Dear cultural institution,
there is an 🐘 in the room...
...This is not just about replacing one toolset with ‘fairer’ ones, although it is part of it obviously. It is first of all about taking time to foreground processes that tech-giants want us to stay out of sight. To learn together how to experience technology differently, to develop convivial and critical relationships that foreground vulnerability, mutual dependency and care-taking. It means to study, to discuss and to experiment. Collectively, we can develop other imaginations for what technology could mean. It is a process of transition: from expecting efficiency to allowing curiosity; from scarcity to multiplicity and from solution to possibility.
--> excerpt from the Elephant-Letter by Constant (distributed in the Fair Arts Almanac 2019), see text here
O P E N C A L L
This is a call for contributions to build a compilation of collective guidelines of care in different fields and configurations — from informal affinity groups, activist collectives to arts organizations. This collection aims at sharing tools for safer and more ethical collaborations within groups, organizations and institutions. It originates in our recurrent feeling of lack of tools when facing a situation of problematic or imbalanced power relation, and our thankfulness when peers, allies and friends share empowering tools with us. We do not mean to build an exhaustive collection, we rather hope to assemble a generous compilation that will inspire groups and people in need for tools, who may then adapt existing guidelines to their own context, creating new situated documents. By guidelines we mean documents that provide instructions for behavior in a specific context. Guidelines work on the mode of the proposition, they are not models that can work in any situations, they need to be re-evaluated, adapted. In that sense we would like to work in a “rhizomatic open source” way — providing source tools that can be modified and adapted to specific situations, generating new tools in a decentralized manner.
--> Call for submissions — Intersecting guidelines of care intersectionsofcare
THE TYRANNY OF STRUCTURELESSNESS BY JO FREEMAN (1970): see text here
But this style of organization has its limits; it is politically inefficacious, exclusive, and discriminatory against those women who are not or cannot be tied into the friendship networks. Those who do not fit into what already exists because of class, race, occupation, education, parental or marital status, personality, etc., will inevitably be discouraged from trying to participate. Those who do fit in will develop vested interests in maintaining things as they are.
The informal groups' vested interests will be sustained by the informal structures which exist, and the movement will have no way of determining who shall exercise power within it. If the movement continues deliberately to not select who shall exercise power, it does not thereby abolish power. All it does is abdicate the right to demand that those who do exercise power and influence be responsible for it. If the movement continues to keep power as diffuse as possible because it knows it cannot demand responsibility from those who have it, it does prevent any group or person from totally dominating. But it simultaneously insures that the movement is as ineffective as possible. Some middle ground between domination and ineffectiveness can and must be found.
...we must accept the idea that there is nothing inherently bad about structure itself -- only its excess use.