6 Analysis: Micro-politics of Publishing
In this chapter, I will revisit the initial questions that triggered this research and analyze how these shifted and reframed themselves through the five projects. I started from a set of concerns regarding the political and emancipatory nature of the book, an aspect that is often understood as limited to the political nature of its content. I set out to explore the possible ways in which a book might be produced (authored, edited, printed, bound), disseminated (circulated, described, cataloged), and read (used) in political and emancipatory ways. Departing from the notion that knowledges are socially constructed, contingent, and situated, the project aims to investigate the act of publication as a social and pedagogical, and as such, a political process.
At its core, this inquiry aims to expand and test the normative criteria of what constitutes a publication. One of the emergent questions was whether publishing might be seen as a verb (a process) rather than a noun (i.e., the finished object). Could practice itself be understood as a form of publishing? A teaching situation, for example – a workshop, seminar, or group dialogue, where knowledge is collectively created and shared at the same time – could this also be considered as publishing? What kinds of publics are necessary or relevant to a publication process? A collaboration, a collective, a scene, a process, a dynamic, a method – can we frame any such situation or process as "publishing"? How fixed or stable does a transmission of knowledges need to be in order to be called a "publication"? And what is the function and effect of such stability?
Initially, I had seen publishing as an outright positive and constructive act, as a tool for having voice and developing emancipatory agency. However, as the research progressed, this view became complicated by certain insights achieved through the inquiry. These insights recognize the limits and contradictions of collective knowledge practices (in institutional contexts but also outside them) and develop possible pragmatics and tactics to negotiate these contradictions – not as a universal solution, but in the form of contingent and situational approaches.
In the following sections, I will identify and analyze the paradoxes, conflicts, and contradictions facing an emancipatory and intersectional approach to publishing, caused by (i) systems of validation and audit culture, (ii) the stasis of the "finite" object, (iii) the authority these discrete published objects produce. The discussion then leads to broader questions of the coercive mutual reciprocity between authorship, authorization, and authority, and the effects of this entanglement on my practice, and the writing of this kappa in particular. The series of bullet points below capture the main conflicts, contradictions and other findings which are expanded in each of the numbered sections that follow.
- Collectivity does not stand for a harmonic idea of togetherness.
- Collectivity is distinct from collaboration, co-operation, or collegiality.
- The messiness in collective work can be unpredictable, exhausting, irritating – but it is worthwhile.
- Working collectively is political, as it deviates from the individuating societal default.
- Institutional efficiency appears unable to properly afford and account for collective work adequately – hence it tends to be precarious.
- Collective work, though intended to be created on equal terms, can nevertheless spawn unintended hierarchies.
- Classifying, naming, and framing, have the structural feature that each approach valorizes one point of view and silences another.
- Library classifications are not as neutral and universal as they appear.
- Rather than being a neutral search tool, the catalog is a cultural object.
- The catalog is itself a meaning-making structure.
- The catalog and its records are best approached as sites of local knowledge and negotiation rather than authoritative and stable bibliographic descriptions.
- Knowledges fixed in print or code produce authority.
- Unfixing can happen in the form of oral and discursive practices, versioning, unbinding and unboxing.
- Fixity creates accountability as a valuable facet of authorship but it tends to be unnecessarily merged with ownership.
- Unfixing means to understand publishing as a verb (a process) rather than a noun (the finished object).
- A publication can function as a currency in systems of audit and cultural capital.
- A publication can function as a mediating "third object" in the context of institutional pedagogy.
- A publication can function as a prop that moves the reader into new forms of thinking and being together which is, ultimately, more important than the prop itself.
- Citation, as a key mechanism to acknowledge, critique and build on other knowledges, struggles to deal with non-stabilized utterances or practices – e.g. those that are in flux, oral, "unauthored" or not published.
- By creating new relations, bringing resources, thinkers and practices in new arrangements citation can produce these resources, thinkers and practices anew.
- Citation is an act of validation.
- Citation as an act of relationality can also create concentrations of power.
- Citation can operate as a reproductive technology, reproducing certain knowledges around certain bodies and excluding others.
- There is no quick, simple or universal way to come to terms with the entanglement of authorship and private ownership as constructed by copyright.
- Authorship without ownership can be imagined.
- Authorial responsibility and authorial credit are two distinct facets of authorship.
- Collectivizing authorship helps to unsettle the individuating apparatus, but still has to deal with questions of ownership once it enters systems of validation (publisher, institution, book market).
- Authorship – from a feminist decolonial perspective – can be an important device for accountability that aims at decentering the universalism of the Eurocentric canon.
- We need an altogether more flexible idea of authorship, rethinking the author as an instigator, maker, doer, teacher – somebody who "causes something".
- Such redefinition expands the role of the author beyond a creator of discrete objects that are bound to a tangible and fixed form.
- Such an understanding of authorship requires new criteria of evaluation: criteria that pay attention to the ways we publish, the inclusivity of our tools, and who is encouraged to speak or remain silent.
- This shift would also entail a rethinking of "what can be measured" into "what we most value".
- To envision authorship and citational ecologies differently, the metaphor of a compost heap could be helpful, with its economies of feeding, digesting, excreting, and transforming.
- Authorship here is decentralized since a multiplicity of agents is at work to create this nutrient-rich milieu.
- In such decentralized ecologies, authorial practice would be fundamentally collective and in motion.
- Decentralized ecologies would include open-source and resource sharing, and licenses that permit re-use.
- These ecologies would also need to overcome the binary "open" (free culture, copyleft) versus "closed" (copyright, intellectual property).
- We need a less technical understanding of "distribution". See compost heap.
- The sharing of my research findings in the format of a thesis is an act of publishing in its own right; it turns itself into an experiment.
- Using the open-source MediaWiki to develop the thesis "in public" emphasizes the dialogical character of knowledge practice. It is simultaneously production and dissemination.
- There are dilemmas and double binds that I have to negotiate when, as an individual subjected to an exam protocol, I try to migrate collective work into the institutional context of academia.
- As I am authorized by a research institution to "author" this thesis, there is a danger that my individual framing could historicize and cement these dialogical, intersubjective, unstable, and contingent collective practices.
- 1 Collectivity
- 2 Politics of Naming
- 3 Politics of Fixing
- 4 Politics of Mediating: the prop, the third object, and institutional pedagogy
- 5 Politics of Citing
- 6 How could we imagine authorship without ownership?
- 7 A more flexible idea of authorship altogether: from "output" to "input": contingent, contextual
- 8 Milieu: Compost. Feeding, digesting, excreting
- 9 Authorship, authorization, authority: remarks on the collaborative wiki
- 10 Notes (Analysis)
This PhD project set out to explore the micro-politics of publishing and its implicit "blockages" for emancipatory, collective knowledge practices. One assumption was that working collectively could be a method to resist the pervasive neo-liberal regime that encourages cultural workers to operate, as Susan Kelly (2013, 53) notes, "as hyper-individuals in a competitive and brand-oriented set of institutional and market hierarchies."
There is a difference between working collaboratively and collectively. Collaboration could mean two or more people working towards a specific goal. It does not necessarily imply that the work is collective since each could carry out discrete tasks individually, that are later brought together to form a common outcome. In a similar vein, collectivity in an academic institution should not be confused with collegiality. Grounded on collaboration and constructive cooperation within the institution, collegiality "can be associated with ensuring homogeneity, and hence with practices that exclude persons on the basis of their difference from a perceived norm.” It can also be seen as merely "working together" to advance efficiency and productivity – in competition with other universities. But it is worth emphasizing that what I outline here are tendencies rather than binaries – collegiality, in the sense described, can be understood as a particular form of collective work, which does of course overlap with more resistant forms of collectivity and may also allow for their emergence.
To clarify the difference I identify between these overlapping tendencies, I would propose that collectivity is most often based on a specific political approach. It tends to be noncoercive. It may be hard to achieve when whatever goal is collectively sought is grounded in wage labor relations with allocated tasks, roles, hierarchies, and individual responsibilities. Collectivity is contingent. It is not stable. It can dissolve at any moment if actors prioritize different matters and move on to other things. It can produce moments of great happiness and utter trouble.
