v _____ v _____ _ _ v _____ v ____ ____ _ ____ \| ___"|/ |_ " _| |'| |'| \| ___"|/v | _"\ v v| _"\ vv /"\ v | _"\ | _|" V | | /| |_| |\ | _|" R \| |_) |/ \| |_) |/ \/ _ \/ /| | | | | |___ /| |\ v| A |v | |___ | _ < I | __/ / ___ \ v| |_| |\ |_____| v |_|v |_| |_| |_____| |_| \_\ |_| A/_/ \_\ |____/ v << >> _// \\_ // \\ << >> // \\_ ||>>_ \\ >> |||_ (_V_) (_A_)(_R_) (_I_)(_A_) ("_)(__) (__) (__) (_P_)(_A_)_D_) (__) (__)
Welcome to the etherpad-lite instance hosted by Varia! You are most welcome to use it but please take note of the following things: VISIBILITY: - The pads are not indexed by search engines, but anyone that knows its URL is welcome to read and edit it. PRIVACY: - The contents of the pads are not encrypted, meaning that they are not private. - Anyone with access to the server has the possibility to see the content of your pads. RETENTION: - We make our own backups, meaning the the contents of all pads sit on our harddrives potentially indefinitely. - Because the identity of a pad author cannot be confirmed, we don't respond to pad retrieval requests. ACCESSIBILITY: - If you rely on the content of these pads, please remember to make your own backups. - The availability of the pads is subject to cosmic events, spilled drinks and personal energies. If you wish to publish a pad to the Varia etherdump <https://etherdump.vvvvvvaria.org/> add the magic word __ PUBLISH __ (remove the spaces between the word and __) to your pad. <!-- __RELEARN__ -->
# Methods of active documentation
What's the active part of documenting Relearn? What does it mean to re-activate a collection of files? Does it mean to execute them again? To read them again? To simply look at them again? Does the material change while we observe it? Do we change while observing the material?
Relearn is intentionally self-reflective. Almost every year there have been attempts to re-examine and revise it. 2017 was no exception. In the Networked Archive track of that year, the word *rumination* came up a lot. The track participants had the image of a cow's stomach in their minds, with the four different chambers that it consists of: Rumen, Reticulum, Omasum, Abomasum. The first two chambers are the major site of microbial activity that break down the material. After the cud is regurgitated, then swallowed again, until completely mixed (or activated) with saliva, it is then sent to the omasum, where it's broken down into the smallest elements possible to be pushed into the abomasum, the 'real' stomach of the cow. Further digestion takes place here. If Relearn were a ruminant, what would these chambers look like? Would the material ever reach the 'real' stomach? Is there any 'real', 'final' stomach? Do we ever finish digesting what happens during Relearn or are we stuck in a kind of gastric purgatory?
![The messages on the <updates> group chat are piling up.](relearn-2017.sources/photographs/day-3-selection/low_IMG_9827.jpg)
The files and traces that are left after every Relearn could be seen as extensions of a collective memory: notes that were taken in passing are now the only marks left of the thoughts that passed through, snippets of code that lay dormant in the repository, pictures of unidentified gestures which now seem alien, or group photos reminding of who was there. They sit in different hard drives: the hard drive of the server hosting the Gitlab repository and the hard drives of the participants' day-to-day computers. They are in that sense not passive at all. But you could say that they're not active either, as nobody is paying attention to them or remembers that they exist.
How to approach the Relearn 2017 *dump* of images, scripts, etherpad traces and more? We are in a kind of chicken-and-egg situation: how to introduce Relearn while taking into account what Relearn is, or better yet, how Relearn works, in the very way of doing this? Our intuition is that a lack of 'essence' might be a defining feature of Relearn. As the diversity among the various editions demonstrates, Relearn can be seen as a process more than as a 'thing'. A radical anti-essentialist approach to Relearn can be formulated as a question: what's the process of describing a process?
With this question in mind, we started looking at the traces left in various hard drives, servers, and online pages… We took an investigative, forensic approach. We started tagging, looking at metadata and producing more of it, conscious that while the material is unable to speak for itself, it is also a trigger for us to recall memories stored somewhere in our wetware hard drives.
One of the consequences of activating a previous event is that we spend time together again. Reading the *call for tracks* is a way for us to pick up conversations where we left them off in 2017, thus reframing the question of learning/relearning in a collective setting. It turns it into a reroam-over-time (where *reroam* has been a recurring name for moments of meta-reflection on Relearn, during Relearn). What were the motivations, curiosities or urgencies that led us to organising and initiating Relearn in 2017? Are they still the same? How different are they now?
<!-- [to ingest and to regurgitate] -->
![Relearn participants giving advice to each other via XMPP.](relearn-2017.sources/photographs/day-3-selection/low_IMG_9829.jpg)
Activation can also be an act of mediation. An important element of Relearn is its temporality: short bursts of togetherness anticipated by longer periods of organisational work. There is no stable institution or structure behind Relearn to mediate between people or over time. When there is no one to organise, the spam emails grow in numbers, like wild weeds in an unkept garden. We hope that activating and mediating Relearn through this document format enables thinking about it in a perspective of years instead of one of weeks. By writing about a previous edition of Relearn we hope to continue the conversation around collective practices, of which rumination is one.
There are three kinds of addressees for this document. First, diving into the files lets us take into account what permeated Relearn before 2017 and what was passed on afterwards. We hope this will reignite the subjects within our own networks, including the Relearn network.
Second, we revisited the Relearn 2017 conversations and inscribed them into a document that could speak to people with similar affinities, who may decide to organise their own experiment.
Last but not least, one of the constants of many editions is the difference in the way participants experience this time together. As it happens when someone joins a new group, for first-time relearners it can be a bit intimidating, a bit awkward, to decipher the habits of Relearn and to share their process with someone else. We hope that this document might feel like having a conversation with a previous relearner, while being outside in the sun, feet in the weeds.
[Something that is not touched upon is the role of learning in our practices? Or the relation between learning and our practices.]
---- text writing notes that need to be ported in or left aside ↓
During Relean, finished outputs are not required. This is very clear in the materials we analyzed, that can be seen as threads, which extend out of relearn. Were we trying to connect the threads more than following them to see where they lead to.
where is the data stored? What does collective memory mean? various hard drives, but also physical traces, "souvenirs", mental images, oral anecdotes, etc. that reactivate each other. Active archiving means incentivizing such "activation". ware, hardware, software and wetware.
what does activating mean? (A spectrum of activating) [i would keep this] 1. activating convo between relearners 2. making the archive legible to non-relearners or wanna be relearners 3. providing access and foster distribution 4. ????
How does the activation happen? conversation between things and people, inter-activation, inter-enactment
passive data, info > activated by looking at it "“situated knowledges”. The idea, developed in conversation with feminist philosophers and activists such as Nancy Hartsock, concerns how truth is made. Concrete practices of particular people make truth, Haraway argued. The scientists in a laboratory don’t simply observe or conduct experiments on a cell, for instance, but co-create what a cell is by seeing, measuring, naming and manipulating it." https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/20/donna-haraway-interview-cyborg-manifesto-post-truth
files are constantly active? technically speaking?
multiple levels of activation (interrelated) [i would keep this] 0. material that sits somewhere, but nobody knows were, nobody looks at it 1. looking at the material 2a. annotating the material
- injecting annotations (images [in the files], call for tracks [in the text])
- organising, adding order, making sense (etherpads)
2b. making it legible (introducing, design, playfulness in the way we do this to reflect relearn?) 3. producing new material (oral histories etc.) 4. picking up conversation / producing situation that is new and old at the same time 5. give it to others 6. connecting to other experience that are out there (articulate position)
A little too active documentation: mistakenly adding the hidden bashrc files when too rapidly commiting files to the git before taking offline the complex.local server at the end of Relearn 2017.