athene Open invitation for a closed-circle of concentration: 
3-14 April 2017 | 
Athens | 
Sketch for a circle on self-organisation, education, rituals and tools

*    Dear, 
*If you are willing to join this circle,
*to fully concentrate 
*and engage in a self-organised process
*converging education, technology and culture; 
*then you may.          
*Yours truly,         
*Sue Ferge

To explore the void between culture, education, technology and self-organisation, was why I came to Athens. I met with artists, educators, volunteers, hackers, refugees and activists. This is now my open invitation addressed to the brightest and kindest of you, and those whom I have not met yet: to join in a 5 to 10-day circle; a circle of concentration. The plan

1. A self-organised seminar on self-organised education 
This circle is conceived as an autonomous seminar; a brief cooperative educational organisation. It is as much an offer as it is a request: to initiate and facilitate an intensive process of learning with a group of people with backgrounds as diverse as possible. That learning shall be practice-based and reflective, it shall be both abstract and concrete, structured and creative. Core focus of the endeavour will be to re-assess what high quality learning can be, in a post-academic attempt.

The circle of concentration will revolve around knowledge, skills, expertise and tools that can create commonground. A productive and systemic middle wherein we will discuss, and wherein we will create.
Image: Teaching English alphabet to refugees at the self-managed autonomous space '5th School', Athens. Picture by Sue Ferge, 2017. No rights reserved. This picture is (in the) public domain.

2. Tools and rituals of culture and education

I perceive culture, education and technology as infrastructures for creating collective common ground. They might be for a community what love is between lovers. They are both instrumental and ritual, and are the central construction sites of society. They are both formalising and informal. They are the key elements that will make networks resilient, or not.

With this initiative I suggest to explore and shape places of convergence for those fields: where culture, education and technology come together and materialise into building blocks.
Image: Undercover Frontex officers form a circle before a mission in Mytilini. Picture by Sue Ferge, 2016. Rights: No rights reserved. This picture is (in the) public domain.

3. Creating a ring, a sustainable platform

The circle shall be both a place of conviviality and a system of power. As such, it's a 'closed-circle'; "where the parts function to maintain the whole, and where the function of the system is to maintain itself". Within This circle we shall seek for cultural, educational and technological ways to transform itself into an open sustainable form, a fabric of social reproduction.

A circle is temporary. As a shape, it can be seen as a mere set of positions. It will be the goal of our gathering to explore languages, narratives, protocols, tools or infrastructures that offer us the ability to metaphorically sustain and materialise that circle into a ring. If the circle, as a brief 2-week gathering, is a seminar, then the ring is a sustainable network, institute or utterance accessible for others.
Image: Fairy Circle on a suburban lawn. Forest Lake, south of Brisbane in Queensland. Rights: No rights reserved. This picture is (in the) public domain.

4. Practical. How to participate.

First of all, if everything above is too confusing, there is a different explanation for exactly the same in a letter i sent to the people of CollabCamp.

This is an invitation for individuals, groups or organisations (hereafter: 'fellows') that are interested in participating in this circle of concentration. Fellows can engage either by providing skills, knowledge, tools or facilities. They can engage for the full 10 days, or propose a short and more specific visit providing a specific input. 

Preparatory meetings:
The self-organised circle of concentration shall be prepared by means of a series of five preparatory meetings. The first meeting was held on Monday February 20, from 16h30-18h30 (Mavromihaili 55). This is what came out of it: the plan

The circle of concentration will focus on technological literacy, open source tools and practices, alternative models of education and post-institutional organisational models supported or inspired by p2p technology. We will speculate on post-academic education and vernaculars of cooperative and p2p culture. 

There is a clear aim for output. The circle can produce text, image, sound or blueprints for systems, organisational processes or rituals. 

Contact me:

Add your notes:
If you are interested in one or more of the above described fields, and are willing to engage, then please don't postpone to add your ideas below in the 'Notes' section (please also add your name and ideally some kind of contact details). Add your notes by clicking Edit Pad (or at the bottom).


Add Notes________________________________________________________________
(*) Please note that I use the word 'culture' in order not to use the word 'art'. What is meant with 'culture' is however not the broad sociological definition of all the 'content' or knowledge of a society (including science, jurisdiction and for instance literature). What I mean with culture is precisely the field of ritual expression (as opposed to instrumental expression) of which a society by consensus acknowledges that it is an expression of its identity. It is the place art has abandoned. The analogy with the individual and the dream can be insightful. Art should be for a society, what a dream is for an individual. It is a symbolic/ritual expression and digestion of things to come and things that have past.

Input Bram: (

I like to make it very concrete. I’m interested in exploring the ideas of Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed), but also in having a look at Democratic Confederalism as it is now put into practice in Rojava. Freire is interesting if you project it on our day and age. He wrote about the teaching illiterate people (literate them) in South-America in the post-colonial 60ies. Dear he speaks about giving them voice, or better, letting them find voice. As such literacy is not a tool for communication but an infrastructure for awakening an oppressed culture. I think we are oppressed. We are culturally colonized, with an imperialist industrial pop-culture from on the one hand side and a completely insufficient and marginal high culture (Art) that is unable to ritually express and unite what is being lived through and dreamt in society. I’m interested to explore technologies, and enhance technological literacy, that on the one hand side can strengthen self-managed autonomous initiatives (eg. a wiki-platform for EduSquats) and that on the other hand side can create a voice which should be able to create a new cultural dialect or vernacular.. I would like to experiment with this (technologically supported?) vernacular, that is a fully aware and self-conscious ritual communication, a cultural expression that is able to ritually express and unite what is being lived through and dreamt in our specific society of collapsing capitalism and and awakening cooperativist or p2p-society. 

Ring as surface of revolution and ritual of transition
A ring in geometry, aka a 'torus', is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three-dimensional space about an axis coplanar with the circle. If the axis of revolutiondoes not touch the circle, the surface has a ring shape and is called a torus of revolution. (from Wikipedia
Passing through a ring is a ritual act of transition and metapmorphosis. This circle of concentration is conceived as a collective rite of passage.
Image 1: No rights reserved. This picture is (in the) public domain. Image 2: Firewall v 0.1 ritual performance with parrot drone and ring of fire as loophole. 'Partition 3: Spoooofing mêmes' Dusseldorf, 2015. ooooo

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