Public Library – Conference

ABSTRACTS + BIOS

Registration conference (Entrance free):
assistenzremove-this@remove-thiswkv-stuttgart.de

Daniel García Andújar

Popular library, sharing books from my community
Large containers of knowledge must transform their structures. The very concept of a public library, true to the principles that justify its existence since its inception in the nineteenth century must adapt its functionality to the new reality. In this new reality, the public library, which has always used the information as raw material for its activity, must become an institution with enormous potential, emphasizing that potential access to information, lifelong learning and cultural records in a new environment of digital content and network communications fast and affordable. Our idea of library should be privileged as a gateway to the information society and as a balancing factor to prevent technological advances exacerbate latent social exclusion of certain social groups.  The digital library is utopian in the full etymological sense, since it is not possible to place it in a precise spatial coordinates. We are no longer so interested in who are the guarantors of the information, who treasure it rather who can help us transform this information into actual knowledge to the full development of our society.
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Most of his art projects are based on collaborative research that explores different political, historical, social and cultural phenomena and their media representations in a critical way: body politics, corruption, censorship, xenophobia, urban developments, the cultural industries, the inclusion and exclusion of technologies, the use of public space, etcetera. Through the use of irony and strategies for presenting the new communication technologies, his work questions the democratic and egalitarian promises of the media, criticizing the controlling ambitions behind their appearance of transparency. Based on the evidence that new communication technologies are transforming our daily experience, Andújar creates a fiction (Technologies To The People, 1996) to promote awareness of our surrounding reality and the fraud of free choice promises that are in fact becoming new forms of control and inequity. He have tried to encourage different collectives projects on the Internet such as art-net-dortmund, e-barcelona.org, e-valencia.org, e-seoul.org, e-sevilla.org, e-stuttgart.org,postcapital.org, e-madrid.org, etc. Also to be highlighted from among TTTP’s activities is the construction of the vast Postcapital Archive. The Postcapital Archive (1989-2001). He has taught and directed numerous workshops for artists and social collectives in different countries. His works have been widely exhibited.

Dusan Barok

Poetics of Research
Be it for the devout adherence to capital or to the claims of disinterested scientificity, the humanities are not exempt from easily losing touch with the pulse of life. Attempts of resisting the corporatization of education as well as of breaking up the gates of specializations have led to the emergence of alternative learning initiatives and interdisciplinary enterprises seeking to establish methodologies and languages to operate across disciplines. Proposals to take these efforts further include recognizing open access as a virtue, acknowledging the mediality of knowledge, structuring knowledge in modular ways–beyond the models of trees and rhizomes, and reconsidering relations between work and labor in research practice.
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Dusan Barok is an artist and writer involved in the fields of software, art and theory. He is founding editor of Monoskop, a wiki for collaborative studies of art, media and the humanities, and a member of the collective La Société Anonyme.

Hans D. Christ / Iris Dressler

Institutions and civic disobedience (working title)
The Kunstverein is conceived as a place for the open, and also controversial, investigation of the manifold methods and practices found in contemporary art, including wide-ranging sociopolitical fields of reference. Of equal importance are exhibition and discourse, art and theory, research and production. Found here is a space of agency that extends beyond the simple viewing of art, a space where art and the relations between art, artists, the institution, the public, and public life are subject to continual renegotiation: through conversations, debates, workshops, or workgroups, but also facilitated by access to books, journals, and other materials and infrastructures. Counting among these infrastructures are also the spatial premises of the Kunstverein itself, which are available to the public. A wide variety of groups from the areas of art and sociopolitical activism hold their meetings and events here.
The opening of the house, which is situated in the very city center of Stuttgart, follows the need to offer places in the urban space, where people can meet without the pressure to consume. The reason, that the location of the Kunstverein is used by so many different groups, not least, is related to the fact, that the Kunstverein has interfered in the local conflicts around the urban mega project Stuttgart 21: also as an act of institutional disobedience.
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Since 2005 Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ are the directors of the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. In 1997 they founded the Hartware MedienKunstVerein in Dortmund and directed this association for media art till 2004.

Sean Dockray

Institution - Infrastructure - Movement
Recalling (with some distortion and embellishment) the distinct but intertwined histories of the knowledge-sharing platforms, The Public School and AAAARG.ORG, this lecture will discuss how deinstitutionalization within the context of the internet might be generative of new knowledge.
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Sean Dockray is an artist currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Dockray was a founding director of the Los Angeles non-profit organization, Telic Arts Exchange, established for critically engaging with new media and culture. His practice radiates outward from writing - both software and texts - occasionally into complex platforms that involve many people over long durations, taking on a life of their own. Dockray initiated The Public School and AAAARG.ORG.

