Call for participants

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When is an object ’common’ and what does it mean to have it ’in common’ ?
Designing and making objects under Open Content licenses can produce, reproduce or block a myriad of possible relations. Your geopolitical situation, the resources you have available and your daily requirements change the connections that a ’common’ object can generate. In this hands-on worksession we want to look at these aspects of creating digital and physical objects, in day to day practices.

About the Open Call

- There are 2 additional places available for this worksession. If you are interested in joining a team of interdisciplinary and international participants, please send a short motivation to wendy attt constantvzw.org by Friday February 19, 2016.
- The selection will be communicated by Tuesday 23 February 2016.
- The worksession starts on Monday 7th of March and ends on Saturday evening 12th March. The session is organised by Constant in collaboration with Medialab Prado and is hosted in Madrid, Spain.
- Participation is free. Constant and Medialab Prado will provide lodging and vegetarian lunch.
- There is a modest budget available to support your travelcosts.
- We’ll primarily use Free, Libre and Open Source software because we would like to focus on tools that invite us to speak back to their social and technological construction.

The worksession is the final event in a series that started in 2015 with ’Funcionamientos : Objects in Common and Diverse Bodies’ followed by ’Grigri Pixel : makers y energía en urbes africanas’ and ’Interactivos ? culturas materiales en la era digital’. The series ’Objetos Comunes’ wants to explore "other ways of doing" such as design for functional diversity, situated digital manufacturing in for example African cities. It takes making ordinary/common objects as a point of departure.

For this thematic programme we have invited makers and thinkers to look at the potential but also at the problems of sharing practices, processes of manufacturing and the documentation of physical objects. Taking both the permission to reproduce and the availability of source files as a given, there are still many questions to ask about the actual common-ness of digital objects and their potential physical life.

If we consider the life-cycle of ’Libre objects’, moving from digital files to physical presence and beyond, what networked practices do they make possible, and how do they create or hinder communities of use ? How can ’Libre objects’ provide bridges between diverse experiences, realities, geographies and bodies ? Can we consider objects not as fixed endpoints, but as potential startingpoints, and generate sustainable practices that deal with the geo-political consequences of (re)production ?

’Objects in common’ is a meeting between all kinds of makers that work with and from specific physical spaces (fablabs, hackerspaces, ...), geographical locations (Belgium, Spain, France, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Morocco, ...) and methodologies. Each of these situations has consequences for the objects they produce and the communities they touch.

We will work around five areas that define material culture in the digital age and reflect on specific practices of commoning objects. Approaching the issues hands-on, participants are asked to reuse existing files, recipes and experiences in order to test out the specific characteristics of objects that function in the Libre ecology.

Mornings will be hands-on, working with files made by others, with existing materials and objects of choice. Afternoons will be dedicated to brainstorming and reflection on the different areas of work.

Invited experts will contribute with input for and comments on the prototypes in progress. The results are made available in a physical and digital repository that will be circulated internationally in hackerspaces and fablabs.

The worksession ’Objects in commons’ rounds off the long running ’Objetos Comunes’ programme. This session was initiated by Constant (Brussels, Belgium) in collaboration with Medialab Prado (Madrid, Spain). Developed in collaboration with Susana Moliner Delgado, Gri Gri and Afropixel.

Areas of work

- Repositories : sharing platforms, documentation (manuals, videos). Question the status of the platforms itself, and how it forms the object. Services vs selfhosting. Relations produced through/by specific platforms (licenses, terms of use ...) ; desired relations — archipelago, p2p.

- Licenses : Is the current open content legal context enough ? What about collective work ? What about the transformation from digital to physical objects ?

- Digital to physical : What is the influence of file-formats, vectors on material culture ? What are its limitations, what transformations does it make possible ?

- Resources : What relations do materials produce ? How can we work with geopolitics, ecology, economy.

- Spaces : Fablabs, hackerspaces, makerspaces ... rules and regulations, barriers to access, ...

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