collective self-education in the arts and culture…

Open Source Procedures in Education :: Marta Popivoda

With paradigmatic switch toward immaterial production and digital technologies, drugs when every copy is identical to original, buy more about and every information potentially gift, which doesn’t deprive the one who is giving, proprietary is emerging as a point on which the power of the ruling class is reviling and demonstrating its position in the hierarchical class order. Intellectual property is one of the most controversial issues of this complex mechanism, and it has become very problematic in the domain of ICT, Internet and www, because the protocols and procedures of sharing and open access to the information are already inscribed in the materiality of these media.

Critics of intellectual property in the domain of digital technologies, and even broader, contemporary culture and society (e.g. Richard Stallman, McKenzie Wark) point out that the property in the most cases doesn’t even belong to the producers/workers (writers, programmers, artists), but to agents like publishers, software companies, galleries, museums, theater houses, etc.[1] At this point we are coming to the question of the “symbolic proprietary”, which I consider crucial for the context of actual knowledge production. Today, in the context of post-Fordist production the most influential regulative system is proprietary over concepts, notions, information, paradigms, and history. In this way they are being commodified and thus they are maintaining vertical, hierarchical order between “the one who knows and the one who doesn’t know”, “the one who is audible and the one who is inaudible”, “the one who is visible and the one who is invisible”.

As a critical reaction to these categorizations I consider independent collective self-learning and implementation of open source procedures in learning process as one of the possible modes for hacking the information, and its actualization as knowledge. It enables cracking the codes of institutional education and freely taking over the methodologies, their re-appropriation and implementation in our own procedures directed beyond actual proprietorship toward knowledge that will not take the position of the commodity and close its code.

The term Open Source originally comes from the Free Software movement. Free Software – as an opposition to proprietary software – implies four essential freedoms. Freedom 0 is the freedom to run the program; 1 is the freedom to study and modify the program, and the ability to access the Source Code is prerequisite for this freedom; 2 is the freedom to redistribute copies; and 3 is the freedom to improve the program and distribute the improvements for the benefit of others.[2] What I would like to emphasize is that the term Free Software addresses the freedom of equal access to the information, and open source is methodology through which this principle can be achieved. This distinction is what makes open source procedures applicable in different contexts, like art and education.

Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt (in Empire) open the copyleft issue with the assumption that today is much easier to re-configure proprietary relations, in difference to former capitalistic systems. That is because the crucial proprietary now is not the proprietary over the material means of production: machines, but over immaterial means: human mind, thought, imagination, creativity, intellect. And this is the potentiality, which makes implementation of open source procedures in artistic education the crucial element in the (class) struggle for free information.

[1] McKenzie Wark (2006), Hakerski manifest (A Hacker Manifesto), Zagreb: Multimedijalni institut

[2] See Tomislav Medak, “Open Source Paradigm in the Arts”

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