Read & Repair feat. Digital Solidarity Networks
Sunday, 28th June 2020. 15:00-17:00 CEST

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- Both the physical and digital spaces of Varia are subject to our Code of Conduct <>

» Be supportive. Be curious. Consider that nobody knows you besides what you write. Meaning, be extra nice with your words. 
» If you have a question, ask. This is an experiment in reading together from a distance.
» Don't delete text from other people, just add. 

The guests for the upcoming Sunday are the custodians of the Digital Solidarity Networks pad <>. Digital Solidarity Networks started as a listing of tools, practices and readings for convivial digital solidarity amongst individuals, institutions and collectives. The initiative lives as an online collaborative writing space, where people come together to collect and discuss examples of collective digital alternative practices.

We will read the following texts:


Welcome to this Read & Repair Session. 

To begin we are going to individually, but together, spend 1.5hrs reading - 30minutes per text - during which we will collect sentences from them. The sentences we collect are things that resonate with you, incite your curiousity, your doubts and questions, things you agree with, disagree with, or want to know more about.

We will individually, but together, copy paste them into this document and put them into a semi-coherent text order based on how the sentences or paragraphs speak (or don't!) to each other. Afterwards we take this collectively made text and and move it into a color-full pad to discuss our words together.

During our copy paste reading we have come up with some Magic Words to help us edit. Instructions for their use are below. You are free at any time to add your own Magic Word into the Spellbook, with a short introduction on how to cast your spell so that others can use it too.

Spellbook for Copy Paste Reading

Magic Words are used by this collaborative text editor to enact certain commands, for example __PUBLISH__ at the bottom of this pad is indexing it on this page: They are little spells that can be used anywhere on the pad to indicate how we want to interact with the text. New magic words can be added, used, reused or altered during the reading time.

__CHOIR__ We will use this term when something is repeated in our copypasting, instead of adding the text again we can use this magic word to signify our pasting (our voice) in time with anothers pasting (their speech)

__CANWEDISCUSS__ If a sentence or paragraph is raising questions or flags, we can use this magic word to take it with us into discussion.

__POW__ We can use this term when we think what the author is saying is very powerful, effective and/or affective.

__NOOO__ This signifies a feeling of doom when reading.

__AEOOUUWA__ We can use this term to share our joy or enthusiasm for a particular phrasing of an idea.

__APPEND__ We can use this term to add sentences/words from other references that are not part of the 3 of today.

__BLEURGH__ A feeling of disgust.

__AGGLUTINATE__ A new word from compounds e.g. "patriarchalism" (patriarchy + capitalism)

__GLOSSARY__ Add word to our session's "vocabulary".

Add your copy paste from FCJ-196 Let’s First Get Things Done! On Division of Labour and Techno-political Practices of Delegation in Times of Crisis Below


 It is towards such 'sneaky moments' __POW__ in which the ongoing divide between those engaged in struggles of social justice and those struggling for just technologies have been reshaped that we want to lend our attention.
 At historical junctures, like the ones we find ourselves in now, hegemonic hierarchies are simultaneously challenged and reinvented. Sometimes they are aggressively imposed, but often they are subtly reproduced; this is what we have come to refer to as ‘sneaky moments.’

We came to recognise how we mimicked __AEOOUUWA__ the same logic of what we identified and critiqued as a normative western male-dominated approaches that naturalise hegemonic divisions of labor justified by a quest for efficiency __NOOO__

we will have to reconfigure these divisions of labour between 'activists' and 'techies'. __POW__

Time is never objective, and cannot be a standard empirical guideline, as our perceptions of time differ relative to personal struggles in a particular moment. __POW__

Our own occasional utterances of things like ‘Oh, lets first get things done!’ made us realise we were all projecting from our particular—professional, political, personal—contexts. We came to recognise how we mimicked the same logic of what we identified and critiqued as a normative western male-dominated approaches that naturalise hegemonic divisions of labor justified by a quest for efficiency. __NOOO__

The framing of corporate platforms as liberation technologies has overshadowed critiques of the profit agendas embedded in these monopsonies (Mejias, 2012) __POW__

how can we prevent tech-activists from becoming coopted by policy makers with geopolitical interests __CANWEDISCUSS__

Conflict management on social platforms, however, does not lend itself well to automation and requires expensive human labour __NOOO__

It is as if we are all placed within a matrix categorised by time and history; setting and locality; and technology, where each constellation brings another understanding of efficiency and urgency. __CANWEDISCUSS__

These platforms serve to capture attempts at resistance through the seamless integration of political projects into the communication-entertainment complex (Dean, 2009). __NOOO__

cyber-orientalism __CANWEDISCUSS__

in moments of crisis, as people leveraged these technologies to establish new alliances for radical change, the platforms run by these multinational corporations were elevated in mainstream media to the status of ‘liberation technologies’ (Mejias, 2012). __BLEURGH__ __NOOO__

It is at this juncture that the necessity and desire for a convergence between those ‘groups that wish to use the media instrumentally to draw attention to their political efforts versus those who wish to change the media system itself’ (Carroll and Hackett, 2006) became a matter of urgency. __CANWEDISCUSS__
Certain people do their activism with political change as the objective, and technology as the tool. For others, politics and justice is their context but a certain improvement in the tool itself is the objective.

