Disobedient Cataloguing

September 23th and 24th, at Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Within the program of the London Design Festival, the V&A, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, hosted the Digital Design Weekend, an event that featured artists, designers, makers, and academics that deal with the digitalization within their design and art practice.

Formbytime, by Leonhard Peschta
Picture: Formbytime, by Leonhard Peschta http://www.formbytime.com

Interesting design projects – like Leonhard Peschta’s kinetic jewelry Formbytime – shown there are result of an aesthetic research only possible through digital means.

Other featured works explore different ways of imagining design and production of energy, for example fo.am’s bioelectronic research The Power of the Mud, or present a critical towards the behaviours of corporations that  with technology and the digital world, as Tactical Tech‘s pop-up tech store The Glass Room.

The Glass Room, Tactical Tech
Picture: The Glass Room, Tactical Tech, https://tacticaltech.org/projects/glass-room-london
The Power of Mud, fo.am
Picture: The Power of Mud, fo.am, https://fo.am/powerofthemud/

All the projects exhibited in the DDW are featured in a publication entitled Bridging Open Borders, which includes as well a series of essays from theoreticians, academics, artists and designers about the role of technology in overcoming distances and borders.

The publication is available both as a printed book and as a digital release. The latter version of the book is nevertheless thought as a larger experiment of collaborative publishing. All the texts were uploaded on GitHub and were available for edits and contributions during the Digital Design Weekend.

This is an attempt for a collaborative, growing discussion online, where the publication is only a starting point for exchange. The project was followed by Andrew Prescott, Luca Guariento, Diane Scott and Sonia Ali from the Arts and Humanities Research Council Digital Transformations Theme leadership team at the University of Glasgow.

Bridging Open Borders – open publication on GitHub https://github.com/DigiTransGlasgow/bridgingopenborders

Admirable is the attempt to gather more materials and impressions about the weekend, the projects, the conversations that took place there, as well as the idea of overcoming the physical constrains of the printed publication.

The process-based, online, collaborative publication disrupts the temporal dimension of publications related to events like this one. As we all know, if a publication is issued before the event, the printed material cannot host what the event itself becomes in term of emotions, encounters, discussions, or feedbacks. If the book is realized afterwards, probably it will be richer, but less people are going to see it, since the event is over.

This experiment tries to combine this two temporalities together through GitHub, a tool usually used to share code and repositories amongst programmers, but that can anyway be used for sharing and editing together any text-based material. GitHub has some structures and hierarchy to revision and edit changes, every addition or modification has to be approved before reaching the final shape.

A series of question that this project stimulates: what is going to happen with the GitHub repository once time has passed? How long will it take for people for stop editing this autonomously, if it ever worked? Is it really going to stimulate discussions or will people take it as a possibility for some self-branding? Is it going to stay in a digital form on the platform until time passes and the topics becomes less and less important, being eventually forgotten and then deleted? Is it going to be re-printed or formalized another time?


Jolly – extra catalogue:

Another catalogue project present at the DDW is Disobedient Electronics, an artist-made publication realized by Garnet Hertz. The limited and signed edition features a series of project that through “electronic objects can be an effective form of social argument or political protest”. The publication is itself “disobedient”, hand-made by Hertz and collaborative: in some exhibition like the Future Flux Festival, the spectator could print and bind his or her own copy.

Picture: Disobedient Electronics, by Garnet Hertz, http://disobedientelectronics.com/