The collective work in the various projects that form part of this PhD often began with a specific idea, but the actual steps on this journey were not known in advance. Likewise, no specific roles or tasks were assigned at the beginning. I believe that this is the value of it. There was mostly a trigger event or a shared concern, which was then developed over time through exchange and thinking together. The motivations, concerns and desires of those involved were often not fully articulated at the beginning. A shared excitement to start a common project was, however, tangible. Still, what actually drove those involved was only revealed gradually, when propositions or steps taken by one of the actors came as a surprise to the others. These were moments of discovery of each other's positionalities and subjectivities. They reveal where “somebody comes from” (literally and metaphorically) and they expose the unspoken assumptions we sometimes make of each other when working together. To give an example: before embarking together on the five-year-long collective work Piracy Project, Andrea Francke and I did not know each other, but we often did not have to explain much to each other because our perceptions of many situations aligned. But there were moments when they did not. These were instances where Andrea's cultural and heritage (coming from a post-colonial society and sociability, growing up under various dictatorships, settling in London as a middle-class Latin American migrant) embodied a position that was different from mine (growing up in politically more stable but haunted-by-its-past Germany, settling in London as a middle-class European migrant). Such differing positionalities, caused by differing cultural backgrounds and ages, make a collective inquiry complex and messy. They come with unexpected baggage, concerns and questions. Therefore, I would assert that collectivity does not stand for a romantic, harmonic idea of togetherness. Rather, collectivity implies facing each other's subjectivities, and diversities; producing agreements and disagreements. This can be a transversal moment, one of dialogue, negotiation, and learning to transgress one's own horizon and boundaries. Artist and activist Susan Kelly (2002) describes such moments of transversality as
- a conceptual tool to open hitherto closed logics and hierarchies and to experiment with relations of interdependency in order to produce new assemblages and alliances. […] It is a tool to experiment with different forms of (collective) subjectivity that break down oppositions between the individual and the group.
I would propose that this form of generative messiness is at the core of collectivity. It is a constant back and forth between different knowledges and ways of knowing (following the distinction by de Sousa Santos)and between the "we" and the "I".
Annotated by EW
This poses a certain challenge since it makes the boundaries of each member porous and vulnerable: I can be touched, I can be moved. This movement could be described as a process of de-immunization – something that is at stake, very tangibly, during the sparring exercises in the “Boxing and Unboxing” project (as discussed in chapter 05*Reflection).
It is revealing to reflect on how my role shifted throughout the different projects. “Boxing and Unboxing” as well as the “Piracy Project” originated in a shared idea and developed with similar commitment by those involved. In contrast, the “Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?” workgroup was more fluid with various members dropping in and out. Here a core workgroup formed that kept the ball rolling. The “Library of Inclusions and Omissions” was again different in that I invited people to submit books and materials that were important to them to add to the Reading Room collection. The fact that it was conceived as a community library, as well as, to some extent, an art project, created a problem in that there was a clear delineation between me as the instigating artist and a public invited to contribute. Thus the project fell short of mobilizing what a collective, non-institutionally affiliated project might have been able to mobilize, namely a collectively sustained project.
Instigating a supposedly collective project and situating it at the same time in the economies of cultural capital (by framing it as art) poses a fundamental conflict. I "owned" the project, and others contributed. In order for a collective project to be sustainable, the framework must be built collectively, as an act of instituting. Laurence Rassel explains this in relation to a workplace, like an art school. "On the one hand, institution is a creative process, apt to institute, to found, to establish. This is “instituting”, a process described in the present tense. On the other hand, “the instituted” is the result of a creative process. The instituted is what is crystallized, frozen and established. Alienation occurs when the instituted takes precedence over the institution." (Rassel and Gorgol, 2019). This claim can be applied to collective work more broadly. If processes are "instituted" collectively, there is no need for one instigating artist, a project leader, or similar, but there is a need to collectively institute a structure, one that can be adapted and adjusted according to need.
Politics of Naming
When knowledges are collectively constructed, how do we attribute roles, authorship and ownership? During the years of my publishing activity, writing the colophon at the end of a collective process always presented deep trouble.The colophon is a mechanism of liability and credit. It marks the temporality and context of the book. It specifies and acknowledges the contributors and their respective roles. It provides all these data for bibliographic practices that will be replicated (presumably) in perpetuity. These specifications appear as metadata in library catalogs (MARC records), research repositories, archives, and the book trade (ISBN). These international standards have created a rigid set of form fields and categories capturing the book's provenance. These inflexible categories seem to produce a clash with the valuable messiness of collective practice and collectivized outcomes, as described above.
Annotated by EW
Connected to the question of attribution are the power dynamics and implications of classifying, naming and framing. Scholars that critically studied the concept and history of classification (Ranganathan 1931; Star and Bowker 1999; Drabinski 2008, 2010, 2013; Berman 1971; Olson 2000, 2001, 2007; Knowlton 2005; Senior 2008) revealed the implicit biases and dilemmas of fundamental and structural classification principles: each standard and each category valorizes one point of view and silences another. Despite the claims of neutrality and universality – often attached to classification schemes – they are socially produced and embedded structures and they "carry traces of all the intentional and unintentional racism, sexism, and classism of the workers who create them." (Drabinski 2008, 198). That ultimately means that any efforts to “fix” the terminology are necessarily restricted by the dilemmas of classification itself. “It is not possible to do classification objectively. It is the nature of subject analysis to be subjective.” (Drabinski 2008, 198).
Yet the projects in this inquiry also would accept that forms of classification are deeply embedded in almost all knowledge practices, from large-scale universalist systems to more flexible ad hoc arrangements. And that there can much value in classification systems for developing knowledges. On this basis, and understanding that the project of classification is impossible to do objectively, it may be said that the projects in this inquiry have explored and developed alternative approaches and possible frameworks for non-objective classification systems.
The experiments with the changing organizational categories when displaying the pirated books on the reading room shelves have shown that the different categories used produced on each occasion different entry points and varied perceptions of the books and what they do. This tactic has an eye-opening effect, and can be applied in small scale projects, but is not feasible when it comes to big repositories, due to the labor involved in constantly re-organizing large amounts of books.
The LIO showed that the book record itself could become “writeable” by asking the contributors for a rationale as to why they added this specific book to the community resource, and why they wanted to share it with others. Here the record is not an authoritative and neutral bibliographic description of the books’ content, but a trace of the readers’ meaning-making process and a description of the books’ agency, from the perspective of a particular reader. To share this process, to disclose what the book moved or opened up for the reader can be seen as a mechanism to find affinities, to socialize reading by connecting the library users through their readings, their discoveries, desires, struggles, and hopes. As such I would identify the insights that emerged from these projects as being: (i) naming and classifying are political endeavors; (ii) as a representation of what is cataloged, the catalog itself forms a meaning-making structure.
Rather than constituting a mere search tool the catalog and its records are cultural objects that invite examination, critique, and negotiation. Both projects, in their distinct ways of provisional system-making demonstrate that it is not the books’ content alone that determine how knowledges are created and shared, but also the protocols and ecologies that are created around it.
Politics of Fixing
The assumption that stability is a key property of a book (and also a precondition to its inclusion into library catalogs) generated a whole set of questions and attempts to explore this fixity's implications and limitations further.I have previously examined the perception that publishing means temporarily stabilizing knowledge by fixing it to a material form (paper, ink, screen, code). As an object, detached from its makers (people) as well as its historic moments (time) and ecologies (context) of production, it can circulate and spread into different regions, circumstances, and epochs.
But what is the problem with this fixity? The book, as a discrete object, turns knowledge via authorship into private property based on copyright and the related claim of originality. In systems of audit this knowledge, in its fixed form, tends to turn into an asset, a proof of excellence that gets authorized and validated due to the fact that it has been turned into a document. As an end product of a process, it is this discrete output that can be audited and therefore fed into systems that are based on a logic of calculation (discussed below). It is not necessarily the stabilization per se – the book itself – that is here deemed problematic, but the status, value, and authority a publication is given within the wide field of knowledge practices. On the other hand, fixing knowledges in publication form also produces accountability. This was important, for example, for university reformers from the 18th up to the 21st century who have celebrated the act of publication as a means to help minimize bulging concentrations of power and unsustainable systems of patronage, which were prevalent in the early modern university. They saw publication as an efficient vehicle to bring more transparency and objectivity into systems and networks of power patronage based on familial status, inheritance or personal connections.
Likewise, multiple revised editions of books with new introductions and commentators challenge in part the assertion that the book is a finite and resolved object. Yet the problem remains, that in today's culture of new public management its asset-like character privileges publication over most other utterances and processes of creating and sharing knowledge, a development in Western modernity that has been conceptualized by many decolonial and critical theory scholars.
The Piracy Project’s tactics of “versioning”, of reproducing, copying, emulating, modifying and pirating existing works as a mechanism to question the property form of the book, and of knowledges more widely, point towards two facets of fixity: the premise of permanence and stability of the printed book, and that of authorship. Both are discussed in the chapter 05*Reflection, in *Queering the authority of the printed book, and in *Unsolicited Collaborations: queering the authorial voice.
