From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

See also collaborative planning page: Transmediale 2013 Workpage

Questions for the Post Digital Print Lab

Alessandro Ludovico has said of the Mag.Net Readers that "production is not democratic"; while Florian's afterword to Post Digital Print book stresses that "post-digital print would need to include networked community sharing".


  1. What could democratic web-to-print production look like, if it is possible at all?
  2. OR, how can existing democratic web-to-print tools (mediawiki, Booki) foreground/make visible editorial dilemmas?
  3. How can web-to-print handle the inherent editorial hierarchies necessitated by editing down into a single publication?
  4. OR, how could the flat structure of internet inspire a non-singular paper publication (thus allowing for discord/democracy)?

Workshop Notes

See Dave's flipchart write-ups here

It was interesting that the proposed system the group arrived at was basically the same as the thing I was trying to make with Mediawiki, where you can highlight and semantically annotate individual sentences. They proposed a colour-code system where each type of annotation (Eg, 'grammar', 'typo', 'content' etc) has its own colour and exists on a separate layer - so you can show the single text and switch between the various annotations.

I'm wondering whether to bother coding this idea now, moving away from making 'yet another annotation system'. What really interested me was the group's discussion of what was left out in the process of deciding consensually what to print. There was a heavy emphasis on silence, abstention, passivity. The reality being that however many subtle 'shades of grey' you allow in an interface, the reluctant silence still won't be heard. Which is what's great about Dave's editor - silence becomes a very obvious tool; in fact you are only noticed by the group when you DON'T cast your vote. This works best when there are a limited number of people in the group, so you can tell when someone abstains. But it is also the logic behind The Dissolute Image, where there are a limited number of pixels to adopt. I like the aesthetic of there being nothing, a void, until something is brought about through consent. In Dave's editor this is introduced as a social pressure - to create something, anything, or risk the irritation of others when you 'hold up' the process. And it's exactly this pressure, the idea that waiting for full consent is an irritating inconvenience, that I'm challenging. So it's about the beauty of that void, of the nothingness. The possibility that perhaps nothing will exist.

The reason I got into 'consent' after Dissolute Image was that users are in some senses 'voting with their feet' by hosting a pixel. And the question is, does this gesture of hosting constitute a signifier of consent? So we get into the question of how consent is signified in these systems - hence the colour codes, the check boxes etc. Sharing on social media is another form of endorsement, perhaps more real and immediate than pressing a button saying 'I agree'. It's immanent. And raises related questions - you know, whoever has the loudest voice gets their idea in the zine.

But how could you account for this silence or abstention in such a system, where - eg opacity - accumulates with the votes? Because again there you have the tyranny of those who voice their opinions and it isn't restrained (or not very much) by people abstaining. Maybe it should be negotiated between individuals - so both in a pair have to agree before it goes in the zine.