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Words for the Future - The Re-Publishing Project
Photo: Ernst van Deursen



If we want to re-imagine our ways of being in and with the world, could we then start to describe it differently?

Words for the Future is a multi-voiced series of ten words that point to possible imaginations of various futures. Ten people from different parts of the world and from different fields of knowledge were asked to propose a word for the future. Each of them wrote a text that unfolds the desired or foreseen way of thinking or doing, this word defines for them. At the same time, an artists, in whose work this particular words seems already latently present, is invited to respond to it. Bringing both the essay and the artistic responds together in one publication, each issue becomes a dialogue around one word.

Contributors: Rachel Armstrong, Andrea Bozic & Julia Wilms, Daniel L. Everett, Sarah Moeremans, Jalada | Moses Kilolo, The Future | Klara van Duijkeren & Vincent Schipper, Ashish Kothari, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Gurur Ertem, Ogutu Muraya, Silvia Bottiroli, Jozef Wouters, Simon(e) van Saarloos, Simone Truong & team, Isabelle Stengers, Ola Macijewksa, Nina Power, Michiel Vandervelde, Natalia Chaves Lopez, Hilda Moucharrafieh.

Words for the Future was initiated, curated and published by Nienke Scholts, self-published in co-production with Veem House for Performance, and designed and printed by Print The Future. Every issue is printed in a limted edition of 50 booklets. The issues where sold seperately and as full series at the Veem House bookstore, at Walter Koenig / Stedelijk Museum and with Books on the Move during European dance festivals and through their online catalogue. (There is still 9 full series and a different x amount of each seperate words in store.)


The Re-Publishing Project | XPUB Rotterdam


Words for the Future meets XPUB Rotterdam for a re-publishing project. The aim is to re-publish the Words for the Future series in collaboration with the first year XPUB MA students and mentoring team as the special issues project #13. Central to the project is the question:

What does it mean to re-publish?


    PUBLISH: mid-14c., "make publicly known, reveal, divulge, announce;"alteration of publicen (early 14c.) by influence of banish, finish, etc.; from extended stem of Old French publier "make public, spread abroad, communicate," from Latin publicare "make public," from publicus "public" (see public). Meaning "issue (a book, etc.) to the public" is from late 14c., also "to disgrace, put to shame; denounce publicly."Related: Published; publishing. In Middle English the verb also meant "to people, populate; to multiply, breed" (late 14c.), for example ben published of "be descended from."
  prefix RE- : word-forming element meaning "back to the original place; again, anew, once more," also with a sense of "undoing," c. 1200, from Old French and directly from Latin re- "again, back, anew, against.. 


Looking into the etymologies of ‘-re’ and of ‘publishing’ is only one possible starting point to inform us on the question ‘what does it mean to re-publish something?’. For example: to understand re-publishing as ‘going back to the original place’. This could be for example understood as; looking again at the original departing point of Words for the Future, and to attend to the process of making the publications. OR, to explore how to somehow ‘undo’ the process of publishing by ‘doing it anew’. Furthermore, the translation from one technological context into another; from printed to digitial publication, and back, but also from one particular audience to another, and from copyright to open access, is going to influence our possible approach(es) to re-publishing. Ofcourse, the original material and content of the series, the words, essays and images themselves, are important entry points towards the ways in which they can be re-published. What is for example a LIQUID way of making something public again? How could the speculation on punctuationmarks by Michiel Vandevelde inspire our design or typographic choices? Following on these and other questions, within the ten weeks of the semester we are going to explore and develop a collaborative re-publishing practice.

Issue 13

Map of relations, by Aymeric Mansoux

For the Words for the Future re-publishing project we'll work on:

1. Re-publishing the original material online.

Making it available to a wide range of audiences, sharable, downloadable, usable. How to translate from print to digital? From one technological space to another?

1b. Writing an open access license

Words for the Future is automatically copyrighted even though / because it was not consciously given copy right or another license. In order to give it an easy accessible afterlife after its exclusive limited editions on print, we are making the content open access. In order to do so we are going to write a license that describes how the material can be re-used, treated and re-published by other readers/writers. The material of Words for the Future - i.e. the ten words / visions for the future - can guide us in the possible ethics, values, attitudes we'd want to include in the license.

Workshop on open source licenses by Aymeric.