The Piracy Project Reader Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating, for example, applies a strategy of versioning, that ultimately attempts to test how a publication can grow and change over time. The first version of the book was published with a number of chapters – each exploring one of the terms above – to be written in the future. The book’s purpose was to initiate thinking and have the thinking feed back into new versions of the book. “This book is not finished. It is the start of a dialogue that will grow as we go along.” This open-endedness attempts to debate the assumption that a book is an endpoint of a process – instead it conceives publication as an instigating medium, similar to a prop.
Politics of Mediating: the prop, the third object, and institutional pedagogy
I started this inquiry by asking how publishing can create spaces (in the figurative and physical sense) for better mutual understanding and rethinking relations between people. I knew well from my prior experiences of teaching critical (feminist) strategies of publishing that the process of collectively working on a publication can be a pedagogical and, as such, a political process – but more exploration was required.
Analyzing the experimental production and dissemination of the Let’s Mobilize workbook however showed that the pedagogical and political agency of a publication is its function to act as a "prop". This concept proposes a fundamental shift from valuing the object (as discrete countable and accountable output) for what it does, for its agency to move into new relations, and as a tool for thinking together. Ultimately, as Moten and Harney (2013, 106) state, this new way of being and thinking together is more important than the prop itself.
In referring to pedagogy above, I am not referring to the transfer of skills. Of course, learning how to do a layout, prepare a prepress file, processes around printing, paper, and binding are useful skills to acquire, but I was much more interested in the function of this object that we were making together, its function as an initiator of collective practice itself. Therefore it could also be said that a publication can operate as a "mediating third object", as conceptualized in institutional pedagogy and institutional psychotherapy, laid out in the chapter 05*Reflection.
The Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy workbook is a good example of a "mediating third object". This term was conceptualized by Gary Genosko (2002, 9) as an object that "exists outside of faceto-face relations and upon which work is done cooperatively, and for which responsibility is collectively assumed, through a series of obligatory exchanges."
The workbook, as mediating third object, therefore had two functions. Internally, it acted as a material site and an occasion for the group to come together, and through the practice of sharing, articulate and crystalize ideas and concerns. For instance, by producing a piece of collective writing – "the Glossary" in the workbook – the working group's thoughts materialized in a concrete way. Externally these thoughts acquired a social existence in the form of the disseminated workbook and the posters on the walls that turned the academy into a walkable book. This served as an invitation to the school community for a critical discussion and reflection on prevailing institutional habits, practices of learning and teaching, and also to prepare the ground for the collective analysis of these topics during the three-day event (mobilization). Here the publication, situated and contingent, was a means and not an end.
Therefore, the Let's Mobilize workbook had to some extent a real-life effect in attempting to rethink relations between members of the art school. It "instituted", to a certain degree, modes of being and working together, of learning and teaching, which disrupted or at least initiated a rethinking of institutional habits at the art school. The invitation to do this – via the workbook and its experimental dissemination – was taken up by the art school community and the workbook was subsequently used in a range of courses at the art school.
Politics of Citing
As I have shown, a publication's capacity to act as a "third object" with others builds on my initial assumption that knowledge is socially constructed. Knowledge, according to this understanding, is built on sharing, imitation, and dialogue, and is fundamentally relational and collective. Citation, therefore, is a key method of acknowledging relationships and interdependencies. When I cite, I make visible: with whom I am in dialogue, what I am referring to, whether human agents, non-human agents, tools or practices.
Citation is however not just about disclosing such dialogue, it is also generating new relations, and as Karen Barad would claim, it generates the cited elements to an extent anew. This generative aspect of bringing elements in relation, what Barad calls “infra-action” is the topic of the conversation with Femke Snelting (Appendix 2). The significance for the discussion of citation here lies in the generative agency of “re-inventing” specific elements by the way they are brought together through citational practice.
Citation, of course, can also work as contraposition – as a site of citational contestation that can be generative through revealing potential omissions or claims to be disputed, as I will show in section 6.2*It does matter who is speaking: a feminist, de-colonial perspective.
Such relationality is at the core of the Library of Inclusions and Omissions, that, via the book records, connects the reader (contributor) to the book (in the beginning I used to name it “patronage” or “homage”, a description that did not hold up over time to describe the quality of this relational aspect), and through the book (and its rationale for sharing) to other readers – their hopes, desires and struggles. I would claim that this act of connecting could be a form of citational practice – in an expanded sense.
With a different approach, citation and relationality, are also asserted in the Piracy Project. Here, via "unsolicited collaborations" in the form of unauthorized modifying, reproducing, and intervening into the authority of published books, a new and at times contested relationship between the source and the pirate is set up. With its main focus in investigating the enclosures that arise from intellectual property and copyright protection, the Piracy Projects consequently also examines the complexities and conflicts of the grey zone that emerges through the project, where citation, cultural appropriation and plagiarism cross over. It is the practice of "teasing, making an attempt, contending with", and to some extent "to give trouble," as I framed it in the chapter 05*Reflection, theorization of projects, section 2.4*The social agency of piracy, that tries to unpack the potential of finding new ways of sharing and relating, but also the dangers of such practice when unauthorized “re-use” might oppress others.
How do I relate to somebody else's work? What are my rights, and responsibilities, when I refer to, use, cite or pirate somebody's work? Is it an act of borrowing, poaching, plagiarizing, pirating, stealing, gleaning, referencing, leaking, copying, imitating, adapting, faking, paraphrasing, quoting, reproducing, using, counterfeiting, repeating, cloning, or translating?
Citational politics turn complicated when it comes to questions of concentration of power, visibility and authority. In a seminar during the first year of my PhD studies, a question was put to us: "Which material do you access for your research? What sources do you consult? And where do you find things?" One of my peers responded: "In a phone call with my mum." It sharply made apparent the contrast between formalized and established academic knowledge-formation mechanisms and the informal and unpredictable learning methods rooted in friends, allies, and family. The three questions pointed at the politics of citation. They raised the possibility of bringing on board the voices, sources, and other forms of utterances that, due to academic convention, are less liable to be acknowledged.
Throughout my research practice, I experienced the tension between informal ways of knowing and the institutionally authorized canon of the colonial Modern Project. This experience triggered, on the one hand, the need to examine the field in between the two. This includes, on the one hand, the interactions and multiple power relations, reinforcements, convergent oppressions, violence, and exclusions that can occur within the spectrum of knowledge practices, and, on the other, the desire to look for methods to foster dialogue and articulations between different kinds of knowledge.
Citation, a key technology for knowledge practices, can sometimes prove problematic. For instance, as I have shown, my practice tends to develop in dialogue. I use dialogue here in the Deleuzian sense, as the ability to "populate" and "be populated by others." (Deleuze and Parnet 1987, 9). References and connections, therefore, emerge from encounters, from "doing together" and "thinking with." As Gilles Deleuze describes:
- You encounter movements, ideas, events, entities. All these things have proper names, but the proper name does not designate a person or a subject. It designates a zigzag, something which passes or happens between the two. (Deleuze and Parnet 1987, 6),
But how to reference a zigzag? How do you name, cite or refer to knowledges that are in flux, oral, not "authored" or published? How would you potentially reference a situation, an encounter, an environment, or the tools you are using? What counts as a citable "publication"? What counts as citable at all? Academic style guides give an idea of how to reference personal communication, but the questions I am asking above seem much more fundamental.
For example, artist and researcher Femke Snelting pointed out in a conversation with me that Donna Haraway (2015, 161) refers in one of her texts to anthropologist Marilyn Strathern's study of Melanesian sociality. Haraway acknowledges the Melanesians first (as authors of their culture and society, so to speak) and then Marilyn Strathern's analysis of it second. This seems a significant shift.
This analysis of the politics of citation is also relevant to my practice of writing this PhD thesis. In Western academia, citational ecologies are tightly connected to regimes of authorship, a discussion that unfolds throughout this PhD. Citational methods do not operate the same way in different disciplines, but it is important to register that there are politics at play, since citing can be, according to Sara Ahmed (2013), a "rather successful reproductive technology, a way of reproducing the world around certain bodies."
During a conference held at HDK-Valand to mark the 150th anniversary of art education in Gothenburg, the keynote speaker happened to reference well-known white Western male authors, artists, and theorists exclusively in his contribution. This is not an unfamiliar situation, even today, but is perhaps all the more troubling for the fact that it takes place in the context of a celebration of art education and reinforces the sense that education is (still) mainly for and about this one dominant demographic. It shows that citational structures can construct a disciplinary cosmos that excludes all sort of other bodies and knowledges – a cosmos, as Sarah Ahmed says, in which other bodies do not exist (Ahmed 2013).
