How do we cultivate infrastructures of solidarity with each other, especially under conditions of crisis, protest, and systemic inequity? Beyond corporate data clouds and monopolistic service providers, this class offered critical space to reframe technology from a grassroots perspective in relation to other components of day-to-day societal infrastructure. We explored concepts like the slow web, organic Internet, right-to-repair, data sovereignty, minimal computing and anti-computing, in context of the intersectional Just Transition movement. We learned how community tech and cultural organizing go hand-in-hand through real-world case studies. We learned about the creative applications and underlying ideologies of various open source tools and network topologies. We tuned into signals of radical communication beyond colonialist legibility. Along the way, we aimed to challenge the technocapitalist worldview, breaking the dichotomy of "high" and "low" tech in favor of a needs-based approach that centers collectivist values and the Earth. Over the course of the class, participants developed technical skills for running a situated server practice and learn from each others' experiences. Each participant was encouraged to apply the idea of "computing in place" to their own locale through a creative project which ranged from a small poetic experiment, to archiving personal and familial stories, to collaborating with the neighborhood library, community garden, elderly home, or mutual aid coalition. As creative practitioners, we directed our imaginative power toward experimenting with refusal, repair, responsibility, and reconnection in order to dream into practice the relational infrastructures we need.
Images courtesy of teachers, participants and class documentarians.
Participants can expect to spend no more than 2 hours outside of class each week on class readings and assignments. Each participant is invited to develop a situated infrastructural intervention over the course of the class, with the option to apply technical skills for server hosting that we will learn together. This requires being proactive with researching the needs of a community that is specific to you, and establishing or deepening relations with collaborators.
Any technical experience is welcome but not required.
Together we will develop:
This class may be for you if:
This class may NOT be for you if:
Alice Yuan Zhang 张元 is a Chinese-American media artist, researcher, and cultural organizer based in Los Angeles. Her transdisciplinary practice operates on cyclical and intergenerational time. Along the peripheries of colonialist imagination, she works to bring technology down to earth by devising collective experiments in ancestral remembering, interspecies pedagogy, and networked solidarity.
she/her · website · twitter · instagram
Max Fowler is an artist and programmer working with offline-first software, mycology and community infrastructure. They are a contributor to PeachCloud, software that makes hosting peer to peer software on local low-power hardware more accessible. They are also a co-founder of KiezPilz (kiezpilz.de), a communal fungi cultivation group based in Berlin. They were a student at the School For Poetic Computation in 2016, and later a TA. They are one of the admins of sunbeam.city, and are interested in foraging, flip-phones, rust and html.
they/them · website · twitter
Mark Anthony Hernandez Motaghy is an artist and cultural worker. They live in the occupied territory of the Naumkeag, Pawtucket, and Massachusett tribe. Operating with mediums such as experimental video, as well as installation, books, and oral histories, Mark's current practice is exploring sites of commoning, care-based economies, and sociotechnical imaginaries. They were previously a researcher at The Poetic Justice Group at MIT Media Lab, where Mark investigated decentralized story-telling models and community-driven sculptures. In addition, Mark is the compiler of the zine-book Rehearsing Solidarity: Learning from Mutual Aid, published by Thick Press, documenting mutual aid experiments in response to state failings and the social and digital infrastructures created for communities to fight back.
he/they · website · twitter · instagram
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