Dubravka Sekulic

Dubravka Sekulic (1980, Nis, Yugoslavia) is an architect-researcher. She deals with themes of transformation of public space in contemporary cities, public goods and spatial justice, as well as the physical consequences of neoliberal planning. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, where she worked as an assistant in the classroom. She was a scholarship student of the Academy of Solitude in Stuttgart, within the Eastern European exchanges, as well as a researcher in the department of design Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. Currently, she is a PhD fellow at the Institute for History and Theory of Architecture (gta), Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich. She is the author of the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade in 2012 under the title “Three points of support: Zoran Bojovi?,” and the book of a same title in 2013. In 2012, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, has published her two books “Glotzt Nicht so Romantisch! On extralegal Space in Belgrade” and “Surfing the Black”, co-edited with Gal Kirn and ?iga Testen on the Yugoslav black wave films. She is currently working on a book with the working title “Planning for the Unexpected – Sourcebook for Urban Struggle”, which is based on the experiences of regional initiatives for the right to the city, and for which she won a scholarship to the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. She exhibited at numerous international exhibitions in Serbia and abroad, including the 53rd October Salon. She regularly lectures on her work throughout Europe.

Herbordt / Mohren

A catalogue of performative action #1
In the archives of the „Max-Planck-Gesellschaft“ documents are stored all over the last 120 years with proposals for the foundation of institutes never realized. Since 1960 mostly classified handwritten as “nutcase!”, these documents are including amongst others universal archives and institutes for the extension of human knowledge or for the development of a theory of everything. In their catalogue of performative action  Herbordt/Mohren are collecting scenic set-ups for interrogating the integral parts of large narrative machineries: for example apparatus, archive, institution, audience, theatre. In a series of lectures realized and unrealized entries will be presented and discussed.
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Melanie Mohren (*1979) and Bernhard Herbordt (*1978) are graduates of the “Institut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft” in Giessen. Together they realise since 2000 interdisciplinary projects in the boarder area of performing arts. Herbordt/Mohren have been fellows of the “Akademie Schloss Solitude” in Stuttgart. Since 2011 they are artist-members of “The Young Academy of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities” and the “German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina”. Since 2012 Herbordt/Mohren work in different formats and media about institutions as well as their actualizations and are engaged in an institutional critique in the performing arts.
(www.die-institution.org)

Henrik Hillenbrand / Oliver Kraft / Björn Kühn / Anna Romanenko

The Publishing Organ for Handbooks and its Ergonomics
The fascination for a thing is most likely the fascination for its performance in correlation with other things. The embodiment of this performance is the handbook. Unlike other genres, a handbook is never for itself but always towards and for something. Consequently, the things a handbook embraces are things towards and for something. Their mode of being is this relationship of alignment expressed in the handbook. A thing aligned with a handbook becomes a tool with capacities. The workings of these capacities are ergonomic: adjusting, modifying, guiding and literally taking by the hand. Thus the handbook becomes a modifiable layer between the subject and its environment; constantly reinventing operations and sketching out potential mechanics of interference into the fabric of the actual.
The handbook is a piece of circumstantial evidence for the structural possibility of change; it incorporates new forms of processual environments to be entered. The Publishing Organ for Handbooks is set up to lay open this operationality of matter and enter into the singular laws of its workings.
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Oliver Kraft, Henrik Hillenbrand, Björn Kühn and Anna Romanenko are artists involved in practices of sculpture, text and experience design. They find junctions to different environments through practices like breathing, diving, toasting, guiding or computing. They create singular machines to operate these junctions.

Jean-Baptiste Joly

May I tell you about the libraries of Solitude?
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Jean-Baptiste Joly is founding director and since 1989 artistic director of Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Olia Lialina

One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age
Since 10 years I write about Vernacular Web and Digital Folklore, about early days of the web and web design before it became a profession. It is not that easy to find pages that were made in 93-97 and are still online or look the same. Things changed in 2009, when Yahoo announced that they are closing Geocities, number one free hosting service of the last century, "myspace of the 90es", first home for many web users and a jest for "professional web." In half a year yahoo gave its users to copy their data, Archive Team managed to partly rescue the pages and release one terabyte torrent of it. In 2010 my partner Dragan Espenschied and I started to download the files. In the middle of 2011 Dragan restored the archive and we started to go through profiles: collecting, tagging, comparing, analyzing. The One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age project started. We do not only collect and restore but bring this culture of the 90es back to the web, using contemporary infrastructure. It is oneterabyteofkilobyteage.tumblr.com that posts a screenshot of a page every 20 minutes since February 2013. Or my channel on Vine, that allows to see those pages animated and with sound. And of course the blog contemporary-home-computing.org/1tb/ where we describe the findings.
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Finished Moscow State University as journalist. Net Artist, one of net.art pioneers,
Animated GIF model. Writes on New Media, Digital Folklore and Vernacular Web.
Co-founder of Geocities Research Institute. Professor, leader of New Media programme at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart.

