This publication is a reader for online collaboration. It includes an ongoing list of practical tools to encourage creative practice and autonomy. To develop this content, artists were invited to engage one another online, take part in digital studio visits, and find ways to both make and show their work in a new format.
This reader is a good starting point to find out about one's online footprint and take an active step to strengthen its impact as a community. The structure alternates between a list of active organisations, practical examples, tools, along with their variations, and a few words by collaborators who are finding ways to engage with an unknown scenario, and reformat.
The original list of participants we brought together includes artists who are displaced from their peers and studios. To encourage autonomy, we invited each to participate by using alternatives to mainstream platforms. Popular documentaries, such as the Social Dilemma and The Great Hack, are making the use and abuse of online activity by such platforms into a public issue. Prior to such campaigns artists in media art were already quite critical of their hosts. To alter the scales of power and social life, activists and artists have designed alternatives to platforms which are market-driven. This approach stems from the feminist, publishing, and hactivist initiatives and aims to empower small communities by practicing with a greater degree of care and autonomy.
All this content is open to collaboration, and new collectives are invited to host it on a yearly basis. This version started to take shape with an online pad in September to November 2020, and it has now found a host as part of another collective on www.temporary.show until March 2022. Ideally, its content travels between collectives and invites creative exchange, as well as different users to develop its resources in the near future.
This reader takes inspiration from Digital Solidarity Networks, an ongoing discussion which you can join on Freenode Webchat.
Free Node is a project which provides for an online chat between peers. The service is open source, and free.
Access to this discussion is managed by (nl)Varia. It does not require a password and runs with an open invitation to share and develop resources for online engagement. The collective takes inspiration from the transhockfeminist manifesto and a full list of resources are available on this etherdump.
Here below is the Manifesto, a stable commitment
in the practice of Varia and their values of digital solidarity.
Feminist Server Manifesto : A feminist server…
* is a situated technology. She has a sense of context
and considers herself to be part of an ecology of practices
* is run for and by a community that
cares enough for her in order to make her exist
* builds on the materiality of software,
hardware and the bodies gathered around it
* opens herself to expose processes, tools,
sources, habits, patterns
* does not strive for seamlessness. Talk of transparency
too often signals that something is being made invisible
* avoids efficiency, ease-of-use, scalability
and immediacy because they can be traps
* knows that networking is actually an
awkward, promiscuous and parasitic practice
* is autonomous in the sense that she
decides for her own dependencies
* radically questions the conditions for serving and service;
experiments with changing client-server relations where she
* treats network technology as part of a social reality
* wants networks to be mutable and read-write accessible
* does not confuse safety with security
* takes the risk of exposing her insecurity
* tries hard not to apologize when
she is sometimes not available
This reader is developed out of Driven By Points Made Apart, a project supported by the Arts Council Malta (ACM). We engaged participants over three cycles. Each cycle was executed in three types of online meetings and a few new artists with every session. The first meeting was always run by peers and used to engage the imagination, the second set was used to engage the expertise of an additional collaborator, and the third engaged new participants to intervene with feedback.
Our approach provides for more of a method than a collective. By focusing on hosting a practical engagement, participants were invited to remix each other’s work and methods. As lead artists, myself, Aidan Celeste, and Manuela Zammit facilitated the process for participants, and identified what specific needs and online resources for this engagement to take shape. Participants took on the lead to assist each other with resources by the second cycle, as well as offer their own expertise amongst one another. The outputs of our practice now finds a host on Temporary Show, a platform which stemmed from an artist run space in Porto, DE LICEIRAS 18, and a collaboration with their alumni.
At some point or another in 2020, all the participants were forced to move out of their original practice and peer network. Pascal Gielen notes that these two aspects are essential to artistic practice. He goes on to include monetisation, and validation within civil society, as part of the same biotope for wellbeing in the arts. Every engagement is now turned on its head, and the basis for a biotope are threatened by measures of social distance. This project does not intend to replace traditional ways to host artistic practice and peer to peer engagement, such as a personal studio, or a gallery and its market, however, it does look into reformatting artistic practice with new media, and crossing paths through different hosts and small communities. What is essential to Driven By Points Made Apart is to find a way to host, and how to keep making and sharing across fluid a loose collective. As we started to cross paths, tools, and opportunities, this distinct experience brought us together in terms of both, a personal narrative as well as practical needs and resources.
(mt)The Arts Council Malta is a public culture organisation and national agency for development and investment in the cultural and creative sectors in Malta. The PCO ran a special call for projects to abade the impact of Covid-19 in March 2019. Applicants were encouraged to engage with the thematics of Borders, Confinement or Isolation, and to adopt new media and digital technologies in order to implement their projects.
(sw)Maja Renn is an interdisciplinary artist. Her artistic work is performative and engages with minimalist compositions made of movement, dance, drawing and poetry. Playfully they underline, shift and erase lines and contact surfaces between perceived categories of being. She completed her curriculum with the Informal Master Program at the Center of Contemporary Art in Tbilisi (GE) and a MA in Art Praxis at the Dutch Art Institute (NL). Based in Zurich, she currently works as an assistant director for dance productions at the Schauspielhaus.
