Ecologies of Dissemination

Editors:

Eva Weinmayr

Femke Snelting

Abstract

Ecologies of Dissemination aims to develop a politics of re-use that acknowledges the tensions and overlaps between feminist methodologies, decolonial knowledge practices and principles of open access.

Invested in collective art and knowledge practices, we are concerned with how the current drive to openness in dissemination policies might overlook relational aspects. If we consider authorship to be part of a collective cultural effort, how can we invent a politics of sharing and re-use that does not buy into a universalist approach to openness.

Open Access policies (regional, national and international) tend not to recognize that knowledge practices are situated in contingent social and historical conditions, nor that there might be ethical reasons to refrain from release and re-use. Therefore, it seems important to develop a politics of re-use that complexifies the binary between open (Free Culture, Open Access) and closed (IP, copyright) while being attentive to power differences embedded in practices of re-use. This includes taking into account the situated conditions for production and an understanding that the defaults of openness and transparency have different consequences in different contexts.

Furthermore, Ecologies of Dissemination, i​​​n conversation with a community of practitioners and theorists aims to understand, describe and exhibit the intricacies and porosity of feminist decolonial art and knowledge practices that don’t fall back on a modernist concept of the artist as an original creator, based on individual expression. Here art-making would not be understood as an act of intentionality (self-expression) but as an act of relating.

Ecologies of dissemination is a collaboration between HDK-Valand, the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University (UK) and Constant, a non-profit, artist-run association active in the fields of art, feminism, media and technology in Brussels (BE). It is funded by the Swedish Research Council (2023-24).

Our Methods

Our methods are based on feminist and decolonial thinking which for us means that we consider authorship as a relational practice that intersects with multiple axes of power and oppression. We do this by interlacing conversations, prompts and rewritings as a way to involve a network of interlocutors, references and sources.

One core method consists of compiling a collection of situated cases that speak of the complexity and conflictuousness of Open Content as a decolonial, feminist practice. They are based on situations we experienced ourselves, that friends and comrades spoke to us about or cases we encounter in media and literature. This collection is one of the multiple ways in which we intentionally keep the edges of the research open, because it is crucial to approach Ecologies of Dissemination across academic, artistic and activist practices that are differently situated, in terms of politics, geography and culture.

Then, we are convening a monthly reading group Limits to Openness, in which we are trying to come to terms with issues of universalism related to the idea of “openness”, as often presented in Open Content, Open Access, Free Culture and so forth. Does Free Culture perversely repeat here the colonial gesture of creating a ground zero for the circulation of knowledge as a “free” object? What could decolonial, feminist conditions for re-use look like, that would acknowledge entangled notions of authorship? (Everyone is welcome to sign up eva.weinmayr@akademinvaland.gu,se)

We are planning assemblies in Gothenburg, Brussels and Coventry, for example a rewriting session of “Collective Conditions for Re-use“(CC4R), which is an attempt to continue the experiment to reformulate Free Culture with decolonial and feminist politics.

​​​​​​​For the rewriting of CC4r, we will work with a group of practitioners and theorists to prepare a series of prompts to activate and enrich the process of rewriting. The prompts are a way to support the (currently unspecified) group of persons who will take on the task of rewriting. A prompt, as we understand it, is a device to make something happen. It invites a response. A prompt purposefully triggers the “prompted” to consider a specific angle, points towards potential gaps, invites saying something about a specific issue. Prompts can take many forms or shapes. And we hope for a wide range of formats and approaches: from rudimentary questions and provocations to suggestive imagery, to audio or video, to subtle sonic pulses. The kinds of prompts we are interested in, spark mutual reflection and are not constraining in terms of outcome.

In line with feminist methods we think of dissemination in terms of slow and growing, potentially scattered  ways to connect people and connect their concerns to the project. This means its very dissemination is therefore already happening on many different levels during the activities: in informal conversations, the open reading groups sessions, assemblies, and recorded interviews.

Content from Ecologies of Dissemination

Workshop

Revisit Reuse

Wed 1–Sat 4 May 2024

Eva WeinmayrFemke Snelting

Dialogue

Opening Keynote at Sensing Dissensus

Wed 25 Oct 2023

Eva WeinmayrFemke Snelting

Dialogue

First Times Do Not Exist, Translating and citing as relational practices of re-use

Fri 27 Oct 2023

Cathryn KlastoEva WeinmayrFemke SneltingJennifer HayashidaNkule Mabaso

Dialogue

Talk “Collective Conditions for Re-use”

Wed 28 Sep 2022

Femke Snelting

Dialogue

Talk “Mes Lettres (My Letters)”

Mon 6 Mar 2023

Femke Snelting

Dialogue

Talk “From Independent to Intersectional Publishing”

Thu 20–Fri 21 Apr 2023

Eva Weinmayr

Workshop

Reading Group: Boatema Boateng’s “The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here”

Wed 24 May 2023

Eva WeinmayrFemke Snelting