Citing can also be seen as a strategic and/or necessary approach to claim a space in academia. The mechanism is simple and tempting. I put myself in relation to and in proximity to validated voices, hoping that my own writing might get similar recognition. I first map the field. I demonstrate that I am knowledgeable about the established authorities in the discipline, and then I craft my contribution in relation to them. I reference, I cite the orthodoxy in order to be taken seriously. This bears the risk that I inherit and, critically or not, reproduce this tradition – I cite myself “into an academic existence."
Reflecting on my own citational practice throughout the different sections, I am not free of this risk. My references are partly based on personal relationships, direct encounters, conversations, workshops, or discussions, and partly on reading. Here, most sources are published books that have attained a position of some authority within their respective disciplines. Such institutional validation tends to produce structural exclusions and omissions. In the Humanities, for instance, we can observe a striving for institutional power that goes hand in hand with oligopolistic tendencies in the publishing industry, as a recent study shows.
When I set out to explore the micro-politics of publishing, I stated that rather than being interested in the book as a discrete container for radical content alone, I was interested in the potentially radical, political, and emancipatory ways it is made and shared, as well as “owned”. In the previous sections, I have discussed the messy relationships within my collective practices, and I have shown how “fixing” produces an object that easily turns into an asset when it enters regimes of validation and audit. In this section, I will discuss the interplay between authorship and ownership and the attempts in the projects to find ways to imagine the former without the latter. Ownership is, of course, challenged by Free Culture advocates and the open-source and copyleft movement who abandon the property form entirely (copyleft) or develop licenses that allow for re-use (Creative Commons, Free Art License, etc.). Artist, musician and media researcher Aymeric Mansoux (2013) sees the strength of free culture and open knowledge not so much in "being a technical tool that can solve copyright problems," but in their function to "suddenly make tangible the obfuscation and secrecy found in art practices and art preservation". This is in my opinion a very important step, although it would be necessary to direct the focus of the debate not exclusively on ownership questions, but on questions of individual (human) authorship that precedes ownership.
As I have referenced earlier, there are two facets to the term authorship. One is the activity of authoring (making, writing, etc.). The other is the attribution of the authors' names to what has been done. In my inquiry, a range of functions related to authorship became apparent: (i) as a mechanism to be referred to (visibility, citation, responsibility, accountability) in the Library of Inclusions and Omissions, (ii) as a concept that is tightly connected to ownership (intellectual property, copyright, cultural capital, institutional audit) in the Piracy Project, (iii) relating to activities that don't produce an object (organizing practice, developing methods) in Let's Mobilize, and (iv) relating to moments of learning and dialogue (performative, sparring) in Boxing and Unboxing. The puzzle that gradually surfaced throughout this research was: when does authorship turn into "Authorship" with a capital A? Or put differently: what are the circumstances in which is something validated as authored, and by whom? And if we could eventually do away with the author figure altogether, what would we stand to win or lose? 
In contrast to authorial discourse in the Arts and Humanities, in scientific authorship, the distinction between authorial responsibility and authorial credit is much more important. Mario Biagioli demonstrates the interaction of these two facets in scientific authorship and lays out the complexities of demarcating and acknowledging multiple agents and actors in large science projects raising a comprehensive set of questions:
- How are institutional evaluators and funding agencies supposed to assess the credit to be attached to each name listed in the byline? How is that credit to be weighed according to these names’ placement and modalities of order? How does the name of the journal in which an article is published affect the credit to be bestowed on the name of the author? How can readers be sure that those long strings of names are neither too inclusive nor too exclusive? Are senior practitioners given authorship without having done the work, and are junior researchers unjustly denied it? And, if a paper is deemed fraudulent to whose name should that responsibility fall? (Biagioli 2006, 131)
In science, we find sometimes over 100 author names, listing the different actors behind the publication of an article in the by-line; and again, in contrast to artistic or literary authorship, "the scientific author needs to have a real name (not a pseudonym) and a real address to be included in the article itself" (Biagioli 2006, 140). Biagioli brings to light the complexities of multi-authorship, and attempts to demarcate which agents to acknowledge in the constructive process (the lab work) and in writing the scientific paper. Should referees and editors of the paper be assigned author function? What is the role of lab workers who contribute to the constructive process? Should those be attributed an authorial function?
Important for the analysis of the author-function in the context of this artistic research is the insight that in contrast to scientific authorship – concerned with finding truths – artistic or literary authorship is attached to an artifact ("of original expression", as defined by copyright).The collaborative projects in this research have triggered a range of co-authored writing experiments. One instance is the essay "The Impermanent Book," which consolidates Andrea's voice and mine into an apparently single voice. Here the authors' dialogue – the process of going back and forth when shaping the writing, the mutual revisions, critical comments, the adding and removing parts to clarify claims and positions – is not visible to the reader. The text appears to have been written by a single hand.
In contrast, in the introduction to the book Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Translating, Cloning, Andrea and I used the form of a written dialogue that allowed us to present disagreements without consolidating the authors' stances and different positionalities into one consonant voice. It is a conversation, where one picks up on or responds to the other, in which who said what remains visible.
 The Feminist Mobilization working group made this choice because the technique of multi-layered commentary allowed us to reflect on the jointly organized mobilization event without needing to be in agreement with each other.
It doesn't matter who is speaking
These collaborative writing experiments describe the activity of authoring: the making, the doing, the "verb". Once it is done, it turns into a "piece" of writing, a "noun" or in legal parlance "an original expression". When this "noun" enters a specific context of dissemination it is most commonly signed by one or more authors. I have discussed this second aspect of authorship – the demand for an author's name to which the work can be attributable and its close ties with ownership in form of intellectual property and copyright, and the stifling effects these legal constructs have on collective knowledge practices ¬– in the chapter "Confronting Authorship-Constructing Practices – How Copyright destroys Collective Practice". Towards the end of that book chapter, I ask what would happen if I did not attach my name to the text – if it went “unauthored” so to speak.
- What if anonymity replaced the designation of authorship? How would the non-visibility of the author matter to the reader? What would such an orphaned text trigger within dominant infrastructures of publishing and validation? How would bibliographers catalog such a text? How could it be referenced and cited? [...] How would such a text, non-attributable as it is, change the policies of evaluation and assessment within the knowledge economy? Would the lack of an identifiable name allow the text to resist being measured as (or reduced to) a quantifiable, auditable "output" and therefore allow the issue of individualistic authorship to be politicized? (Weinmayr 2019, 298–300)
Much thinking and conversations, however, prompted the insight that if not attributing authorship remained an individual and one-off act, it would again subject me to regimes of individualization that could only be countered by a widespread and possibly unionized practice, when broadly accepted procedures that acknowledged the complexity of collective creation could be put in place.
One tactic of "unionizing practice" can be seen in the use of collective pseudonyms ("Anonymous", "Luther Blissett," "Karen Eliot," "Monty Cantsin”) that I discuss in more detail the same book chapter. Collective pseudonyms select one joint signature name for multiple identities and authors who publish, perform or exhibit under this multiple-use name, a strategy that has been adopted by many radical and cultural groups to protect their anonymity. The collective pseudonym could be seen as a construction of a "communal being." Here, identifiable roles and identities are refused, and the individual and the collective are no longer placed in a dichotomous relation – as Nicholas Thoburn (2016, 179) explains, each individual is a product of collective relations.
Therefore, one could say that joint pseudonym practices constitute an implicit critique of the construction of the "possessive individual," a concept coined by sociologist C.B. MacPherson that I have discussed in chapter 05*Reflection: Boxing and Unboxing – community, immunity and the figure of the "proper".
It does matter who is speaking: a feminist, decolonial perspective
The pseudonymic practices concerned with anonymity in the 80s and 90s in Europe and North America may be connected with Roland Barthes' and Michel Foucault's seminal critique of the author-function.
Foucault, by focusing his critique on the author function (as a means to reveal the logic of discourse as something that does not proceed from the subject at its center of intention and logic) tends to obscure, if not fully abandon, the scene of writing. The author-function for him "does not refer purely and simply to a real individual.” (Foucault 1980, 130). The task that he set himself is precisely to avoid this scene: “I had no intention of describing Buffon or Marx or of reproducing their statements or implicit meanings, but, simply stated, I wanted to locate the rules that formed a certain number of concepts and theoretical relationships in their works.” (Foucault 1980, 114). For Foucault, the name of the author (unlike a proper name, which points to the real person who produced it),
- remains at the contours of texts – separating one from the other, defining their form, and characterizing their mode of existence. It points to the existence of certain groups of discourse and refers to the status of this discourse within a society and culture. The author's name is not a function of a man's civil status, nor is it fictional; it is situated in the breach, among the discontinuities, which gives rise to new groups of discourse and their singular mode of existence. (Foucault 1980, 123)
This critique of the author seems to be in tension then with the demand from those previously excluded and held in subaltern positions to achieve voice, and produce knowledge that is centered elsewhere than in European “Man.” Sara Ahmed (2004, 124) responds to Foucault by asking: "If the relationship between the author-function and a 'real individual' does not take the form of pure and simple reference, then what form does it take? How does the individual or empirical writing subject participate in the institution of authorship?" What Ahmed picks up on here with "empirical writing subject" is what may appear as Foucault's tendency towards a certain universalism expressed as "indifference." If one acknowledges that knowledges are situated – as are publishing practices – a potential "indifference" becomes problematic. Recognizing the positionality of a speaking subject seems an important task to account for the often unacknowledged Eurocentrism of Western philosophy.