2. re-publishing words for the future as map of relations - or ‘interstitial dramaturgy’

Making visible the web of resonance of visions / thoughts / worries / desires in between the different contributions and issues; the interstitial dramaturgy so to say. To map out this web of words for the future not as seperate thoughts but as a vocabulary / language of collective thinking and action.

MAPPING through:

> annotating, glossaries, map of annotations, making A0

> copying, making posters, guerilla postering in r'dam

> speaking, activating words in daily live, speech acts, activating/expanding dialogues, making sound fragments

> remediation, structures of text, organising materials

> creating audiences and readers


The materials are uploaded to a repository in the XPUB git.

They can be cloned, downloaded as zip-file or viewed in the Gitea interface as individual files.

Word Authors PDF (small)
LIQUID Rachel Armstrong, Andrea Božic & Julia Willms (TILT) link
OTHERNESS Daniel L. Everett, Sarah Moeremans link link link
PRACTICAL VISION Moses Kilolo (Jalada), Klara van Duijkeren & Vincent Schipper (The Future) link link link
ECO-SWARAJ Ashish Kothari, Rodrigo Sobarzo link link
HOPE Gurur Ertem, Ogutu Muraya link
TENSE Simon(e) van Saarloos, Eilit Marom & Anna Massoni & Elpida Orfanidou & Adina Secretan & Simone Truong link link
UNDECIDABILITY Silvia Bottiroli, Jozef Wouters link
RESURGENCE Isabelle Stengers, Ola Macijewska link
!? Nina Power, Michiel Vandevelde link
ATATA Natalia Chavez Lopez, Hilda Moucharrafieh link


Week 1

Monday 21 September

ONLINE Prototyping with Michael (10:00 - 13:00)

Pad of the day:

Tuesday 22 September

IRL Kick-off meeting Nienke + Aymeric + Steve + Manetta (morning)

Morning: introduction to the project, going through the programme, how do we work

Afternoon: reading and annotation first text(s) Nienke + Steve

Annotation Words for the Future – pads

Intro: Interstitial Spaces

How do you design caring for a word?

Making 3 groups: every group takes care of 3 to 4 words

- you are responsible for these words throughout the semester.

Week 2

Monday 28 Sept

ONLINE Prototyping with Manetta (10:00 - afternoon)

Pad of the day:

Tuesday 29 Sept

IRL Nienke + Steve

Day: reading and annotating Words for the Future texts in different groups

Here are the pads: Annotation Words for the Future – pads

How do you read?

What are your reading practices?

What could be different approaches?

References ways of reading

Link: File:Sedgwick paranoid reading plain.pdf

See also: Donna Harraway, Karen Barad, e.g.

How do we read, Katharine Hayles -

References annotating:

Wednesday 30 Sept

ONLINE Prototyping with Michael


Week 3

Monday 5 October



Continuation annotations

Here are the pads: Annotation Words for the Future – pads

Continue with readings / Go futher with group methodology

Steve will be on Jitsy at

13:00 Brief intro session

Followed by annotation in groups (take breaks when needed)

16:30 recap and make a plan to finish the annotations:

what date?

What needs to be done?

Tuesday 6 October

IRL Nienke + Aymeric


Day: Open Access License Writing

Read in advance:

some abstracts of Aymeric's PhD:

About the link between free software (and open source) and its expansion into other forms of cultural production: pp. 76-91

About the problematics/limits of unrestricted sharing, remix, appropriation, etc: pp.285-297

Prep in advance for the word you are caring for:

What sort of licence(s)/usages do the words themselves propose?

Consider the open source usages the word you care for asks for.

You can also think in terms of the values they propose to prioritize.

F.e. we ask users not to only 'take' from the material but to also add to it. (taking into account reciprocity re; Atata)

Or: not to fixate the knowledge offered into defined containers or categories (liquid), but to remain undecidable: let a multiplicity of perspectives unfold (Silvia Bottoroli, and to see that a material is not in its final position, and never will be (Jozef Wouters). etc.

Words for the Future is automatically copyrighted even though / because it was not consciously given copy right or another license; there is also no contract about this with the printers or co-publishers. In order to give it an easy accessible afterlife after its exclusive limited editions on print, we are making the content open access - all authors agreed with this. In order to make it open access we need to write a license for words for the future series. Instead of f.e. using a creative commons license, we get a workshop from Aymeric who knows all about the history of license writing for open source software.

What are the ethics of republishing / and of re-using?

What are responsibilities of republishing? (What does the author ‘allow’ versus what does the material invite?)

What sort of licence(s) do the words themselves propose?

Wednesday 7 Oct

ONLINE Prototyping with Michael & Manetta

Pad of the day:

Week 4

Monday 12 Oct

ONLINE Prototyping with Manetta

Tuesday 13 Oct

IRL Steve (+ Nienke is sick and can't make it in today)

11:00 am start in large project space.

Link to annotations:–_pads

Morning: exchange texts / annotations Afternoon: mapping relations

Communicate to your peers:

- What is 'LIQUID' (title issue) / what is the text?, what are the visions of the authors, how are these expressed? (its a dialogue) 

= convey to the other readers what the authors meant: ontological 

- What are your own thoughts about this? your interpretation? And how would you step into the dialogue, add to the dialogue? hermeneutical

- What meaningful relations can be made between the issues? (And what do we consider 'meaningful'?) interstitial

Assignment: publishing A0

make this discourse visible in the form of an A0 map.

A sketch for the day plan

  • This session follows up on the annotations you have been making
  • AM: Discuss outcome of Manetta's class. Through discussion, map the relations between the texts you have been reading - make sketches for AO poster(s)
  • PM: continue to make sketches for an AO poster(s) and make a plan for its production; discuss options; make proposals &C.;
  • allocate roles and tasks &c.

Wednesday 14 Oct

ONLINE Prototyping with Michael

PAD from today:

We started by looking at using a notebook to explore the Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) and specifically the "concordance" tool to isolate the context of particular words in the WftF texts. People worked on different patches following the patch protocol, and we ended with a new quilt script and (partial) result: File:Concordance quilt.pdf.

Week 5

19-23 oct - autumn holiday

Week 6

Monday 26 October

ONLINE Prototyping with Manetta (11:00 - 18:00)


Pad: +

Tuesday 27 October

IRL Nienke 11:00-13:00

editorial guidance & feedback


Wednesday 28 October

ONLINE Prototyping with Michael


Reviewed the nltk-pos & the weasyprint notebooks.

2nd part of the Special Issue: Words for the Future (formats & planning) The format that we propose to work with is A0 posters that can be folded into one or several booklets/leaflets/maps. Each one of you is in charge of one poster, and the whole group needs to decide how to combine them and design one extra poster to provide context/colophon/etc about the Special Issue. The posters/publication will be sent to different organisations, collectives and cultural institutions to be placed in their windows and/or to showcase, browse, redistribute. The posters may also be put up by yourselves in Rotterdam. With this focus on distribution, the Special Issue will hook into an observation that was made at the beginning of this trimester: the texts of Words for the Future are highly relevant and speak to the interest of different cultural groups and organisations within the Netherlands. However, there is little or no contact between these different groups. The current health crisis has worsened the problem, putting many institutions into a state of hibernation. By focusing on distribution within this Special Issue, we will explore networked forms of (re)publishing to activate the connections between different cultural institutions.

The poster should (re)publish the original text in full and additionaly make use of the different materials and techniques developed including output generated by Python notebooks, derivatives, annotations, your own writing, drawings, generated visuals, maps, etc, and making use of mixed techniques. Finally the Special Issue will take two different forms: 11 x A0 posters, (10 + 1 for context/colophon/etc), and an online publication including the Notebooks, PDFs, and HTML pages. The latter (the online publication) is still up for discussion and will be subject of conversation in the coming weeks.

Production budget

€1000,- (can be extended if needed) Caveat: you need to advance the expenses and get refunded (exception: if you work with a service provider that could invoice HR/WdKA directly, like a printer for instance).

Week 7 - 10

Schedule follows.

> copying, making posters, guerilla postering in r'dam

> speaking, activating words in daily live, speech acts, activating/expanding dialogues, making sound fragments


> remediation, structures of text, organising materials

> creating audiences and readers

Pages in category "WordsfortheFuture"

The following 3 pages are in this category, out of 3 total.

Media in category "WordsfortheFuture"

The following 2 files are in this category, out of 2 total.