Department of Reading

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The Department of Reading is a project initiated by Sönke Hallman in 2006 and has involved a range of participants from different fields and artistic and design practices: research, graphic, print, software and web design. In 2013, the project is being retooled to use IRC instead of Skype (the original platform).


The Department of Reading Internet System (DORIS) consists in the conjunction of a wiki with a chatbot. The two systems form complementary reading/writing spaces; Unlike many "multi-media" attempts to merge the interfaces in a seamless whole, the separation between wiki and chat is embraced as each reinforces different aspects of reading and writing and are meant to be experienced in concentration and in isolation of the other.

While the wiki is ostensibly a software designed for collective writing, and IRC a space for dialogue/forum, the Department of Reading aims to explore a somewhat different aspect of sociability: namely to slow down and explore the very acts of reading and writing in a group.

  • Chatbot that responds to commands written in the chat, often involving retrieving / writing text to the conjoined wiki
  • No persistance beyond what trace is left in the wiki
  • Modular design with different programs





DeptOfReading TransposingEdifice.png

doris: enable getput
getput: setpage NameOfPage

Numerically indexed tables of texts. Texts are retrieved from a cell with:

get 2

And placed back on the grid with commands like:

put 7


DOR TheAuthorAsGesture.png

Example page: TheAuthorAsGesture

doris: enable comments
comments: setpage NameOfPage

Quoting with {{ }} and // //.== Work Sessions ==


DeptOfReading GespraechJan2013.png


doris: enable steno

DOR Steno.png

Work Sessions

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