Domains, Publics and Access

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An online collection of projects that offer different forms of access for the general public to the domains of art, science, culture, economics, politics and technology.

Cataloging, preserving and documenting the current forms of access.

open access, open content, open goverment, open science, open design, open education, open spectrum, citizen jornalism, citizen science, collaborative economy, sharing economy, commons, coops, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrencies, DIY, makers, 3D printing, free software, free culture, community currencies, solidarity economy, future, grassroots media, p2p, pirate, tactical media, tactical urbanism, private, public…

Versión en español: http://dpya.org

Collecting

Domains, publics and access is an ongoing research project in media archaeology of the present been developed in Mexico by the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and the Alumnos47 Foundation since 2015. The core of the research is a wiki where we collect projects that offer access for the general public to the domains of art, culture, science, economics, politics and technology.

The Collection is dedicated to cataloguing, preserving and documenting projects that propose or investigate general access to the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services previously restricted mainly to specialists and professionals. Combining the mass media with heterogeneous social practices the projects question the vertical and centralized management of access by public and private institutions historically associated with art, science, culture, economics, politics and technology such as museums, galleries, libraries, archives, publishers, laboratories, universities, companies, banks, hospitals, governments, political parties, factories, etc.

Projects that experiment with more horizontal and decentralized management models appear on the web associated with recent terms such as open access, open data, open content, open education, open government, open design, open spectrum, open science, cryptocurrencies, citizen journalism, citizen science, collaborative economy, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, free software, free culture, p2p, tactical urbanism ... These new terms coexist with old terms such as commons, public domain, time banks, grassroots media, solidarity economy, community currencies, cryptography, cooperatives, tactical media, DIY or piracy. All of them constitute the vocabulary of current forms of access, keywords of a vanishing present.

The Collection brings together projects that have emerged in different countries from the second half of the 20th century to the present day, with special attention to those developed in Mexico where the research began. The only condition is that the projects should be associated with the vocabulary of current forms of access counting on the participation of the general public in all domains of social activity. The collection includes, equally, projects launched by public and private institutions and different actors of civil society, since the questioning of the vertical and centralized management of access by institutions historically associated with the various domains is taking place inside and outside of them. In this way the Collection deals with the contemporary coexistence and hybridization between new and old models of access management that present different degrees of centralization and decentralization, verticality and horizontality.

Cataloguing

Projects are catalogued according to the categories and subcategories associated with the three main sections in which the wiki is divided. In Domains, the projects are indexed according to their main ascription to one or several Domains: Art, Science, Culture, Economics, Politics and Technology. In Publics, projects are labeled based on their linguistic, geographical and temporal universe. We catalog all the Language(s) in which each project is published, the Start Country(ies), the Start Year and the Ending Year. In Access, the projects are classified according to the vocabulary of current forms of access. As this vocabulary appears and is popularized mainly in English, the main menu categories are in this language: Citizen, Collaborative, Commons, Co-ops, Crowd, Crypto, DIY, Free, Future, Grassroots, Open, P2P, Pirate, Private, Public, Tactical. The translation is found in the subcategories that also expand the forms of access linked with each category in English and Spanish.

To show how the vocabulary of current forms of access is diversified with use, the wiki allows participants to add new categories and subcategories following the terms that the projects apply to define themselves. When the terms are not shown explicitly or appear under a slightly different version, the categories and subcategories already indexed are assigned according to the criteria of the participant. Only the subcategories No lucrativo/ Nonprofit (Private), Lucrativo/Profit (Private) and Estado/State (Public) are part of the cataloguing of all projects. In that way the public initiatives of governments are distinguished from all others and the business model and legal status of the project are indicated when they are clearly published. These cataloguing criteria also apply to projects that lack legal form or do not clearly state what their legal status is.

All the necessary information for the cataloguing is extracted from the project websites. Even the main sources for new projects are the links that they establish with other initiatives. Only in exceptional cases are secondary sources of information used to complete the cataloguing. The Collection does not pretend to be exhaustive. The selection is personal and depends on the online tours done by each participant as they register different projects in the wiki.

