.
Femke Snelting develops projects at the intersection of design, feminisms and free software. In various constellations, she has been exploring how digital tools and practices might co-construct each other. She is a member of Constant, a non-profit, artist-run association for art and media based in Brussels.
Spideralex is a sociologist and holds a doctorate in social economy. She is the founder of the catalan cyberfeminist collective Donestech that explores the relation between gender and technologies developing action research, documentaries, and training. She was the coordinator of a four-year international program with the title “Gender and Technology Institute”, working with human rights defenders and women’s rights activists around the world on topics of privacy and security online, but also in the physical and psycho-social domain. She has edited two volumes on technical sovereignty initiatives.
In this interview, Femke and Spideralex talk about their shared practice of engaging with what they call feminist technologies. They discuss their understanding of technology as an embodied practice, that bears desired relations as well as terrible connections. How can we live in ungracious times? They explore, how digital infrastructure could work differently with the help of the feminist server, which is both a real server, a need, and at the same time a thinking tool. Within this discussion, they also address questions of autonomy versus ongoingness, the role of language as a tool of investigation, and the cultural dimensions of technology like expectations of servitude behind functionality.
Interview conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 16 September 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).
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.
Dr. Olga Goriunova (1977, Ulan-Ude, UdSSR) is a cultural theorist, philosopher, and curator with a focus on digital art and culture. She is Reader and Director of Graduate Research at Royal Holloway University London.
Interview with Olga Goriunova, conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 19 October 2017, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).
Laurence Rassel is a cultural worker who can act as a 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 (https://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.
In this interview, Laurence Rassel talks about her work with and inside institutions as emerging through continuous communal practice. She discusses the importance of feminist thinking, open-source technology culture, and Institutional Psychotherapy for her work of making an institution a practice of all of those involved, or in her words: instituting.
Interview conducted by Cornelia Sollfrank, 4 March 2018, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel).
In her lecture, German artist Cornelia Sollfrank will give an introduction to the concept of the commons, however, putting an emphasis on digital commons. In the center of her investigations is the question of what artists can contribute to digital commons. The lecture will introduce Sollfrank’s ongoing research on art and commons and discuss specific artworks as examples. Each of the works addresses specific questions and embodies experimental and fragmentary solutions to the questions posed by neoliberal enclosures. Art here functions as a speculative tool; it thrives on imagination and aims to create spaces for discussion and debate about alternative ways of being, and to inspire and encourage people’s imaginations.