Marcell Mars

Nenad Romic aka Marcell Mars (*1972 in Benkovac /Croatia) studied Psychology at the University Zagreb / Croatia and finished an education as psychologist and psychotherapist. Furthermore he was engaged in Gentoo Linux and programming. After his degree he worked as a programmer, curator, organizer and in the field of art. He led several workshops such as Programming for Non-Programmers, Zagreb/Croatia (2007/2008) and Wonder of Technology at the faculty of media and communication, Belgrade/Serbia (2010). In addition he organizes exhibitions as I’m Still Alive (2001) and Freedom to Creativity (2007). Mars participated in collaborative art projects such as NRD Kit of the NRD Van Group (2001–2006) or Gifoskop (interaktive Animation, 2006) in collaboration with the dancers Nicolina Pristas and Maja Marjancic. 

Tomislav Medak

Public library as a social institution is premised on the notion of universal access to knowledge. In the face of technological change, the access itself has expanded, but capacity of technology to limit access just as well. Thus the universality is clearly, more than ever before, not given, but has to be fought for and fought for out of particular circumstances. How knowledge is made accessible and what knowledge is made accessible cannot be easily thought away from the fact that it should be made accessible, in practical terms these questions are co-extensive.
I'll look at these questions in the context of digitization efforts made within the Public Library project in Zagreb. By giving priority to digitization of the Marxist theory that was ostracized in the post-socialist period and to digitization of literature that is due to prohibitive cost of books acquisition not available to public libraries everywhere, they give the notion of universality of access a specific relief of a fighting and not merely appellatory concept.
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Tomislav Medak is a philosopher with interests in contemporary political philosophy, media theory and aesthetics. He is co-ordinating theory program and publishing activities of the Multimedia Institute/MAMA (Zagreb, Croatia). He is a free software and free culture advocate, the project lead of Croatian Creative Commons team, and the archivist of K_O_K (Catalogue of Liberated Books) digitizing initiative. He’s a supporter of urban activist initiative Right to the City. He is author and performer with the Zagreb based theatre collective BADco.

Irit Rogoff

The Way We Work Now
Method is one of the significant infrastructures of knowledge, as significant as institutional and other structures within which that knowledge circulates. Can the actual knowledge being produced, in the very particularly contemporary ways in which it is being produced, become a critical intervention? I have at this moment, many permissions of how I might work. But they are not a menu from which to order. Not simply a set of templates to choose from as one would a style. Each set of permissions is underwritten by certain critical exhortations and each makes a demand and requires a risk.
At present we have the possibility of working in ways, inventive and experimental, that critically embody the critical insights of the past 40 years of the project of critique. The subject cannot be defined, the sign cannot be stabilized, we ask not what something is but what it makes possible, we recognize difference as an internal dynamic rather than an embodied identity, we gather as singularities rather than as identities and we invent our politics rather than fight over their meager remains. Rather than digging for hidden knowledge, we recognize the secret in full light and rather than fit in with designated readerships, we constitute new audiences – that is the way we work now.
I am interested in thinking method as the last frontier of knowledge production, moving the sense of legitimacy away from respectable subjects to methodologies that are not only experimental but also practice driven in the widest sense.
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Irit Rogoff is a writer, curator, and organizer working at the intersection of contemporary art, critical theory, and emergent political manifestations. She is Professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, London University where she heads the PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge program, the MA in Global Arts program and the new Geo-Cultures Research Center. Rogoff has written extensively on geography, globalization, and contemporary participatory practices in the expanded field of art. A collection of recent essays, Unbounded—Limits’ Possibilities, is published in 2014 with e-flux journal/ Sternberg and her new book, Looking Away—Participating Singularities, Ontological Communities is forthcoming. Rogoff is also co-founder of freethought, a loose collaborative platform for research, pedagogy, and production based in London, where she lives and works.