For instance, with the Arab uprisings we learned that a proper assessment of the political implications of the Internet depends on two different characteristics of technology: as a tool for activists (operational, for example, coding or designing promotion material) and as a space for activists (mobilisation, for example, expanding networks, archiving) (Aouragh, 2012). 

‘sneaky moments’ __GLOSSARY__

Add your copy paste from Spider Alex - "Underneath and on the sidelines: Sustaining feminist infrastructures using speculative fiction Below

They have been used to share the way in which speculative fiction can sustain our efforts to create community, feminist infrastructures. Sometimes, they enabled a community to identify its unease and focus on what needed healing, while at other times they served to counterbalance structural violence caused by patriarchalism __GLOSSARY__ __AGGLUTINATE__ (that criminal alliance of patriarchy and capitalism); at yet others they also allowed us to take a breather together so that we can continue being watchful of possible futures; and in other cases, they were a trigger for activating ecosystems inhabited by narratives, fictional characters and calls for transformational collective action.

To build a community one must go back to a territory where the community is made and unmade, constituted by a variety of thinking-feeling beings, crews, willingness, experiences, trajectories, subjectivities and dissonances __POW__

speculative fiction __GLOSSARY__ (to sustain our efforts to create infrastructures)

digital infrapuncture __APPEND__

One of the values of the community lies in how many mistakes are allowed per path. It also brings about techniques, tools, know-how and infrastructure. Another of its values stems from how much we are allowed to dream and speculate together. __CANWEDISCUSS__

 A polymorphous monster called community that always sets down roots in a territory and a landscape. __NOOO__ __AEOOUUWA__

What needs to be established, systematised, documented? What should not be considered or not broached? What should be regulated and governed? __CANWEDISCUSS__

Together, we multi-manage a live infrastructure . __GLOSSARY__

One of the values of the community lies in how many mistakes are allowed per path. __POW__

feminist infrastructure, which is found underneath and on the sidelines , __GLOSSARY__ __POW__ is often precarious and sometimes difficult to see. But it is widespread and disseminated, and at its core is the value and affection that the people, machines and ecosystems that constitute it offer each other. __AEOOUUWA__

We are talking about infrastructures that focus on what we believe are basic necessities, such as: electricity, water, poo, piss, connectivity, compost, sewage, organic/electronic/industrial waste, housing, the production of material and immaterial things; and sometimes this is processed by making food and drink.

fear and shame imposed by the patriarchal system __BLEURGH__ __NOOO__

How can we achieve it, when we have always been told that infrastructure will either kill you or enslave you? __NOOO__

By feminist infrastructures __GLOSSARY__ we mean feminist struggles – everything that is sustained and shored up by more or less stable resources – so they can develop and move forward. By resources __CANWEDISCUSS__ we mean techniques, technologies and processes (analogue, digital, social) including safe spaces, shelters, libraries, trustworthy sisterhood networks __GLOSSARY__ , servers, yellow pages, repositories, bots, documentation and memory tools, encyclopaedias, HerStories, techniques for life, spells __GLOSSARY__ , rituals __GLOSSARY__ and exorcisms __GLOSSARY__ . __CHOIR__

One of the values of the community lies in how many mistakes are allowed per path. __CANWEDISCUSS__

instrumental sedimentation __GLOSSARY__ in the objects produced by artisans4 […] Technology is a set of macro-technical processes (in other words, processes that are bigger than human beings and the community of a hamlet) __AEOOUUWA__

We believe that the feminist infrastructure, which is found underneath and on the sidelines , is often precarious and sometimes difficult to see. __CANWEDISCUSS__ __CHOIR__

Women and fellow feminists have always been there, underneath and on the sidelines, sharing techniques for life and making appropriate technologies __GLOSSARY__ (rooted in an idiosyncrasy that neither contaminates nor remains), ‘slow’ technologies __GLOSSARY__ , age-old technologies __GLOSSARY__ , ‘minor technologies’ __GLOSSARY__ , and free technologies in pursuit of the sovereignty and autonomy of the communities that develop them.

proletarianisation defined as the rebuffing of artisans, was only possible on a massive scale because of the science that was being developed. This science, far from being speculative, was deeply rooted in the reality of “it is a fact” __NOOO__

(move fast and break things) __NOOO__

According to Elleflâne, an ‘adequate technology and also appropriate, copied, obtained. […] describes those technologies best suited to the environmental, cultural and economic context; requiring few resources; implying the least costs; with a low environmental impact; low levels of maintenance; created using local skills, tools and materials; and that can be locally repaired, modified and transformed. At the end of the day, which community does not need technology to be efficient, understandable and adapted to its own environmental, cultural and economic context?’

