Interfacing The Law Special Issue Archive XPUB Piet Zwart Institute

Interfacing The Law

How can the right to access to knowledge be held up against claims of copyright? How can we battle the terror of the mind produced by the current intellectual property regime?

Interfacing the law is an attempt to build a series of platforms, both in the sense of on-line interfaces and of public discourse, that allow us to experiment with, to openly discuss and to reflect while the next wave of court cases is waiting to happen.

It is urgent that we find ways to make the public debate transcend the juridical binary of illegal vs. legal, and claim political legitimacy for acting out the potential of digital publishing, and the possibility of sharing digital books.

The Autonomous Archive of Poortgebouw

Giulia de Giovanelli, Franc Gonzalez, Max Franklin

For the project “Interfacing the Law” we are working on the archive of the historical living-community Vereniging Poortge- bouw, based in Rotterdam.

Aim of this project is to build a local “archival-machine”, to encourage the collaborative collection of materials that maps the legality of the Poortgebouw.

Through designing a digital interface of mediation for the collection of the community’s documents, we plan on building an open and active archival “machine”.

Open as being build upon the media-wiki platform where people can implement and interact with the archive; the tools utilized re-activate the documents allowing for new interac- tions and understandings. Active as builded on a local com- puter that will serve for the present and future generation of inhabitants to access the documents and store new materials. We want to imagine the interface of the archive as a window on the history of the legalization process of the community. The building was first squatted in 1980 and 4 years after legal- ized. The legalization was made possible by the renovation of the building into a livable space and the dedication of the first group of people that could then establish their living group with an official rent contract.

“Since then, the house has not only served residential needs but has also hosted social and cultural interaction and has provided a number of public “windows” into diverse non-prof- it oriented activities.”

Lots of cultural activities and as well legal struggles build the history of the Poortgebouw. For our project we want to picture and give structure to the series of legal transitions of the history of the community.

The Caboose Library

Emily Buzzo

This is a portable digital library. It is a publicly accessible repository of knowledge. It exists on a portable device travel- ling on the trains between here and there. The library consists of texts that can be downloaded by those who are within range. Every download will be stamped on to the pdf, like a library book, flipping the watermarking practice from corporate to community.

The collection of content is there to reflect, enquire, inspire, open, engage, provoke, incentivise, contradict, motivate... It is shared with the intent to create an environment or mental space where temporary communities may arise around a text, or even just the pleasure of reading.

The collection of publications are stored on a portable, mobile, battery powered device, housed in a black box and consisting of a Raspberry Pi 3 and accessed through it’s local hotspot.

The aim of the project is to take a selection of texts available in an ad hoc network, travelling between Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

The specific goals are to open up and make visible the meta-data and DRM associated with PDF’s. Through this, the project aims to reclaim these systems of control and repur- poses them in a way that evokes a sense of community.

As such the project asks the research question of how these kinds of stamping procedures can play a role in the commu- nity of a library vs the way stamping is now used in digital documents for digital rights management.


Karina Dukalska, Nadine Rotem-Stibbe

Mass-processed foods are often riddled with undisclosed and hidden elements. We are mostly ignorant about the processes involved in manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of our products, and the consequences of such processes. This is not a new grievance, carbon footprints, GM foods, Fair Trade, organic, animal right are all phrases that occur often in headlines, warning us against buying or using a certain product, or advising us to support a certain cause. Such advice, though probably well meaning not only leaves the consumer confused, but also takes away the consumers autonomy in making decisions and taking responsibility for the products they use.

FFF is an open product-database wiki which aims to fill the lack of easy access to what should be public knowledge. Empirical food companies are our main concern. Their disclosed control - whether with data, health factors or ethical behaviour - is beyond our imagination. However, even if the data were fully accessible, there would end up being masses of text and technical information, something that the average consumer, cannot, and will not, read - just like the terms and conditions. There is therefore a pressing need to simplify, decrypt and disambiguate the information by extracting the most relevant points while also maintaining transparency by ensuring that everything can still be easily accessed if one does want to go into depth. To better under- stand the bigger picture the information is broken down into three categories for each product; On the Surface, Grey Area and Under the Surface.

Link of the project

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