Varia archive

See also:

Vernacular Language Processing Book Launch Ren Loren Britton Input Access Copy.pdf
m---Vernacular come to matter, online launch
------------ live captions -------------

*Whitney Houston sings her hit "I Will Always Love You"*
* the song 'Got Skills? by Jay Sovereign feat. Kong Koggen & Mono King plays * [i think?]

f a d e o u t

Cristina (C):
    Welcome to the launch of the outcome of Vernaculars Come to Matter.
We are very excited for you all to join, as well as the contributors.
Fantastic that we can be in the same virtual space
Cristina Cochior
Julie Boschat-Thorez
Manetta Berends
Silvio Lorusso all present in the space
We are streaming from Rotterdam, from Varia. We've been listening to songs from the publication, from a mixtape by Clara Balaguer

Manetta (M):
Before we delve in we would like to introduce the people who made the narrowcast
Narrowcast - made by Luke, Angeliki & Joana 
The publication is in digital form (a wiki at the top right)
Login  to ->  A chatroom you can join
Everyday Technology Press, which has recently launched
Also, live captions at the pad at the bottom
And there is a PDF we will speak about later

Julie (J):
We will introduce ourselves
members of Varia, small member based organisation, in Rotterdam South, Charlois.
Varia is focused on everyday technology, 
to break through the division of old and new, smart and not so smart technology
to explore the appropriate nature of what each technology does in a particular situation
we are trying to understand whose everyday is meant by the term
engage with technology in a different way

Manetta works with collective softwares and networks infrastructures
educator at the Piet Zwart Institute and a member of Varia

    Julie is a researcher, artist and educator whose work focuses on knowledge structures
and archive. Recover traces of their ideas, creators, mechanisms
teaches at the Willem de Kooning Academy, member of Varia

    Cristina is a researcher and designer in the Netherlands
interest in automation, situated software and peer to peer collaboration
Work consists of investigations into 
Member of Varia, teacher of hacking at Willem de Kooning Academy

J: Schedule, part of a double launch. This afternoon students of 
XPUB students celebrate "Learning how to walk while catwalking"
Publication released as an APIK toolkit, at Varia tonight and online
API toolkit
you can find links to their work on the Varia website
Start with an introduction
Each contributer will briefly introduce their work:
Clara Balaguer
Cengiz Menguc
Ren Loren Britton
Rosemary Grennan
Michael Murtaugh

Designer: Marianne Plano

Silvio Lorusso from ETP

Later, a panel for conversation
Please write questions, comments, in the chat
Feel free to wrte responsese, questions in the chat

Start with Introduction:
putting the thematic together
The title  comes from the contribution of Ren Britton
VLTK Vernacular Language Tool Kit
project initated by Julie, Cristina and Manetta
language processing to navigate techs
rearranging textual matter
Finding ways to structure particularities which come from the language itself
NLTK - the Natural Language Toolkit
determines negative/positive reaction to text
natural languages - in computational linguistics means ... tweets,... in contrast to the language of programming. 
Natural Language - doesn't look at how language is used
overlaps in language that is used in human to human  communication, assumes 1 understanding
We'll read some segments of the introductory text

We read from our co-written introduction (by Julie, Cristina and Manetta)

2 sections that describe departures of research points

This is research that was accompanying the making of the publication
Here is a snippet: from page 4 of the book!
    VLTK started form an interest to understand proigramming in relation to language processing.
    We're curious about programming practices that stay close to the language they interpret
[ we can share a page of the pdf at this moment:]
Julie, Cristina and Manetta read from their introduction, a snippet is available here:

    VLTK started from an interest to understand programming in relation to language processing, a practice that both shapes language and is shaped by it. To study this mutual transformation, we are specifically curious about programming practices that stay close to the material they work with, such as code that is written for a specific collection or a specific group of people, or esoteric code that is intentionally weird, peculiar, and not always made to be functional. All the while keeping in mind that the constraints of programming languages themselves will also become the constraints of vernacular language processing.

