5 Reflection, theorization of projects
- 1 Intro
- 2 Library of Inclusions and Omissions – radical publishing practices require radical librarianship
- 2.1 Which narratives enter?
- 2.2 Perspectives and framing under the disguise of neutrality
- 2.3 Universal language and "controlled vocabulary"
- 2.4 Charles Cutter’s misguided democratic ideal
- 2.5 Dewey’s obsession: standardization and efficiency
- 2.6 Library as disciplinary institution
- 2.7 Classification — a hierarchical architecture to house the universe of knowledge
- 2.8 Sameness and Difference
- 3 The Piracy Project
- 4 Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? – collectivity: Who authorizes whom?
- 4.1 Non-normative approaches and institutional habits
- 4.2 "The Un-authored" Practices of Organizing and Caring or the administrators as co-author
- 4.3 Collectivity: Desires and Complications
- 4.4 Questions of efficiency and unmeasurable labor
- 4.5 Publishing strategies: contextual, contingent: the workbook
- 5 Boxing and Unboxing – against immunization
- 6 What's next
- 7 Notes: Reflection, theorization of projects
This chapter seeks to unpick the questions underlying the various collaborative practices and experiments that I have been involved in, and that have been chosen to constitute the research contribution of the doctoral project. The purpose of this unpicking through a process of theoretical reflection is to establish how these experiments contribute to, and intervene within, the domain of intersectional feminist knowledge practices as previously mapped in the chapter "03*Survey of the field".The artistic projects described so far in the chapter "04*Summary of projects and submitted material" have each explored a range of specific questions or critical inquiries and have done so in a way that is both layered and complex. They are not discrete single-issue, single-question experiments but rather complex tangles of issues unfolding in real-world situations and "live" fields of operation. As a general introductory remark, it will help to foreground here that such artistic practices are always multi-layered and driven by a multiplicity of questions and desires. They are seldom reducible to a single monolithic thematic or question. It would, therefore, be misleading to attempt to reduce such complex experiments to one singular root question that is then theoretically unpacked. Instead, what is at stake here is a broad spectrum of issues that need to be explored in their entanglement with each other.
Nonetheless, having identified this multiplicity and real-world complexity of inquiry through practice, it is possible to indicate a recurrent concern throughout this work which is the seemingly coercive reciprocity between authorship, authorization, and authority. The question of what is validated, who is acknowledged as an author, by whom, and for what reason can be described as a consistent theme surfacing again and again across my artistic practice. It is the core set of moves that get played out in the various set projects, and I will show how each of the projects raises these questions in different ways in each of the projects.
The reflection on the Library of Inclusions and Omissions looks at the potentials and limitations of libraries (in both online and physical formats), for accessing, activating, and disseminating knowledge. After all, libraries are spaces that turn marketable goods into public goods. They provide free access to knowledge that would otherwise have to be purchased. However, as I discuss in the text "Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community," libraries also constitute disciplinary institutions determining what is validated as relevant knowledge. This tension between materials that are validated as relevant knowledge and those that are left out, forms the underlying question of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions. As a practice-led inquiry into library infrastructures, including their policies of access, validation, and classification, the project is an attempt to find out in which way such a community-run resource is fundamentally different from institutional libraries with their respective instituted selection and validation processes. The project intends to test dissemination, reading and cataloging practices that tackle the biases of institutional library infrastructures. It seeks to develop curatorial concepts to give voice to hidden, suppressed, or not acknowledged materials. It asks in which way could such a curatorial strategy help to share un-acknowledged struggles, and subsequently turn a library from being a repository of knowledge (Samek 2003, Springer 2015) into a space of social and intellectual encounter and action? Can such a library project help building a community or connecting different communities?
Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? proposes a shift in the definition of publication from being an "output" to acting as "input." Consequently, this new definition asks us to redefine the dominant understanding of "impact" that is currently based upon a logic of calculation that dominates our current systems of evaluation. The project, therefore, proposes to reassess the instituted taxonomy of values within learning and teaching and research at the art academy. It asks what would happen if we valued and gave formal merit to the processes and ways of how we publish, how we share and exchange knowledge rather than solely evaluating the outcome. The project inquires how open, enabling, and diverse are our knowledge practices, how inclusive are our tools and protocols by practically examining the moments, formats, and temporalities when knowledge is "practiced" at the art academy through learning and teaching and sharing research. This experiment scrutinizes how institutional habits – such as the formats of how we meet, the terminologies we use, the procurement procedures we are asked to follow, and the forms of "outcomes" that are expected – enable or hinder collective and inclusive critical knowledge practices. This chapter reflects upon the ways in which the joint planning, organizing, and hosting of the three-day event alongside the distinct dissemination of the published workbook can propose an alternative.
By revisiting the five-year collaborative work with The Piracy Project, I examine in which ways the pirated, modified, emulated books in the collection transgress the normative concept of authorship. The project deals with the complexities of authorization on many different levels. It challenges the idea of individual authorship and the assumed authority of the printed book. It explores the spectrum of copying by creating a platform for re-editing, translating, paraphrasing, imitating, re-organizing, manipulating already existing works. In the theorization of this project, I will show in which way the project's unauthorized interventions into "stable" and authoritative knowledge aims to reveal and undo the reciprocity between authorship, originality and intellectual property, a triangulation that, as I will demonstrate, constitutes one of the main blockages for collective knowledge practices.
The reflection on Boxing and Unboxing leads me, once again, to questions of categorization, this time in the appearance of "boxes," that are about getting "unboxed" or "cut up" as Rhani Lee Remedes suggests in the "Manifesto for cutting up boxes." A choice had to be made which of the numerous boxes that are trapping us in our contemporary condition are to be cut up in this specific inquiry. The experiment Boxing and Unboxing is about transgressing the very boundaries we seek to protect, including the border lines we draw as "proper" individuals (an "individual" conceived as founded in the sole ownership of oneself). The section will connect Roberto Esposito's thoughts about immunity and community to the exhilarating, troubling, and demanding experiences that the sparring during the boxing sessions produced. I will reflect in which way sparring as a radical bodily dialogue could be a method to learn to compete without needing to win and to disagree with respect.
Library of Inclusions and Omissions – radical publishing practices require radical librarianship
I have mapped a range of artists' and activists' run library projects in the chapter "Survey of the field", where I reviewed the range of artistic and scholarly attention that has been brought to questions of organization and curation of physical, online shadow, or pirate libraries. In the following, I will reflect on the practice-based experiment Library of Inclusions and Omissions by focusing on two strands. First, I examine the ramifications of institutional acquisition policies and evaluate whether the Library of Inclusions and Omissions could be a proposal for a counter-strategy. Second, I study the history of Western library classification to shed light on classification's implicit dilemma presented by the need to sort and classify and by the insight that each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences others.
Which narratives enter?
For both public as well as research libraries, it has been traditionally the librarians' task, informed by library newsletters and other professional library sources to determine which topics and fields are considered relevant. This considerable position of institutional power to decide which books are to go on the library shelves had been highlighted and contested by several movements inside and outside academia which I discuss in more detail in the book chapter "Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community" (Sternberg 2016)and in the Twitter presentation "Radical Publishing Requires Radical Librarianship" at the symposium at ZKM Cologne. As discussed in the "Survey of the field" chapter, the Radical Librarian movement fought in the 70s in the US to reform public libraries. Critical librarians campaigned for the provision of materials that served not only the white Western middle-class readership but paid attention to the information needs of all members of the community, including its minorities. Via alternative library newsletters, acquisition librarians had been informed about the existence of marginalized knowledge and have been educated to acknowledge the limitations of their own positionality.
In the last decade, this personal accountability that could be critiqued and adjusted by critique seems to have been reduced, or even replaced by institutional policies of standardization and streamlining in the name of efficiency. For example, due to the merger of art academies into large universities, we observe the outsourcing of library services to large distributors selling ready-bundled subscription packages to institutional libraries. The University of the Arts London subscription packages consists, for instance, to large parts of exhibition catalogs of major international mainstream museums, such as MoMA New York and Tate London. These subscription packages tend to absorb most of the acquisition budget, leaving only limited funds for bespoke and contextual teaching or research material. [→ public interview with CSM Fine Art librarian conducted in 2015 at Chelsea College of Arts, London] In the same strain, the formerly decentralized cataloging units at the University of the Arts in London have been moved from the respective campus libraries to a centralized data hub that, by policy, excludes any format not conforming with commercial publishing formats. Even when produced in-house, self-published material by students or materials resulting from teaching projects cannot enter the library as a valuable and highly contextual reference within the art college. This kind of exclusion is not necessarily generated by political censorship or ignorance. Rather it stems from an institutional drive for centralizing the procedures and infrastructures in the name of efficiency. Once tasks and responsibilities are outsourced, they are much harder to be adjusted because they don't allow for a conversation or for personal accountability.
These institutional developments constitute the starting point for the Library of Inclusions and Omissions to practically rethink and test what a library actually could offer when it comes to the generation, transmission, and observation of knowledges and experiences. Please note that we are talking about a physical reading room that hosts the LIO, and the offer of physical space to linger, study, dream, and get carried away is an important aspect. The subversive nature of a library today goes much further than simply housing a collection of subversive books. The library's most subversive characteristic, in the words of OOMK, is the fact that it provides a free physical space to meet in, not least because it yields no profit. 
It is important to note that LIO is only one among a vast range of small scale reading rooms, library and archive projects currently being set up by artists and activists, some of which I discussed in the "Survey of the field".
LIO builds its curatorial strategy on the community library and infoshop movement that arose in the 70s and 80s in the UK. These community archives formed part of a social movement such as radical education, second-wave feminist, or anarchist. Without affiliation to an institution, these collectively run archives and libraries were catering explicitly for the information, social, and cultural needs of their users. It is interesting to observe that recently a similar community library movement is arising across the Anglo-American hemisphere, where neoliberal politics alongside austerity measures resulted in library closures across the countries. Here, communities started to self-organize and experiment with the purpose and potential of self-governed archive and library spaces. Quite closely related to this movement, LIO's curatorial strategy is open and focused at the same time. Open to anyone interested in contributing; focused, because it is theme-based — asking for forgotten histories, intersectional practices, and for feminist and de-colonial knowledges. Contributions to this resource were invited via a letter in three languages (Arabic, Swedish, English). It seemed important to reach a range of diverse contributors in terms of age, gender, ethnic background and class sharing a similar concern. Therefore, the letter had been widely circulated online, alongside flyers and printed posters put up in public spaces, schools, universities, museums, independent cultural spaces, and community centers across Gothenburg and its suburbs.
In contrast to the founding assumptions of many institutional libraries, LIO does not claim to provide "neutral" or institutionally authorized knowledge. On the contrary, LIO asks for materials that are left out in institutional settings and therefore explores the limitations of the criteria of institutional validation. What is legitimized to go into a library?
One aspect of exclusion relates to formal material properties, such as standard book formats, professional print and binding to withstand the demands of being handled by many readers. More experimental or non-normative publications tend to go straight to the special collections department to be handled with more care. A second aspect relates to authorization. Only publications that succeeded in passing through a long chain of discrete validation steps, such as the funding body, the publisher, the distributor, the marketing, the bookstore, the acquisition librarian, the cataloguer, can enter the library. How can we know what is left out? We miss more ephemeral manifestations of knowledge that are not "recognized as legitimate, preconstituted, disciplinary forms of knowledge," such as zines, tweets, emails?And we miss kinds of knowledge, experiences, desires, hopes and struggles that are not articulated in the form of discrete objects.
LIO asks contributors for a brief statement of rationale, as to why the book they bring to the library is important to them, and why they want to share it with others. These short statements function as an index catalog for the collection. They are printed on yellow cards that accompany each book on the shelve and serve as an entry point and framing device for the library users.
Through this approach, the emphasis shifts from trying to frame the actual content of the book in an arguably objective manner, traditionally expected from the bibliographer/librarian, towards describing the readers' experiences: "what the book did for them." These descriptions are quite stunning accounts of discoveries, struggles, and hopes, based on the reader's experiences. Reading these accounts as an entry point into the book provides a touching insight into the book's impact on the readers, their discoveries, struggles, and hopes. Here, the catalog is not merely a technical act of organization. It is an act of telling. As in "telling, there is a desire — a desire to speak, a desire to share, to articulate an experience to an/other.". The addressees of this telling are other library users, and the books with their cards can be seen as a tool to connect and find support or allies, in mind or action.
