From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki
From Karen Brodine, Woman Sitting at the Machine, Thinking (


This issue will start from a single technical object: a 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.

These devices 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. This makes this interface from 50 years ago highly interoperable with present ones, which gives us the possibily for a very hands-on approach for developing our theory of this medium, creating short-circuits that allow us to re-think technical progress and computational genealogies.

A Teletype Model 33 will be hosted and available for use and experimentation for the trimester.


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,

Each week we will host a guest contributor who will join 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.

This issue will experiment with a shapeshifting form of publication that will follow and respond to the content of our guests' contributions with weekly releases, experimenting over three months on how this content will be collected, re-interpreted, re-circulated and launched every week.

The format of the issue will consist of on an on-going publishing arrangement, to be re-considered every week: imagine the publishing medium as a sort of "Exquisite Corpse Network" or maybe as a "Publication of Theseus". Let's call it a Briki (x-Blob) for now, it will surely shift names, too.

Every Monday, the week's caretakers will be responsible for collecting materials from our guest contribution, which might take the form of a lecture, collective reading, hands-on exercises, an excursion... Depending on the situation, the caretakers will be responsible for recording audio, editing notes, transcribing code or taking pictures, and making them available as rawer materials.

The week's editors, instead, will be responsible for coming up with a further step in how the publishing Briki will progress, by adding new connections or new interfaces, removing/re-interpreting the existing ones, and/or changing the output format of the weekly release. They will then have a week of time to realize these changes with the help of the prototyping class, to then re-circulate the collected materials.

As the format is an evolving meta-format and can and hopefully will get confusing, every Monday we will take a moment during the day to discuss the progression of the publishing Briki, to understand together what the formats brings, where to bring the format.

This mode of publishing will make us develop our own collective understandings of inter-operation, of networked care and access, backward- and forward-compatibility, obsolence and futurability.


0: Tuesday April 11th

With: Martino, Michael, Manetta, Joseph, Steve

Pad of the day:

Week 1

Monday April 17th

With Andrea di Serego Alighieri and Martino.

The time of appearance and diffusion of teletypewriters coincides with the historic turning point in which written text starts to become for an ever increasing amount of writers essentially mediated by digital interfaces and therefore entangled with computation. As our contemporary relation to writing is one which is resulting from this transition, we will try to re-trace it through a series of writing exercises, orienting ourselves through the concept of inscription, understood from the dual point of view of poetics and of media history.

Tuesday April 18th (prototyping)

  • 11:00 - 13:00 Introduction protyping current trimester + Prototyping input: repairability typewriters (with Joseph) 
  • 14:00 - 17:30 support weekly release (with Joseph) 


Week 2

Monday April 24th

With Roel Roscam Abbing and Martino.

This session will be dedicated to unpack some of the legacies that are found layered in contemporary devices and networks, and that together constitute a genealogy of the current technological frame. The standards that guarantee inter-operability at a global scale link together a promise of universality with a history of English and American hegemonies: a linguistic, a military and an industrial one. The way in which they are sedimented as a problematic legacy within our very machines, allows us to unpack them hands-on, questioning them as now-cultural constructions to be re-questioned and re-understood.


Tuesday April 25th (prototyping)

  • 11:00 - 13:00 Prototyping input: TTY + minitel --> breadcube (with Martino, Roel, Manetta)
  • 14:00 - 17:30 Prototyping support weekly release (with Manetta)

⁂ Monday May 1th OFF ⁂

Week 3

Monday May 8th

Élodie Mugrefya will not be able to join us this Monday, unfortunately...

In many oral histories of the development of inter-networked communications we often encounter utopic and ideological phases that produced a certain imaginary of socio-technical possible that got inevitably folded back into the probable cyber-capitalist networked economy we live with today. The subjects who produced these utopias and ideologies were in most cases expressions of very homogeneous cultural environments, and collective future-making has been for a long time monopolized in connection with gender, race and class privileges. Is there anything to keep of these past possibles that can be re-activated in the present and what are radical modes of future weaving that have emerged in opposition to structural oppressions?

