Aymeric Mansoux: Sandbox Culture: A Study of the Application of Free and Open Source Software Licensing Ideas to Art and Cultural Production (2017)

7 July 2017, dusan

“In partial response to the inability of intellectual property laws to adapt to data-sharing over computer networks, several initiatives have proposed techno-legal alternatives to encourage the free circulation and transformation of digital works. These alternatives have shaped part of contemporary digital culture for more than three decades and are today often associated with the “free culture” movement. The different strands of this movement are essentially derived from a narrower concept of software freedom developed in the 1980s, and which is enforced within free and open source software (FLOSS) communities. This principle was the first significant effort to articulate a reusable techno-legal template to work around the limitations of intellectual property laws. It also offered a vision of network culture where community participation and sharing was structural.

From alternate tools and workflow systems, artist-run servers, network publishing experiments, open data and design lobbies, cooperative and collaborative frameworks, but also novel copyright licensing used by both non-profit organisations and for-profit corporations, the impact on cultural production of practices developed in relation to the ideas of FLOSS has been both influential and broadly applied. However, if it is true that FLOSS has indeed succeeded in becoming a theoretical and practical model for the transformation of art and culture, the question remains at which ways it has provided such a model, how it has been effectively appropriated across different groups and contexts and in what ways these overlap or differ.

Using the image of the sandbox, where code becomes a constituent device for different communities to experience varying ideologies and practices, this dissertation aims to map the consequent levels of divergence in interpreting and appropriating the free and open source techno-legal template. This thesis identifies the paradoxes, conflicts, and contradictions within free culture discourse. It explores the tensions between the wish to provide a theoretical universal definition of cultural freedom, and the disorderly reality of its practice and interpretation. However, despite the different layers of cultural diffusion, appropriation, misunderstanding and miscommunication that together form the fabric of free culture, this dissertation argues that, even though feared, fought, and criticised, these issues are not signs of dysfunctionality but are instead the evidence of cultural diversity within free culture. This dissertation will also demonstrate that conflicts between and within these sandboxes create a democratic process that permits the constant transformation of the free and open source discourse, and is therefore something that should be embraced and neither resisted nor substituted for a universal approach to cultural production.”

Includes an anthology of proto-free culture licenses, 1998-2002 (pp 382-452).

PhD Dissertation
Supervisor: Matthew Fuller
Publisher Centre of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, 2017
xxxviii+486 pages
via author

PDF, PDF (7 MB)

Garnet Hertz (ed.): Critical Making (2012)

21 January 2015, dusan

Critical Making is a handmade book project by Garnet Hertz that explores how hands-on productive work ‐ making ‐ can supplement and extend critical reflection on technology and society. It works to blend and extend the fields of design, contemporary art, DIY/craft and technological development. It also can be thought of as an appeal to the electronic DIY maker movement to be critically engaged with culture, history and society: after learning to use a 3D printer, making an LED blink or using an Arduino, then what?

The publication has 70 contributors ‐ primarily from contemporary art and academia ‐ and its 352 pages are bound in ten pocket-sized zine-like volumes. The project takes the topic of DIY culture literally by printing an edition of 300 copies on a hacked photocopier with booklets that were manually folded, stapled and cut. The 300 finished copies were primarily given away for free to project contributors, individuals and institutions important to them. Some of the handmade copies were traded for reviews, photographs, videos, lectures and were given to library archives.

Due to the large demand for this content, the entire collection had been scanned and released on conceptlab.com/criticalmaking and through the Twitter account @criticalpdfs.”

Publisher Telharmonium Press, Hollywood/CA, November 2012
Open Access
10 booklets, 352 pages total

Reviews: Debatty (We Make Money Not Art, 2013), Blue (Engine Institute, 2013).

single PDF (36 MB)
PDF contributions (67 pieces)

Alessandro Delfanti: Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science (2013)

8 November 2014, dusan

Biohackers explores fundamental changes occuring in the circulation and ownership of scientific information. Alessandro Delfanti argues that the combination of the ethos of 20th century science, the hacker movement and the free software movement is producing an open science culture which redefines the relationship between researchers, scientific institutions and commercial companies.

Biohackers looks at the emergence of the citizen biology community ‘DIYbio’, the shift to open access by the American biologist Craig Venter and the rebellion of the Italian virologist Ilaria Capua against WHO data-sharing policies.

Delfanti argues that these biologists and many others are involved in a transformation of both life sciences and information systems, using open access tools and claiming independence from both academic and corporate institutions.”

Publisher Pluto Press, London, 2013
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License
ISBN 9781849649070
176 pages

Review (Alice Bell, The Guardian, 2013)
Review (Stefano Golinelli and Luc Henry, Science, 2014)

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