With cataloging comes a specific position of power. This is particularly the case for first level cataloging, as Ann Butler, Head of Libraries and Archives at Centre for Curatorial Studies Bard (CCS Bard) points out. Only a few authorized institutions are allowed to write up the first catalog entry for a newly published book in the World Cat, for example. Subsequently, these entries are merely reproduced by other librarians when the book enters their collections and catalog. [→ see interview with Ann Butler, Head of Libraries and Archives at CCC Centre for Curatorial Studies Bard (CCS Bard), Anondale on Hudson, 2017]
In the Survey of the field, I gave an overview of the ways the library catalog forms itself into meaning-making architecture. I have discussed in which ways classification schemes, "are socially produced and embedded structures. They are products of human labor that carry traces of all the intentional and unintentional racism, sexism, and classism of the workers who create them." The LIO's approach to indexing and cataloging is an attempt to understand and confront the complex dilemmas of classification whose genealogy and contradictions I will trace in the following.
Perspectives and framing under the disguise of neutrality
- I feel captured, solidified, and pinned to a butterfly board. Like any common living thing, I fear and reprove classification and the death it entails, and I will not allow its clutches to lock me down, although I realize I can never lure myself into simply escaping it. (Trinh T. Minh-Ha)
Library scholar and librarian Emily Drabinski sits in the classroom running an information literacy session for first-year students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. It's part of their African-American women's history course. They discuss the on-going revisions of the Library of Congress subject headings in this field: from NEGRO WOMEN to BLACK WOMEN to AFRO-AMERICAN WOMEN etc. The headings in the Library of Congress have been under scrutiny by critical library scholars and activists since the publication of Sanford Berman's influential study "Prejudices and Antipathies – a tract on LC subject headings concerning people" in 1971. They have been continuously changed and adapted over time in an attempt to eliminate political biases and racism. One of the students raises her hand: "I am quite interested in the history of White women — do I need to search for the term "White Women" in the library?"
What this question points at is that representation (and organization) of knowledge is not neutral, as it appears. Many users take the classification for granted "as though it were a natural landscape rather than a well-manicured lawn that is the product of intellectual labor."
The answer to the student's question is: no, there is no main subject heading for 'white women.' While we wish the Library of Congress Classification would acknowledge White as one racial category amongst others and as a marker of domination, it does not. "The Library of Congress is rooted in the historical structures of White supremacy, as such, the catalog presumes White to be the normative term." While claiming a neutral and universal approach, "library classifications use the hegemonic language of the powerful. They reflect, produce, and reproduce hierarchies."
Universal language and "controlled vocabulary"
A large body of research has documented biases of gender, sexuality, age, class, ethnicity, language, and religion in the construction of a universal language in the naming of information for retrieval. This universal language uses a controlled vocabulary to represent documents. It limits diversity and has a direct practical impact on the reader searching for materials outside of a traditional mainstream, materials crossing disciplines, or marginalized topics.
This controlled vocabulary appears unbiased and universally applicable - but it hides its exclusions under the guise of neutrality. Olson traces the presumption of universality back to Charles Cutter's "Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalog" (1876) the reference for the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), the first standard in North America's libraries today and to Melvil Dewey's introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC - also published in 1876).
Charles Cutter’s misguided democratic ideal
Cutter's rationale to create a controlled vocabulary sounds like a democratic approach to serve the public, which uses the library. A uniform language is easy to use for the cataloguer as well as for the user. Exceptions and inconsistencies in the uniformity are allowed and even asked for if it serves "the public's habitual way of looking at things."
The problem, as Hope Olson points out, is the article "the" in "the public," envisioning a community of library users with a unified perspective. It is a singular public, which defines the language inevitably excluding those who do not seem to fit into this community. A community in singular shares cultural, social, or political interests and excludes those, which are different. The majority opinion is imposed on everyone. It is important to note that the library (in the US), at this point, was used almost exclusively by an educated, Western, white, Christian, male, heterosexual readership. For Cutter, then, this singular public dictates the vocabulary of a universal language for representation of information in the library.
Dewey’s obsession: standardization and efficiency
Dewey advocated universal language in the introductions to his classification as the need to avoid confusion for efficient communication. As Olson points out, in the introduction to the first edition of DDC (1876), Dewey uses the word "confusion" twice, but the introduction to DDC13 (1932) he uses "confuzion" twenty-one times. Dewey sees a diversity of language introduced by "different librarians" at "different times" with "different viewpoints" "cauzing confuzion." That leads him to call for introducing a universal standard to avoid this confusion. However, he seems not so much pre-occupied with how to represent the content of the material or the meaning-making process the scheme enables for the library user. In essence, he seems obsessed with efficiency, time-saving, and capital:
- Clasification is a necesity if all material on any givn subject is to be redily found. The labor of making one's own clasification is uzualy prohibitiv, if wel dun. By adopting the skeme in jeneral use by libraries this labor is saved and numbers ar in harmony with those of thousands of other catalogs and indexes in which the same number has the same meaning; for, as pointed out at a recent international congress, these numbers ar the only international languaj of perfectly definit meaning amung all civilized nations; and also cheapest and quickest in application. (emphasis added)
Dewey's obsession with standardization concerns not only the organization of knowledge. What is not very known is that Dewey run a very successful library equipment business. His emphasis on efficiency made him in 1886 start up, "The Library Bureau," providing standardized library equipment. It provides everything, from standardized printed index cards, book order slips, gummed labels, paper shears, penholders, stamps, label holders, small mimeographs, to a range of library furniture including, filing cabinets, bookshelves, book stands, reading room tables, and chairs. All items illustrated and listed with prices for order. The copy of the catalog (edition 1890), I found, is at Harvard University. It is accessible on the Internet Archive and had been digitized by Google. https://archive.org/details/classifiedillus06buregoog/mode/2up. But next to standardization and efficiency, there is another term that belongs to Dewey's favorites. Dewey repeatedly refers to "civilized nations" or, in the introduction to the Library Bureau Catalog, he addresses the "civilized world."
Library as disciplinary institution
Dewey Decimal System (DDC) and the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) are the most widely used classifications systems in research and public libraries worldwide. LCC is the de facto standard in research libraries in the United States. DDC is the most widely spread outside and is also used increasingly to organize Web indexing collections of Universal Resource Libraries (URL).
Both classifications systems, DDC and LCC, are arranged not by subject, but by disciplines.
Hope Olson discusses how the main facet of these classification schemes is based on disciplines, such as Philosophy, Religion, Social Sciences, Language, Natural Sciences, Technology, The Arts, Literature & Rhetoric, Geography & History. She lays out its genealogy as deeply rooted in Western, Medieval and Renaissance philosophy reaching back from Aristoteles' to Francis Bacon's classification of knowledge to Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel via William T. Harris, (who developed the St. Louis public school library system) to Dewey, who borrowed from Harris when he developed his classification scheme while working as a library assistant at Amherst College in 1876. How, I ask, comes then that Dewey is the most used classification system in libraries worldwide – bearing in mind that is so heavily contextualized in Western philosophy? Alternatives had been developed, for instance, by Indian mathematician and librarian S.R. Ranganathan and his Five Laws of Library Science. Ranganathan developed an unorthodox classification system using “facets” where several topics can be linked in a series of keywords in order to describe the various subjects present in a single book. He, therefore, ditches the strict hierarchical structure of the Dewey Decimal system that I explain in the following.
Classification — a hierarchical architecture to house the universe of knowledge
Melvil Dewey imagined a cabinet of nine pigeonholes on an office desk: Each case represents one of the nine classes and allows for nine subdivisions (pigeonholes) as a way to efficiently organize. He favors mass production over costume made solutions:
- The skeme givs us for each topic, as it wer, a case of 9 pijeonholes, with a larj space at the top; and we uze them as every practical business man uzes such pijeonholes about his desk. [...] If he (the businessman) insisted on having a different case made to order for each use, it wud cost over twice as much; he cud not group them together or interchanje them, and they wud not fit offis shelvs.
We can also imagine Dewey classes as separate rooms in a house. Each new entry into the library has to go into one room (hierarchy). The house has no interconnecting doors. The document can't live in two places or use the corridor to travel back and forth (relationships). Once put in one room, it mostly stays in this room (permanence, inflexibility). But into one only and that's the problem: A decision has to be made, what this document or book is about. Or what is it "most" about. Someone needs to decide what is the most crucial aspect of the book (first facet), what is the second important (subdivision) etc. This creates a hierarchy.
Philosopher Elizabeth Spelman describes such hierarchy as a powerful performative device: "Imagine a huge customs hall with numerous doors, marked 'women,' 'men,' 'Afro-American,' 'Asian-American,' 'Euro-American,' 'Hispanic- American,' 'working class,' 'middle class,' 'upper class,' 'lesbian,' 'gay,' 'heterosexual,' and so forth... The doors are arranged in banks, so that each person faces the first bank of doors that sorts according to gender, then a bank that sorts according to race, or alternatively sorts first according to race, then according to class, then according to gender, and so on". Different criteria of sorting create different results: "We get different pictures of people's identities, of the extent to which one person shares some aspect of identity with another, depending on what the doors are, how they are ordered, and people are supposed to proceed through them."
Sameness and Difference
Classification gathers things according to their commonalities. Olson (2001) discusses the effectiveness of this duality in Western culture. We implement it from early childhood. It is a principle that helps to organize things. It can be temporal (in the same, or chronological period), spatial (relating to the same region), or used (most frequently used), or organized by similar material qualities (size, color, format, i.e., journal, book, etc.). On my bookshelf, I organize books by size, as this saves shelf space. In the charity shop, I visit from time to time clothes are organized by color. The green rack, for example, displays a variety of garments: trousers, jumpers, hats, skirts, and dresses — what they have in common is their green color.
Many engaged librarians have invested much thought and creative effort to develop local, independent, or modified schemes. Some of them are discussed in the text Library Underground - a reading list for a coming community (part II' Infinite Hospitality', p. 167). Other examples include METIS, applied by the Ethical Culture School in New York, developed together with their students. They found out that some sections were under-used such as "Languages," which was turned into "Community," "Craft" is now labeled "Making Stuff." But the most radical step was to mix the classic categories of "fiction" and "non-fiction." Based on the idea, it is not the cataloger making the decision, but the students themselves. It is the student who evaluates what is imagination and what is information and discovers the blurred lines in between. Here the catalog is turned into an educational tool, a starting point for thoughts and discussions about the distinction between fact and fiction.
* Communicating * Exhibiting * Narrating * Provoking * Reflecting * Answering * Documenting * Illuminating * Interpreting * Occupying * Questioning
And 4 special sections: * Venicing * Xerox * Jonathan Monk collection * Mithu Sen (this need some protection, very fragile books) Eastside Projects Birmingham
Also, Eastside Projects' (Birmingham, UK) attempt to organize their book collection for their art space. They came up with a list of verbs (instead of nouns) as categories of subject headings. This move, in a funny way, tries to emphasize the agency of the books. Similarly to the indexing of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions, Eastside's framing attempts to describe what the books are doing, rather than what they are about.
All these examples show how the books and the catalog in relation to each other instigate critical thinking. It is, therefore, not the book (its content) alone, but the ecologies that are created around it.
The Piracy Project
The Piracy Project (TPP), a collaboration with Peruvian artist Andrea Francke, deals with questions of authorship, authorization, and authority in a hands-on way. By prompting people to "pirate" a book that is important to them, to reproduce books by making physical copies manually, TPP challenges the perception of a printed book as a finite resource and a stable and authoritative object. Through the unauthorized interventions and alterations of the books' textual and visual content, TPP transgresses the concept of authorship as it is presented by the coercive relationship between originality, intellectual property and copyright, and therefore deals with the complexities of authorization on many different levels, as I will explain in the following.
These conceptualizations and questions were not clear-cut at the beginning of TPP. Its starting point was twofold. Firstly the announcement of the proposed closure of the library at Byam Shaw School of Art in London created a political situation that triggered the urge to imagine creative ways to confront it. Secondly, Daniel Alarcon's essay about book piracy in Peru in Granta Magazine, where he mentioned that pirates had sometimes altered and amended (un-authorized and anonymously) the plot of some fiction books seemed puzzling. and exciting.
