Special Issue 21

xperimental publishing | april - june 2023

_ _ | |_| |_ _ _ transparent touches you time touches you teletype | __| __| | | | | |_| |_| |_| | thread the yarn through the years \__|\__|\__, | |___/ yontangle tele touching you try touching yourself teletales teleroot talk to you titty

A typewriter?

why shd it only make use of the tips of the fingers as contact points of flowing multi directional creativity. If I invented a word placing machine, an “expression-scriber,” if you will, then I would have a kind of instrument into which I could step & sit or sprawl or hang & use not only my fingers to make words express feelings but elbows, feet, head, behind, and all the sounds I wanted, screams, grunts, taps, itches, I'd have magnetically recorded, at the same time, & translated into word or perhaps even the final xpressed thought/feeling wd not be merely word or sheet, but itself, the xpression, three dimensional-able to be touched, or tasted or felt, or entered, or heard or carried like a speaking singing constantly communicating charm. A typewriter is corny!!

From Amiri Baraka, Technology & Ethos, http://www.soulsista.com/titanic/baraka.html


This issue started from a single technical object: a Model 33 Teletype machine. The teletype is the meeting point between typewriters and computer interfaces, a first automated translator of letters into bits. Equipped with a keyboard, a transmitter and a punchcard read-writer, it is a historical link between early transmission technology such as the telegraph and the Internet of today. Under the administration of our kubernētēs, Martino Morandi, each week hosted a guest contributor who joined us in unfolding the many cultural and technical layers that we found stratified in such a machine, reading them as questions to our contemporary involvements with computing and with networks.

The format of the issue consisted of on an on-going publishing arrangement, constantly re-considered and escaping definition at every point in spacetime, a sort of Exquisite Corpse Network. It evaded naming, location, and explanation; the Briki, the Breadbrick, the Worm Blob. A plan to release weekly bricks was wattled by a shared understanding of time into something more complex in structure, less structured in complexity.

Initially, the week's caretakers were responsible for collecting materials from our guest contributions, which included lectures, collective readings, hands-on exercises, an excursion to the Houweling Telecom Museum, Rotterdam and another to Constant, Brussels. The caretakers were responsible for recording audio, editing notes, transcribing code, taking pictures, and making lunch. Meanwhile the week's editors were responsible for coming up with a further step in how the publishing progressed, by adding new connections and interfaces, creating languages, plotting strikes and cherishing memories. This mode of publishing made us develop our own collective understandings of inter-operation, of networked care and access, backward- and forward-compatibility, obsolence and futurability.

Teletypewriters ushered in a new mode of inscription of writing: if the typewriter set up a grid of letters and voids of the same size, turning the absence of a letter (the space) into a key itself (the spacebar), the teletypewriter finished it by inscribing the space in the very same material as all other letters: electrical zeros and ones, that were to immediately leave the machine. The Teletype Model 33, one of the most widely produced and distributed text-based terminals in the 1970s, introduced multiple technological concretizations that are present in the computers of today as a sort of legacy, such as the qwerty keyboard with control keys, the ascii character encoding and the TTY terminal capability. We have created short-circuits that allow us to remember otherwise technical progress and computational genealogies.

TTY was produced in april-june 2023 as special issue 21 of the xpub at piet zwart institute, rotterdam. xpub is the master of arts in fine art and design: experimental publishing of the piet zwart institute. xpub focuses on the acts of making things public and creating publics in the age of post-digital networks.

Subrelease Encoding Converter

It's a table, it's a converter, it's a look behind-the-scenes at what really happens when you type on a keyboard! You know, when you press a key and the computer somehow magically knows what you meant to say? Oh well, our buddy Javascript is here to break it down for you in all its nerdy glory.

Get ready for some wild en-codings, including binary, hexadecimal, decimal, phonetic cyrillic, and even the xpub1 emoji 😈 alphabet. So kick back, relax, and let's dive into the wacky world of character en-coding. En-joy!

We are on Strike

Inspired by the "The Phantom of the Operator" documentary, our project delved into the unusual idea of a website going on strike.

Engaging in discussions both inside and outside the classroom, we explored the nature of strikes, labor actions, and the often overlooked realm of invisible labor. As our ideas took shape and questions arose, we realized that disrupting the functionality of the XPUB & Lens-Based Media Wiki, a platform where PZI people regularly access information, could have a significant impact. Initially, we considered redirecting all the links to SI21's page or a Manifesto, effectively occupying our beloved Wiki. However, considering the imminent assessment weeks for XPUB and LBM, we decided against interfering with users' daily wiki experience and workflow.

Instead, we embraced a different approach to realize our idea while preserving the Wiki's main functionality. Our solution was to unveil the previously unseen labor and highlight its significance. We added specific texts to corresponding wiki pages, seamlessly integrating them into the current SI21 sub-release. To distinguish these pieces of text as additions and explanations, we placed them on top of each page with the "wiki comments" command, and thus rendering them as hidden elements, i.e. invisible on page load. This allowed us to provide comprehensive details about our intentions and the underlying ideas while maintaining the wiki's regular functionality.

Hey Babe!

Hey Babe! is a publication of XPUB1 as part of the Special Issue 21. It consists of excerpts from the conversations at the Houweling Telecom Museum, parts from the documentary The Phantom of the Operator and a collective reading experience on binary systems, time, worms and pebbles.

This publication aims to act as a familiar sound over the phone and requires a caller to be heard. Unless anyone calls, our memories about the last couple of months will be phantomized. This is our ode to the invisible labor of operators, long distance relationships, people who could not hear from their lovers for years, trembling voices over the phone and all the people who took an effort and spend time to reach someone. This is the sound of your friend saying “hello” on the phone.

The pubication consists of many sound clips. The caller will listen to a random clip each time they call.

Press play and listen to some of the teletales:

GSM card

Gesture Glossary

This is the gesture glossary. Click a word to see the gestures related to it.

The aim is to see if a gesture glossary works and how it will work best. Also to see what kind of different interpretations there will be on gestures of our memory. To test the gesture glossary idea, and see what different meanings appear or already exist in the current vocabulary. Putting next to each other different agreements on linguistic and body units, testing what makes sense. Investigating and playing with communicational channels in between us, how a body language is documented, how it expands, how it is capable of creating or enhancing identities. To be an xpub means to speak/perform the xpub language?


We have a bag full of planets, stars, our favorite moments, darkest fears, best intentions and worst feelings. We contain them and sometimes they overlap each other. Sometimes we are happy and sad; sometimes we forget why we were even mad in the beginning. But we also share some of these moments or galaxies that reside in our bags with other souls. We remember the same moment through a different window. We remember that day as cold, whereas they remember it as warm. One by one, these moments create one snapshot of the reality. The reality we create collectively. We sometimes trust our memories and our memories always trust us.

We overlap, we crawl through the memory lane. We go silently through the gates of space and time, we exchange our sights with each other and for one spectacular moment, all the stars in our bags spill and we get to see through each others' eyes. Our bag is now in the middle, its ready for you to discover and see the networks of our minds, make knots in the middle or intervene with what we call is a collective memory of few xpubbers.

Special thanks to Martino Morandi (guest editor), Andrea di Serego Alighieri, Femke Snelting, Isabelle Sully, Jara Rocha, Roel Roscam Abbing, and Zoumana Meïté. Your generous contribution has made those releases possible, and we are deeply grateful for your gesture.
Yours, xpub1 🐛