Flutgraben presentation

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27 July 2013


Active Archives and the Inverse Institution


Publishing Impulse: Announcement message

On location at Flutgraben, working on the Department of Reading


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  • Association for "Art + Media"
  • Interdisciplinary arts-lab based and active in Brussels since 1997

Constant works in-between media and art and is interested in the culture and ethics of the World Wide Web. The artistic practice of Constant is inspired by the way that technological infrastructures, data-exchange and software determine our daily life. Free software, copyright alternatives and (cyber)feminism are important threads running through the activities of Constant.

Constant organizes workshops, print-parties, walks and ‘Verbindingen/Jonctions’-meetings on a regular basis for a public that’s into experiments, discussions and all kinds of exchanges.

Constant: Core


Non-profit (Vereniging Zonder Winst / Association Sans But Lucratif)


  • Board
  • "Core" (who have structural roles & funding)
  • Members

Constant: Projects

And then there is a layer of projects, interest groups, events initiated and maintained by Constant members...


Constant: Alliances

And a group of related organizations / institutions...


Active Archives


Arteleku, Miren Eraso, from library practice to rethinking the art institution

Active Archives


A decentralized system connecting on- and off line practices of publishing, broadcasting, archiving, promotion, cataloguing, research and (cultural) production.

Active Archives

  • Sharing content and conditions of use
  • Sharing the care for data
  • Specificity of the digital (e.g. thrives on copying)

Keeping context - Avoiding poverty through generalization, decontextualization

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Decimal Dewey System vs Moscow Soviet library


Formulating classifications in dialog

Decimal Dewey system 200 Religions of the world.


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Active Archives


CCCB, Barcelona

Active Archives


Fundacio Tapies, Barcelona - Ars Combinatoriae

Active Archives


Constant, Brussels, Timed Text.

Active Archives

Consider the archive not only as preservation or conservation but also as an editorial process.

Archiving starts now!

Archive interfaces


Pilar Blesa


Pilar.jpg MNAC (Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) Pilar Blesa, chief archivist

Promiscuous pipeline

Even when the interactions may cause errors / or in fact not be actually "working" they often are very fruitful as suggestions for what might in fact be made to work, or at least raise questions as to what might something mean / how could it work (thinking here the example of placing video in a timeline)

  • Independence / Self-standing / Self-contained
  • Tools that manage to be non-prescriptive
    • Avoiding monolithic "solutions"
    • Questioning "easy", "transparency" and technology that "just works"
  • Embracing redunancy, lack of "shortest route"
  • Interrogability [1]

Workflows, Workflows, Workflows!

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Wiki Wiki

You're browsing a database with a program called Wiki Wiki Web. And the program has an attitude. The program wants everyone to be an author. So, the program slants in favor of authors at some inconvenience to readers.

Posted on the original "wiki", the Portand Pattern Repository

"Wiki Wiki": Hawaiian for Speed!

Specificially the speed of moving from Reading to Writing.

(Holy Holy Crap, Vielen Vielen Dank!)

Active Archives

Videowiki, Demo

Chat as annotation





Oral Site

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Department of Reading

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Existing reading practice using text-chat via Skype. Created a set of novel connections between the chat and a wiki.

Department of Reading

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Department of Reading

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get, put

Department of Reading

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Writing Module

get some text
put below some other text

Speeds of Writing

  • IRC
  • Wiki
  • Email
  • PDF
  • Print/Book

From Database to Document

Worked on several projects where we've needed to "re-document-alize" a databases; ie to convert information stored (and edited) primarily in the cross-referenced entries in the tables of a relational database into files. Often this follows already existing scripts that create the web pages viewed by the public, but the shift is to making the documents self-contained.

Examples: SKOR

In the Department of reading work: MySQL tables were used to log message from the chat. Moving to a "Stenographer" module is a way of making this "writing process" more explicit / evident and ultimately editable as a document.

The original database structure of the chat log

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See: Return to Hypertext

Stenographer Module


Google as a writing platform

(Reverse Search Engine)

>> Maybe nice parallel with the Stenographer Module ALSO Nice in that get/put/paragraph shift to using TEXT itself as a handle / kind of search (ipv numbers)

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