Annotated by RS
Even more exciting were, on Andrea's return from a visit to Lima, the pirated and altered books, that she bought from street vendors and at pirate book markets in Lima.
Students and staff joint efforts and, supported by its acting Principal, turned the art college library to-be-closed into a self-organized and self-governed resource of knowledges that remained public – and thus intellectually and socially generative. This move was not without antagonism, because right at that time, the British Prime Minister of the day, David Cameron, launched his perfidious "The Big Society" concept proposing that members of the community should volunteer at public institutions, such as local libraries, which were destined to be closed due to government cuts. Some colleagues were skeptical suggesting that rather turning the library into "a project," more time and energy should be invested into campaigning to keep the library running as an institutionally funded resource and so revoking the management's decision. This shift from an institutionally run library to one organized by students and staff was productive, after all, since it opened up many imaginaries and possibilities to experiment and rethink what a library could be. By taking collective ownership over the physical space and its books, the library opened up from being an institutional controlled and authorized resource – to an assemblage of knowledges that appeared in different forms and formats, potentially obscure, self-published or going beyond the printed book altogether.
The Piracy Project's richness, energy, and complexity unfolded through a range of collaborations and debates: the close thinking and acting together with Andrea Franke, with the roughly 150 contributors who produced and submitted pirate copies and with the many institutions that hosted The Piracy Project after the Byam Shaw Library was eventually closed down in 2012. By then, the project had grown extensively and attracted much attention and got consequently invited for residencies, reading rooms, workshops, lectures, panel discussions and debates by a range of national and international cultural institutions.
The Piracy Project shares concerns with practices of radical shadow libraries such as Monoskop, aaaarg.fail, Memory of the World that are setting up distribution platforms to fight enclosures by commercial monopolies, which I map in more detail in the chapter "Survey of the field."However, while current practices of shadow librarianship work towards the open and free circulation of books to circumvent enclosures, TPP does not primarily function as a dissemination platform to circulate pirated books. It gathers a collection of mainly one-off physical copies, that "explore the spectrum of copying, re-editing, translating, paraphrasing, imitating, re-organizing, manipulating of already existing works," as the call states.
As such, TPP introduces a further aspect to current shadow librarianship by shifting the focus from issues of circulation to questions of authorship and authorization. By instigating potential contributors to make printed copies of already existing books, TPP asks to rethink, test, and reflect on the relationship between the authorized source and the modified unauthorized pirate copy. It explores the strategies, and implications of such "unauthorized collaborations" that I describe in detail in the book chapter "Confronting Authorship - Constructing Practices"..
These manipulations could be described as queering the authority of the printed book, an authority that existed since the 19th century when steam-powered rotary presses replaced hand-operated printing presses. Since printing on an industrial scale allowed for print-runs of many thousand copies, we just tend to assume that the copy of a book we are reading is identical to other copies of the same title circulating on the market. However, we can observe some moments in recent printing history that rupture such reliance on these established processes of authorization. The advent and widespread accessibility of the photocopy machine in the late 1960s in the US, for example, allowed the reader to photocopy books and collate selected chapters, pages or images in new and customized compilations.
These new reproduction technologies undermine to an extent the concept of the printed book as a stable and authoritative work, which had prevailed since the mass production of books on industrial printing presses came into being. History of information scholar Eva Hemmungs-Wirtén describes how the general availability of the photocopier has been perceived as a threat to the authority of the text. She cites Marshall McLuhan's address at the Vision 65 congress in 1965:
- Xerography is bringing a reign of terror into the world of publishing because it means that every reader can become both author and publisher. [….] Authorship and readership alike can become production-oriented under xerography. Anyone can take a book apart, insert parts of other books and other materials of his own interest, and make his own book in a relatively fast time. Any teacher can take any ten textbooks on any subject and custom-make a different one by simply xeroxing a chapter from this one and from that one.
Through photocopying, many artists and activists got access to cheap and instant reproduction technologies that shaped a range of counter-culture movements in the 80s and 90s in North America – exactly because it was a cheap, ephemeral and immediate means of printed communication. Of course, the handmade quality of feminist zines, the visibility of scissors and glue, do not pretend to have gone through the same chain of authorizations a mass-produced printed hardcover or paperback book has. The authority of the mass-produced book lays in its production value that is reflected in involving a proofreader, a designer, a publisher, a printer, as well as entering the book trade, such as commercial distribution network, and bookshops. These distinctions, interestingly, have become obsolete since digital printing presses allow for small print runs, down to one copy, in a material quality that is almost not distinguishable from mass-produced litho printed books. The print-on-demand model, for example, widely introduced to the book market in the early 2000s, allowed for constant re-printing and re-editing of existing files. This new technology of versioning has been used as a conceptual tool by artists. For example, the publication "An Incomplete Reader for the Ongoing Project, 'One day, everything will be free'... is perhaps better understood as approximating software rather than a book or an exhibition catalog" writes editor Joseph Redwood Martinez on the back cover of a publication project that uses print-on-demand versioning as a conceptual tool. "Just as with software releases-where version 0.0.1 is followed indefinitely with sporadic updates, bug-fixes, and complete revisions – the publication is, and will always be, necessarily incomplete and unfinished." Such disruption of the trust in the authority of the printed book has a range of effects and implications that are discussed in more detail in the co-authored text "The Impermanent Book." Here the strategy of versioning is openly articulated as a conceptual tool. The reader is informed right away, that there is no authoritative copy of the publication, that it is a temporary stabilization in an ongoing progressive process.
In contrast to such temporary stabilizations, pirate books refer to one specific source, which serves as a basis for the pirate copy. For example, artist and writer Neil Chapman's handmade facsimile of Gilles Deleuze's Proust and Signs96 explores the materiality of print and related questions about the institutional policies of authorization. Chapman produced a handmade facsimile of his personal paperback copy of Deleuze's work, which included some binding mistakes in which a few pages were bound upside down, by scanning and printing the book on his home inkjet printer. The book is close to the original format, cover, and weight. However, it has a crafty feel to it: the ink soaks into the paper, creating a blurry text image that is very different from a mass-produced offset printed text. It has been assembled in DIY style and speaks the language of amateurism and makeshift. The transformation is subtle, and it is this subtlety that makes the book subversive in an institutional library context. How do students deal with their expectations that they will access authoritative and validated knowledge on library shelve and instead encounter a book that was printed and assembled by hand? Such publications circumvent the chain of institutional validation: from the author to the publisher, the book trade, and lastly the librarian purchasing and cataloging the book according to the standard bibliographic practices. A similar challenge to the stability of the printed book and the related hierarchy of knowledge occurred when students at Byam Shaw sought a copy of Jacques Rancière's Ignorant Schoolmaster and found three copied and modified versions. One of them, as a kind of response to Rancière's pedagogical proposal, featured deleted passages that left blank spaces for the reader to fill and to construct meaning in place of Ranciere's text.
To define authorial originality in a derivative work, for example, has been the task of many court cases. And because copyright is case law, the verdicts are informed by many different factors. So this messiness and blurriness of the legal framework can create a climate of anxiety and, subsequently, self-censorship. You don't do stuff because you don't know whether it might be interpreted as copyright infringement. This self-limiting instinct is documented well in "Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report," commissioned by the College Art Association in the USA in 2014, which I discuss in detail in the text "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices."
To follow up on this crucial point, we organized a performative debate entitled "A Day at the Courtroom." It has been hosted by The Showroom in London during our one-year residency at the art space in 2013. For the debate, we invited three critical copyright lawyers from different cultural and legal backgrounds to assess selected cases of TPP collection items in the eyes of the law. The advising scholars and lawyers were Lionel Bently (Professor of Intellectual Property at the University of Cambridge), Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento (Art and Law, New York), Prodromos Tsiavos (Head of Digital Development at the Onassis Cultural Centre Athens, at the time Legal Project Lead for Creative Commons, England, Wales, and Greece). We were curious about this debate, in which each lawyer argued their legal perspective, after which it was on the audience to speak the verdict. For the debate, we also replaced the "infringing" – "non-infringing" binary with a color scale from red (for illegal) to blue (for legal), and, again, the audience was asked to pick the right spot and legal status of each discussed case.
The lawyers demonstrated that, for example, one selected case would be regarded as Fair Use exception in Europe, but not in the United States. Lots of effort went into the discussion of how "originality" is defined and what the criteria are for being granted the status of an "author." In the case of "Suitcase Body is missing woman," one of the totals of ten cases assessed in the debate, the lawyers raised the question, whether a person untrained in the arts could claim original artistic expression for their work. Another case, which discussed a commercially motivated predatory publishing practice, by pulling content from a knowledge commons such as Wikipedia, was deemed legal. 
Such events help us to collectively unpack the contested complexities within intellectual property law. But they also helped us to grasp the extent to which these policy debates, as well as the sheer use of the term "intellectual property," has become so ubiquitous that it pervades our thinking and working and not least our social relationships.
Some contributions to TPP modify the content of their source, undermining the assumed authority of the authorial voice. Authorship is, no doubt, a method to develop one's voice, to communicate, and to interact with others, to be responsible and accountable. Still, it is also a legal, economic, and institutional construct, and it is this function of authorship as a framing and measuring device that is critiqued by the Piracy Project's practice.
See, for example, the case of the pirated version of "No se lo diga a nadie" (Don't tell anyone), a copy that Andrea Francke had found while browsing 'Amazonas,' one of Peru's biggest pirate book markets in Lima. Here the pirate secretly and anonymously added two extra chapters to a famous autobiographical novel by Peruvian journalist and TV presenter Jaime Baily. Somebody had borrowed the official author's voice and sneaked in anonymously two fictionalized extra chapters about the author's life.
None of the cases contributed to TPP asked for authorization from the author or publisher, and we sometimes describe them as "unsolicited collaborations." The term collaboration refers to a relational activity. It re-imagines authorship not as proprietary and stable, but as a dialogical and generative process – very much in the view framed by feminist legal scholar Carys Craig. She claims that "authorship is not originative but participative; it is not internal but interactive; it is not independent but interdependent. In short, a dialogic account of authorship is equipped to appreciate the derivative, collaborative, and communicative nature of authorial activity in a way that the Romantic (individual genius) account never can." But there are limits to this dialogical approach, and Craig as a legal scholar refers to the complexities of intellectual property law. I have discussed the ways the law limits intertextual, relational practices in the book chapter "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices - how copyright destroys collective practice." The law limits, but it also protects against predatory practices. The debate between legal scholars and Open Culture activists is fierce and ongoing.
Interestingly Femke Snelting (Constant), addresses in the research project "Interfacing the Law," a certain doubt and discomfort about a potential heroically disobedient pirate culture. Circulating a set of three letters to the participants she writes "The disobedient stance of piracy can obscure the way it keeps categories of knowledge in place, either by calling upon universalist sentiments for the right to access, by relying on conventional modes of care or by avoiding the complicated subject of the law altogether. I am writing you this to show how the current landscape of intellectual property produces paradoxical positions that we all take on a daily basis: what (not) to download, share and distribute; what to consider normal, brave, necessary or too risky."
This call to acknowledge the paradoxical positions created by the reduction to the legal-illegal binary is key for the working method of the Piracy Project. In an attempt to map the complexities of "unsolicited collaborations," we expanded the vocabulary of piracy. "Borrowing, poaching, plagiarising, pirating, stealing, gleaning, referencing, leaking, copying, imitating, adapting, faking, paraphrasing, quoting, reproducing, using, counterfeiting, repeating, cloning, translating" – all verbs (active words) that describe a specific relationship to somebody else's work and refer to particular economies of exchange, respectively. This list is also the title of a publication, TPP edited and published in 2014 exploring each of these terms from different perspectives and fields of knowledge. In which way could such "unsolicited collaborations" be understood as expanded reference practice?
The media and communication scholar Ramon Lobato asks, whether the language of piracy used by the critical intellectual property discourse "should be embraced, rejected, recuperated or re-articulated"? He contends that reducing piracy to a mere legal category – a question of conforming or nonconforming with the law – tends to neglect the generative force of piracy practices, which 'create (their) own economies, exemplify wider changes in social structure, and bring into being tense and unusual relationships between consumers, cultural producers and governments."