Maya is a founding member of a residency based in Porto, Deliceries 18, and co curated the Temporary show with Johanness Buch. The Temporary Show is now hosting the outputs of our project online, and have also shared a few words about their experience to engage to make, share, and work online.
(de)An Paenhuysen is a Berlin Based writer, curator, and one half of aaaaa ppppp publishing. As part of Node Centre for Curatorial Studies, her work is focused on criticism and creative writing. She has curated exhibitions at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin as well as the exhibition Gesture Sign Art, Deaf Culture / Hearing Culture in Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin. She published a book about the Belgian avant-garde, she has written for exhibition catalogues and for art magazines such as Spex, Artslant, and WhiteHotMagazine.
An provided for a thinking space to kick start our imagination. Together with our participants, we engaged each other, as well as the public in simple exercises using text, and have also published a small book entitled, First Poems. Participants are now invited to join us for online sessions inspired by our experience with An and publish their work over the online space entitled, Epidemolog.
(nl)Florian Weigl is curator at V2_, Lab for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam, NL. His work is generally focused on artistic practice which provides for a critical dialogue between tech and society. He has also contributed to the sonic arts in the Netherlands, such as FIBER festival, and projects across the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, as well as the V2_’s exhibitions in Shanghai and Linz. He has recently curated (2020) To Mind is to Care, and published his experience about curating for 3X3, an ongoing collaboration with artists who are interested in testing out critical ideas with emerging tech and a live audience at V2_Lab.
Florian opened a weekly slot for studio visits with Driven By Points Made Apart. Together with our participants, we discussed work under the conditions of social distance, as well as how to find a host for media art and artistic practices with real life scenarios. This took the shape of online presentations, excursions to hybrid projects, as well as new discussions about new methods and ways of working.
This experience of displacement brought us into the same narrative and it is recollected in a series of lines and drawings entitled, Epidemolog. Along with other tangible outputs of this project, they are now hosted online by the Temporary Show. Epidemolog is still open for contributions, and collective workshops are being held by participants to keep this going over 2021. This output is based on our experience with the curator An Paenhuysen and her expertise in the facilitation of writing and creativity. The second cycle included digital studio visits, and its output is primarily knowledge based. Each participant was invited to join us in a meeting with Florian Weigl, a curator who runs 3x3 at the V2_ Lab for Unstable Media and was engaged for digital studio visits. We invited Florian to share what he learnt from the immediate switch to a live, and online audience.
Together, we discussed how to keep a practice going under the measures of social distance, as well as thematics to look back on from last year. This approach to reformat and finding ways to practice with each other is recollected here. We crossed paths with the platform’s founder, Maya Renn, and have agreed to collaborate by sharing resources, as well as running a few workshops to engage each other's collective after the end of this project with ACM in March 2021, and our new host www.temporary.show.
Aidan Celeste is an artist and research support officer with the Horizon 2020 Project AMASS at the University Of Malta. He graduated with an MFA in Digital Art (2013), and is skilled in research and coordination for interdisciplinary projects. Celeste has also contributed to publications about socially engaged art, such as (nl)Open Set, (it)Altofest Displaced, and as part of a curatorial team, such as (nl)Data in the 21st Century by Dr. Michel Van Dartel, and the upcoming (mt)FUSE by Elyse Tonna.
Manuela Zammit is a contemporary art curator and art historian currently reading for a Research Master Critical Studies in Art and Culture at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. She previously graduated with a MFA in Contemporary Curating from Manchester Metropolitan University and completed a curatorial internship at Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam. She is currently based in Amsterdam with her 5 typewriters that she uses to run @textpresso, an ongoing fun and playful typing experiment.
Aidan and Manuela took on the role of lead artists and ran the project, Driven by Points Made Apart. They mediated with collaborators, and facilitated the online engagement, as well desktop research and publications with every participant listed in the next section.
This project brings together a loose collective of artists for ad hoc experiments. These include a combination of Participants who are open to collaborate, formal Collaborators who can run workshops and interventions across our peers, and Contributors who can share more specific resources and experiences.
Collaborators are invited to run workshops and interventions for our loose collective of peers. These workshops generally takeplace on Saturday mornigns, or Thursday evenings. If you'd like to run an intervention, we're more than happy to host and make space for it in our OPEN STUDIO. Subsections are curated, and participants are invited to follow up on each intervention and in their own time.
Contributors for MAY 2021
Kane Cali (Studio) writing on 3D Scanning, and Printing
Glen Callejja (Studio Solipsis) writing on Mapping and Innovation
Clive Vella (Airwars) writing on Online Resources for GIS Investigations
We are still missing peers who are well versed in the sound arts. If you have any tips, tricks, online interventions, or simply, a useful tool in mind, please go ahead and get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
More specifically, we are also looking for contributions about: Physical Computing for Speculative Designs; Hosting Augmented Reality objects in Public Space; Soundscapes with Spoken Word.
These contributions are generally 500 to 800 words, and will be included in the ongoing toolkit. Contributors are also invited to take on the role of a formal collaborator by providing a workshop for this community and its peer network of artists.