Foucault, however, is not proposing a universal dispensation (he is explicit on this point) but describing a changing economy of authorship: “the 'author-function' is not universal or constant in all discourse. Even within our civilization, the same types of texts have not always required authors; there was a time when those texts which we now call 'literary' (stories, folk tales, epics, and tragedies) were accepted, circulated, and valorized without any question about the identity of their author.”
There is a difference between the project of describing the changing function of authorship in different historical contexts, seeking to dismantle its function in a bid for an emancipatory utterance, and the project of seeking a mode of “situated” authorship as an emancipatory act, against a history of repressed authorship (exclusion from writing, exclusion from access to publishing, exclusion from recognition when published, exclusion from citation when published, etc.). Decontextualized, these statements on authorship may appear fundamentally opposed. However, read in their situatedness with respect to different political tasks, what emerges is a difference in strategy, not necessarily a dichotomy of position.
Nonetheless, we are still left with a tension between, on the one hand, a pull towards recognizing the author function as a regulative structure of the discourse, as part of an analysis of the regularities of the discourse of “Man”, and, on the other hand, the power-knowledge couplet, a pull towards claiming authorship and authorial voice so as to enact the situatedness of knowledge and counter the universalism of the discourses of “Man”.
Similarly, a tension can be identified
between the desire to undo the dichotomy between the individual and the collective, and to recognize the importance of acknowledging the situated empirical subject. On various occasions when workshopping these topics as part of this inquiry, interlocutors who had previously been marginalized, challenged my problematization of attribution practices. Often there was fierce advocacy for the prominent appearance of the individual's name attributed to the work as a way to gain acknowledgment.
This raises again the question of who can actually afford to renounce this facet of cultural capital, not only in a monetary sense, but also in terms of being visible and being acknowledged as contributing to discourse. We need to identify this double-bind in order to be able to invent modes of being and working together that recognize the problematic of the possessive individual and at the same time acknowledge the difference of the “who” that writes. Then we might be able to move on from the question "how can we get rid of the author" to inventing processes of subjectivation that we want to support.
Experimentation in my practice is connected to a particular problem in a specific context and time. It is an attempt to find approaches and ways of acting in a situation when the available or conventional modes of doing things don't work anymore. Implicit in practical experimentation is a potential failure, and the need to adjust. Nonetheless, experiments are a force for not getting stuck between "pure positions," as George Lipsitz proposes. As an "experiment", I will propose in the following section an alternative understanding of authorship.
A new question that emerged through my research is how we might create an altogether more flexible idea of authorship. The etymology of the term "author" provides a hint. Deriving from Latin "augere", to increase, to augment, the "auctor," "autour," "autor" was somebody "who causes to grow, a promoter, producer, father, progenitor, an instigator, maker, doer – a responsible person, or a teacher, a person that invents or causes something." An understanding of the author, as an instigator or teacher, as somebody who "causes something", expands the concept of authorship beyond a so-called "output" that is bound to a tangible and fixed form. Hence an understanding of authorial practice as instigating would be fundamentally collective and in motion.
Such an expanded conception of authorship, however, seems complicated in our current institutional environments (New Public Management), which measures the impact factor of authorial practice according to a logic of calculation: "How many books, how many articles, how many papers, how many citations? "If you are being cited, you have an impact." (See discussion around citation above.)
The question that emerged through this research that had not been at all obvious at the start of my inquiry is: How can we, as institution, rethink how actual impact is evaluated and consider all the "not measurable practices" that determine how we actually meet in higher education institutions to create knowledge, such as peer-support, teaching and mentoring? These practices form the underacknowledged foundation of academic culture, in contrast to the recognition bestowed upon academic outputs. The organizing of the three-day Feminist Mobilization is a good example to demonstrate impact, which is however hardly measurable with the prevailing taxonomies. The labor here went into fundamentally rethinking how we meet, which bodies, and how bodies can be in one room together. How can we set up the temporal, spatial, and material aspects of such encounters to exchange and create knowledges? How can we listen to each other? How can we disagree respectfully? It was an enormous amount of work to organize the Mobilization – the working group acted for more than a year – but when it came to the institutional research evaluation, the institution had no adequate evaluation parameters, and in the audit it scored very low in terms of research points.
Furthermore, we can observe an energetic take-up of all the work invested in the project. The published workbook has been used as course literature for teaching at HDK-Valand and other art academies. It found its way into many international libraries and has been read and discussed in Feminist Reading Groups. The international circulation of the book resulted in a range of invitations to both academic and non-academic events across Europe.  Likewise, we saw increasing awareness amongst colleagues and students with regards to privileging white male, Eurocentric or North-American references and artworks in teaching. We also saw student initiatives exploring self-organized modes of collective teaching and learning within the academy.
Of course, this is not all due to the Feminist Mobilization. The Mobilization was just one public "mobilizing" event amongst many others that tried to tackle structural inequalities at our art school. But still, the university has no formalized criteria in its evaluation framework to acknowledge and value such non-measurable inputs. Therefore, it became clear a rethink of the instituted taxonomy of values dominating our academic institutions was necessary, leading to a whole set of new questions:
What if we shifted the focus from "what can be measured" to "what we most value"?" What, if we evaluated scholarship according to criteria such as "equity, openness, collegiality, quality, and community?" as the human metrics initiative asks. What would that mean for publishing practices? We need to value and give formal merit to all the processes and ways of publishing. We need to assess how inclusive our tools and protocols are, how open, enabling, and diverse our knowledge practices are. Christopher Kelty rightly asks what would happen if we valued not solely the content of utterances that are freely and openly circulated, but also the ways in which they are uttered. His most challenging demand is to ask ourselves "who is encouraged to say them [the utterances] and who is encouraged to remain silent?" (Kelty 2018).
In such a scenario, we wouldn't have "outputs," instead, we'd have "inputs".
But what exactly does "input" imply? It means I put something into something. For example, I put yeast in the dough to make the dough rise. Input has a concrete agency within a specific context or community. The contingency and situatedness and the particular methods of production and circulation of the Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy? workbook, for instance, can be seen as an attempt to treat publication as input rather than an output.
Milieu: Compost. Feeding, digesting, excreting
The input/output binary, however, seems too simplistic. If we imagined knowledge practices not to be housed in a university building, but in a compost pile, we might be able to imagine a different ecology. One that turns the directional forces of "in and out" into a multi-directional thicket of turning over and over again, or in Karen Barad's words
- We might imagine re-turning as a multiplicity of processes, such as the kinds earthworms revel in while helping to make compost or otherwise being busy at work and at play: turning the soil over and over – ingesting and excreting it, tunneling through it, burrowing, all means of aerating the soil, allowing oxygen in, opening it up and breathing new life into it. (Barad 2014)
 could help to rethink both authorship and citational ecologies as distributed in economies of feeding, digesting, excreting, and transforming. Authorship here is decentralized, as a multiplicity of agents are at work to create this nutrient-rich milieu. Femke Snelting explains that such decentralizing practices could, for example, entail open-source and resource sharing, licenses that permit re-use, or documentation of practice. What is interesting with her feminist interpretation of "response-ability" is that it implies two-way interaction. It has a strong dialogic force.This kind of decentralizing ecology Barad describes here (to illustrate her theory of diffraction)
It is not "making this patriarchal move of making the one responsible over the other." (Appendix 2*Interview with Femke Snelting) Referring to Donna Haraway, she states that for Constant's collective research practice it is important to create situations, obligations and objects in the world that allow for a response. To be responsible with materials, she says, means to allow people to figure out their own ways and also run with them – in ways that you might not have foreseen. In addition, for Snelting, response-ability is integral to tactics like publishing the sources that are used, or using free software tools, for example, which are in themselves response-able because they are read- and writeable.
What would “response-ability” mean for sharing this research, given that this PhD submission constitutes a form of publication itself? How can I publish it whilst evading the very pitfalls that I address with this research project?