Gary Hall discusses in his book "Pirate Philosophy, For a digital Posthumanities" the genealogy of the word pirate: "When the word pirate first appeared in ancient Greek texts, it was closely related to the noun 'peira' which means trial or attempt. 'The 'pirate' would then be the one who 'tests', 'puts to proof', 'contends with', and 'makes an attempt'. Further etymological research shows that from the same word root stems p i ra : experience, practice [πείρα], p i rama : experiment [πείραμα], p i ragma: teasing [πείραγμα] and pir a zo : tease, give trouble [πειράζω].
This "teasing, making an attempt, contending with" is at the core of The Piracy Project's practice and unfolds in two ways. Firstly by approaching people to make a pirate copy and reflect on the various layers of this practice and its context. (copyright regimes, enclosures, individual authorship, library closure). And secondly, through our research into cases of "real" book piracy outside the art context, the strategies they develop, their background, and (political) motivations for these acts (civil disobedience). Sometimes the pirates' practice unfolds under the radar of authorities, a fact that needs to be respected and not exposed in the name of artistic research. [example: Istanbul] These acts of civil disobedience ask for careful discussion and naming. Not just that the process of framing is a powerful meaning-making tool. It is also exposing, naming, creating evidence for otherwise under the radar practices.
[more to come]
The power of framing and context
We created the Piracy Project Index Catalog because we were looking for a way to have the collection open to the public, without us needed there in person to convey the story and trajectory of the books, what piratical strategy had been used and what is the political, cultural context for the intervention. The books were always displayed with their index cards. The catalog cards describe the pirate book's genesis, the material properties of the pirate copy, what strategy has been used, and how it got into the collection. All in all, these cards function as an entry point and framing device for the book.
During The Piracy Project Reading Room at the New York Art Book Fair in 2011, a librarian from the art school Pratt Institute in New York stepped by our reading room every single day, because she was so fixed on the questions the books raise in respect to normative cataloging and bibliography standards. Take Jaime Bayli's "No se diga a nadie," for example. Who would be named as the author? How can you pay justice to the complexity of the "more than one authorships" in this work in our current systems of accreditation? Important to note that our catalog lists the pirate as the author of the (pirate) book, followed by the source, and the strategy in order to describe the relationship between the three.
This task to "name" and describe each pirate book for the catalog extended to the question how to group the books on the shelf. In line with the discussion of the fixity and contradiction of Subject Headings at the Library of Congress above, we experimented with different categories when spatially organizing the books in the different reading rooms.
During the one-year residency staging a Piracy Project Reading Room at the Showroom in London, we organized the collection according to legal categories, such as "Private Use," "Public Domain," "First Sale Doctrine," "Modification/Fair Use." One year later, at Kunstverein Munich, the collection was grouped according to their form of distribution.
The White Market for books encompasses all legal and authorized distribution through traditional channels. The books in this selection have been produced through publishing houses, have ISBNs, and are produced in higher quantities that allow for commercial distribution.
The Grey Market for books includes publications produced in higher edition numbers than the one circulating through specific, non-official networks. We included fanzines and artists' books that are sold only at specialized shops in this section.
The Black Market for books encompasses distribution through illegal and unauthorized commercial channels. The books in this section were purchased at pirate markets and copy shops.
Archive As Distribution are examples of pirated books that are produced for archival reasons. They are out of circulation and were sent to us to remain accessible. We also gather here books that are one-offs, produced specifically for the Piracy Collection in response to our open call.
Print On Demand points to a new type of market. It produces books with a professional finish and ISBN in potentially unlimited quantities that can circulate in mainstream commercial distribution channels. A book, produced through lulu.com, for example, will be a one-off until a second copy is purchased. Only then the second copy will be printed and shipped. Distribution triggers production; it defines the market dynamically. It allows books to oscillate between grey and white market zones seamlessly.
This choice to group the pirate books according to their form of distribution was informed by the one-month workshop we organized as part of the Piracy Reading at Kunstverein Munich - researching, visiting, collaborating with independent publishers, bookshops, archives located in Munich that operate off the mainstream and developed alternative ways of distribution.
Another experiment, in the context of The Piracy Reading Room at Grand Union in Birmingham, we collaborated with the archivist Karen Di Franco and participants to produce descriptive terms to categorize items in the collection. The contestations of descriptive terms and controlled vocabulary in library classification are discussed above. 'It is easy to see how terms will deviate from a thesaurus of standards,' di Franco writes, since '[t]erms are needed to describe the transit, transmission and the conditions of the original as well as acknowledging the changes made to produce the pirate. These words should be a conductive medium – transmitting the modes and methods of production across space and time. [...] It is time to consider the catalog as equally peripatetic' she claims and compares this process of finding descriptors for the books in the Piracy Project with collections such as those at the Warburg Institute 'that have been transitory, are enlivened or enriched by their re-ordering and follow a structure that is inherent to their construct, with catalogs and indexes that echo the interests of the persons that inhabit the library space' she highlights the necessity of an alternative thesaurus specifically made from and for these collections.
These experiments in organizing the collection were eye-opening because they confirm the authority of naming and framing. Depending on the organizing criteria, the collection could be explored in many different ways. Because there are many questions to be asked, we keep changing the classification criteria when we display the collection in public, and each time the collection appears in a new light, holding different questions and answers depending on what aspect we focus on. Both examples, the experiments with finding descriptive terms, as well as shelfmarks, highlight the fact that the catalog itself operates as a meaning-making architecture.
Why we decided to end the project
THIS NEEDS MORE WORK AND CONVERSATIONS WITH ANDREA. ;)
Over the years, we got more and more hesitant towards invitations to exhibit The Piracy Project. The institutional framework of exhibitions turned the reading rooms, which were meant as a starting point for collaboration and exchange, more and more into static exhibits for demonstration purposes.
In hindsight, I have to say that the most productive public iterations were long-term reading rooms, which allowed for a series of accompanying workshops, events, and debates. And the most generative time the TPP experienced during the student-led occupation at the Byam Shaw Library. See a detailed description of the consequences of this shift of context from the daily encounters at the Byam Shaw School of Art to "touring" the collection to different art venues, after the art college library was eventually shut down, in the published presentation held at the international seminar "Archives of the Commons II - the Anomic Archive," organized by Red Conceptualismos del Sur and Museo Nacional Reina Sofia Madrid. Read text here.
[more to come]
The reflection on the mobilization experiment is best structured in two aspects. A first angle is the mobilization's experiments with non-normative teaching and conference formats. This includes testing new roles, languages, non-normative uses of the building and its rooms, as well as experimental approaches to timing, budgeting, catering and hosting of participants, It comprises the often neglected, and I would claim neglected because "un-authored," practices of organizing and care for such an event. In a second step, I will address the experimental approach to production and dissemination of the Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy Workbook published four weeks before the event.
Non-normative approaches and institutional habits
- The good-enough institution can recognize its mistakes, analyze them and correct them. It also knows how to recognize its limits and accept them, as best they can. [...] It is to be able to work below the ideal of the model. However, the good-enough management with her team good enough must be able to deploy the energy constantly to renew, to try to get as close as possible to this ideal. The institution that works well is the one where we speak, where we decide, and where we recognize its diseases.
- Duty acknowledged.
- Philippe Kinoo,
The explicit aim of the workgroupthat formed at the university was to shed light on the complexities of the tensions arising between being a member of the institution and testing, researching the limitations of its established habits and modes of doing things. Concretely the working group embarked on an experiment on how a "conference" on knowledge practices can be organized in a way that itself rethinks and tests the formats it employs and thereby directly translating the addressed theoretical concepts into action. The quotation marks around the term conference already give a hint on how the workgroup attempted to rethink the normative nomenclature and the roles, functions, and hierarchies it produces. See "Glossary," published in "Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? Workbook". I have already discussed that descriptors are performative and political in the field of cataloging and classifying in the section "Perspectives and framing under the disguise of neutrality."
In an attempt to adjust the institutionally instated terminology, the Let's Mobilize workgroup replaced the term "conference" with "mobilization" because we aimed at a practical, dynamic, activist and generative outcome, rather than "delivering" knowledge in the form of papers, for instance. Has something been mobilized? So people, who join "a mobilization" come with different desires, energies, mindsets – wanting to work out practical ways how to translate research or knowledge into practice. Getting initial traction within the working group, then the administration and then the lecturers' and students' public, the new terminology eventually got adopted across the organization. [admin docs?]
This process of shifting the nomenclature within the academy community evidences our desire to organize an event that is embedded, addresses, and rethinks the structural processes of how we work together at the academy. This desire is informed by a wide range of research into institutional analyses and infrastructure studies, and the way institutional codes enable or impede modes of thinking and acting among individuals within this institution. (Raunig, Rassel, Gorianova) While a general review of institutional studies would be valid and productive here, I decided to only point to it, as an in-depth discussion at this point would exceed the limits of this thesis. I will take up a more thorough review of institutional validation processes with an emphasis on publishing in the chapter "Analysis – How to demonumentalize monumental knowledge."
Let's Mobilize starts from the assumption that institutions aren't self-contained and fixed structures, but environments [→ discuss Sarah Vanuxem's concept of milieu? Here or in the analysis] formed by an "instituting movement" of its members. This approach is inspired by the conviction that if we want to reform and test the pedagogies we practice, we also need to invite the management, the technicians, and the administrators into the discussion. [→Andrea Francke, Ross Jardine] Institution has been described, on the one hand, as a potential to be developed (instituting). On the other, it also constitutes an established form (institution). It is a constant negotiating between these two forces, in which alienation is produced when the "instituted" takes precedence over the "instituting." This tension between the "instituted" and the "instituting" performed an ongoing tension during the project.
Institutional critique: instituting... (Raunig)
Because the working group rethought all these processes, formats, and interactions fundamentally, it had to understand and tweak the existing procedures prescribed by the university procurement. This would not have been possible without the inventive support of the management and the administration. Think of the sleepover, as mentioned earlier in the main assembly room. Staying overnight in the academy building is officially not permitted. Only through negotiations and with the creative support of the acting Prefect, for example, the sleepover could become part of the program as Forum 6: "When do we learn? Non-normative uses of the seminar room". In the following I will give selected examples of how intricate negotiations and dealings with the Academy personnel were, whose day-to-day job was to follow, interpret and execute the rules and regulations.
"This variety of 'doing things differently' from standard university procedures, generated a lot of work, stress, and frustration for us. It was difficult to receive consistent information on what could and could not be done within the remit of the various academic procurement policies. The bits of information provided were fairly vague. It left us in a state of uncertainty, constant guessing, and relying on hearsay. We were always hoping, but never really knowing—this created tension within the group and the administration. In order to deal with policies creatively and productively, one must know them well and thoroughly. While being aware of some administrators' support, we found ourselves also affected by anxiety that "this will not be possible" as the inflexibility of the administrative apparatus will not allow it to happen. Current critiques of administration refer to the administration of the body and the way bureaucracy controls the flows of our everyday life: "From passport control to binary gender categories on job application forms, administration gently pushes us into ideologically assigned roles and positions and then traps us there." According to queer activist and legal scholar Dean Spade "policy and administrative systems are the invisible disciplinary forces that generate our experiences as subjects." Andrea Francke and Ross Jardine argue in their paper "Bureaucracy's Labour" that current critiques of administration often focus on the body that is administered and ask "But what of the administrator?"
They argue that in order "to be deemed successful in their task the administrators must adhere to a range of standards and style guides that masks their identity with that of the institution through policies of best practice and standardization, [...] actions become attached to roles instead to individuals [...] and therefore the administrator's position as a subject is being erased." But exactly because administrators are the anonymous subjects, that generate and enforce those systems, they are vital for enacting political transformation, as Francke and Jardine argue. I wished we had worked even more closely with the administrators and made them even more co-authors and allies in the process. [more here, unpick the details]
Collectivity: Desires and Complications
"Trust, care, and confidences were broken. Feelings of unworthiness surfaced and created fractions. Collective and collaborative practice involves negotiation and communication. A lot of focus was on creating a transparent structure with regards to the mobilization economy, a clear glossary with intentions, etc. However, we would have benefitted from a clear audit of ourselves, our ability to commit, our expectations, and our insecurities. Easier to say with hindsight." This comment from a member of the working group, summarises the contestations and conflicts within the working group, once the mobilization date came closer and the pressure had risen.