What has no name cannot exist, and so we extend an invitation for the creation of new vocabularies and techniques to explore these futuretopias __GLOSSARY__ and feminist infrastructures

What has no name cannot exist __CANWEDISCUSS__

Ecotechnology __AGGLUTINATE__

Pooship __AGGLUTINATE__ __GLOSSARY__ (Ecosec): To become an expert in managing our shit, in the literal and figurative sense, along the whole chain involved in expelling it, collecting it, taking it away and composting it. To redignify it as a sign of luck and fertiliser for the earth/soil. __AEOOUUWA__ __CHOIR__

Narcofeminism __AGGLUTINATE__

Community infrastructure and feminist infrastructure share common points as well as some of the stresses that affect them. __POW__

But what is it that draws a sensitive line between techniques and technologies, and why is this important for feminist infrastructures? __CANWEDISCUSS__ (but not a priority perhaps)

Lastly, we list other possible techniques9 that we have found in our speculative fictions: visioning, recounting our dreams and nightmares, relating our memories, meditating, daydreaming, branching out, creating memories of the future, rescuing and exorcising unwritten pasts, writing down what is missing, suturing cracks __AEOOUUWA__ , travelling through our bodies, creating restorative processes, healing traumas, limiting imposed narratives, automatic writing.

Technique is not necessarily technology, but technology is made by absorbing techniques. In systemisation induced by the production of technologies, techniques for life are often completely omitted and destroyed: Those which offered us other ways of understanding our relationship with our surroundings and the values we convey in that relationship. __POW__ __CANWEDISCUSS__

An infrastructure tends to (re)generate and (a)cumulate, and the alchemy that results from this stress must be periodically re-examined in order to drain or water/nourish it in time. __CHOIR____APPEND_BLOODLETTING____CANWEDISCUSS__

In the established and the speculative we find a way to release ourselves from the myth of science and technological progress. __POW__

Very few take part in dreaming it __POW__

Modern science and ‘new’ technologies are based on distancing, destroying or absorbing techniques necessary for life, and they stop us from finding the access, shortcuts and paths to our appropriate technologies. __POW__

processes of autopoiesis __CANWEDISCUSS__

Add your copy paste from Josh Gabert-Doyon - "On paranoia and reparative reading" Below

 it should be noted that Gilead, the pharmaceutical company at the forefront of developing a coronavirus vaccine, also owned the patent to Truvada, better known as PrEP, a preventative HIV drug only made available in the UK this week after an incredibly hard-fought campaign by activists. __NOOO__

For Sedgwick, the two modes of reading are not antithetical, instead the reparative mode of reading is something of a continuation of the paranoid.

And through that paranoia, there has been a political effort to read the crisis under the rubric of what the theorist Eve Kosofosky Sedgwick would describe as “reparative”. 

a lense of defiant paranoia __NOOO__

When it comes to what knowledge is to be gained by this kind of conspiratorial reading, don’t we already know that the lives of disabled people are undervalued by our health system, that the tenants are unfairly evicted, the precariat locked out of the privileges once universally afforded? __NOOO__ __CHOIR__

Suspicious reading can also build the grounds for shared opposition and resistance that emerges from the reparative affective mode, and a reparative mode of reading the crisis. __POW__

Paranoia, as an effect and as a mode of reading, is “anticipatory”, it’s “reflexive and mimetic...plac[ing] its faith in exposure”.

Reparative reading requires a healthy degree of paranoia, but also non-paranoid methods: it offers a political strategy and productive way forward for our moment of paranoia fixation.

reparative reading __GLOSSARY__ (?)(!) (+1)(+1) __CHOIR__

financialisation has conjured its own paranoid reading, where theorists seek to untangle the web of legal mechanisms and offshore accounts that allow the financial system to dominate all other modes of life. 