Preserving

The goal is to preserve the memory of the Projects that appear and disappear day by day in different countries by using the tools available online. As these are recent projects, all have or had a website that is saved in Wayback Machine (http://archive.org/web/), the free service that Internet Archive (https://archive.org/) offers to preserve web pages in WARC format. In addition, all the Documentation of the projects is also preserved in Internet Archive for future generations.

Documenting

The Documentation offers complementary information about the current forms of access in seven different sections. Interviews follows a questionnaire published by the fanzine Radical Software in 1970. The questionnaire applies to anyone involved in the projects who wish to provide their testimony. Although the questions were raised several decades ago by activists and artists working in TV and video in order to get to know each other better, they continue to be valid in the current context. The only parts in the questionnaire that were modified were the media in question. TV has been replaced by the Internet as a distribution channel and the hypertext of the World Wide Web occupies the place of video. The idea is to give a voice and a face to the projects that are the result of the work of specific people, although anyone can always contribute with an anonimous testimony by linking only the interview to the project where the interviewee collaborates. Manifestos exposes all kinds of perspectives about access, reactionary and progressive, that show how each new media present is transformed throughout the history of this genre. It is possibly the favorite literary genre of today's publics. Companies, governments, international organizations, artists, activists, scientists, journalists, hackers ... all of them seem to have something to say about domains, publics and access. New manifestos appear and old manifestos are forgotten, so this incomplete collection by definition offers a selection that hopes to be enriched with new contributions. Respecting the long history of the genre it is possible to include any manifesto dated before the second half of the 20th century where a position is expressed on the use and function of the mass media and the forms of access in force at that time. Library groups together books, articles, news, reports and any text dedicated to current forms of access and projects indexed in the wiki that are available for online consultation and downloading. It is another collection, incomplete by definition, that does not aspire to be exhaustive but invites those who wish to contribute to add new texts. Any document relevant to the current debates and reflections for the future of domains, publics and access is welcome. All of them are cataloged according to the Language(s), Starting Country(ies), Star Year, Authors and Publishers.

Discussing

The reason for cataloguing, preserving and documenting projects responds to the fact that the limits of access to the domains of art, science, culture, economics, politics and technology have never been stable and will continue to change in the near future. In order to provide a broader picture for future generations of the different forms of access that are emerging now, the collection includes all types of projects that are not only heterogenous but also antagonistic. Regardless of whether these are public, private or civil society initiatives, for profit or non-profit, local or global, activist, artistic, scientific, etc., from the left to the right of the political spectrum, this wiki gathers examples of all of them. The historical limits of access are established not only by consensus but also by antagonism between different perspectives which fight with each other by limiting the access at a particular time and place. The wiki collects the terms that inform the current discussions around access without taking the side of any of them. By displaying this vocabulary in its plurality and organizing it by country, a tool is offered through which all stakeholders can participate in the discussion or gain an idea of the possibilities available in their own context to judge for themselves the risks and opportunities that each form of access and each project puts into play.

The importance given in the cataloguing to the public and private forms of access makes the absence of the commons stand out more strongly. It is not a matter of denying the renewal of the commons and the resurgence of collective and collaborative practices in the present but of placing them in the space of conflicts provoked by the nation state crisis. Both the global and neoliberal projects and the projects of local and community orientation share the questioning of public management. Highlighting, encouraging and informing the discussion around this particular situation that characterizes the present is a fundamental part of the tasks of the collection.

Collaborating

In order to achieve this task the collection has been organized as a wiki where anyone who wants to contribute is welcome. We are looking for collaborators interested in becoming part of the research team. Collaboration may consist of cataloging a new project, correcting or expanding an entry, proposing new initiatives to be cataloged by leaving them “On hold”, uploading bibliography, conducting interviews and publishing them, including more manifests, sending suggestions and criticisms so that we can improve, carry out new activities in other places, translate the pages, etc. Only from the local experience can the global trends be complemented and discussed. If you are interested you can see more details in Open calls.

Contact

p.sastre@correo.ler.uam.mx