Annotated by AE
We only understood after the event that while investing so much time and effort to define roles, achieve transparency, provide care in relation to the event, we fell short of achieving this sufficiently within the group. In "Do the right thing - a manual," Johanna Gustavsson and Lisa Nyberg report how important accountability and transparency are for working collectively. The list of priorities goes like this: "(1) Talk openly about money. (2) Talk openly about commitment and time. (3) Make room for economy and time planning already from the start. Ask each other how much time you can and want to invest in the joint project. This way, the collaboration can function even though one person invests 10% and the others 100%. It is important to be prepared that someone might be less involved in periods, so it's good to have those discussions early on."
We learned early on from the collective reading of Jo Freeman's "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" that we need transparency on decisions we take. Hence it became a guiding principle in our communication with each other to take notes in every working group meeting, which were uploaded to a shared online "blackboard" information box. Still, our collective summary says that "our care for the participants pre-empted the care for the working group," and that in the hot phase approaching the event, "we did not initiate moments of rest, time to check in with each other. This created problems personally and interpersonally." It was the imbalance of priorities within the group and commitment to other projects, which caused imbalance and frustration overall. We had collectively read the experiences in the MFK manual about being transparent and outspoken on priorities and availability. Still, we did not strictly check in on this during the process. The consequence was that those regularly attending the decision-making meetings inevitably developed more responsibility and, therefore, group and project power than others, who came only sporadically. That was not the horizontal structure we imagined and led to frustrations on all sides – with some complaining about the lack of commitment and others about being silenced. Due to immense pressure to deliver, this imbalance was not appropriately addressed, as we just wanted to get on. Another structural problem was that I could afford to focus on planning the event and editing the workbook because it was part of my (paid) research. Other group members faced a growing workload having to juggle teaching, their studies as well as a day job with the organizing work. Despite being aware of my privilege, I assumed a similar commitment from all others. I was frustrated when things did not move forward on the project ends others had taken responsibility for.
Thirdly I will discuss the complexities and challenges of collectivity within the working group that, when put under considerable pressure towards the end, did not always manage to apply the same principles we set out for the mobilization to the actual working processes within the group.
"How to practice care throughout the process of organizing a feminist gathering: care for the investment in the ideas themselves, for the participants, for the host institution, for each other in the organizing group and self-care?"
Questions of efficiency and unmeasurable labor
We also observed that within the existing institutional setting, our effort to do things differently and to investigate the institutional formats and habits was positively acknowledged and, to a certain degree, enthusiastically welcomed by Valand Academy's leadership. But it also caused friction with and drew critique by the same administration, because of the apparent extra labor, effort and time our project created for administrators – and therefore costs.
The question of economic feasibility became apparent when our extensive creative work of detailed organizing and care turned into self-exploitation and for some even into states of burn-out. The working group had not been given extra hours for this work. Towards the end of the process, we inquired whether some of our extra hours could be paid for. An attempt that was answered negatively, since we were given a distinct budget to work with. While this argument is reasonable, it results in the dilemma of people going back to a "work to rule" practice within the established standard procedures. They do this as an act of self-care because they cannot afford the extra labor they are committed to doing, labor that supersedes the efficiency rules of the institution. Efficiency is a measurable concept – quantitatively determined by the ratio of useful output to total input.
My argument here goes like this: These partly invisible practices of care are not related to regimes of authorship and, therefore, not distinctly measurable. They are invisible in the current regime of authorship and ownership. They constitute affective labor, which is sometimes valued and recognized by the direct recipients and beneficiaries, however the current systems of evaluation fall short of acknowledging them formally. They are seen as the "fuzzy extra," which is nice to have, but not seen as fundamentally necessary to keep the machine going. They are not connected to authorship and therefore not recognized "as work." How we could rethink organizing as a form of authorship is discussed in the chapter "Analysis": "From Output to Input," where I relate this conflict to normative evaluation frameworks of "impact" in current institutional environments.
Similarly, when we apply the question of impact to the field of publishing, it becomes apparent that the value of a researcher's publishing practice is determined by a "logic of calculation." It is measured by sheer counting: the number of articles, the number of citations, the number of downloads: the more individually authored works - the more research points - the more money for the institution. Publications and authored documents have become an asset and a currency. In my view, this definition of "impact" is ridiculous and cynical, leading merely to "gaming the system." [reference] In the following, I will describe the specific approach in the production and circulation of the "Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy" workbook, that experiments how we could shift our understanding of impact by transforming the "output" into an "input."
Publishing strategies: contextual, contingent: the workbook
"Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy" workbook was published and circulated four weeks before the event. This timing seemed important, as the workbook's function was different from a conference program, merely giving factual info for the event with abstracts and info about the invited speakers. The workbook's purpose was to create a common ground, introduce the mobilization's topics and formats, and invite the wider academy community into the discussion BEFORE the event was staged.
In the field of publishing genres, the workbook has a specific function. It has a use-value. It is defined as a book made up of a series of problems or practice-examples mostly for a student to use as part of a course or study. In this sense, a workbook could also be seen as a prop, in the way Fred Moten and Stefano Harney describe it: "If you pick it up you can move into some new thinking and into a new set of relations, a new way of being together, thinking together. In the end, it's this new way of being and thinking together that's important, not the prop."
How we "can" be and think together constituted a crucial and ongoing question during the editorial process. We could work in a studio in the academy building during this period, where we laid out printouts of texts, met with potential contributors, got in touch with authors to ask for permission to include their work in the book. After weeks the floor of the studio was covered with sheets of texts, drawings, charts, comics, and photographs. The editorial decision was to NOT consolidate the vast range of material into one overall design. The workbook pages keep all visual traces from the contexts and sites we took them. They were exported from a blog, a website, or scanned from a printed book and, therefore, visually reference their source, including many different layouts and typographic designs quasi as assembled ready-mades. This analog editing method of testing the sequence of pages by rearranging them on the floor, adding metadata, names, and references via handwriting on post-its allowed all members of the group to look equally and together at the overall arrangement. Compared to the one person managing and making design decisions on an InDesign document, this working method was fun and constructive as it gathered all bodies equally in the room. Once the pages were ready and the sequence agreed, the sheets were manually scanned, whereby the final scan performed as the pagination tool.
In line with rethinking the formats of the event, it felt necessary to fundamentally re-imagine the modes of circulation for the workbook. The impact and discourse we hoped for could hardly be instigated through an act of "delivery," i.e., the distribution of a discrete finished object. Distribution is a rather technical and controlled act of delivering an object from a central point to known targets. Dissemination might come closer to the potential I am interested in exploring. It has the nuance of spreading amorphously or in an unstructured manner. It develops a life on its own with its temporalities and trajectories. Knowledge, for example, can in some way be disseminated, but hardly distributed. Dissemination's offer and scope are to instigate. Coming from Latin "semina," it suggests the spreading of a seed, which can grow and propagate. There is not the expectation of an immediate or technical effect. It is an offer. Seeds take their time: once when they find the right conditions, they germinate.
Extending Donna Haraway's concept of situated knowledge, we don't only "speak" from within a situation formed by specific bodies and their social situation with its power relations – we attempted "to speak back to it." The experiments with the particular two-step dissemination of the workbook were such an attempt. Firstly the → Public Assembling Day created a social moment to introduce the questions, provocations, and topics within the community of our educational institution. Secondly, the act of spreading the posters across the walls of the academy building and by that turning the academy building into a → walkable book we situated their content right inside the field of forces and disciplinary struggles of our day-to-day work environment at the academy.
Here, it is not the binding of the book with its technical function to fix the narrative of the pages in a given sequence – it is the reader's actual body on its daily trajectory through the workplace that creates the narrative. Teachers, students, administrators, alongside visiting guests, created a range of spatial, temporal meaning-making encounters with the book. It seems interesting to connect the event character of such situated reading practice with early Happenings (1958-61), and in particular, their relationship to objects. As Johanna Drucker points out, "the Happening was staged within an art context but as a situation and set of conditions for the interaction of individuals subject to certain material constraints. Initiated by an artist or artists, the situation served as vehicle and medium for such interrelations to be enacted and experienced but never reified", instead "the objects were elements with dubious object status and precious little formal value." As such, they were a means and not an end.
What Drucker describes here connects back to the concept of a prop that shifts the emphasis from the object (publication) on what is mobilized (the agency), discussed earlier in this section. Two things are at stake here: Firstly Drucker describes the critical impact of Happenings "as a refusal of product-oriented materialism, a rejection of the signature terms of mastery, originality, and authorship" that was at stake in abstract painting at the time linking the individual artist directly to his/her finished work/product. I have discussed the complicated relationship between authorship, originality, and intellectual property that form the constituent elements of the modernist tradition in the text →["Confronting Authorship - Constructing practices. How copyright destroys collective practice"] outlining the blockages this triumvirate creates for collective intersectional knowledge practices.
Secondly, Drucker proposes that by replacing the commodity- and object-oriented character with instructions and scores, "with the "noise" of simultaneous and collective activity," the profoundly critical agency of Happenings relied upon the techniques of an orchestrated collaboration to stage a self-conscious condition for relations among individuals to be experienced as such."
Staging the posters of the book pages materially in the academy building that houses many different actors that meet in various roles and on different terms could be seen as a cue for a situated reading practice that I discuss in more detail in the text →"Outside the page - making social realities with books." The posters' materiality and sizes claim space and presence among the daily forces of encounters, discoveries, creations, articulations, anxieties, and disciplinary struggles and potentially turn into a transformative current, as one colleague wrote as feedback to the working group:
- I loved the way you/the posters insisted upon me/the recipient to meet/contemplate its content before and in particular after the event. For one because these were texts "donated" or re-distributed by others, and then donated to me by you. But also because by hanging them in a room where I give myself a couple of minutes break from the everyday haze, you are creating the possibility not only for a first reading but then for a re-re-rediscovery and understanding. This placement can turn into a transformative current in itself because the content of the texts interrupts the thoughts of and thereby intertextualizes the everyday. (Kerstin Bergendahl)
Annotated by EW
If these pages mobilized, the mobilization happened right in the center of the institution, or in Nora Sternfeld's words "in the in-between spaces that emerge between representation and presence, theory and practice, and above all between the current state of affairs and the possibility of changing it."
Boxing and Unboxing – against immunization
- the Society for Cutting Up Boxes.
- S. Society: a group of people
- C. Cutting: to slice away notions and boundaries
- U. Up: to be positive
- B. Boxes: the thing in which restricts our thoughts and actions based on the square, cardboard and rigid structure that groups and sub-groups use to suffocate and close in persons' identities and/or non-identities
- SCUB is all for...
- 1. IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE
- 2. FASHION
- 3. COMMUNICATION
- 4. REVOLUTION
- 5. DESTRUCTION
- IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE: SCUB makes people walk down the street with ease and inspiration. In being liberated by SCUB, colors will look brighter, music will sound clearer and your dancing will be greater. More beer on the streets. "Children" will be able to frolic amongst their peers. When asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" they respond, "Me."
- FASHION: Boring fashion will be shut down and re-opened with whatever YOU want.
- COMMUNICATION: What happens when two boxes try to talk? Nothing, right? Time to cut up the boxes, NOW.
- REVOLUTION: skill building with knives, scissors, razors, box-cutters, electric knives, saws of all sizes, teeth, long sharp nails, keys, shards of glass, cheese cutters and so on...
- DESTRUCTION: why put up with identities when you can destroy them? Just to let you know, SCUB does not support the destruction of "animals" and their wood tree environments. Destroy.
- BOX ME IN?
- NO THANKYOU.
- Rhani Lee Remedes, 'Society for cutting up boxes', The SCUB Manifesto, 2002
- Rhani Lee Remedes, 'Society for cutting up boxes', The SCUB Manifesto, 2002
Boxing and Unboxing, the most recent of the discussed works, approaches the inquiry from a different site. It is the place of a boxing gym, a site of liveliness, bodily exhaustion, exhilaration, smell and sweat. Situated outside the immediate material and procedural protocols of publishing, Boxing and Unboxing tests strategies in which way boxes and related binaries could be "cut up" through transgressive bodily dialogue. "Boxing and Unboxing" unfolded during AND's research residency at Marabouparken Konsthall in Stockholm in 2018 and correlates two distinct activities, Boxing and "Unboxing." Besides thousands of youtube videos of proud owners of newly purchased goods, unboxing is commonly understood as an act of taking something out of its container or box. It could be the thing, as artist Rhani Lee Remedes suggests in her SCUB manifesto, "that restricts our thoughts and actions based on the square, cardboard and rigid structure that groups and sub-groups use to suffocate and close in persons' identities and/or non-identities."
