Relearn 2017: Versioning the Networked Archive

Published on August 17th, 2017


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This track will acquint participants with git and github, by working together on repurposing Github's functionality and experimenting with how version control can be integrated in the practice of creating an archive. At the same time, exploring the post-life of github repositories through forking, as a method of building on the work of others and creating new archives.

Relearn
29 August – 2 September 2017
Rotterdam
pres_relearn

Relearn is a collective learning experiment with as many teachers as it has participants. It is motivated by the possibility to displace parameters of/for research, studying and learning. During the week of Relearn, we work with a set of case-studies, observations, questions or stacks of study material that we call “tracks”. Relearn outlines the idea of resetting thinking modes, for a diverse set of approaches that we can reconsider, that come out of the development of our cultures towards and through digital entities.

While Relearn is an experiment in collective learning, it grows from an interest in Free / Libre Open Source Software culture and practices as a way to address and acknowledge the production processes and frameworks involving technology and culture.

This year’s Relearn general focus is to reconsider forms of self-organising in regard to both machinic systems and social formations. We started to use the term “co-autonomies” to refer to these ideas. We hope to make use of the proposed tracks as a looking glass to reconstruct notions of agency and consider ways of maintaining them. Particularly within the current political and economic vortex, we would like to discover ways in which co-autonomies can be re-explored, re-shared and re-created from many different angles.

Based on the submissions we received, the week of Relearn will unfold around five different tracks that cover the following themes: the design of programmable languages, digital collective care, radio transmission, the networked archive, critical cake production, open source pseudo-utopian paradigms and radical pedagogies.

Annet Dekker & Miglena Minkova

Versioning the Networked Archive

Some angles / questions:
> in what ways could Github be useful as an archive?
> how does the network get activitated and stay active within Github?
> what roles do concepts such as provenance, appraisal and selection have in Github?
> how to capture the context of the network?
> what are ways to repurpose Github for archivists / non-coders?
> how to extend the ‘life of documents’ by means of forking?

This track will acquint participants with git and github, by working together on repurposing Github’s functionality and experimenting with how version control can be integrated in the practice of creating an archive. At the same time, exploring the post-life of github repositories through forking, as a method of building on the work of others and creating new archives.

Alongside the practical experimentation, and in order to gain a better understanding of the underlying, but omnipresent, structures that support these archives and projects, we will also discuss the value of these networked archives / projects. If networked archives/projects are influenced by material conditions and take place through relations and being part of socially organised systems, then how do different elements and entities influence each other, its aesthetic and development? How are these networks articulated and how do they evolve? What are the different stages of (aesthetic, social and technological) development? What is the impact of changes from inside and outside influences, whether networks are dependent on specific structures or formations, or what kind of systems support or obstruct the evolution of networks? How open are they and when do they transform into something else? In what ways will variable or versioned networked archives affect the authority of the institutional organisation? How will their power in the era of openness, self-referential systems and active users change in favour of (co-)developing strategies that bridge varieties of cultural actors and professionals?

To answer some of the question we will also discuss some existing examples/text/research, for example [perhaps prep. reading]:
– Fuller et al. ‘Big Diff, Granularity, Incoherence, and Production in the Github Software Repository.’ In Memory in Motion: Archives, Technology, and the Social, edited by Ina Blom et al. – free download
– Hui, Yuk and Harry Halpin. 2013. Collective Individuation: The Future of the Social Web. In Unlike Us Reader. Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives. INC Reader 8, edited by Geert Lovink and Miriam Rasch. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, pp. 103-16.
– Lovink, Geert and Ned Rossiter. 2005. Dawn of the Organised Network. The Fibreculture Journal. Vol. 5, No. 29. Website http://five.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-029-dawn-of-the-organised-networks/
– Tufekci, Zeynep. Twitter and Tear Gas. The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2017. Chapter: The Networked Public – free download
– Mansoux, Aymeric, “Fork the System”, chapter 8.2 in Mansoux, Sandbox Culture, 2017, PhD dissertation. PDF: https://www.bleu255.com/~aymeric/dump/aymeric_mansoux-sandbox_culture_phd_thesis-2017.pdf#page=377

Some practical examples / initiatives :

Bak.ma / Pad.ma
The Syrian Archive

https://rmozone.com/

http://orweblog.oclc.org/towards-the-facilitated-collection

Community architecture (RedHat) https://www.theopensourceway.org/book/
Self-archiving, open access repository for art publications http://e-artexte.ca/information.html

Version control in the arts and in arts’ conservation:

Raphael Bastide 1962 project http://raphaelbastide.com/1962/
Raphael Lozanno-Hammer https://github.com/antimodular/Best-practices-for-conservation-of-media-art

https://github.com/coryarcangel/Super-Mario-Clouds

Brandon (web work restoration) https://www.guggenheim.org/blogs/checklist/restoring-brandon-shu-lea-cheangs-early-web-artwork
https://vimeo.com/146980154 [from 15:20]

https://github.com/whitneymuseum/douglas-davis

https://github.com/techfocus3/resources >> https://github.com/techfocus3/resources/tree/master/Version%20Control

https://github.com/amiaopensource/open-workflows

https://github.com/MuseumofModernArt/collection

https://github.com/tategallery

https://github.com/MKGHamburg/muse-tech-central

https://github.com/IMAmuseum/ChicagoCodeX

https://github.com/WaltersArtMuseum

https://github.com/cmoa

http://rijksmuseum.github.io

Program outline [under construction]

DAY 1:
Into: What are are going to be looking at in this track?
Toolbox: Skills and technology (overview)
Version control through git: Git physical (workshop):
Git-physical https://github.com/MMinkova/git-physical/blob/master/workshop1_readme.md
Introduction into archival practices: Institutional vs grass roots
Human capital: Communities and networks (discussion)

DAY 2:
Materials from the Poortgebouw Archive: What we can experiment with? (ideation)
Archive’s aim: Definition, audience/users, and evolution (discussion)
Planning and execution: further experimenting with tools
Reflection

DAY 3:
Networks: from theory to practice and practice to theory
– how to create sustainability
– reflection on existing models/guides (for example, Red Hat / Mozilla / Internet Archive / Wiki-media-pedia-data / ANT / Hui&Halpin)
Metadata and categorisation vs folksonomies, or/and search engines (visual versus text)

DAY 4:
t.b.d. depending on the process and progress of the previous days

DAY 5:
Presentations: what do we (not) have and why is that important

link to the Poortgebouw Archive project: https://pad.pzimediadesign.nl/p/theautonomousarchive
Note: the Poortgebouw archive project is part of the exhibition https://architecture-appropriation.hetnieuweinstituut.nl


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