Tuesday May 9th (prototyping)

  • 10:30 - 13:00 Visit Telecom Museum
  • 14:00 - 17:30 Prototyping support weekly release (with Joseph + Martino)


Meanwhile, tutorials in duo's with Manetta:

  • 14:00 - 15:00 Ada + Stephen
  • 15:00 - 16:00 Irmak + Boyana
  • 16:00 - 17:00 Aglaia + Cara

Week 4

Monday May 15th

With Femke Snelting and Martino. The Model 33 was also a common presence at a key moment of concretization of another paradigm, very actual again after the 30 years parenthesis of personal computers: Teletypes were fundamental in what has been termed the "Pre-history of the cloud". The concept of timesharing was introduced and established with such interfaces, that allowed to share the computational power of the huge room-sized computers of the timed in parallel between many users of larger institutions, enabling new dynamics in terms of labour division and organization.

As we find ourselves in the grips of the economic power consolidated by contemporary Big Cloud players, facing the influences that the services they provide exert on daily life, what can we learn from this recent past about our present struggles?

Tuesday May 16th (prototyping)

  • 11:00 - 13:00 Prototyping support with Joseph (GSM calling)
  • 14:00 - 17:00 Prototyping support with Joseph (GSM calling)

Wednesday May 17th (methods)

We will start building a Rapid Prototype Directory (AKA Scratch Directory).



Rapid Prototype Directory

Week 5

Monday May 22nd

With Isabelle Sully and Martino.

Pad of the day

The typewriter first, and the teletypewriter later on, were the everyday instrument of a workforce that came along with the changes in offices, industries and administrations brought by fordist modes of organization and by the impact of informatics. The emergence of this workforce, largely made up of women and minorities who were until then excluded from most qualified jobs, also meant a re-organization of structural inequality, with unseen frictions as well as potentials. In their novel daily routines, some employees used the company machines to produce poetry and other form of personal writing, as a form of "perruque". Isabelle Sully has recently republished writings of two such writers, Karen Brodine and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, and will share with us their works in which we find the traces of a mix of new oppressions and emancipations.

Tuesday May 23rd (prototyping)

  • 11:00 - 13:00 Prototyping input: GSM calling (with Joseph)
  • 14:00 - 17:30 Prototyping support weekly release (with Joseph) 

Pad, just in case

Meanwhile, tutorials in duo's with Manetta:

  • 14:30 - 16:00 Aglaia + Irmak + Boyana
  • 16:00 - 17:00 Ada + Stephen

Week 6

Monday May 29th

With: Zoumana Meïté, Martino

Tuesday May 30rd (prototyping)

  • 11:00 - 17:30 Prototyping input/support: Flask (with Manetta)


Wednesday May 31 (Methods)

11:00 Prompt. RPD session # 2

Rapid Prototype Session 2

Week ##

⁂ Monday June 5th OFF ⁂

Tuesday June 6th (prototyping)

  • 11:00-17:30 Prototyping support: continuations with Flask (with Manetta)


Week 7

Monday June 12th

With: Jara Rocha, Martino

Tuesday June 13th (prototyping)

  • 11:00 - 13:00 Prototyping input: Microcontoller Part I (with Joseph)
  • 14:00 - 17:30 Prototyping input: Microcontoller Part I (with Joseph)

Wednesday 14th (Methods)

Rapid Prototype Directory - session # 3

Rapid Prototype Directory - session 3

Week 8

Monday June 19th

Further Briking

Tuesday June 20th (prototyping)

No prototyping today, Manetta & Joak are doing XPUB2 assessments.

Week 9

Monday June 26th

Further Briking

Tuesday June 27th (prototyping)

  • 11:00 - 13:00 Prototyping input: Microcontoller Part II (with Joseph)
  • 14:00 - 17:30 Prototyping support weekly release (with Joseph)

Meanwhile, tutorials with Manetta (TBC):

  • 15:00 Boyana (+ Irmak)
  • 15:30 Irmak (+ Stephen)
  • 16:00 Stephen (+ Aglaia)
  • 16:30 Aglaia (+ Ada [online])
  • 17:00 Ada [online] (+ Boyana)