The second activity, Boxing, is conventionally understood as a sport based on competition between two individuals who use physical force and technique to defeat one another in a combative situation in the ring. However, in the last few years, a number of boxing clubs opened that are not fitness- or business-oriented but socially and politically motivated. "United Voices of the World Union", a self-organized, London-based, campaigning migrant and precarious workers trade union has recently started boxing classes for its members. The organization engages in physical protests, occupations, and demonstrations stating: "The working class is kicking ass in court, in the workplace and in the ring."
Or take as another case in point 'Solstar' (short for Solidarity Star), a left-wing inclusive gym based in North London that is run by female coaches' with the aim to build practical solidarity' by training together. The organization offers boxing classes as a tool to prepare members for self-defense to fight potential police and right-wing aggression on the street. One should also mention Shadow Sistxrs, a group of women of color affiliated to gal-dem, a London based magazine run by women and non-binary people of color to reach independence from the biased representation through mainstream media. The organization has started Shadow Sistxrs Fight Club as a "Physical & Meta-Physical Self-Defence class for women, Non-Binary folk, and QTIPOC witches". The immediate trigger was recurring attacks on women during night hours on the streets surrounding Haringey's Warehouse District in North London. These campaigns are not primarily based on traditional models of martial arts or gyms, or on making a profit by fighting for the entertainment of others. Instead, they provide an opportunity to learn self-defense, boost confidence and solidarity.
When AND Publishing was invited for a residency at Marabouparken Konsthall in Stockholm, the question was, in what way boxing training could be a method to learn how to relate to each other. Could boxing training expand our previous conceptions and experiences of collaboration and negotiation? Would it help to deal with conflict, anger, and transgression? Could it provide insights into practices of care and support by discovering our physical and emotional boundaries? Or to borrow from Ar Parmacek:" How can boxing, which is so focused on individual fighting against another individual, survival of the fittest and fastest, be used as a feminist, and/or creative tool? Where can the methods and strategies learned from boxing be critically and successfully applied to art, to writing, and to activism, and where might they rather end up doing harm?"
Boxing Club – Sparring
It's interesting to connect O'Shea's observations with questions on outcomes and authorship raised in other parts of this Ph.D. inquiry - for instance in the book chapter "Confronting Authorship, Constructing Practices" examining the relationship between 'verb' (practice) and 'noun' (outcome), and the blockages produced by the regime of authorship of individually authored outcomes. . Initially, I was not able to articulate the actual affinities, overlaps, and connections to my overall Ph.D. inquiry. However, on reflection, it becomes apparent, that the way we organized and set up the boxing training, dealt with exploring the pleasure of competitive physical play while not buying into the notion of the fixed outcome such as fighting for victory or defeat. Still, competing without aiming to win is a contradiction.
Sparring, for example, illuminates the many ways in which bodily interaction differentiates itself from fight and violence. Part of the experimental learning in the boxing classes was that we constantly changed sparring partners, requiring an immediate adaptation to your partner's body size, weight, ability, and tactics. It meant instantaneous navigation between your partners' vulnerability and force, fierceness, and speed. O'Shea describes sparring as moments where 'nobody declares a winner, no-one keeps a score, nobody is watching. In sparring, we compete without needing to win and can disagree with respect'.
This is why I refer to sparring "partner" and not "opponent". The sparring can be described as an exercise of intersubjective exchange, a process of action and reaction, adaption and anticipation. This unconditional alertness to your partner's moves, either triggering attack or defense, constructs a unique interdependent relationship. It is as you were moving together. You are working together while competing. For example, we spent lots of time rehearsing defense tactics by learning to anticipate your partner's moves to either block the punches or evade them. There are, to give an example, two ways to confront a quick right-hand jab: you either block it with your gloved fist, or you duck under it, letting it hit the void. The exhilaration I experienced during the sparring sessions, had to do with the necessity to act on my feet. The mantra of our boxing teacher was: "Don't overthink. Be present. Always maintain eye contact with your opponent. Stay focussed." Indeed the moment you were trying to make sense of what is happening you get dragged away and miss out.
Sparring – transgressing identity categories
It is interesting that while being on the mat, it did not matter who you are, who your parents are, where you were born, what color your skin is, what you have achieved in your profession or gained other merits or authority. All that was left in the changing room. Artist Anna Zett describes this loss of predefined identity in her film "Theory of Everything (Circuit Training)" as "I have no name, no gender, I do not listen to anyone's prayers, I speak no language, I have no genealogy." Instead, what matters in this moment is your vulnerability and your ability to interact with your partner. While this account describes the experiences made in our informal self-organized boxing classes, the systems of professional boxing and their marketization are loaded with identity politics carrying out fights between religions, values, and races.
Sparring - rules, trust, enjoyment
From the beginning, we had to trust each other that everyone will be sticking to the rules. The rules were the basic agreement for getting on the mat with people you have never met before and the intention to punch each other. O'Shea points out that "Sports are games and games are about paradox. In a game, we have a goal, but we have rules in play that make it harder to achieve that goal. We follow the rules in order to sustain the state of play because it is enjoyable." [more here: Rules for inclusive meetings?]
Sparring - learning as "the beginning of something"
It seems paradoxical, but in my experience, the boxing classes, the playful and combative contact between each other yielded an extraordinary sense of trust and support without knowing each other. Because participants were more or less beginners it was a common journey without many parades of already acquired expertise. The feedback of participants reflected on the importance of being invited into a safe space to learn something new. Ar Parmacek, an intern at Marabouparken at the time, reflects on this aspect in more detail:
- "Throughout the entire period of boxing training, the exciting atmosphere of beginning affected every-thing. Even as someone who observed, for the most part, I felt that I was in the middle of a beginning of something every session. At the beginning of a collective and individual learning experience, witnessing other's beginnings; beginning to box, beginning to know each other, beginning to get to know the space, and so on.
- I realise how much I miss this particular joy. How rare it is, at least in adult life, to access the joy of beginning something, be it a skill, a friendship, taking a route to a new place, seeing a new part of the city, etc. etc. This also made me think about how beginnings like these are full of joy because they are still open. Roles haven't yet been 100% cemented. (Maybe they can't solidify for as long as the beginning and position of beginner last? The cemented roles, in other words, mark the end of a beginning?) Activities haven't yet become laden with expectations of advancing, of growing pressure. Professionalism. These things circulate, hover above our heads, for sure, but it feels like as long as the beginning state is present they can't take over. Being a beginner in this context allowed for mistakes and for laughter, not sideways glances or reprimands."
Sparring – transgressing identity categories
On the mat, it did not matter who you are, who your parents are, where you were born, what color your skin is or what you have achieved in your profession, what your identity, merits, class, profession, and authority are. You left all this in the changing room and were leveled counterparts. Artist Anna Zett describes this loss of predefined identity in her film Theory of Everything (Circuit Training) as "I have no name, no gender, I do not listen to anyone's prayers, I speak no language, I have no genealogy"  Instead, what matters in this moment is your vulnerability and your ability to interact with your partner. While this account describes the experiences made in our informal self-organized boxing classes, the systems of professional boxing and their marketization are loaded with identity politics carrying out fights between religions, values, and races.
"Leaving everything behind" meant for us, the artist organizers, that we did not take on the role and authority of the artist-curator. This liberating moment allowed us to be equal learners on the gym mat and to hand over the responsibility to the boxing teachers. Actually, it hardly occurred to anyone in the boxing class, that the training was organized and funded by an art institution. We introduced the project as part of Marabouparken Guestroom residency and were keen to keep this experiment as autonomous as possible, because – as already explained - we were wary of it becoming an "art piece" with all its complicated framing and conceptual load.
Boxing – against immunization and the figure of the "proper"
[this needs more work: Isabell Lorey] As I described above, the Boxing and Unboxing experiment conceived boxing not as a concept of masculinity and violence or the survival of the fittest, but as a moment of intense negotiation of border space, contagion, and border linking. In the following, I will reflect in which way this practice-based inquiry might serve as a technique to unlearn the building blocks of possessive individualism and the figure of the "proper." Possessive individualism is a critique of modern liberal-democratic theory formulated by Canadian political theorist M.B. MacPherson in his book "The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke" published by Oxford University Press in 1962. Revisiting political theories of the seventeenth century (Hobbes and Locke), MacPherson suggests "that the difficulties of modern liberal-democratic theory lie deeper than had been thought, that the original seventeenth-century individualism contained the central difficulty, which lay in its possessive quality. Its possessive quality is found in its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his own person or capacities, owing nothing to society for them. The individual was seen neither as a moral whole, nor as a part of a larger social whole, but as an owner of himself." But exactly because the concept of the proper arguably is in crisis in our contemporary moment, it is paradoxically stronger and stronger enforced by individuals, communities, and the state as political theorists Bird and Greg claim. They observe that "in our hyper-globalized world the epistemologies, institutions, and practices underwriting it have reached a state of profound crisis." Because "everything is inevitably brought into proximity and correlation, be it wars, natural disasters, climatic upheaval, or political and economic turmoil. [...] There is, accordingly, nothing that can be effectively isolated, insulated, instituted, even immunized, as something apart, something that might be considered proper only to itself." They herewith identify a crisis of the proper on which the Western Modern project is being built. As a consequence, they state that today "we are witnessing ever more drastic assertions of the essentiality of "propriety" (in the form of religious or socially conservative resurgence), "property" (in the form of highly concentrated but unstable regimes of capitalist accumulation), and/or "authenticity" (in the form of competing claims of idiomatic identity or questions of autonomous decision-making powers).
Italian philosopher Roberto Esposito has provided challenging concepts on the figure of the "proper" and the related processes of immunization in his writings about communitas. I will discuss Esposito's inquiry of communitas and immunitas later on in the chapter "Analysis". Here, I will very summarily explain his critique of the "proper subject" in order to think through in which way Esposito's category of immunization –– that as he claims "is so important that it can be taken as explicative key of the entire modern paradigm" –– can be used as a hook to reflect on the transgressive, exhilarating and troubling experience of the boxing experiments.
"Modern individuals truly become that, the perfect individual, the "absolute" individual, bordered in such a way that they are isolated and protected, but only if they are freed in advance from the debt that binds them one to the other; if they are released from, exonerated, or relieved of that contact, which threatens their identity, exposing them to possible conflict with their neighbor, exposing them to the contagion of the relation with others." This "perfect individual", the figure of the "proper", is defined by property, that what belongs to me: my identity, my ethnicity, my land. Each of these spheres turns into "a form of property that must be immunised, often in contradictory ways, from external appropriation" by producing boundaries and exclusionary mechanisms.
In a similar vein, Esposito relates the category of the proper in order to critique notions of the commons and community as exercised by communitarians and the recently very active revival of the commons. He observes the just described processes of immunization against alterity in models of community whose membership is staked exclusively on each owner's claim over their commonality. "What each has in common is "proper" only to those who belong to community." ("Community, Immunity, Biopolitics"). In contrast to this widespread understanding of community, Esposito argues, community is "what is not one's own, or what is unable to be appropriated by someone" (49). Community can only be experienced as a "loss, removal, or expropriation" because it voids one's identity rather than fulfills it. This is a very abbreviated pitch of Esposito's conception of a common, that is not characterized "by what is proper, but by what is improper, or even more drastically, by the other, by a voiding […] of property into its negative; by removing what is properly one's own that inverts and decenters the proprietary subject, forcing [her/] him to take leave of himself, to alter himself […] The community isn't a mode of being, much less a "making" of the individual subject. It is not the subject's expansion or multiplication but its exposure to what interrupts the closing and turns it inside out: a dizziness, a syncope, a spasm in the continuity of the subject." 
