Symposium: "Shadow Libraries" / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Symposium: "Shadow Libraries"

UbuWeb in Athens

Shadow Libraries: UbuWeb in Athens

17 MAR 2018
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST) | Kallirrois Ave. & Amvr. Frantzi Street (former FIX factory)
Will be held in English
The symposium explores the conceptual consistency and the ethics of digital preservation and distribution from the practitioners’ perspective.
Free admission
The distribution of entrance tickets begins one (1) hour before the event.
In an age where public libraries are an endangered institution, UbuWeb and other collections run by amateur librarians emerge as new, vital topographies of sharing. This symposium and the related workshops explore the conceptual consistency and the ethics of digital preservation and distribution from the practitioners’ perspective. The invited guests will unpack the thingness of these fragile knowledge infrastructures and discuss how their architecture challenges current norms of intellectual property rights, market concentration and control of access.


Guests: Dušan Barok, Marcell Mars, PEOPLE LIKE US (Vicki Bennett), Cornelia Sollfrank, Peter Sunde, Prodromos Tsiavos
Moderated by: Kenneth Goldsmith

Special thanks to the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST) for the support

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Dušan Barok: Monoskop
Monoskop is a wiki, blog and a repository aggregating, documenting and mapping works, artists and initiatives related to the avant-gardes, media arts and theory and activism. Initially it focused on Eastern and Central Europe. Built on a Wiki that everyone can contribute to, it provides both an exhaustive, indexical overview of those fields and digital access to rare historic finds. In parallel to the wiki, Monoskop maintains a blog repository featuring daily releases of books, journals or other printed archival material, some freshly digitized by Monoskop and some contributed by the users, authors and publishers.

Dušan Barok is founding editor of the platform for collaborative studies of the arts and humanities Monoskop and currently a research fellow at the University of Amsterdam. He graduated in Networked Media from the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. Dušan was involved in running the Multiplace network culture festival and along with Pit Schultz he developed an artist-run platform for contemporary art history, ArtWiki. He has co-founded the artist collective La Société Anonyme known for its work The SKOR Codex. Recently, he convened the series of seminars on media aesthetics The Extensions of Many at the Hordaland kunstsenter, Bergen, Norway, and a symposium on the aesthetics and politics of information, Ideographies of Knowledge, at the Mundaneum, Mons, Belgium.

PEOPLE LIKE US (Vicki Bennett): The Production of a Process, The Process as a Product
Working under the name People Like Us, Vicki Bennett specializes in the manipulation and reworking of original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film and radio. People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use. Most creative work only becomes visible to the audience once it is finished and published. It is rare that one gets to experience the journey that a creator undertakes while making work. It almost seems to be a secret, prohibited to be exposing production methods. But how can we learn without access to these methods? Vicki will reflect upon 25 years of creating audiovisual media, sharing information and insights on how she edits and outputs large-scale works using preexisting material.

Under the name People Like Us, artist Vicki Bennett has been making work available via CD, DVD and vinyl releases, radio broadcasts, concert appearances, gallery exhibits and online streaming and distribution for 25 years. Since her first publication in 1992, Bennett has developed an immediately recognisable aesthetic repurposing pre-existing footage to craft audio and video collages with an equally dark and witty take on popular culture. She sees sampling and appropriation as folk art sourced from the palette of contemporary media and technology, with all of the sharing and cross-referencing incumbent to a populist form. Embedded in her work is the premise that all is interconnected and that claiming ownership of an “original” or isolated concept is both preposterous and redundant.

Marcell Mars: Public Library/Memory of the World 
Public Library/Memory of the World is the synergy of two efforts. First, it makes the case for the institution of public library and its principle of universal access to knowledge. Second, it is an exploration and development of distributed internet infrastructure for amateur librarians. A public library is one of those almost invisible infrastructures that we start to notice only once they go extinct. A place where all people can get access to all knowledge that can be collected seemed for a long time a dream beyond reach – until the egalitarian impetus of social revolutions, the Enlightenment idea of universality of knowledge, and the exceptional suspension of the commercial barriers of copyright made it possible. The Internet has, as in many other situations, completely changed our expectations and imagination about what is possible. The dream of a catalogue of the world – a universal access to all available knowledge for every member of society – became realizable. A question merely arises of the meeting of curves on a graph: the point at which the line of global distribution of personal computers meets that of the critical mass of people with access to the Internet. Today nobody lacks the imagination necessary to see public libraries as part of a global infrastructure of universal access to knowledge for literally every member of society. However, the emergence and development of the Internet is taking place precisely at the point at which an institutional crisis — one with traumatic and inconceivable consequences — has also begun.

Under the name Marcell Mars (b. 1972) Nenad Romićis one of the founders of Multimedia Institute - mi2 (1999) and club mama in Zagreb (2000). He initiated GNU GPL publishing label EGOBOO.bits (2000); started Skill sharing (2004) informal meetings of technical enthusiasts in mama + regional hacker gatherings ‘Nothing will happen’ (2007). Mars started his research “Ruling Class Studies” at Jan van Eyck (2011-12), continued at Akademie Schloss Solitude (2013) and since spring 2015, he is a PhD student at Leuphana University in DCRL (Digital Cultures Research Lab). “Ruling Class Studies” is a research of corporate state-of-the-art digital innovation, adaptation, and intelligence. It looks closely at the Google, Amazon, Facebook and eBay. Public Library was established in 2012 to develop sociotechnical infrastructure and invigorate (again) historical argument for universal access to knowledge. Marcell often plays as a narrator of the project. Also develops software: [let’s share books] Calibre plugin and related server infrastructure. Public Library was heard and exhibited at Museo Reina Sofía, 98weeks, Impakt Festival, Transmediale, The New School, Kunstverein Stuttgart.