Building on the practice-based insights of this PhD, there was a need to develop an epistemic method to write and disseminate the kappa of this thesis that could potentially act “response-able”. At this juncture the problem that emerged was that this research describes and analyses a set of long-term collaborative practices. The chapter "Reflections, theorization of projects" discloses the context for each project and how they developed over time, and how the individual actors or collaborating teams approached their practice and involvement. Inevitably, this goes along with a personal framing process. One of the results of my being "authorized" by a research institution to "author" this thesis, is that my individual framing could historicize and cement these dialogical, intersubjective, unstable and contingent collective practices. (See section: Politics of Fixing above.)
The Mediawiki I chose as a format and tool for writing this thesis is an experiment in how other voices could be invited to add different perspectives and disagreements and how several layers of commentary could respond to each other. Nonetheless, I inevitably make individual decisions or Baradian "cuts," in that I set the structure of this text. Still, by inviting my collaborators and peers who have a stake in our shared collaborative practice to add to this wiki, I multiply the number of those being able to make cuts and to make them differently.
Choosing the format of a wiki that operates simultaneously as a production and dissemination platform generates a non-linear form of writing – and reading. It offers different entry points, and it can link to its outside. It can embed multimedia, such as audio recordings, and moving images, and in this way mitigate the strictness and potential "monumentality" of more traditional forms of academic writing and reading. Furthermore, the Mediawiki, as a co-authoring platform, may create productive friction with the standard parameters of PhD examination, which are based on individual performance and on an authoritative act of analysis based on "autonomous" authorship. The syllabus of doctoral education is very clear on this: it uses the word "autonomously" no less than nine times. If this "wiki experiment" gets legitimized by the university, it could introduce a method of inquiry and disclosure that establishes routes towards alternative institutional processes of collaborative and dialogical knowledge formation and validation.
However, there is a caveat. If successful, I will be awarded a PhD title, but others have helped me to achieve it. Even if I credit all the contributors to this wiki alongside all collaborators in the practice projects, by definition, there can be only one name earning a PhD. Of course, a PhD is always a collective effort based on the "thinking together" with supervisors and peers, the organizational support by administrators, and the institution's funding. It is, however, complicated and potentially close to an extractive process, when I try to migrate collective work that happened elsewhere – in an "extitutional" context, in precarious communities – into the institutional context of academia.
The publicly accessible wiki might help to feedback into the compost pile, to the earthworms and bacteria, as Snelting suggests:
- The fact that you are writing on a wiki for me is significant. Because it means not just me, but others will be reading this. And this means it is not going to be locked up in only one environment. So I know whatever I contribute is going to be part of that larger pool, it flows back to the field and is, therefore, in some way resisting this centralizing force [of academia]. And this is why I can think with you without feeling abused. (Appendix 2*Interview with Femke Snelting)
Another form of redistribution can, I would argue, be seen in my activities as the provision of a service of thinking, connecting different fields, and archiving. The laborious task of sharing bibliographies and uploading sources as well as compiling the images, posters, documents – ephemera that got dispersed and almost lost over time. As they are now available online, these resources can be useful "to show and tell." (Remember – Lisa Gitelman's definition of the document function?) The reflections, insights, and connections that this kappa offers can – and hopefully will – be challenged and built upon.
- "The invocation of “collegiality” may also threaten academic freedom. In the heat of important decisions regarding promotion or tenure, as well as other matters involving such traditional areas of faculty responsibility as curriculum or academic hiring, collegiality may be confused with the expectation that a faculty member display “enthusiasm” or “dedication,” evince “a constructive attitude” that will “foster harmony,” or display an excessive deference to administrative or faculty decisions where these may require reasoned discussion. Such expectations are flatly contrary to elementary principles of academic freedom, which protect a faculty member’s right to dissent from the judgments of colleagues and administrators." While I do not agree with the conclusion of this statement, it is helpful to distinguish the nuances between collegiality and collectivity. See "On Collegiality as a Criterion for Faculty Evaluation", American Association of University Professors, 1999, https://www.aaup.org/report/collegiality-criterion-faculty-evaluation
- These trigger moments for collective practice are often grounded in a common experience of something going wrong and in the desire to address it, adjust or develop an alternative. For example, events at HDK-Valand mobilized a group of staff and students to form a working group on Feminist Pedagogies that subsequently grew into a long-term project, and the experimental organization of the three-day mobilization Let's Mobilize: What is Feminist Pedagogy?. The trigger moment for the Piracy Project happened when Peruvian artist Andrea Francke approached me requesting an interview about AND's publishing practice. In this conversation, we talked about her research into book piracy in Peru, and thus the Piracy Project was born. It was congenial to connect the concept of book piracy fighting enclosures with the occupation of the Byam Shaw School of Art Library that I was involved in at that moment.
- For example, Rosalie Schweiker and I recognized the intergenerational aspect of our collaboration only when we discovered that Rosalie's mother is a couple of years younger than I am.
- See also Gerald Raunig’s description of transversal activist practice: "There is no longer any artificially produced subject of articulation; it becomes clear that every name, every linkage, every label has always already been collective and must be newly constructed over and over again. In particular, to the same extent to which transversal collectives are only to be understood as polyvocal groups, transversality is linked with a critique of representation, with a refusal to speak for others, in the name of others, with abandoning identity, with a loss of a unified face, with the subversion of the social pressure to produce faces." (Raunig 2002)
- De Sousa Santos makes the distinction between knowledge and ways of knowing in his conceptualisation of epistemologies of the South. These epistemologies focus on “nonexistent knowledges, deemed as such either because they are not produced according to accepted or even intelligible methodologies or because they are produced by absent subjects, subjects deemed incapable of producing valid knowledge due to their subhuman condition or nature.” (de Sousa Santos 2018,2). He argues that in processes of social and political struggle knowledge is “lived performatively” and tends not to have an “individualizable subject”. The knowledges here are intrinsic to certain practices of resistance against oppression. They live embodied in social practices and emerge and circulate mostly in a depersonalized way. “While knowledges appropriate reality, ways of knowing embody reality.” (de Sousa Santos 2018,3).
- The relationship between the “we” and the “I” in collective practice could be explored further in future. For example, how one’s positionality conditions one’s subjectivity and how group subjectivities are being formed – including the question of exclusions when it comes to inclusions.
- What constitutes a document has been the topic of a vivid scholarly debate in the early 20th century across sociology, ethnography, anthropology, and media and communication studies. Michael Buckland provides a detailed study mapping the efforts to come up with a satisfactory definition. "Any expression of human thought" was one common definition, but it could not be agreed whether a document should be limited to texts, let alone printed texts (Buckland 1997, 805). Paul Otlet extended the definition of document in his "Traité de documentation" (Otlet 1934) by claiming that "graphic and written records are representations of ideas or objects." And even the objects themselves can be regarded as documents if one is informed by observation of them (ibid). According to Otlet, this includes "natural objects, artifacts, objects bearing traces of human activity (such as archaeological finds), explanatory models, educational games, and works of art." (Otlet 1934, 217) A more technical definition, which notably refers to the aspect of authority, was developed by the International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation: "Document: Any source of information, in material form, capable of being used for reference or study or as an authority. Examples: manuscripts, printed matter, illustrations, diagrams, museum specimens, etc." (Buckland 1997, 805). What everyone seems to agree on is that documents are epistemic objects. As Lisa Gitelman shows, the term document comes from the Latin root "docere," "to teach," "to show" or "to cause to know." Gitelman defines documents as "evidential structures, recognizable sites, and subjects of interpretation across the disciplines and beyond." (Gitelman 2014, 1) Sociologists since Max Weber have considered documents as crucial technological elements of bureaucratic organization. (Weber 1968, 66–77). Since documents administer knowledge in a material form, they play a crucial role in colonial epistemic modernity. The stability and reliability of documents create value for the bureaucratic organization and therefore override other kinds of knowledge that are based in orality, in common experience, in lived collectivity.
Published texts, according to Simon Shaffer and Steve Shapin (2011, 60), constituted "a virtual witness that was agreed to be reliable." And Wellmon and Piper argue:
- In the light of being published, the value of a scholar's work was visible to all because it was subject to more public and, therefore, so went the reasoning, more rational standards. Published writing could be accounted for, whereas charismatic teaching or speaking was more difficult to evaluate and compare. [...] The authority of printed writing lay in its capacity to circulate more freely, unencumbered by the idiosyncrasies of the local and peculiar (Wellmon and Piper 2017).