While Esposito's inquiry into community sounds rather theoretical in connection to a bunch of self-defining women throwing first boxing punches at each other, it is helpful to understand and articulate boxing's transgressive nature: to expose oneself to hit and being hit. It can be described as a moment of "border-swerving, border-linking and border-spacing" between the I and non-I, that Bracha L. Ettinger elaborates from a psychoanalytical perspective. The boxing renders permeable the borderlines of our "proper" subjects. As a nonverbal bodily dialogue, it transgresses the very boundaries that we elsewhere seek to protect. During sparring I deliberately forgo this established immunity – my contours become vulnerable through the mutuality of the touch: My fist touches and is being touched at the same time.
Just to recap, chapter (3) "Survey of the field" mapped the range of practices done by others. These practices create a wider context for my inquiry. Chapter (4) describes the projects, I have carried out - most of them in collaboration with others. Chapter (10), the one you are reading at the moment, reflects and theorizes on the practice projects. The following chapter (11) "Analysis" revisits the initial research questions and distills a range of topics, struggles, double-binds that emerged from the five practice projects. The following chapter also analyzes the experiment of writing a Ph.D. thesis on a wiki that to some extent challenges the dominant assumptions that a Ph.D. is an individually authored, original contribution to knowledge.
Notes: Reflection, theorization of projects
- OOMK (One Of My Kind), Heiba Lamara, Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin, The Library Was, London, BookWorks, 2017.
- See Chris Atton, "The infoshop: the alternative information centre of the 1990s", New Library World Volume 100, No 1146, Bingley, MCB University Press (Emerald), 1999, pp. 24–29; and Chris Atton, "Infoshops in the Shadow of the State," Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World, edited by N. Couldry & J. Curran, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, 2003, pp. 57–69, page 58.
- It is interesting to observe that the printed posters and their online versions that circulated in my immediate environment at Valand Academy triggered much interest and, therefore, contributions. The community of practice at the art academy as an environment of shared interests was critical as a vehicle for bonding trust. People who already knew me personally or knew about my work felt appealed to contribute. (My position within the institution, as a doctoral researcher, also provided some degree of respect or even authority, which people felt they could trust and rely on.) Besides, a large number of contributions arrived from people who worked with me previously or knew of my involvement with AND Publishing and The Piracy Project in London. It seems that both characteristics, my position as a doctoral researcher employed at the art academy as well as my previous work provided some context and legitimization.
- Gary Hall, Digitize This book! – The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008, page 81.
- Emily Roysdon and Katie Geha, "Interview with Emily Roysdon," Glasstire, Texas, 11 Nov 2012. https://glasstire.com/2012/11/11/interview-with-emily-roysdon/ See also Ecstatic Resistance, exhibition and publication, Tensta Konsthall Stockholm, 2009 and Grand Arts, Kansas City, 2010.
- Emily Drabinski, "Teaching the Radical Catalog," Radical Cataloging: Essays at the Front, edited by K.R. Roberto, Jefferson, N.C., McFarland, 2008, page 198.
- Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1989, page 48.
- Hope A. Olson, "Sameness and Difference – A Cultural Foundation of Classification," Library Resources & Technical Services, Vol 45, No 3, July 2001, pp. 115-22, page 115. http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/lrts.45n3.115
- Drabinski, Radical Catalog, page 2001.
- Charles A. Cutter, Rules for a Dictionary Catalogue, 4th ed. London: Library Association, (1904) 1962. Cited from Hope A. Olson, "The Power to Name, Locating the Limits of Subject Representation in Libraries," Signs, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Spring, 2001), The University of Chicago Press, pp. 639-668, page 641.
- Dewey, Decimal Clasification and Relative Index, page 14.
- Melvil Dewey, Decimal Clasification and Relative Index, 13th edition, Essex County, New York, Forest Press, 1932, page 43.
- In the introduction to the 1890 edition of the catalog, Dewey explains:
- Goods will be shipped to any house, institution, or individual of known responsibility, or on receipt of satisfactory references. [...] Patrons who have no means of showing their responsibility, may order C.O.D. or remit in advance to cover the bill, and any surplus will be returned with the goods shipped. A constituency scattered over the entire civilized world makes the rule a necessity." The Library Bureau, Classified Illustrated Catalog of the Library Bureau, A Handbook of Library and Office, Fittings and Supplies, Boston, 1890. https://archive.org/details/classifiedillus06buregoog/mode/2up.
- Hope A. Olson, "The Power to Name, Locating the Limits of Subject Representation in Libraries," Signs, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Spring, 2001), The University of Chicago Press, pp. 639-668, page 641.
- The ten main groups are: 000–099, general works; 100–199, philosophy and psychology; 200–299, religion; 300–399, social sciences; 400–499, language; 500–599, natural sciences and mathematics; 600–699, technology; 700–799, the arts; 800–899, literature and rhetoric; and 900–999, history, biography, and geography. These ten main groups are, in turn, subdivided again and again to provide more specific subject groups. Within each main group, the principal subseries are divided by 10; e.g., the history of Europe is placed in the 940s. Further subdivisions eventually extend into decimal numbers; e.g., the history of England is placed under 942, the history of the Stuart period at 942.06, and the history of the English Commonwealth at 942.063. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/Dewey-Decimal-Classification.
- Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan outlines the "Five Laws of Library Science."
1. Books are for use.
2. Every reader his [or her] book.
3. Every book its reader. 4. Save the time of the user.
5. The library is a growing organism.”
Ranganathan, S. R., Five Laws of Library Science, Madras, The Madras Library Association, 1931. Digitized, Hathi Trust Digital, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b99721&view=2up&seq=12. See also David Senior, "Infinite Hospitality," in Every Day the Urge Grows Stronger to Get Hold of an Object at Very Close Range by Way of Its Likeness, New York: Dexter Sinister, 2008. See also Eva Weinmayr, "Library Underground – a reading list for a coming community," Publishing as Artistic Practice, edited by Annette Gilbert, Berlin/New York: Sternberg, 2016, pp. 166-67.
- Dewey, Decimal Clasification and Relative Index, page 21.
- Elizabeth V. Spelman, Inessential Woman: Problems of Exclusion in Feminist Thought, Boston, Beacon Press, 1988, page 144.
- Spelman, Inessential Woman, page 146.
As a historical note, it is interesting that 40 years earlier, not far from the Byam Shaw School of Art site in North London, students and staff of Hornsey College of Arts occupied their school in spring 1968 demanding a radical rethinking and reorganization of art education. During this six-day sit-in, students and associated staff took control over the entire building - including its kitchen and switch-board - and produced a range of demands and manifestos that have been described as the starting point for an entire student protest movement across the UK. On 28 May 1968, the Student Action Committee (S.A.C.) called for an all-night meeting over the freezing of the Union funds by the school's Bursar. Unlike earlier protests such as against the planned merger with Middlesex University that petered eventually out, this particular call to action resulted in a six-day sit-in that had been forcibly ended by police intervention. A multiplicity of papers, declarations, proposals, and requests that were circulated through independent channels and the press originated from these 24hrs meetings ranging from concrete changes how to run the courses to the demand of representation in boards and selection committees to the conceptualizations of new learning outcomes. It's a profound and fundamental rethinking of what art education should be is highlighted in one of the published manifestos:
1. A person who designs should be a person who is capable of having meaningful relationships; a person with imagination; a person with insight into and an understanding of the world around him, and an ability to communicate.
2. This individual should have these qualities first, and be a designer (or anything else) second.
3. The fact that he may direct himself and his capabilities within a particular limited context (i.e., design) should be purely incidental.
4. However, if this "designer" does not have these qualities, he will not be able to relate what he produces to his social environment, and hence to himself.
in: "The Hornsey Affair," by students and staff of Hornsey College of Art, London: Penguin Education Special, 1969.
- In his essay "Life amongst the pirates," Daniel Alarcón reports from his visits to Peru's notorious pirate book markets in Lima that according to the author can sell three times as many copies of a book as the authorized publishers can. 'Oscar Colchado Lucio, one of a handful of Peruvian writers who actually make their living from book sales, told me of the time he’d gone to the town of Huancayo to do a reading at a very poor school. He signed some 300 books without coming across a single original. The authorized version simply wasn’t available – there were no bookstores in Huancayo.' In some cases, Alarcón explains, 'pirates have rescued work by writers the formal industry has forgotten. For example, the story of Luis Hernández, 'a little- known avant-garde poet with a cult following among university students. Photocopied versions of his out-of-print collections have been passed around for years, but no publisher had bothered to reissue his work – until a vendor from downtown Lima recognized the need, partnered with a press and came out with his own, unauthorized edition.' As Alarcón mentions, some texts get abbreviated, a few chapters arbitrarily taken out to save printing costs - without saying. The possibility of such unacknowledged modifications triggered our imagination. But Alarcón also describes an interesting tension: On one level, there is a somehow romantic idea of 'a poor, developing country with a robust informal publishing industry, the pirate as a cultural entrepreneur, a Robin Hood figure, stealing from elitist multinational publishers and taking books to the people. The myth is seductive and repeated often: book piracy in Peru, the story goes, responds to a hunger for knowledge in a country that throughout its history has been violently divided between a literate upper class and the poor, unlettered masses.' And on the other level the pirates' ruthless capitalist operations. Alarcón recounts how the state infiltrated the pirate book markets to control what is being printed. As a cultural artifact, the book has undeniable power that was used by the Fujimori government to fight its critics - most prominently novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, who had run for president but lost by a slight margin. After the Fujimori administration dissolved the congress and announced to rewrite the constitution in 1992, Llosa declared him a dictator in his weekly column in El Pais - a characterization that instigated Fujimori to silence Vargas Llosa. The government invested in large scale into pirate presses and swamped the markets with state friendly, uncritical literature - giving Vargas Llosa's publishers a hard time to survive. As Alarcón states, 'over the next few years, book piracy became a project of the state.' Daniel Alarcon, "Life amongst the pirates," Granta 109: Work, 14 Jan 2010. https://granta.com/life-among-the-pirates
- The library space was used for a range of activities that go beyond printed books, such as for an artist residency, for yoga classes in between the bookshelves, as an assembly room, a chill-out space, for book launches, self-organized lectures, and workshops. Students and staff signed up to work inside the library to avoid that the books walk away and managed a simple book lending scheme.
- The Showroom, a publicly funded art space in London, offered to host TPP right after the books had to leave the art school library space. Funded by an Arts Council grant, TPP organized a series of workshops and debates at the Showroom in spring 2013, next to an accessible Piracy Project Reading Room during Showroom opening hours..
- It might be no coincidence that Roland Barthes’ seminal short essay "Death of the Author" is published in Aspen Magazine in 1967, the same time when the Xerox photocopy machine has become widely used in libraries and offices. See Eva Hemmungs Wirtén "The Death of the Author and the Killing of Books: Assault by Machine," in No Trespassing, Authorship, Intellectual Property Rights and the Boundaries of Globalization, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2004, pp. 57-75.
- Hemmungs-Wirtén, Eva. No Trespassing, Authorship, Intellectual Property Rights and the Boundaries of Globalization, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2004. Marshall McLuhan, "Address at Vision 65, New Challenges for Human Communications", Southern Illinois University, 21-23 Oct 1965, Essential McLuhan, edited by E. McLuhan and F. Zingrone, New York, BasicBooks, pp. 216, 1995.
- Think of Riot Grrrl, in Kate Eichorn's words, "a movement defined by an explosive repertoire of gestures, styles, performances, rallying cries, and anonymous confessions reproduced on copy machines." Kate Eichhorn, Archival turn in Feminism, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 2013, page 9.
- Joseph Redwood-Martinez (ed.), An Incomplete Reader for the Ongoing Project, "One day, everything will be free… v 0.1.8", Istanbul, SALT Research & AND Public London, 2012. The early releases include interviews with Regine Basha, Celine Condorelli, Katya Sander, and Carey Young, as well as texts by Michel Bauwens, İsmail Ertürk, David Graeber, Lawrence Liang, Matteo Pasquinelli, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Dieter Roelstraete, Joshua Simon and Slavoj Žižek—but this is always already subject to change. The update to version 0.1.7 of the reader includes the addition of interviews with artists Carey Young and Annika Eriksson, texts by Alexandru Balasescu, Federica Bueti, Eva Weinmayr, and an artist project by Burak Delier. Download book
- Of course, unconventional publications can and are being collected, but these are often more arty objects, flimsy, oversized, undersized, etc., and frequently end up in the Special Collections section, framed and categorized "as different" from the main stack of the collections.