Suspicious reading can also build the grounds for shared opposition and resistance that emerges from the reparative affective mode, and a reparative mode of reading the crisis. __CANWEDISCUSS__

ideological frailty __GLOSSARY__

from Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations to Adam Curtis’ soothing voice-over, we’re already well acquainted with the sort of reading necessary to make sense of our slow-moving dystopia. __NOOO__

Anne Boyer writes about coronavirus in a recent newsletter: “These are the same types who say the only thing to fear is fear, which of course is not true, because fear educates our care for each other -- we fear a sick person might be made sicker, or that a poor person's life might be made even more miserable, and we do whatever we can to protect them because we fear a version of human life in which everyone lives for themselves only.” __POW__

Looking back on the legacy of AIDS activism Sedgwick writes: “what we can best learn from such [reparative] practices are, perhaps, the many ways selves and communities succeed in extracting sustenance from the objects of a culture – even of a culture whose avowed desire has often been to not sustain them.” __NOOO__

To read coronavirus reparatively is to engage with the new forms of solidarity we develop through our periods of self-isolation and social distancing. __POW__

the “queer possibility” that we don’t repeat destructive patterns that we’ve come across in large-scale resets: don’t make the same mistakes paranoia has led us into before. __CANWEDISCUSS__

We act paranoid as a defence against loss.

And there are reasons to practice paranoid reading beyond just the fact that they may provide “true knowledge”. __CANWEDISCUSS__

In reparative reading, we “seek new environments of sensation for the objects they study by displacing critical attachments once forced by correction, rejection, and anger with those crafted by affection, gratitude, solidarity, and love.” __AEOOUUWA__ __AEOOUUWA__ __AEOOUUWA__

Sedgwick writes of the “queer possibility” that we don’t repeat destructive patterns that we’ve come across in large-scale resets: don’t make the same mistakes paranoia has led us into before. __CANWEDISCUSS__

paranoid reading __GLOSSARY__ (?) (specially in close relation to reparative reading)



very nice how text 2 and text 3 started to speak to each other 
digital infrapuncture: (an __AGGLUTINATE__ !) (proposed by Deb Verhoeven) to point to moments of stress in infrastructures

depressing feelings occured when reading: that we don’t repeat destructive patterns that we’ve come across in large-scale resets (isn't this what is happening...)

the 3rd text is written in March 2020: so the moment of most paranoid-ness probably!

The whole text is not really reparative actually....

not shying away from the practicalities and contexts of being part of a community
2nd text: hopeful because it is practical (rather read about handling poo then about biometrical data)

reparative reading vs speculative fiction

* how can we prevent tech-activists from becoming coopted by policy makers with geopolitical interests __CANWEDISCUSS__

coopted as in: working for? or working with big-tech tools?

tech activists vs activists for justice

"appropriate" technologies, to point to local situations, what is "radical" in relation to that infrastructure
for example in Romania there is not enough money to work on alternative networks

would be great to challenge the notion of "alternative modes of distribution" a bit

phones & affordability
ref to the ADEF summercamp last year, when a group tried to make a mesh network, but each device needed different adaptations in order to make it work
in the end many compromises needed to be made, 
question of time, "it takes time to work on infrastructure" and again affordability
"it killed my dreams" about mesh networks 

ref to Technological Sovereignty

city wifi networks
local networks
mesh networks

technique vs/& technoly


a hamlet: in English, a town without a religion? in French, too small snippets of a village that are too small to be on their own?

technician ? tech- as technique?
technologist ? tech- as technology? but connotates something academic
technocrat ? (joke)
techship ! (as in pooship)

A technologist is a person who specializes in using technology.[1] While similar to a technician, the two are not the same.[2] Where both are employed, a technician works for a technologist.[2] A technician is someone with a basic knowledge of a technology. A technologist is someone who completely understands the technology and other technologies that can be applied.[2] In the field of health care, for example, both may be called a "lab tech".[3] While they may have overlapping duties, a laboratory or lab technician performs the duties he or she is trained for.[3] The lab technologist is the project manager who supervises the lab.[3]
> very hierarchal

returning structure two-group-dualisms ...

activists --- techies
activist for social change --- tech activists

technologist --- technician

'techies'          activists
  appropriate technologies

After summer R&R sessions:

- Steve, maybe around annotations?
- Read-in?
- Matthew Stadler? (founder of publication studio, involved in the Portland)
- Clara? (on radical transcriptions?)

Would be nice to shift roles in the library workgroup, so that it is not only one person that organises a R&R session, but also others can invite someone to host one?

workgroup library...
practical things around the library @ Varia

combining R&R public moments with WG library workmoments?
we can try this out in the session of August

Ref to Cybernetics Library: "check in" system
reverse catalog system, where people can check in a book, that can be read in a specific place

Ref to Luke's idea about federated radical library throughout Rotterdam 
How to "trace" books?
How to inject a trace of the route of the book?

Danny is working on a system to make a webpage of an ethercalc that hosts the catalog