Cornelia Sollfrank: Affective Archives
How a feverish way of thinking manifests itself online. In my talk I will suggest the notion of the ‘Affective Archive’ for the exploration of a selection of unprecedented cultural experiments concerned with accumulating, structuring and preserving cultural artifacts as well as building infrastructures for making these available. Empowered by high-performance digital technology and driven by the affective relationship between the subjects and objects involved, the resulting archives are able to achieve a cultural relevance that exceeds institutional efforts in many respects. They are constituting their own ecosystem in which building cultural memory has turned into a performative act, undertaken by individuals and small groups according to their personal standards, under precarious conditions; a bottom-up activity whose strength is derived from ignoring all official logics of preservation.

Cornelia Sollfrank (PhD) is an artist, researcher and university lecturer, living in Berlin (Germany). He has studied painting at the Academy of Art in Munich and Fine Art at the University of the Arts Hamburg, and got her PhD from University of Dundee (UK).
Her means of expression include writing, performance, sound, video and (other) Internet-based formats. Recurring subjects in her artistic and academic work about digital cultures are authorship, self-organization, gender and techno-feminism. As a pioneer of Internet art, Cornelia Sollfrank built up a reputation with two central projects: the generator – a web-based art- producing ‘machine,’ and Female Extension – her famous hack of the first
competition for Internet art. Her experiments with the basic principles of aesthetic modernism implied conflicts with its institutional and legal framework and led to her academic research.
In her PhD “Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property,” Cornelia investigated the increasingly conflicting relationship between art and copyright. In her follow-up artistic research project Giving What You Don’t Have she started to explore art projects that all contribute to the creating and maintenance of ‘digital commons.’ This led to her research project ‘Creating Commons,’ based at the University of the Arts in Zürich. Her most recent
performance À la recherche de l’information perdue is about gender stereotypes in the digital underground with the example of Wikileaks.

Peter Sunde: The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay (TPB) has always been looked at as a big player that changed the world of distribution. TPB has paved ways for all streaming services, such as Netflix and Spotify. The founders of Spotify even credit most of their success to The Pirate Bay – without it they could never have gotten the situation, market deals, audience and technology they needed. In many ways the view is that without TPB the success of today would not have been. And that is the major failure of the project – the success that TPB was aiming for was not to create a new and improved capitalistic centralized market, but the opposite. I’ll talk about why in essence it failed but why the opponents (and some political groups) still need TPB to look successful.

Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi (born 13 September 1978), alias brokep, is a Swedish entrepreneur and politician. Sunde is of Norwegian and Finnish ancestry. He is best known for being a co-founder and ex-spokesperson of The Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent search engine. He is an equality advocate and has expressed concerns over issues of centralization of power to the European Union in his blog. Sunde also participates in the Pirate Party of Finland and describes himself as a socialist. As of April 2017, Sunde has been working on a new venture called Njalla, a privacy oriented domain name registrar.

Prodromos Tsiavos: Of Coffee, Copyright and Cracks
Copyright is not about copyright; or it is not about copyright anymore. It is about the way we communicate, we learn, we view things and – more recently – about the way we interact and relate with physical artefacts and goods. The growth of copyright beyond its original ambit and scope is a direct result of the very informatization of life: This constitutes a greater trend that stems from the radical transformation of the socio-economic life cycle of goods and services, but also of the ways in which personal and community interactions are enacted in a hybrid digital and physical environment. This talk is a journey into the vagaries of copyright as a core mechanism of production and exploitation of intangible capital, but also an attempt to shed light to practices of commoning that may provide a crack to a system that seems to have a life of its own.

Prodromos Tsiavos is the Head of Digital Development at the Onassis Cultural Centre and a Senior Research Fellow at The Media Institute (TMI), London. He is currently teaching and researching on the issue of Legal and Ethical Aspects of Data Science at the Athens University of Economics and Business and Athena Research Center. Prodromos has worked for the National Hellenic Research Foundation (National Documentation Centre), the European Commission, Oslo University and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He read law and Information Systems in Athens and London and holds a PhD in Law and Information Systems from the LSE. Prodromos has worked as an adviser for the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, the Special Secretary for Digital Convergence, as well as public sector bodies and private companies in the cultural and creative industries. He has over 120 publications and talks on legal and business aspects of open technologies, digital content and IPR management. Prodromos is the Chair of the Administrative Council of the Greek Industrial Property Organisation (OBI) and of the Supervisory Board of the European Patent Academy (EPA).

16 - 18 Mar 2018

Inside & Outside the OCC
Free entrance to all the events, on a strictly first come, first served basis.

The distribution of entrance tickets begins one (1) hour before the event.

Reservation is required for all the workshops
and the symposium Authoring at the Digital Age
held at the Onassis Library.


Shadow Libraries: UbuWeb in Athens

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