- Camille Bondon, Jacques Rancière: le mâitre ignorant, Piracy Project catalog. http://andpublishing.org/PublicCatalogue/PCat_record.php?cat_index=19. Rancière’s pedagogical proposal suggests that "the most important quality of a schoolmaster is the virtue of ignorance." (Rancière, 2010, page 1). In his book "The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation," Jacques Rancière uses the historical case of the French teacher Joseph Jacotot, who was exiled in Belgium and taught French classes to Flemish students whose language he did not know and vice versa. Reportedly he gave his students a French text to read alongside its translation and, without mediation or explanation, let the students figure out the relationship between the two texts themselves. By intentionally using his ignorance as a teaching method, Rancière claims, Jacotot removed himself as the center of the classroom, as the one who knows. This teaching method arguably destabilizes the hierarchical relationship of knowledge (between student and teacher) and, therefore, "establishes equality as the center of the educational process." Annette Krauss, "Sites for Unlearning: On the Material, Artistic and Political Dimensions of Processes of Unlearning," Ph.D., Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, 2017, p. 113. Jacques Rancière, "Education, Truth and Emancipation," London, Continuum, 2010; Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, Stanford University Press California, 1987.
- Patricia Aufderheide; Peter Jaszi; Bryan, Bello; Tijana, Milosevic; "Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report", New York: College Art Association, 2014.
- See "A Day at the Courtroom," Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating, edited by Andrea Francke and Eva Weinmayr, London, AND Publishing, pp.91-133, 2014. Download book
- , p.246) Carys J. Craig, "Symposium: Reconstructing the Author-Self: Some Feminist Lessons for Copyright Law," American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, 15, No. 2, 2007.
- The letter that Femke circulated was a response to the Custodians Online letter "In solidarity with Library Genesis and Sci-Hub" (2015) and Letter "Alexandra Elbakyan to Mr. Robert W. Sweet" (2015). See letters here: http://constantvzw.org/w/?u=https://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Interfacing_the_law
- In an open-ended reader, published by AND publishing in 2014, each of the following terms will be explored from different perspectives and fields of knowledge. "Borrowing," "Poaching," "Plagiarising," "Pirating," "Stealing," "Gleaning," "Referencing," "Leaking," "Copying," "Imitating," "Adapting," "Faking," "Paraphrasing," "Quoting," "Reproducing," "Using," "Counterfeiting," "Repeating," "Cloning," "Translating".  is an open-ended book, that develops as people buy shares in selected chapters exploring one of these terms. [Explain funding, production model]
- Ramon Lobato, "The Paradoxes of Piracy," Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South, edited by Lars Eckstein and Anja Schwarz, London, New York: Bloomsbury, 2014, pp.121-123.
- Daniel Heller-Roazen, The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations, New York, Zone Books, 2009, page 35.
- "Etymology of Pirate", English Words of (Unexpected) Greek Origin, 2 Mar 2012, http://ewonago.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/etymology-of-pirate [accessed 14 February 2018].
- When The Piracy Project was invited to create a reading room at the New York Art Book Fair in 2012, a librarian from the Pratt Institute dropped by every single day, because she was so fixed on the questions, the pirate books and their complex strategies of queering the category of authorship posed to standardized bibliographic practices. Based on this question, we organized a cataloging workshop "Putting the Piracy Collection on the shelf" at Grand Union in Birmingham, where we developed a new cataloging vocabulary for cases in the collection. See https://grand-union.org.uk/gallery/putting-the-piracy-collection-on-the-shelves/
- Pamphlet produced by participants of workshop "One Publishes to Find Comrades", Kunstverein Munich, Nov 2014. See publication documenting this local archive research here
- Di Franco refers to Abi Warburg’s (1866–1929) unfinished "Mnemosyne Project" and Marion Mitchell Stancioff (1903–1994) "Lost Language" index card project, claiming that the "Warburg Institute looks not to follow standards but to set them, testing the fixed nature of standardization with material that moves across art historical boundaries." See Karen Di Franco, "The Library Medium", Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating, edited by Andrea Francke and Eva Weinmayr, London, AND Publishing, 2014, pp. 77-90, page 80.Download pdf
- Teaching to Transgress Toolbox (TTTT) is a collaboration between HDK-Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, École de Récherche Graphique (erg) in Brussels, and Institut Superieure des Beaux-Arts (ISBA) in Besancon to collectively address questions of inclusive learning and teaching in an environment, where tendencies towards polarisation and discrimination in wider society have a perceptible influence on attitudes and behaviors within education, and in our classrooms. In an attempt to meet these contemporary threats to diversity, questions about pedagogical inclusivity have risen to the forefront. Critical intersectional feminist pedagogies have, by now, been proven to provide valuable conceptual and practical tools with which to focus on inclusivity. Intersectionality asserts that oppressions (based on racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another. This is particularly true in the field of art, where teaching is known to be open to devising and applying new critical frameworks, tools of analysis, and creative practices. The program seeks to foster inclusive pedagogies, and question the so-called neutrality and equality in systems of schooling, production and consumption in the arts. How can people from various backgrounds, fields, abilities, gender identification, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion collectively explore how intersectional and de-colonial approaches can activate and spread embodied and theoretical knowledges. http://www.ttttoolbox.net/
- Philippe Kinoo, "Autorités, pouvoirs, décisions, responsabilités dans une institution," Qu'estce qui fait autorité dans les institutions médicosociales?, ERES, 2007.
- Some recent discourse examples include: Transmediale, Berlin, 2019, "Affective Infrastructures", https://transmediale.de/content/study-circle-affective-infrastructures. "New Institutionalism," "Organisational Aesthetics” (Olga Gorianova, 2018). See also How Institutions Think, edited by Paul O'Neill, Lucy Steeds and Mick Wilson, Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 2017. Building on sociologist Mary Douglas' book with the same name (Syracuse University Press, 1986) exploring institutional politics from the perspective of art, curatorial, educational, and research practices.
- See "Rethinking the art school," a conversation between Laurence Rassel, currently director of École de Récherche Graphique (erg) in Brussels and Cornelia Sollfrank, Creating Commons, ZHdK Zürich, 2018. http://creatingcommons.zhdk.ch/rethinking-the-art-school/
- We also discussed in a meeting with the prefect possible precedences, such as Serpentine Gallery Marathon in London to have arguments in the case the superordinate university procurement would ask questions.
- For example, just three days before the event, we received an email from an administrator stating that preparing food for 120 people in the academy building would breach the Health and Safety regulations of the university. Two days later another administrator brought us – as a gesture of acknowledgment and support – a monstrous squash vegetable home-grown in her garden to cook for the communal dinner.
- Andrea Francke, Ross Jardine, "Bureaucracy’s Labour: The Administrator as Subject in Management, Parse Issue 5, Univesity of Gothenburg, Spring 2017.
- Dean Spade, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law, 2nd edition. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.
- In this text, written one year after the event, the working group reflected on the process, hopes, and results of the mobilization by revisiting and commenting on the original text "Mapping the concepts and ways of working for Let's Mobilize" Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy workbook, September 2016, HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg. Download draft text.
- Johanna Gustavsson and Lisa Nyberg, MFK Manual, Malmö Free University for Women, 2011. http://www.lisanyberg.net/do-the-right-thing-a-manual-from-mfk/
- Jo Freeman, "The Tyranny of Structurelessness, Why organizations need some structure to ensure they are democratic," 1972. http://struggle.ws/hist_texts/structurelessness.html.
- "I do always wonder how as hosts, undertaking so much care work and logistical preparations, we are able to engage with everyone and the discussions without burning out?" Frances Stacey, Collective Gallery Edinburgh, email 1 May 2017
- "First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude and joy for the Femped mobilization. Thank you for arranging this fantastic event! It was inviting, relaxed, intelligent, critical, playful, generous. It was also wonderful to meet all these people in this setting - I think it made everyone go off-guard. Even though the atmosphere was friendly and allowing, there was also room for criticality - especially during the Thursday session before lunch. That was very valuable! [...] If femped is to serve as a role model for the Academy - and in many regards, it should - I cannot stress enough that the work required to arrange an event needs to be acknowledged by the institution as work. Anything else is unsustainable, unethical, and excluding. To define what work is and how it is valued has occupied feminism for decades." Ann-Charlotte Glasberg Blomquist, Lecturer Valand Academy, email 15 Nov 2016
- Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons, Fugitive Planning and Black Study, Wivenhoe, New York, Port Watson, Minor Compositions, 2013, page 106.
- Joanna Drucker, "Collaboration without Object(s) in the Early Happenings," Art Journal, Winter 1993, pp. 51-58, page 55.
- Kerstin Bergendahl, a teacher colleague at Valand Academy in an email to the organizers of Let’s Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?, quoted in Andreas Engman, Eva Weinmayr, Mary Coble, Rose Borthwick "Revisiting Let’s Mobilize," in Decolonialism after the educational turn, Black Dog Publishing (forthcoming).
- Nora Sternfeld, "Para-Museum of 100 Days: documenta between Event and Institution", On Curating, Issue 33, Zürich, 2017, page 166.
- See United Voices of the World Union: https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/.
- See Solstar: https://solstarsports.org/
- See gal-dem Shadow Sistxrs: http://gal-dem.com/shadow-sistxrs-learning-protect-soul/
- Ar Parmacek, "Ar’s preparing for text - Selection of some of AND’s initial questions,"Boxing and Unboxing Calendar, London, AND Publishing, Stockholm: Marabouparken Konsthall, 2018, page 71.
- Janet O'Shea, Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals about Martial Arts Training, Oxford University Press, 2018.
- Janet O'Shea refers to sparring as a technique to learn to compete and collaborate at the same time. O'Shea "Beyond Winning.
- Anna Zett "Theory of Everything (Circuit Training)", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4NSM4aBnc0.
- One example would be Cashius Clay turned Muhammed Ali vocally turning his fights into symbolic battles between races as well as Islamism and Western values. Another example relates to systems of authorization in professional championship boxing in the UK: Winston Churchill in his role as UK home secretary called of the interracial fight between black British boxer Jack Johnson and his white British contender Billy Wells, due to anxieties over the fitness of the White race playing into imperial concerns about the consequences of a black fighter defeating a white one. This resulted in a color bar 1911-1948, where Black British boxers were allowed to fight for the British Empire title, but not for the British Championship title, even when they were born in Britain.
- Janet O'Shea "Beyond Winning," TedXUCLA, organized by UCLA Extension Visual Arts and UCLA Residential Life, 2017. https://danceprogram.duke.edu/file/beyond-winning-janet-oshea-tedxucla
- It might be worth to emphasize the importance of creating accessible and safe spaces for female boxing since boxing appears still to be a much a male-dominated sport. Female boxing was first included in the London Summer Olympics in 2012.
- Crawford Brough Macpherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke, Oxford University Press, 1962, page 3.
- Greg Bird, Jonathan Short, "Community, Immunity, and the Proper - an introduction to the political theory of Roberto Esposito," Angelaki, Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, volume 18, no 3, Sep 2013, London, Routledge, page 7.
- Roberto Esposito, Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community, translated by Timothy C. Campbell, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2010.
- Esposito, Communitas, page 13.
- Esposito, Communitas, page 7.
- I am borrowing these three terms from artist, psychoanalyst, and feminist theorist, Bracha L. Ettinger who defines (in contrast to Lacan and Levinas) the matrixial space of the feminine uterus as “not a symbol for an invisible, unintelligible, originally, passive receptacle onto which traces are engraved by the originally and primary processes, rather, it is a concept for a transforming border space of encounter of the co-emerging I and the neither fused nor rejected unrecognized non-I. She takes “the feminine/prenatal meeting as a model for relations and processes of change and exchange in which the non-I is unknown to the I (or rather unrecognized: known by a non-cognitive process), but not an intruder. Rather the non-I is a partner-in-difference of the I. [...] It can serve as a model for a sharable dimension of subjectivity in which elements that discern one another as non-I, without knowing each other, co-emerge and coinhabit a joint space, without fusion and without rejection." Bracha L. Ettinger, The Matrixial Borderspace, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, series "Theory Out Of Bounds" (Book 28), 2006, page 74.