Architectures for Participation

Architectures for Participation seminar @ Pixelache 2007
Main seminar day:
Thursday 29 March
Additional presentations:
Friday 30 March + Saturday 31 March

'Designing the Weapons of Mass Creativity'

'Architectures for Participation' is a term that people like Tim O'Reilly & co have been using to refer to Flickr and other similar 'Web 2.0' environments which enable the creativity of the Masses to reach the Masses. YouTube, MySpace and other similar environments have rapidly emerged as powerful tools for building communities and creating entirely new contexts for creativity.

The words 'architecture' and 'participation' seem to be appropriate to use in the 'Web 2.0' era. The word 'architecture' is emphasising the fact that these environments are meticulously designed and engineered. And in the same way as buildings in our cities, these virtual tools and environments might last for a long time. The inner workings and functionalities might be changing frequently but the communities themselves do not easily migrate to a different environment.

The word 'participation' describes the emerging mode of Mass Creativity, where instead of a few selected Authors with strict Copyrights to their work there are millions of creative individuals whose work are competing rather for attention than money. They are all participating to a community that can through a collective process grant a certain Funny Animation it's Week of Fame (usually extending into months, when slower internet timezones catch up).

Self-organised communities / The Art of Organising

How to successfully initiate and maintain a community with a high level of freedom for the activities of the participants? What are the responsibilities of persons in charge of a community that lacks traditional power and decision making structures? What kind of roles (ie. ‘benevolent dictators’) and decisionmaking structures (ie. meritocracy, voluntocracy) emerge within informal networks?

The nature of networks

Presentations of alternative interfaces between the online space and real space.'Cyberspace' in 2006: How does one experience information spaces where time, space, privacy and ownership are defined in a new way? What is the relationship of these to one's non-digital life?

The role of media art / diy media scene in future?

Long before the 'Web 2.0' days, various non-profit grassroot networks and media art protagonists were setting up communities providing similar services. The Indymedia network was a precursor to the Blogosphere, internet radio was an early free voice in many countries, mailinglists and wikis have been helping various grassroot initiatives to get themselves organised. What is the role of these tools and communities in the future? Should we all start uploading our files to YouTube and MySpace? Or can there be a happy co-existence where non-profit, custom crafted community platforms still have an important role? And does the non-profit/commercial distinction really make a big difference in the future?

Seminar participants

Architecture for Participation seminar gathers together people from different communities:

  • Media arts community
  • Independent grassroot organisations
  • Developers of commercial community platforms
  • Researchers