- Michel de Certeau, for instance, claims that the oral and temporal experience of sociability and discourse has been overwritten by "forms of transport," by a practice (writing, publishing) that was seen as more legitimate than "doing" whether in science, politics or the classroom (De Certeau 1984, 134). He declares: "Thus one can read above the portals of modernity such inscriptions as "Here, to work is to write," or "Here only what is written is understood." Such is the internal law of that which has constituted itself as "Western." (De Certeau 1984, 134). Decolonial scholar Boaventura de Sousa Santos asserts that colonial knowledge practices caused an epistemicide by destructing a variety of ways of knowing that prevailed in the colonial societies and sociabilities. Western concepts of authorship, according to him, have "little validity in the epistemologies of the South insofar as, for them, the most relevant knowledges are either immemorial or generated in the social experiences of oppression and the struggles against it. In any case, they are rarely traceable to a single individual. (de Sousa Santos 2018, 54). And Annelise Riles (2006) claims that exactly because documents can strip away context, because they draw their legitimization and authority from their permanence, transferability, facelessness and because they can be combined and organized in a number of different ways they are "artifacts of modern knowledge", a tool of accountability, and of social control.
- Quoted from the Piracy Reader, Borrowing, Poaching, Plagiarising, Pirating, Stealing, Gleaning, Referencing, Leaking, Copying, Imitating, Adapting, Faking, Paraphrasing, Quoting, Reproducing, Using, Counterfeiting, Repeating, Cloning, Translating (Francke and Weinmayr 2014, 7). See Piracy Reader
- Both the Free Culture and copyleft movement are grounded in the conviction that knowledge is a collective effort, however, they still rely on property and individual (human) authorship as a framework. Another issue, as the license working group at Constant (Brussels) points out is that the Free Culture ideology potentially obscures issues of cultural appropriation by aligning to some extent with the interests of extractive platforms (platform capitalism). Constant are currently working on a draft for a new license “Collective Conditions for re-use (CC4r)” that “asks you to be attentive to the way re-use of the materials released under this license might support or oppress others – even if this will never be easy to gauge. This involves inclusive crediting and speculative practices of referencing and resourcing. It means to take into account the need for opacity when accessing and transmitting knowledge, especially when it involves materials that matter to marginalized communities. It asks you to refrain from circulating it on commercial platforms or to contribute to otherwise extractive data practices. Platform capitalism appropriates and abuses collective authorial practice.” This new license, still in work, is an adaption of the Free Art Licence.
- It is interesting that the Chicago Manual of Style actually includes personal communication. Hamersly Library at Western Oregon University suggests in their “Style Guide on Citation of Personal Communication: "Citations of personal communications should always omit any personal data (email address, cell phone number, etc.). Personal communications are typically also left out of the bibliography. Instead, include resource information in the footnote. Western Oregon University, Hamersly Library, accessed November 2019, https://research.wou.edu/c.php?g=551307&p=3785503.
- Marilyn Strathern, The Gender of the Gift, Problems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). Strathern's study shows the limitations of Western epistemologies, since as she claims, a range of Western concepts are inadequate for a genuine understanding of sociality in Melanesia. These include an understanding of personhood as fundamentally gendered, the distinction between commodities and gifts, the relation between individual and society. She points out that according to Western thought models, persons own themselves, their minds, their bodies, actions, and the products of their labor (John Locke, MacPherson). Such possessive individualist concepts do not exist in Melanesian thought, Strathern's claims. The importance of this study lies in its critique of the universal applicability of categories central to social science that reveals the ethnocentrism in dominant anthropological representations of the "other".
- "Women too, people of color too, might cite white men: to be you have to be in relation to white men (to twist a Fanonian point). Not to cite white men is not to exist, or at least not to exist within this or that field." (Ahmed 2014). Sara Kember calls such reproductive structures "a boys' citation club" and even toyed in the planning phase of a new, experimental university press in the UK, with ideas to introduce a female citation policy. This plan, ultimately, could not be implemented as a policy due to legal reasons (Kember and Weinmayr 2015).
- In a recent study called "Publication, Power, Patronage," Chad Wellmon and Andrew Piper (2017) reveal the inequalities of scholarly publishing in terms of institutional diversity and gender equality. Conducting quantitative analysis, they studied four leading US-based humanities journals between 1970 and 2015 (Critical Inquiry, New Literary History, PMLA, Representations). They found that gender equality had slightly improved (39,4% of articles published by female authors between 2012–15). However, the concentration of power in the hands of prestige universities had actually increased: authors with a PhD from just two elite universities, Yale and Harvard, accounted for 20 % of all articles published in the studied journals. Similarly, a study by Posada and Chen (2018) of Knowledge Gap – a collective of researchers studying the underrepresentation of Global South academic knowledge in the global publishing system, and the various mechanisms through which such structures of inequality and exclusion are produced and reproduced in paradigms of openness – evidences disproportionate ownership of academic journals and papers in natural and the social sciences by the top five academic publishers in the Global North. They cite a study by Lavier et al. suggesting that the top five publishers (Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, and Taylor Francis and Sage) accounted for more than 50% of all papers published in 2013. This concentration of power puts not only economic pressure on independent academic presses, but it also, as the researchers argue, poses an increasing pressure on Global South scholarship "to adapt to the Western forms of scholarship and an increasing allure for global south journals in joining a global north publisher. Joining a global north publisher, in particular, serves as a form of academic neocolonialism, as the global north firm will have a direct influence upon the policies of such journals; while the adoption of western forms of scholarship merely enhances the hegemonic effect of global north academia." (Larivière et al. 2015) For Knowledge Gap, see also "The Geopolitics of Open," Radical Open Access and the Ethics of Care, Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University, 2018. http://radicaloa.disruptivemedia.org.uk/conferences/roa2/the-geopolitics-of-open/.
- Mark Rose provides a detailed historical inquiry into how the concept of authorship developed in Europe as a result of the spread of the book printing business following Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the movable type printing press. Two forces came into play with the printing press in the early modern period. One had to do with accountability and liability because one tended to "think of texts as actions." Because texts were valued “for what they could do” (Rose 1993, 13) and because printed books were assigned more authority than speech, legislation was put in place that each printed book needed an accountable author name assigned to it. In England, booksellers, printers, and authors needed to apply for "printing privileges" for each title. Via the guild, the so-called Stationers Company, the English crown was in control of what was deemed acceptable for publishing and circulation. Through a royal charter (1557), the crown granted the guild a monopoly on printing. However, according to Rose, "the primary interest of the state in granting this monopoly was not, however, the securing of stationers' property rights, but the establishment of a more effective system for governmental surveillance of the press."(Rose 1992, 12). Or in Mario Biagioli's words, "Books could not be published without the name of the author, of the printer, and the printer's address because the police needed to know on what door to knock if that book was deemed subversive." (Biagoli 2006, 140).
Only a later development, turned texts into "aesthetic objects." Here an individual "someone" was needed, a creator that came to be attached to notions of originality, genius, and therefore property. See: Mark Rose, Authors and Owners, The Invention of Copyright (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1993). For further exploration of the relationship between authorship and ownership, intellectual property and copyright see Aufderheide, Patricia, Peter Jaszi, Bryan Bello and 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). Lionel, Bently, "Copyright and the Death of the Author in Literature and Law," Modern Law Review 57 (1994): 973–86. Carys J. Craig "Symposium: Reconstructing the Author-Self: Some Feminist Lessons for Copyright Law," American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 15.2 (2007): 207–68. Deborah J. Halbert, Resisting Intellectual Property (London, Routledge, 2005). Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, No Trespassing, Authorship, Intellectual Property Rights and the Boundaries of Globalization (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004). Jennifer Nedelsky, "Reconceiving Rights as Relationship," Review of Constitutional Studies / Revue d’études constitutionnelles 1.1 (1993): 1–26, https://www.law.utoronto.ca/documents/nedelsky/Review1.1Nedelsky.pdf. Nicholas Thoburn, Anti-Book, On the Art and Politics of Radical Publishing (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2016). Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi, eds., The Construction of Authorship, Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1994).
- Such nonlinear literary experiments had been employed in the past, for instance, in Pierre Bayle's "Historical and Critical Dictionary" causing major disruptions in the understanding of authoritative texts at the time (1737). Likewise, Arno Schmitt used it as a literary device in Zettel's Dream (1970) to create several parallel-running narratives on one page.
In the chapter I argue:
- This text is informed by a myriad of encounters in panel discussions and debates, as well as in the classrooms supported by institutions, activist spaces and art spaces. All these people donated their valuable ideas to its writing. Various drafts have been read and commented on by friends, PhD supervisors and an anonymous peer reviewer, and it has been edited by the publishers in the process of becoming part of the anthology you now hold in your hands or read on a screen. In that light, do I simply and uncritically affirm the mechanisms I am criticizing by delivering a single-authored text to be printed and validated within the prevailing audit culture?” (Weinmayr 2019, 297-98)
- "Luther Blissett" is a multiple-use name that was informally adopted and shared by hundreds of artists and activists across Europe and the Americas since the 1990s. Luther Blissett first appeared in Bologna, Italy, in mid-1994, when a number of cultural activists began using it for staging a series of urban and media pranks and to experiment with new forms of authorship and identity. "Karen Eliot" is a "name that refers to an individual human being who can be anyone. The name is fixed, the people using it aren’t. The purpose of many different people using the same name is to create a situation for which no one, in particular, is responsible and to practically examine western philosophical notions of identity, individuality, originality, value and truth.” [...] Anyone can become Karen Eliot simply by adopting the name, but they are only Karen Eliot for the period in which they adopt the name. “When one becomes Karen Eliot one’s previous existence consists of the acts other people have undertaken using the name. Karen Eliot was not born, s/he was materialized from social forces, constructed as a means of entering the shifting terrain that circumscribes the ‘individual’ and society.” (Döderlein 2013). See also Nicholas Thoburn’s (2016, 168–223) research into the political agency of anonymous authorship.
- We see these tactics used by underground movements across the political spectrum, from the radical left, anarchist as well as more recently by the far-right. See “Infiltration” (Cramer, Home and Bazzichelli 2018); and Post-Digital Cultures of the Far-Right: Online Actions and Offline Consequences in Europe and the US (Fielitz and Thurston 2019).
- Nicholas Thoburn points here towards Marx's thinking about "communal being" in "On the Jewish Question." Thoburn refers to Marx's conceptualization of a political sociality of the communal or the common. "The bourgeois individual of the modern state – the 'citizen,' the subject of the 'rights of man,' the 'possessive individual' as we know it since C. B. MacPherson – is premised on an opposition between individual and social existence." (Thoburn 2016, 178).
- Anonymous started on 4chan, an online imageboard where users post anonymously. "The posts on 4chan have no names or any identifiable markers attached to them. The only thing you are able to judge a post by is its content and nothing else." (Coleman 2014, 47). See also John Cunningham (2010).
- Barthes' influential claim about the "Death of the Author" proposes to shift the agency of a text from the author to the reader, from intention to interpretation or in Barthes' words: from "writerly texts" to "readerly texts." For Barthes neither the author's personality nor his/her history or empirical body, is in focus, instead "it is language which speaks, not the author; to write is [...] to reach that point where only language acts, performs, and not 'me'". (Barthes 1974; 1990, 143).
This feminist and postcolonial perspective criticises the detachment of writing from the empirical body:
- the universalism of the masculine perspective relies precisely on being disembodied, on lacking the contingency of a body. A feminist perspective would surely emphasize the implication of writing in embodiment, in order to re-historicize this supposed universalism, to locate it, and to expose the violence of its contingency and particularity (by declaring some-body wrote this text, by asking which body wrote this text). (Ahmed 2004, 123)
- The 'author-function' is not universal or constant in all discourse. Even within our civilization, the same types of texts have not always required authors; there was a time when those texts which we now call 'literary' (stories, folk tales, epics, and tragedies) were accepted, circulated, and valorized without any question about the identity of their author. Their anonymity was ignored because their real or supposed age was a sufficient guarantee of their authenticity. Texts, however, that we now call 'scientific' (dealing with cosmology and the heavens, medicine or illness, the natural sciences or geography) were only considered truthful during the Middle Ages if the name of the author was indicated. Statements on the order of 'Hippocrates said...' or 'Pliny tells us that...' were not merely formulas for an argument based on authority; they marked a proven discourse. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a totally new conception was developed when scientific texts were accepted on their own merits and positioned within an anonymous and coherent conceptual system of established truths and methods of verification. Authentification no longer required reference to the individual who had produced them; the role of the author disappeared as an index of truthfulness and, where it remained as an inventor's name, it was merely to denote a specific theorem or proposition, a strange effect, a property, a body, a group of elements, or pathological syndrome. At the same time, however, 'literary' discourse was acceptable only if it carried an author's name." (Foucault 1980, 125–26)
- George Lipsitz says “Living with contradictions is difficult, and, especially for intellectuals and artists employed in academic institutions, the inability to speak honestly and openly about contradictory consciousness can lead to a destructive desire for “pure” political positions, to militant posturing and internecine battles with one another that ultimately have more to do with individual subjectivities and self-images than with disciplined collective struggle for resources and power.” (Lipsitz 2000, 80).
- See Mario Biagioli's discussion of the analogies between the concept of the author and the father/progenitor in the framework of patriarchy. Biagioli investigates plagiarism not as a violation of intellectual property but of the kinship relationships between the author and his work. He traces back historical instances where plagiarism was perceived as the loss of the ownership (sic) of a child, "not just as a biological father but as paterfamilias." Hence, "the author is not simply deprived of an object of property but ‘loses control’ of the child, with a subsequent reduction of his personhood." (Biagioli 2014, 67)
- These current politics of metrification have been criticized by many scholars in the Humanities and Sciences as too restrictive and inadequate to fully capture the impact of research. The argument goes that only a limited set of academic journals are considered as a source for citation statistics. Therefore some scholars engaged in the arguably progressive step of widening the range of sources to be evaluated and counted by launching "Altmetric". Altmetric measures a broad spectrum of "web reactions" to publications by calculating the attention score on social networks such as Facebook, microblogging services such as Twitter, video platforms such as YouTube, and other media outlets. Based on an undisclosed algorithm, the Altmetric score is visualized in the form of so-called "badges" that quantify responses to and interactions with published material. While this innovation certainly opens the convention of what can be validated as output, I would claim it still adheres to a logic of mere calculation. https://www.altmetric.com/
- The point system laid out in the steering document for artistic research at Gothenburg University (2018) lists:
Book (or equivalent), published by national or international publishers > 5 points
Artistic work (peer reviewd) > 5 points
Article, peer-reviewed (scientific / artistic) > 3 points
Conference contribution (scientific / artistic) peer reviewed > 2 points
Article (scientific / artistic) > 1 point
Research Summary > 1 point
Chapter in book (or equivalent), published by national or international publisher. Also editorial for book > 1 point
Artistic work > 1 point
- The contexts I am aware of in which the book has been used include “Feminist Arts Education”, at the Institute for Art and Art Theory, Cologne University, 2017. And “Feminist Pedagogies” at Cologne University, Madame B Reading Group, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
- For instance, “What is an Artschool”, Symposium, Chelsea College of Art, London, 2016; “Exploiting Justice”, Symposium, Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Gothenburg, 2016; “Feminist Arts Education”, Workshop, Institute for Art and Art Theory, Intermedia / Artistic Media Practice and Theory, Cologne University, 2017.
- Student initiatives include the Autotheory Inquiry Group, the Queer Reading Group, Color Island working group, to name just a few.
- A range of public events focused on decolonial and intersectional feminist topics in pedagogy. They include “Critical Practice” conference (2015); KUNO seminar “Inclusive Actions–Art Schools Imagining Desegregation?” (2017); PARSE Biennial Conference “Exclusion" (2016); “Decolonising Film Education" (2019).
- The Humane Metrics Initiative (HuMetricsHSS) at Michigan University proposes to evaluate scholarship along five criteria that are central to all humanities and social science disciplines: "equity, openness, collegiality, quality, and community." They propose to develop dense networks of reciprocal mentoring through which senior scholars nurture the success of their junior colleagues. https://humetricshss.org/ See also Christopher P. Long, "Toxicity, Metrics and Academic Life," Human Metrics, Metrics Noir, edited by Meeson Press, Eileen Joy, Martina Frantzen, and Cristopher P. Long (Coventry: Postoffice Press, 2018). Published on the occasion of the conference Radical Open Access II – The Ethics of Care taking place June 26–27, 2018 at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University. http://radicaloa.co.uk/conferences/ROA2/ Download publication
- Barad explains, "It might seem a bit odd to enlist an organic metaphor to talk about diffraction, an optical phenomenon that might seem lifeless. But diffraction is not only a lively affair but one that troubles dichotomies, including some of the most sedimented and stabilized/stabilizing binaries, such as organic/ inorganic and animate/inanimate. Indeed, the quantum understanding of diffraction troubles the very notion of dichotomy – cutting into two – as a singular act of absolute differentiation, fracturing this from that, now from then." (Barad 2014, 168).
- See Barad (2012, 46) and Appendix 2*Interview with Femke Snelting. See also Kember and Zylinska (2012).
- Revisiting the syllabus for doctoral education at Gothenburg University, I find the contested paradigms of monumental knowledge nested in the rules and regulations document of the university. As a feature required for the award of a PhD degree, the syllabus talks about "intellectual autonomy," "disciplinary rectitude," "to independently and autonomously pursue artistic research." See "Doctoral Education PhD syllabus," (Gothenburg: Gothenburg University, 2015). http://wiki.evaweinmayr.com/images/3/36/General-syllabus-PhD_in_Artistic-Practice.pdf.