Simon Sheikh

The Academy in Peril: Intellectual Labor between Liberty and Liberalization
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Simon Sheikh (born 1965) is a curator and writer who researches practices of exhibition-making and political imaginaries. He is Reader in Art and Programme Director of the MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London, London. Sheikh was coordinator of the Critical Studies Program at Malmö Art Academy, Malmö from 2002 to 2009. He was also curator at NIFCA, Helsinki, 2003–2004 and, prior to that, director of Overgaden – Institute for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen from 1999–2002. Between 1996 and 2000, he was editor of the magazine Øjeblikket and a member of the project group GLOBE from 1993–2000. His recent curatorial work includes: Reading / Capital (for Althusser), DEPO, Istanbul, 2014; Unauthorized, Inter Arts Lab, Malmö, 2012; All That Fits: The Aesthetics of Journalism, QUAD, Derby, 2011 (with Alfredo Cramerotti); Do You Remember the Future?, TOK / Project Loft Etagi, Saint Petersburg, 2011; Vectors of the Possible, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010

Femke Snelting

We Don't Live in This Kind of World: From Paul Otlet’s Radiated Library to Google on Paper
In 1944, the Belgian universalist and documentalist Paul Otlet died as a disillusioned man. In his lifetime he only partially realized The Mundaneum, an encyclopedic survey of human knowledge, which would ‘progressively constitute a permanent and complete representation of the entire world’. Recently, Otlet is being rediscovered as ‘a founding father of the Internet’. Unsurprisingly, Google adopted the remains of his archive in Mons, located in a former mining area in the south of Belgium. Mons is not only the hometown of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, but also conveniently located next to Google's largest datacenter in Europe. This lecture explores messy entanglements of faltering local governments, dreams of accessible knowledge, and the desire for corporate patronage.
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Artist and designer, developing projects at the intersection of design, feminism and free software. She is a core member of the Brussels based association for arts and media, Constant, and co-initiated the design/research team Open Source Publishing (OSP) and the Libre Graphics Research Unit. With delegates Jara Rocha, Seda Gurses and Miriyam Aouragh she takes part in the Darmstadt Delegation, assigned to explore techno-political and socio-emotional relationships between activist practice and tools. Femke teaches at The Piet Zwart Institute (Master Media Design and Communication, Rotterdam), Ecole de Recherche Graphique (Brussels) and a.pass (Brussels). snelting.domainepublic.net

Cornelia Sollfrank

If Art Were A Commons
On the basis of interviews conducted as part of the artistic research project ‘Giving What You Don’t Have’ (GWYDH), the workshop will introduce and discuss art projects whose aim is to contribute to the production and preservation of the commons. Fundamental questions will include the relation between art and the commons, what forms of organisation artists suggest, what values their projects represent, what external economies the projects depend on and, last but not least, what inherent conception of art they express.
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Cornelia Sollfrank is an artist and researcher living and working in Celle/Germany and Dundee/Scotland. After studying Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Art in Munich and the University of the Arts in Hamburg, Sollfrank set out to explore the social and aesthetic implications of digital technologies. Her work combines conceptual and performative approaches to become research-based practice and to write practical theory. In 2011, she has completed a practice-based PhD at the University of Dundee (UK). Her thesis with the title 'Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property' made a critical contribution to the discourse on intellectual property from an art perspective. Since 2012 Sollfrank is lecturer and researcher at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee. Her current project Giving What You Don't Have (GWYDH) explores how artists contribute to the production and preserving of the commons.

Felix Stalder

Knowledge for All: From Public to Free
Unrestricted access to knowledge has been a key demand of the enlightenment project. To realize this demand, complex infrastructures – with interdependent material, legal, institutional, economic and subjective dimensions – are required. Since the mid 18th century, the notion of "the public", as in public library, has been a central organizing focus. Today, after more than three decades of neo-liberal attacks, notions and institutions of "the public" have been eroded. Yet the demand for access to knowledge is as strong as ever. New infrastructures for unrestricted access to knowledge are emerging. They do not only rely on different material, legal, institutional and economic configurations, but also mobilize different subjectivities. They center around the notion of "free", as in "free software". In this talk, I will contrast the two regime of "public" and "free" knowledge to examine the stakes involved in this transformation.
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Felix Stalder is a professor for Digital Culture at the Zurich University of the Arts, a senior researcher at the World Information Institute in Vienna and a moderator of <nettime>, a critical nexus of the discourse on net culture, since 1995. His work focuses on the intersection of cultural, political and technological dynamics, in particular on new modes of commons-based production, copyright and transformation of subjectivity. He's the author/editor of numerous books, among other "Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society" (Polity Press, 2006) "Deep Search. The Politics of Search Beyond Google" (Transaction Publishers, 2009), "Digital Solidarity" (PML & Mute 2014) and "Kultur der Digitalität (Suhrkamp, forthcoming). The recent publications, talks and interviews are available at felix.openflows.com.

Sophie-Charlotte Thieroff

Sophie-Charlotte Thieroff is coordinator of the program art, science & business at Akademie Schloss Solitude since 2013.

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Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart