PhD Argument 1

Decidim is part of a live ecosystem of interconnected collective intelligences.

I will sketch the overall ecosystem, however the focus will be on Decidim Barcelona and the associated Tecnopolitica community.

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[Version November 2020 :: These PhD posts are online workbenchs and mood boards :: Opening up research process, playing with multimedia and inviting your comments]

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Contents:

1.1. Epistemological self-representation together.

Pablo Aragón, Xabier Barandiaran and Gemma Degollada in the Decidim office in the Fic. Still from La Colmena [The Hive] (7 mins, 13 secs, 2019). (Recorded July 2018)

1.2. The history of the ecosystem producing Decidim (Genealogy).

Diagram of Governing Infrastructures, Goods and Services by Barandiaran and Calleja-López (p. 22, Barandiaran and Calleja, 2018)

1.3. Articulating alive complex multi-scale characteristics of the ecosystem.

Image 4. Title Translation: Multilayer analysis. Physical layer: the street and Digital layer: Twitter, Menéame, Facebook, Massmedia, in Tecnopolítica: la potencia de las multitudes conectadas. El sistema red 15M, un nuevo paradigma de la política distribuida. [Technopolitics: the potential of connected multitudes. The 15M network system as a new paradigm of distributed politics.] (Toret et al, 2013, p. 110).

1.4. Sketch of permutations of collective intelligence in the Decidim.Barcelona ecosystem.

Image 6. Drawing of Decidim ecosystem linking with the City of Barcelona – by Gemma Degollada, the “artisan of the collective intelligence” (see above). Photo by Chris Hotz (2018).

1.5. Focus on Decidim.Barcelona today and its live relationships with Tecnopolítica.

Image 8. Drawing by Chris Hotz made during conversation with Antonio Calleja-López about Tecnopolitica, Decidim and how they relate together (July 2018).

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1.1. Epistemological self-representation together. People producing knowledge about their own lives, thoughts and actions.

People in the Decidim ecosystem have created texts about their experiences, analyses, roles and relationships within the ecosystem; and collective intelligence has been a key idea in these texts (noting that these texts include but are not exclusively academic texts).

This Decidim self-knowledge will be a core reference point in fleshing out the Research Argument and getting to know Decidim. Throughout the thesis we will get to know these interconnected texts and people, both through the texts themselves, and also the video material from my time embedded in the Decidim community, through which you can meet these people, see their lives together in the Decidim space, and get a sense for how knowledge is created through these relationships.

Pablo Aragón, Xabier Barandiaran and Gemma Degollada in the Decidim office in the Fic. Still from La Colmena [The Hive] (7 mins, 13 secs, 2019). (Recorded July 2018)

We will get to know a body of knowledge spanning several years during which time concepts, contexts and aims have evolved, diversified and multiplied. A significant part of this Decidim body of knowledge comes from the Tecnopolítica researcher-activist community, and the Decidim and Tecnopolitica communities blur at times and have many people in common. Here are a selection of texts coming from the Tecnopolitica community, giving a sense of timespan, authors and emphasis (authors names are linked to their websites, Twitter accounts and other online texts):

[see Reference List at end of this post and Argument 2 for further texts from the Tecnopolítica and Decidim communities]

We can also get insights into how this community of author-actors sees and represents itself. For example, Image 1 below shows a conceptual map by Javier Toret (a key researcher-activist in the Tecnopolitica community) of key Tecnopolítica concepts and researchers (individual and collective authors) from approximately 2012-2014:

Image 1. Conceptual Map of Network Movement researchers. Map authored by Javier Toret (a key researcher-activist in the Tecnopolitica community) in period 2012-2014. The map shows a group of researchers working on a set of similar and interrelated concepts that had a strong connection to the Tecnopolitica project. In retrospect, Toret commented that Guiomar Rovira should have been included in this map
(20 September 2020).

This body of knowledge and self-representation from the Decidim/Tecnopolítica ecosystem is a central reference for this thesis – which I will interrogate, critique and/or build on according to the evidence and context. That is, I believe that self-produced knowledge and self-representation are very significant, as they potentially decentre power with a multiplying effect rippling outwards into more areas. Equally, I believe that it is vital to maintain a critical eye regarding that self-produced knowledge in order to fully grapple with what we are looking at, and maintain a nuanced perspective on how – although power may be decentered to some extent and more people connected – there still may be demographics who are not connected or fully acknowledged, and further cycles of decentering may be required to acknowledge more people and redistribute power further.

Putting that critical eye into practice, in order to maintain intersectional clarity throughout the research, I keep on asking ‘Who are the storytellers?’, ‘Who speaks?’ and ‘Who writes?’, keeping clear who holds authorship and/or has voice, and who does not (Spivak, 2012; Ahmed, 2017; hooks, 1984). For example, when recording material whilst embedded in the Decidim office and editing the resulting video piece La Colmena [The Hive], I sought to see, listen to and talk with people who were not already authors in the Tecnopolitica texts listed above. A strong gender imbalance in the above authors is clear, which I have addressed to some extent in La Colmena by including a wider range of people, and I am working with a broader conception of authorship throughout the research (A). Intersectional factors of race, language, class, ableism and so on are more of a work in progress, with foundational work on race, language and intersectionality visible through shorter ongoing posts here on this website, and research materials developed in both English and Spanish.

This epistemological and methodological strategy is related to the idea of Situated Knowledge, coined by Donna Haraway in her classic 1998 article ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’. In discussion with Tecnopolitica researcher-activist Javier Toret about the distinction between epistemological self-representation and Situated Knowledge, he described the difference in the following way:

With Decidim/Tecnopolítica’s epistemological self-representation (or maybe auto-epistemologia is better in Spanish), we are looking at a series of actors and authors who have made an epistemological framework for both knowing and doing. Knowing and enacting themselves, their practice and their world.

Regarding Situated Knowledge… this network of actors and authors is based on a knowledge very much rooted in movements. They are activists. They have drunk from the situated knowledge of movements.

Toret, in conversation with Hotz (21 September 2020)

In simple terms, we can see that epistemological self-representation and Situated Knowledge are very connected, and perhaps the most fundamental distinction is that epistemological self-representation is more intuitively the action, process or verb, whereas Situated Knowledge is more intuitively the associated thing or noun. Perhaps they are in a virtuous circle – or something similar to a chicken and egg relationship – Situated Knowledge feeds the process of epistemological self-representation, which in turn feeds the pool of Situated Knowledge.

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1.2. The history of the ecosystem producing Decidim (Genealogy).

Collective intelligence processes have interrelated to co-create Decidim today. Collective intelligences have formed through (and consist of) theoretical and practical co-production, co-creation, debate, struggle, collective learning, self-reflection and self-publication. An overview of this history will be compiled. focusing on three processes: Tecnopolítica (which started before 15M); 15M / Indignados movement; municipalism movements (the story of Ada Colau et al, and how Decidim was established in the City of Barcelona administration). 

Images 2 and 3 below are examples of situated knowledge on the genealogy behind Decidim for a period around 2011-2014. The images were saved by Toret as good indicators of: the network connecting Tecnopolitica, 15M and municipalism. The authors are not indicated on the images, so I hope to identify them through reverse image searches online. Toret believes that the authors may be collectives related to 15M and that the images date to 2014.

I believe that these images are also valuable in that they show the use of network thinking and perception amonst actors and authors related to 15M and Tecnopolítica at that time.

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Image 2. Title translation: ‘Ecosystem post 15M. Network movements multiply.’ Author to be confirmed. Date approximately 2014. Showing the geneology of 15M.

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Image 3. Title translation: ‘The multiplication of groups, the wave of mobilisation takes over the institutional. The city will be key because it better ‘holds’ the social movements and the takeover of local institutions. Toret explains that ‘whilst Image 2 shows the geneology of 15M, Image 3 shows the multiplication of nodes in the network, how processes of diversification and specification creates more nodes more specific functions in more specialised areas’ (Toret, in conversation with Hotz, 20 September 2020).

1.2.1. What words and images do we use to tell the story?

The genealogy of actions is intertwined with a genealogy of concept-creation, where those concepts have been (and still are) developed by author-actors within the ecosystem to self-represent the story in their own way.

Therefore, within the Situated Knowledge mentioned in 1.1., we can already find genealogical accounts of the intertwined evolution of knowledge and action. For example, the PhD thesis of Tecnopolítica researcher-activist Antonio Calleja-López covers the period 2011-2016: Since 15M: the technopolitical reassembling of democracy in Spain (2017), and highlights concepts such as, political networks, recursive citizenry, technopolitical democratization, technoacracy, common government (see Image 4). I am carefully weaving together a genealogy of Decidim drawing on this body of knowledge as well as recorded information from fieldwork, some of which will be shared here, such as the videos La Colmena [The Hive] showing the face-to-face life of the Decidim office and MetaDecidim community (pre Covid-19) and Tecnopolitical Histories as told by Xabier Barandiaran (2018).

Image 4. Table on Decidim.Barcelona’s political ontology. From Since 15M: the technopolitical reassembling of democracy in Spain
(p. 304, Calleja-López, 2017)

Visualising ideas. Network and map style images proliferate in representations of the Decidim ecosystem and genealogy, as seen above in Images 1-3 and also in the beautiful Gephi images produced across the international Tecnopolítica community. This Gephi (or Gephi style) visualisation created by Arnau Monterde (a key Tecnopolitica researcher-activist) shows Retweet networks produced by a 2016 MetaDecidim event (MetaDecidim is the community and governing body of Decidim):

Gephi or Gephi style image:
‘These are retweet networks during the #MetaDecidim event. The network was created and shared on the Compas telegram group soon after the event by Arnau Monterde [2016]’. From Since 15M: the technopolitical reassembling of democracy in Spain (p. 295, Calleja-López, 2017).


More visual forms are also referenced and generated by the Decidim community to articulate the space producing, locating and/or structuring the Decidim project. Multi-layer visualisations are shown below in 1.2.1. As for a sense of flows and dynamic systems, this diagram from the recent Decidim White Paper (2018) shows flows, tendencies and systems structuring Decidim:

Diagram of Governing Infrastructures, Goods and Services by Barandiaran and Calleja-López (p. 22, Barandiaran and Calleja, 2018)

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1.3. Articulating alive complex multi-scale characteristics of the ecosystem.

The Decidim/Tecnopolitica ecosystem and collective intelligences have alive multi-scale characteristics, which can be seen more easily with video, but are challenging to articulate effectively with words and two dimensional images. And they must also be considered in tandem with the network, mapping, multi-layered and stack structures (see above and below). As such, the research project is tasked with managing this complexity in a clear and accurate way.

These challenges are already being explored by thinkers and creatives in other contexts. In particular, the master storyteller and artist John Gaeta – who invented the ‘bullet time’ we see in the Matrix films – has been doing some really useful and cutting edge work on storytelling alive mixed media realities. He articulates a very useful contrast between sculptural media and experiential canvases. That is, he sees film, video, TV and literature as a kind of sculpture – they are made, they are fixed. In contrast, he talks about media which are more like experiential canvases (gaming, VR, immersive) – they change and can be more of an immersive scenario which we step into and experience – and that is blurring into some people’s everyday lives where the combination of social media and reality make a kind of ongoing mixed reality (Gaeta, 2020).

1.3.1. Data

Due to the open source, open access data, creative commons and data-science-savvy approach of the Decidim and Tecnopolitica communities, we have a good range of data to work with, and due to the collective expertise in these communities, techniques for articulating that data are already under development. For example, the Decidim/Tecnopolitica communities have used Gephi maps, Flocker and other ways of visualising networks, i.e. data driven, computer mediated techniques for visualising aspects of the ecosystem (see below and above for examples of those images). And there are research projects digging into that data, sometimes using those visualisation techniques to draw out what it all means. For example, the discussions which take place on the Decidim.Barcelona website remain there digitised and documented for people to see – and researchers have worked with those discussions and their correlative data to analyse the quality of those online deliberations, giving fine-grained insights into the alive ecosystem and collective intelligences (Aragon, 2019; Borge et al, 2018).

Data is also shared in rawer form, which – depending on your familiarity working with data – may be completely impenetrable or really useful in getting insights into the alive ecosystem. For example, it appears that the Decidim Monitor webpage and the Decidim.Barcelona and Meta.Decidim homepages share live easy to read data on key statistics which automatically update as time goes on. So, over time you can see how ‘life’ on the platforms grows and changes, through the changing numbers for users, instances, processes, comments and so on. It also appears that all instances of Decidim allow you to ‘Download Open Data Files’ at the bottom of the webpage (see image below). Clicking there allows you download large xcel files full of data, which again – depending on your data literacy – may or may not give you insights into the life of the ecosystem. In any case, anyone can see that there is a lot of data there, which indicates there is a lot of something going on, which will always raise a lot of questions for the curious mind.

Screenshot from the bottom of the Meta.Decidim homepage showing where you can ‘Download Open Data Files’ (25.10.2020).



1.3.2. Video

Our research video La Colmena gives a sense of aliveness and points to multi-scale dimensions: the MetaDecidim community and Decidim office are both shown, and programmer Andres Pereira is introduced to us as someone with a particular vision of Decidim’s multi-scale programming (see Argument 2.1.1.).

Looking back in time, there also used to be an video tool which showed these qualities in a stylised way: an online tool called Flocker from the Outliers Collective which visualised the live growth of Hashtags on Twitter. I learnt about this tool in a tecnopolítica training by LoQueSigue.TV and Juan Linares is in both the Outliers Collective and the Barcelona Tecnopolítica research hub. For an example of what Flocker does, here is a Flocker recording from 2015 of a Podemos-related Hashtag:

Flocker recording “Así se forma la red de #L6NmarchaPodemos” (2015) from the Outliers Collective

1.3.3. Words and two dimensional images

Here are some examples of multi-scale and alive characteristics and forms, described with words and two dimensional images:

Multi-scale, changing, moving, organic, unfolding qualities

For each collective intelligence within an ecosystem, when you zoom in on it, it can convert into another ecosystem with another set of collective intelligences within it. Like a vector moving through different scales, fractality in motion, an unfolding changing rhizomatic form, or the complexity within each node where the nodes are themselves part of a complex network?

For example, in Decidim, prior to Covid-19 there were monthly face-to-face meetings of MetaDecidim (the community of Decidim), where you could physically see and participate in a meeting of MetaDecidim community members (like a mini collective intelligence within the Decidim ecosystem). Within those monthly meetings, you could see the diversity, non-uniformity and relational dynamics between the people (like an ecosystem of more diverse groupings; or an intersecting set of different vectors). Going further, those MetaDecidim meetings themselves would sometimes divide into smaller working or discussion groups (a further set of mini collective intelligences within another sub-whole).

Multi-scale visualisations are already present in Tecnopolítica thinking, although in some respects I consider them to be more multi-dimensional than multi-scale, albeit a mixture of the two in any case:

Image 4. Title Translation: Multilayer analysis. Physical layer: the street and Digital layer: Twitter, Menéame, Facebook, Massmedia, in Tecnopolítica: la potencia de las multitudes conectadas. El sistema red 15M, un nuevo paradigma de la política distribuida. [Technopolitics: the potential of connected multitudes. The 15M network system as a new paradigm of distributed politics.] (Toret et al, 2013, p. 110).

For a visual exploration of complexity within a node: see Image 4 below and this blogpost of drawings (de)constructing nodes. In classic images of networks, composed of nodes (circles) and vertices (lines), nodes can seem unitary and impermeable, but if we look at them closely with more care, then every node may have its own inner complexity, internal vectors and porosity.

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Regarding fractal forms, in one of these MetaDecidim face-to-face monthly meetings, computer scientist and hacker Marga Padilla concluded her presentation with a question about rhizomatic and fractal forms:

The question is whether in these decision making structures we are making a “fractal”, in the sense that it’s the same structure we are using for the different scales. That is, we have a thing that we use that works for a local council, a parents’ association, a squat, a social economy cooperative. If the participation works in the same way with a fractal structure. Or if we have to recognise that it is rhizomatic. That is, in some cases you have to decide “like this” and in other cases “like that”, that there isn’t one good way or one good platform. This is my global question.

Marga Padilla, Presentation ‘Citizen Participation Technologies for Social Movements and Organisations’, MetaDecidim Lab, FiC, Barcelona, July 2018.

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Fractality also plays a role in the key Tecnopolitica text Tecnopolítica: la potencia de las multitudes conectadas. El sistema red 15M, un nuevo paradigma de la política distribuida. [Technopolitics: the potential of connected multitudes. The 15M network system as a new paradigm of distributed politics.] (Toret et al, 2013):

In Chapter 7.3, Miguel Aguilera carries out an introductory analysis of complex systems applied to collective behaviour. He explains that fractal and multi-fractal analysis can be used to study the self-organisation of the network-system. The chapter develop a model of distinct types of sound-processes (brown, white, pink), which reflect distinct types of self-organisation. At the time, he incorporates a multifractal description of the network system through the campaigns ’15MpaRato’, ‘#29M’ and ‘#12M15M’, the last of which relates to the first anniversary of 15M.

Toret et al (2013, p. 16)

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Whilst fractality may often conjure up trippy images of computer generated spirals within spirals, we also know fractals in other multi-scale forms, such as Russian Dolls:

Image 5. Russian dolls. An example of fractal form.
Photo by Hotz of childhood dolls (2020).


Patterns and repeating forms across different contexts

For example, in terms of self-representation, we see it in both the epistemological self-representation from Decidim/Tecnopolitica (Argument 1.1 above), as well as the political self-representation inherent to Decidim. Also in terms of approaches that question the centre and advocate for dynamics away from the centre, which we see in both the decentralised organisation of the Tecnopolítica ecosystem, as well as advocacy for decentering knowledge/power/whiteness amongst intersectional thinkers. Given that Tecnopolítica and intersectionality are two hubs in my methodology, I am trying to dialogue this decentralisation-decentering repetition to establish any substantive meaning in the juxtaposition between the two terms. I don’t know whether it is relevant here, but I have also noted the link between epistemological self-representation and the decentered academic, which I am leaving on the table in case it becomes significant later.

The fractal concept above could be relevant as it accomodates a form of repetition. However, the fractality mentioned above is specifically across different scales, whereas here we are looking at repetition across different dimensions. Potentially the concept of recursivity is more appropriate in this instance as it is a broader term than fractal (I believe), plus recursivity is a concept in key texts from the Decidim community: the PhD thesis of Antonio Calleja-López (2017); the classic text by Marga Padilla El kit de la lucha en Internet [The online struggle kit] (2013); and the Decidim White Paper (2019). For example:

The text outlines what may be defined as the “spiral of technopolitical democratization”: a recursive, growing loop of deployment of technology and technologically mediated processes for furthering political democratization […] tied to the articulation of processes of democratization of technology (p 270)

Antonio Calleja-López, Since 15M: the technopolitical reassembling of democracy in Spain
(p. 270, 2017)

We can say that when there is repetition everything remains the same, while when there is recursion, something new arises that occurs in the relationship between consecutive repetitions.

The biologist Humberto Maturana explains it with this example: if the wheels of a cart spin skidding on the mud, the cart does not move, it stays in the same place, and the observer sees the turning of the wheels as repetitive. However, if the wheels of a cart turn in such a way that their point of contact with the ground changes, and in each new turn the wheels start in a different position than the previous one, as a result of such change the observer sees a new phenomenon, the motion of the car, and considers the turning of the wheels as recursive.

Recursion is difficult to define because it is very close to paradox. However it is a great creative resource. In literature One Thousand and One Nights – the story in which Queen Scheherazade tells King Shahriar stories in which a character begins to tell a story in which a character begins to tell a story … – is a structured narrative recursive

Marga Padilla, El kit de la lucha en Internet [The online struggle kit] (p. 43, 2013) (B)

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Shapeshifting

The capacity of ‘the organism’ to take different forms of collective intelligence according to necessity and/or context. For example, the hive of the presencial Decidim Office and face-to-face MetaDecidim meetings in the FiC [link to La Colmena video]; the distributed cognition of collective authorship as seen for example between the collective authors of the White Paper.

Aliveness

The first videos coming out of the research The Sound of the Hive and La Colmena [the Hive] show the aliveness and interactional movement in the Decidim office team and MetaDecidim meeting in the FiC.

For a working understanding of aliveness, my reference point is Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen (1995, pp. 170-177). Turkle looks at how people treat machines/objects as if they are alive, and digs into how people understand that experience – as opposed to working out from scratch what being alive should mean. Finding that people cycled through heterogeneous parallel rationales for treating objects as alive, Turkle cited a continuum approach to defining aliveness, where artificial life would be ‘more alive than a car, but less alive than a bacterium’ (p. 173). What continuum of aliveness is appropriate for Decidim is an issue we will gradually feel out.

Another reference point for movement and interpersonal contact is this section about ants’ self-organisation in the ‘Networks – the ecology of the movements’ chapter in the book We Are Everywhere (2003):

The significance of movement and aliveness came through in the editing processes of The Sound of the Hive and La Colmena. The Sound of the Hive was the first video, an experimental piece inspired by the living hum sound in the Decidim office and MetaDecidim meeting. La Colmena was a longer exploration of how to transmit the multi-dimensional face-to-face life of that community.

In the editing process for La Colmena, I experimented with editing together footage of the Decidim office team that simulated more classic network logic (real life interactions simulating/suggesting nodes and connecting lines increasing in quantity and complexity until emergence). However, that did not at all transmit the collective intelligence energy that I had experienced in the office and wider community. Working through trial and error, it was footage of movement and interactions, and ongoing work with sounds, that most effectively transmitted that alive collective intelligence energy.

See Argument 2.3 for more details on the collective intelligence characteristics of Decidim.

1.4. Sketch of permutations of collective intelligence in the mini ecosystem of Decidim.Barcelona today.

Diagram from Decidim White Paper (p. 67, Barandiaran and Calleja, 2018)

A brainstorm of the permutations of collective intelligence in Decidim.Barcelona today:

  • Decidim office team in the FiC as seen in La Colmena video.
  • The MetaDecidim Community also seen in La Colmena video.
  • The Core group.
  • [decision making group about code?]
  • Monthly MetaDecidim meetings of the Som and the Lab (presencial meetings in the FiC prior to Covid).
  • Telegram groups.
  • Some online deliberations on the Decidim.Barcelona online platform (see image below for research on deliberations on Decidim.Barcelona) (Aragon, 2019; Borge et al, 2018).
  • Organisations that participate in MetaDecidim such as Som Energia and Fapac/AMPA.
  • Elements of the Tecnopolitica community present in Decidim.
  • Elements of Decode.
  • Possibly elements of 15M present in Decidim.
Diagram from research into online deliberation quality in Decidim.Barcelona. ‘
A model for the analysis of online citizen deliberation: Barcelona case study’ .
Authors: Rosa Borge, Joan Balcells and Albert Padró-Solanet
(Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) (p. 28, 2018).

During my time embedded in the Decidim Office team (July 2018), I was interested to understand how members of the Decidim community saw ‘the whole’ they were operating in, co-creating and co-maintaining – whether in terms of a whole ecosystem, or a whole collective intelligence or however else they perceived that whole. Given that there were already a range of texts authored by some members of the Decidim/Tecnopolitica communities about Decidim and Tecnopolitica, I was interested to hear from other members of the community and better understand their vision and analysis. Some of these visions and analyses were captured visually as indicated in Images 6 and 7 below (more detail will follow in later blogposts).

Image 6. Drawing of Decidim ecosystem linking with the City of Barcelona – by Gemma Degollada, the “artisan of the collective intelligence” (see above). Photo by Chris Hotz (2018).

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1.5. Focus on Decidim.Barcelona today and its live relationships with Tecnopolítica.

Image 7. Drawing by Violeta Cabello (member of the MetaDecidim community) of the Decidim ecosystem and Technopolitics web. Made during and in relation to a discussion between Violeta and Chris Hotz (2018).

A particularly significant part of the wider Decidim ecosystem is the relationship with the Tecnopolitica community. There are many sides to what Tecnopolitica is (see right hand diagram in Image 7), although the Tecnopolitica research hub may be the most well-known. There is also a sense in which the adjective tecnopolitical is more significant than the noun Tecnopolitica, explored in this interview with Decidim co-founder Xabier Barandiaran.

In any case, returning to the genealogy of the relationship between Tecnopolitica and Decidim, Image 8 below comes from a useful discussion on that theme. At the end of the period embedded with the Decidim Office (July 2018), I had a conversation with Antonio Calleja-López about Tecnopolitica, Decidim and how they relate together (Calleja-López is a key researcher-activist in the Tecnopolitica community). In my words, I understand the idea we discussed as:

Tecnopolitica could be like a root-system and/or the fertile soil, and projects like Decidim, LaT, Decode could be like the trees / the things that grow above ground that can be seen.

Chris Hotz and Antonio Calleja-López in conversation (July 2018).

The idea of roots and being underground was present here, resonating with the rhizome idea above as a rhizome can be understood as a “modified subterranean plant stem that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizome).

Later in reference to this conversation, Antonio made a comment also bringing in the metaphor of ‘seeds’:

Decidim in Barcelona grows out of Tecnopolitica, even if some seeds came from outside

(Calleja-López, 2018b)
Image 8. Drawing by Chris Hotz made during conversation with Antonio Calleja-López about Tecnopolitica, Decidim and how they relate together
(July 2018).

Noting that for a detailed insight into Antonio Calleja-López’ analysis of Decidim (and more), you can read him in his own words in an extensive body of the work listed on the Tecnopolítica.net website.

In discussing the relationship between Tecnopolitica and Decidim we can explore in more detail how collective intelligences have formed through (and consist of) theoretical and practical co-production, co-creation, debate, struggle, collective learning, self-reflection and self-publication. This allows us to immerse ourselves in the nuts and bolts of how these processes become collective intelligences, giving us a deeper insight into the workings of the wider ecosystem as well.

Notes:

(A). For example, the authorship we mobilise when authoring our own lives and worlds. Arturo Escobar writes along these lines:

“Theory must start with people’s self-understanding, with giving an account of people as agents whose practices are shaped by their self-understanding […] An interpretative approach grounded on how people
understand themselves as creators and practitioners of their world” (1992, p. 63)

Escobar, Arturo (1992b). “Culture, Economics, and Politics in Latin American Social Movements Theory and Research”, in The Making of Social Movements in Latin America. Identity, Strategy and Democracy, eds Escobar, Arturo and Sonia E. Alvarez, p. 62-85. Westview Press, Oxford.

(B) Original quote in Spanish:

“Podemos decir que cuando hay repetición todo permanece igual, mientras que cuando hay recursividad surge algo nuevo que se da en la relación entre repeticiones consecutivas.

El biólogo Humberto Maturana lo explica con este ejemplo: si las ruedas de un carro giran patinando sobre el barro, el carro no se mueve, se mantiene en el mismo lugar, y el observador ve el giro de las ruedas como repetitivo. Sin embargo, si las ruedas de un carro giran de tal manera que su punto de contacto con el suelo cambia, y en cada nuevo giro las ruedas empiezan en una posición diferente a la anterior, como resultado de tal cambio el observador ve un nuevo fenómeno, el movimiento del carro, y considera el girar de las ruedas como recursivo.

La recursividad es difícil de definir porque se acerca mucho a la paradoja. Sin embargo es un gran recurso creativo. En literatura Las mil y una noches –la historia en la que la reina Scheherezade cuenta al rey Shahriar historias en las que un personaje empieza a contar una historia en la que un personaje empieza a contar una historia…– es una narración con estructura recursiva.”

Marga Padilla, El kit de la lucha en Internet[The online struggle kit] (p. 43, 2013)

References

[note: full first names are included in reference list to give a clearer picture of gender balance]

Aragon, Pablo (2019). Characterizing Online Participation in Civic Technologies. Doctoral Thesis UPF.

Ahmed, Sara (2017). Living a Feminist Life. Duke University Press, Durham USA.

Bratton, Benjamin (2015). Stack diagram by Benjamin Bratton (2015) with six layers: user, interface, address, city, cloud, earth. Cited in Calleja-López (2019, 2020).

Barandiaran, Xabier (2018). Xabier Barandiaran telling Tecnopolitical Histories (video).

Barandiaran, Xabier, Calleja-López, Antonio (2019). Decidim White Paper. Authors and Editors: Xabier E. Barandiaran & Antonio Calleja-López. Contributors Eloy Caloca Lafont, Arnau Monterde, Pablo Aragón.

Borge, Rosa, Balcells, Joan and Albert Padró-Solanet (2018). ‘A model for the analysis of online citizen deliberation: Barcelona case study’. Authors based in the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). Paper prepared for the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, University of Nicosia, Cyprus, 10-14 April, 2018. Panel: “Digital (non)Democracy? New Pathways to Participation and the Role of Political Institutions in the Digital Age”.

Calleja-López, Antonio (2017). PhD thesis: Since 15M: the technopolitical reassembling of democracy in Spain. (Exeter University, UK).

Calleja-López, Antonio (2019). Más allá del capitalismo de la vigilancia: democracia digital y datos comunes.

Calleja-López, Antonio (2020). Democratización tecnológica: notas para reimaginar la sociedad digital de abajo arriba (2020).

Gaeta, John (2020). Joan Gaeta interviewed by Alex Stolz of The Future of Film. Link: https://soundcloud.com/alexstolz/john-gaeta

La Colmena (2019). La Colmena [The Hive] is a documentary style video I made from material recorded during the fieldwork in the Decidim Office (July 2018). Working from the experimental video The Sound of the Hive inspired by the hive-like hum in the Decidim Office and Meta.Decidim meetings.

Linares-Lanzman, Juan (2017). El 15M y los medios españoles: análisis de redes temáticas en Twitter [15M and the Spanish media: analysis of network themes in Twitter]. Doctoral Thesis UPF.

Haraway, Donna (1998). ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’.

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Monterde, Arnau and Javier Toret (2012). Tecnopolítica, Internet y R-evoluciones. Sobre la Centralidad de Redes Digitales y el #15M (2012). Authors: Arnau Monterde, Javier Toret, Simona Levi, Axebra, Alcazan, Take the Square, SuNotissima.

Monterde, Arnau (2015). PhD thesis of Arnau Monterde (2015). Emergencia, evolución y efectos del movimiento-red 15M (2011-2015). Una aproximación tecnopolítica [Emergence, evolution and effects of the network-movement 15M (2011-2015). A tecnopolítical approximation]. (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona).

Padilla, Marga (2013). El kit de la lucha en Internet [The online struggle kit]. Madrid, Spain: Traficantes de Sueños.

Padilla, Marga (2018). Presentation ‘Citizen Participation Technologies for Social Movements and Organisations’, MetaDecidim Lab, FiC, Barcelona, July 2018.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2012). “Can the Subaltern Speak?”. Originally published in In Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (eds) Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, 1988, p. 271-313. Macmillan, London.

The Sound of the Hive (2018). An experimental video capturing the hum of the Decidim office which was still ringing in my ears for a long time after returning home from fieldwork. Working from The Sound of the Hive, I made a more complete picture of the Decidim Team and MetaDecidim community in the documentary style video La Colmena [the Hive].

Toret, Javier and Antonio Calleja-López (2013). D2.1 Collective Intelligence Framework. Horizon 2020 project D-CENT, Decentralised Citizens ENgagement Technologies.

Toret, Javier et al. Tecnopolítica: la potencia de las multitudes conectadas. El sistema red 15M, un nuevo paradigma de la política distribuida. [Technopolitics: the potential of connected multitudes. The 15M network system as a new paradigm of distributed politics.] (2013). Author and research coordinator: Javier Toret. Authors: @Datanalysis15m, Antonio Calleja- López, Óscar Marín Miró, Pablo Aragón, Miguel Aguilera, Xabier E. Barandiaran, Alberto Lumbreras, Arnau Monterde

Violeta Cabello (2020). Member of Meta.Decidim community. Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/vcabellov






5 thoughts on “PhD Argument 1

  1. Notes on above podcast:

    John Gaeta: film, video, TV, literature as sculpture (it’s made, it’s fixed); mixed reality and virtual reality (e.g. kids spending loadsa time gaming) are more of an experiential canvas (not necessarily the theatre or the canvas.. can also be the source).
    … the art of creating a scenario for someone to step into…. is the story a story of things approaching you and what happens… or is the story the set of memories that are in your mind when you come out of the scenario…? [ref vector in Bratton diagram above]

    Our lives now is a mixed reality of reality and social media… the next phase will be immersive…

    Sculptural form of film still super powerful but not sure about generational thing.. do the new generations (eg. gamers) feel the older generations ‘golden age’ of TV with netflix etc..? (shrinking role and dinosauring of cinema theatres) What will the new generations do?

    In a few years, u will be able to take some VR glasses and make an IMAX in your back yard… for us that’s exciting but what about the younger generations?

    Younger generations like worlds and want their worlds to be rich, authenticated, great story that allows them to understand what’s relevant about them, what’s important.. [36 mins by now]

    Different methods for acquiring backdrops, shooting for creating worlds for people to go in…. new techniques, seamlessness… e.g. using interactive game engine tools.

    ‘Game engine’ – term in itself is not comprehensive enough to describe what the tools will be able to do… and it would create a space, a social immersive destination based on a certain universe, that is dynamic and not fixed…

    Currently working on volumetric recording of sets… creating portals between 3D and 2D exploration play..

    AS: so, source code will be the same for all these different forms? Atm you can tell a difference between the Marvel movie and the Marvel game, but at a certain point u won’t be able to tell a difference. The movie won’t get worse, everything else will rise to that level….

    JG: a multiple of mediums will come together. In 10-20 years we can have a flawless world which people can step into….

    AS: what should an emerging storyteller focus on at this time?

    JG: think about the audience, who is on the receiving end of the story, what their lives are like, and how they might access the story that you are conceiving… the changing lives of the audiences… where are they and how do things reach them? not in a contrived business way, but think about the actual people that feel… maybe you aren’t thinking about the audience yet, you are writing from the heart as storytellers so, but i would factor that in…

    The storytelling is the constant that pushes into all these media types..

    Eyes wide open. Everything is a double-edged sword…

    Like

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