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  • Digital Solidarity Networks - How can we reconfigure digital networks across timelines and communities?
    2021-05-20 15:00:00
    Published at 10 May 2021

    Notions of scale, usability, collectivity and agency play an important role in generating possibilities for technological self-determination in an attempt to imagine computational infrastructures differently. How can we imagine technological attitudes that don't rely on data extractivist models? How do we make space to reconsider the figure of the user? And what if digital tools can be adapted to the specificities of each situation?

    With the Digital Solidarity Networks events, we would like to create a conversational space to collectively relearn how digital tools co-shape our everyday life and cultural events.

    Digital Solidarity Networks started as a shared listing of tools, practices and readings for digital solidarity, conviviality and togetherness. In March 2020, many of our activities, work and life were suddenly forced into online formats. In response to complex infrastructural dynamics that emerged, we started a collective space on an Etherpad, where we shared materials that we abruptly and urgently wanted to stay close to, even closer than we already were. The set of gathered materials started with free software tools, hosting providers, online cultural initiatives, forms of collective self-help and theoretical readings. Over time, more and more individuals, groups and organisations started to use and edit the pad as a resource for digital mutual aid strategies and online social closeness.

    More than one year later, we would like to invite you to join us in carrying forward the conversation around non-extractive software and digital infrastructures.

    We are organising 3 public moments for collective relearning in May and June 2021. Each event will depart from the contribution of a guest and we would like to invite you to join us.

    • How can we reconfigure digital networks across timelines and communities? Thursday 20 May, 15:00-18:00 CEST, with Dušan Barok
    • What are lessons learned from alternative, decentralised or federated digital infrastructures? Thursday 27 May, 15:00-18:00 CEST, with LURK
    • How can we rethink digital infrastructures in terms of capacity and care? Thursday 10 June, 15:00-18:00 CEST, with The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest (TITiPI)

    For the first event, we will be joined by Dušan Barok who will speak about Artist-Run Digital Networks and Community Work:

    The story of artist-run digital networks stretches back to at least the 1990s, when communities in various places began extending the idea of the personal computer to a community resource. These resources provided simple services for their milieus such as e-mail clients, mailing lists, web hosting, shell access and audiovisual broadcasting, supporting free expression and experimental practices.

    Countering the stereotype of a self-contained nerd culture, they were highly localised and embedded in various cultural scenes, often operating out of artist-run spaces. The impetus was not only to confront the environment controlled by commercial providers, but perhaps even more importantly community awareness and the need to maintain common social spaces.

    Twenty years later, the centralisation of the internet has brought new dimensions to their continuing relevance. They provide the means to build an autonomous infrastructure operating the nodes of distributed and libre networks. They also provide safer spaces regulated by the communities themselves. In this presentation, Dušan will briefly discuss their genealogies, varieties and dilemmas.

    Dušan Barok is a researcher and artist. He graduated in networked media from the Piet Zwart Institute, edits Monoskop and is a co-admin of the Multiplace/Sanchez server.

    Program of the day

    15:00 - 15:15 Welcome
    15:15 - 15:45 Dušan Barok's presentation
    15:45 - 16:00 Q&A
    16:00 - 16:15 BREAK
    16:15 - 17:15 Collective Relearning
    17:15 - 17:30 BREAK
    17:30 - 18:00 Discussion

    To register, please send an email to info@varia.zone mentioning the name of the event in the subject line.

    Date: 20th of May 2021
    Time: 15:00-18:00 CEST
    Location: https://bbb.constantvzw.org/b/man-4bu-j5a-hff
    Note: This session will be held in English.

    This event is made possible with the kind support of the Creative Industries Fund NL.