    As non-professional practitioners of language processing, we are curious to understand what it means to work with tools that are commonly used while staying close to them. As such, we like to think of VLTK as a project for discussing and thinking, rather than working towards solutions; making space for programming practices, logics, and methods that depart from local standards, vernacular measurements, and forms of abstracting otherwise. VLTK is, for us, an environment to:

    ... think about text processing tools, question them, and talk about them, in order to explore their vernacular possibilities

    ... explore social aspects of formats and formal text processing systems

    ... explore textual data as vernacular matter, through reading systems, exercises, small scripts ...

    ... play with standards and taxonomies that shape structured data

    ... stay close to the specifics of the textual material it is processing

    ... gesture to what textual formattering does

    ... prefer the anecdotal to officiating structures

    ... look for the possibilities of movement within existing parameters

    … question where the vernacular is located and what it is for



    “Vernacular” in this text refers to everyday speech forming at the margins of standardisation; the ephemeral aspects of a culture's particularities that resist or exist alongside dominant systems of institutional aesthetics; or the encapsulation of a specific nowness in time. 

    Stretching the vocabulary that is commonly used by computational language processing practices is an important part of the work. In these contexts, language is often understood as “natural” or “artificial,” where the natural refers to spoken or written human language and the artificial to formal languages such as programming languages. Questioning these terms enables us to approach language as culturally promiscuous, and constantly in flux. Language is complex, messy, and contains all kinds of structures; some emerge through use, like sayings or expressions, others are imposed by external forces, sometimes even violently. Instead of thinking of language as “raw” data, we prefer to consider it as heavily embedded and dense cultural material, which carries traces of its uses through time and ties to different locations. And instead of speaking of “extracting” keywords or phrases, to think of such actions as re-formations or di-versioning. 

    This tension[s] between tool and material, [the natural and the artificial, and the structured and unstructured] create[d] a generative space [for us] to formulate questions: How does language change when it undergoes computational processes if we don’t rely on the dualisms? How can language processing tools operate with a sensibility for all sorts of different complexities, specificities, and weights of language? How can we develop ways of close reading through and with code? Whose language is being processed by code? And who is affected by the logics of these systems? Can we think of computational operations as transmutational processes if we understand the transformations of language from one thing to another as a form of computational alchemy? 


     baby gurgles

    some examples of natural language

The las tfew months were unsual for us
    to publish not only from the middle of research, but almost from the beginning
Publish not only from the middle but almost from the beginning
vernacular softwares, textual archives

contributors joined us in thinking what vernacular might be, what are the consequences in standardisation
We are very grateful to the artists, designers, archivists, people who contributed to this publication
Cannach Macbride was our copy editor, thank you very much
Marianne Plano
Silvio Lorusso
Femke Snelting

Now we will move forward in the publication, in the order of the texts, with a small edit :)

Cengiz Mengüç is a graphic designer and visual artist interested in diasporic identity expressed through the vernacular visual culture and architecture of the everyday. His current practice moves between commissioned art and design work, street-level advertising work and self-initiated projects, working mostly across the mediums of installation, print and publishing. Currently, he is developing new work based on his ongoing research. Cengiz Mengüç graduated from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts with a Bachelor degree in graphic design and works and lives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 

vernacular language in the urban landscape
written language is not only an abstraction
when you open the publication in the middle there are very glossy, packed images at the center, this is Cengiz's contirbution.

Hey, thank you, I just shared a file in the narrowcast chat (above)
I will share some bits and text
The final text might be uploaded to the VLTK wiki in a final moment

The text is:  [ this text will be shared in full in a later moment, below are less than average live transcribed notes that are very partial. ]

Istambul is as east as well as west

Reverse Diaspora, urban migration, reverse tourism.Even if i never migrated abroad, how is possible that i experience this longing for home? A sensation that could be inherited, passed on, shared, or felt for no particular reason.

If my personal feeling of ... has to be put in words, this can be described as phantom pain

First generation, second generation, third generation, 

A sensation that could be inherited, passed on, or is just being felt for no particular reason ...
Diaspora blues.

Future, fashion, hyper modernism, unbound

as a tourist ... none of them
how to make future discourse that starts in the casually archied iphone photos of daily qualitiatvei research.

iphone archeology, iphone archive, iphone index, iphone storage full
iphone storage full
I learn througho my own experience as a local street level advertiser. a language of struggle in everyday-ness. Design is one of the many hustles.

a language of struggle made on the pressures of time precarity
rhythmic casula topographies
photos of arrows in istanbul
bootleg brutalism
DIY ... posters
maximalist architecture
cyborg ads for credit providers
vertical typography
old photos taken on iphone from 2019-2021
in between Tooroon, Ankora and Istanbul

Now we move to Ren.

Ren Loren Britton is a white trans* interdisciplinary artist and researcher tuning with practices of Critical Pedagogy, Trans*FeministTechnoScience and Disability Justice. Playing with the queer potential of undoing norms they practice joyful accountability to matters of collaboration, access, Black Feminisms, instability and trans*politics. They love slowness, reading, following non-linear processes and experimenting towards greater accessibility. Ren has presented work with multiple institutions including Transmediale (Berlin), ALT_CPH Biennale (Copenhagen), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Constant (Brussels), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), Kunsthalle Osnabrück (Osnabrück), Varia (Rotterdam), Rupert (Vilnius) and Martin Gropius Bau (Berlin). With Isabel Paehr as MELT they operate as an art-design duo, questioning how coloniality, climate change and technological developments are intertwined. To pursue these questions, MELT boils up insights from chemistry, crip technoscience and trans*feminism to study and set in motion transformative material-discursive processes. MELT is currently a Fellow with the project ACCESS SERVER at the Het Nieuew Instituut in Rotterdam, NL and an associate fellow with MELT’s project Data for…? (trans* and disabled lives) with the Digital Curation Institute at the University of Toronto, CA. 

Ren: Thanks to everyone for having me here and for having me tonight. 
I am working with an access copy, that is shared in the chat, so can find it there!
We will copy this into the pad here:

For my contribution today, I’m working with an access copy. The link to it is shared in the chat. This will give the people transcribing a break (you could copy my access copy into the padif you’d like!). Access Copies are documents that include in written form all said and visual parts of a presentation (including things like image descriptions) and are a tool that anyone can use to make their workmore accessible.Thanks so much for having me here today. It’s been fantastic to be part of this book and to have the chance to consider Trans* and Disabled vernacularsfor my contribution that turns around deadnames. The title of my piece that you can read in the book is called “Turnabouts and deadnames: shapeshifting trans* and disabled vernaculars”. To be deadnamed is to be named by the name you used to have, but then have changed because you identify as trans. This experience is commonand happens for me every time my Covid-19 Vaccination card is scanned, I go to the bank or pay for anything with my debit card. It is a kind of violence to be consistently reminded of my deadname, but that violence comes more from the structures that require seamlessness of presentation, and gendered naming practices that become enforced through gendered social policing rather than it being that my deadname is so wrong. In my text for this book I considered how extending naming practices rather than erasing deadnames could produce an orientation of trans* experience that would be more about living with ongoing change rather than erasing personal history. And then I write about what would be required so that the experience of living with deadnames could be possible in a way that would unhook requirements of binary gender expression and the seemingly simple act of erasing one’s own history. In the text for this book I engage a Disability Justice framework. For this presentation today I thought to return to this framework and read from another collectively published book that I also cherish alongside Vernaculars Come to Matter. To consider what kind of vernacular expressions arealready there andmightneedto be invented towardsfor disability justice to flourish in evenmore places than it already is.My invitation with reading these principles of Disability Justice is to place one way of knowing, knowing from the perspective of disability justice next to another kind of knowing, knowing from language practices that emerge within technologies. So, from Sins Invalid which is a People of Color led disability justice group, they have published the text: Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Movement is Our People, A Disability Justice Primer. 
And from this book I wanted to read today: 10 Principles of Disability Justice. 

1. INTERSECTIONALITY Simply put, this principle says that we are many things, and they all impact us. We are not only disabled, we are also each coming from a specific experience of race, class, sexuality, age, religious background, geographical location, immigration status, and more. Depending on context, we all have areas where we experience privilege, as well as areas of oppression. The term “intersectionality” was first introduced by feminist theorist KimberléCrenshaw in 1989 to describe the experiences of Black women, who experience both racism and sexism in specific ways. We gratefully embrace the nuance that this principle brings to our lived experiences, and the ways it shapes the perspectives we offer.

2. LEADERSHIP OF THOSE MOST IMPACTED When we talk about ableism, racism, sexism & transmisogyny, colonization, police violence, etc., we are not looking to academics and experts to tell us what’s what —we are lifting up, listening to, reading, following, and highlighting the perspectives of those who are most impacted by the systems we fight against. By centering the leadership of those most impacted, we keep ourselves grounded in real-world problems and find creative strategies for resistance. 

3. ANTI-CAPITALIST POLITICS Capitalism depends on wealth accumulation for some (the white ruling class), at the expense of others, and encourages competition as ameans of survival. The nature of our disabled bodyminds means that we resist conforming to “normative” levels of productivity in a capitalist culture, and our labor is often invisible to a system that defines labor by able-bodied, white supremacist, gender normative standards. Our worth is not dependent on what and how much we can produce.

4. CROSS-MOVEMENT SOLIDARITY Disability justice can only grow into its potential as a movement by aligning itself with racial justice, reproductive justice, queer and trans liberation, prison abolition, environmental justice, anti-police terror, Deaf activism, fat liberation, and other movements working for justice and liberation. This means challenging white disability communities around racism and challenging other movements to confront ableism. Through cross-movement solidarity, we create a united front.

5. RECOGNIZING WHOLENESS Each person is full of history and life experience. Each person has an internal experience composed of our own thoughts, sensations, emotions, sexual fantasies, perceptions, and quirks. Disabled people are whole people. 

6. SUSTAINABILITY We learn to pace ourselves, individually and collectively, to be sustained long-term. We value the teachings of our bodies andexperiences, and use them as a critical guide and reference point to help us move away from urgency and into a deep, slow, transformative, unstoppable wave of justice and liberation. 

7. COMMITMENT TO CROSS-DISABILITY SOLIDARITY We value and honor the insights and participation of all of our community members, even and especially those who are most often left out of political conversations. We are building a movement that breaks down isolation between people with physical impairments, people who are sick or chronically ill, psych survivors and people with mental health disabilities, neurodiverse people, people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Deaf people, Blind people, people with environmental injuries and chemical sensitivities, and all others who experience ableism and isolation that undermines our collective liberation. 

8. INTERDEPENDENCE Before the massive colonial project of Western European expansion, we understood the nature of interdependence within our communities. We see the liberation of all living systems and the land as integral to the liberation of our own communities, as we all share one planet. We work to meet each other’s needs as we build toward liberation, without always reaching for state solutions which inevitably extend state control further into our lives. 

9. COLLECTIVE ACCESS As Black and brown and queer crips, we bring flexibility and creative nuance to our engagement with each other. We create and explore ways of doing things that go beyond able-bodied and neurotypical norms. Access needs aren’t shameful — we all function differently depending on context and environment. Access needs can be articulated and met privately, through a collective, or in community, depending upon an individual’s needs, desires, and the capacity of the group. We can share responsibility for our access needs, we can ask that our needs be met without compromising our integrity, we can balance autonomy while being in community, we can be unafraid of our vulnerabilities, knowing our strengths are respected. 

10. COLLECTIVE LIBERATION We move together as people with mixed abilities, multiracial, multi-gendered, mixed class, across the sexual spectrum, with a vision that leaves no bodymind behind. This is disability justice. We honor the longstanding legacies of resilience and resistance which are the inheritance of all of us whose bodies and minds will not conform. Disability justice is not yet a broad based popular movement. Disability justice is a vision and practice of what is yet-to-be, a map that we create with our ancestors and our great-grandchildren onward, in the width and depth of our multiplicities and histories, a movement towards a world in which every body and mind is known as beautiful.

Thank you.

*baby gurgles again*
M: there is a little audience here cheering for you!

Ren: that's the end, thank you
M: Thanks a lot
Ren: I love the cheering
M: little audience here on the couch.
Now we will pass the mike onto Rosemary Grennan
Her bio is coming soon ... 

Rosemary Grennan is the co-director of MayDay Rooms, an archive and educational space in London which seeks to connect histories and documents of radicalism and resistance to contemporary struggle. She is also completing a PhD in Media Anthropology from University College London. 

We invited Rosemary to be in conversation with us about their digital archive Leftovers, a shared online platform of political ephemera such as leaflets, posters, and manifestos. In the interview Rosemary speaks about the structure of the archive, how they used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and NLP tools to rethink this structure, and which dissemination tactics they have developed to make the work public. 

Rosemary (R):

M: Ah we lost Rosemary! hopefully we can catch her later.
C: maybe we can ask Michael if you are around?

Michael Murtaugh (MM):
    yes, go ahead

C: we'll try to get back in touch with Rosemary, but now let's introduce Michael!

Michael Murtaugh is a computer programmer who researches community databases, interactive documentaries and tools for new forms of online reading and writing. He contributes to projects such as the Institute for Computational Vandalism and Active Archives, is a member of Constant and involved in Piet Zwart Media Design where he teaches at the Experimental Publishing Masters course.

In his contribution to the publication, Michael uses the vernacular as a lens to understand the difference between programming projects and environments Processing and ImageMagick. In his essay “Torn at the seams: vernacular approaches to teaching with computational tools” introduces both software projects and describes how each of them comes with its own culture, aesthetics, mindset, and connections to specific contexts including the Bauhaus, minimal art, and the MIT Media Lab. Murtaugh embraces the vernacular and messiness in software projects and shows us how such an approach generates a whole range of open invitations for others. 

MM: ok hi! just reaching for unmute. Thank you for the introduction. I'm going to be reading, not to speed but skimming through the essay that I wrote for this publication.
So those who want to follow along I will be reading the essay, available here:

Processing is a free, open source programming language and environment used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain. The project integrates a programming language, development environment, and teaching methodology into a unified structure for learning and exploration.[1]

    Teaching programming with free software to media design students for years, I’ve resisted Processing as it has always seemed to me to embody a particular kind of solipsism of digital interactivity and graphics that I want my students to avoid.


Despite the claim of leaving space for others to bring their own “visual language,” and thus an implicit proposition of its own aesthetics as “neutral,” Processing embodies a very particular set of values and assumptions. The framework valorises smoothness and fluidity, which leads one to imagine interactivity as that which happens on the surface of a sketch, rather than say in the network, or among collaborators. The mechanism of the “draw loop” assumes that code runs in a negligible amount of time that is less than the refresh rate (and the default 1/60th of a second). This particular, again implicit, relationship with time places the programmer in an adversarial relation with the processor of the viewer’s computer and makes it all too easy (certainly for novices) to produce code that makes the viewer’s computer struggle and lag. 


In 2007, I attended a book launch of Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists. Earlier in the day, I had bought another technical book, ImageMagick Tricks: Web Image Effects from the Command Line and PHP, by Sohail Salehi.[12] While waiting for the presentation to begin, I met Casey Reas at the back of the room. He was curious about the book I had with me and looked briefly at it. He had never heard of ImageMagick.


ImageMagick started with a request from my DuPont supervisor, Dr. David Pensak, to display computer-generated images on a monitor only capable of showing 256 unique colors simultaneously. In 1987, monitors that could display 24-bit true color images were rare and quite expensive. There were a plethora of chemists and biologists at DuPont, but very were few computer scientists to confer with. Instead, I turned to Usenet for help, and posted a request for an algorithm to reduce 24-bit images to 256 colors. Paul Raveling of the USC Information Sciences Institute responded, with not only a solution, but one that was already in source code and available from USC’s FTP [file transfer protocol] site. Over the course of the next few years, I had frequent opportunities to get help with other vexing computer science problems I encountered in the course of doing my job at DuPont. Eventually I felt compelled to give thanks for the help I received from the knowledgeable folks on Usenet. I decided to freely release the image processing tools I developed to the world so that others could benefit from my efforts.

ImageMagick is a command line tool, designed to be used via textual commands. The typical usage of ImageMagick is to take one image as input, applying one or more transformations to it, and output a new image. In this way the tool can be used repeatedly in so-called “pipelines,” or otherwise composed together in structures called (shell) scripts. In these scripts, ImageMagick commands can be mixed with other commands from any software installed on the user’s computer that also provides a command line interface.

Salehi’s book directly reflects the structure of ImageMagick, with chapters organised around various incorporated “tools”: convert, mogrify, composite, montage, identify, display, conjure. The examples are practical: creating logos, or adding captions or a border to an image. One example renders the word “Candy” with colourful stripes. Another series of examples duplicates and inverts the image and text of classical Persian poet Hafez to create a kind of playing card. Another example uses ImageMagick in conjunction with PHP and HTML to produce an online “e-card maker”: a sequence of commands is demonstrated to render the text “No More War” (in a dripping paint font), deform it, and project it onto the side of a chess piece. 


Susan Leigh Star takes Whitehead’s “misplaced concretism” and proposes a feminist methodology specific to information technology.[20] Her essay develops the idea of “standards” as one type of “boundary object,” which she describes as: 
[…] those scientific objects which both inhabit several communities of practice and satisfy the information requirements of each of them. Boundary objects are thus objects which are both plastic enough to adapt to local need and common identity across sites.[21]
She cites Donna Haraway, who wonders in A Cyborg Manifesto: 
How do I then act the bricoleur that we’ve all learned to be in various ways, without being a colonizer…. How do you keep foregrounded the ironic and iffy things you’re doing and still do them seriously […][22]
Star draws on a tradition of diverse feminist thinking through the “articulation of multiplicity, contradiction, and partiality, while standing in a politically situated, moral collective” to synthesise and propose what she calls the important attributes of a feminist method: 

    experiential and collective basis;

    processual nature;

    honouring contradiction and partialness;

    situated historicity with great attention to detail and specificity;

    the simultaneous application of all of these points.

As a teacher, I enjoy using ImageMagick, and other tools like it, in my teaching as it embodies collectivity from its origins: as a way to give back to a community sharing code over Usenet; through its continued development by multiple authors; and its relation to the larger free software community as an invaluable toolbox for extremely diverse practices. I find the experiential in ImageMagick's highly flexible command line interface itself also an example of honouring contradiction and partialness, with often more than one way to express the same transformation. The processual is implicit in its construction as a tool of transformation, encouraging an exploratory, iterative approach to composing transformations to arrive at a desired outcome, often leading to misusage and errors that can be happy accidents and lead one to reconsider one’s goals. Finally, in its extreme support of hundreds of different formats, ImageMagick's use often leads to the discovery and exploration of diverse image formats, each with related practices and histories. 

In contrast, as a pedagogic project, I find Processing actively uninterested in its own underlying materiality, aspiring instead to a kind of disembodied and bland universality. Students are encouraged to explore the “world at large” by adding additional layers of technology in the form of sensors, rather than considering all the ways the technologies they use are already engaged with the world. The project’s “neutral” aesthetics, while dimly echoing a once-radical Bauhaus aesthetic, ignore the larger pedagogic program of the historical Bauhaus’s engagement and experimentation with the materials of its contemporary, technical production.

MM: I went a bit over but I will leave it there!
M: Thanks so much Michael from connected principles to software cultures, we will move onto Clara now
Rosemary had some technical issues, We will improvise!
Now I will introduce Clara Balaguar
Clara, how do I say your name?

Clara Balaguer (CB): you say it well!

M: ok!

Clara Balaguer is a cultural worker and grey literature circulator. From 2010 to 2018, she articulated cultural programming with rural, peri-urban, and diasporic communities from the Philippines through the OCD, a residency space and social practice platform. In 2013, she co-founded Hardworking Goodlooking, a cottage industry publishing hauz interested in the material vernacular, collectivizing authorship, and the value of the error.  Currently, she builds and publishes curriculums at BAK basis voor aktuele kunst as head of Civic Praxis (Community Portal); at Willem de Kooning Academy as research lecturer in Social Practices; at Piet Zwart Institute as a midwife for Experimental Publishing; and at Sandberg Institute as teacher at the Dirty Art Department. Frequently, she operates under collective or individual aliases that disclose her stewardship in any given project, the latest of which is To Be Determined: a transitional, migratory, neighborly structure of sleeper cells (Trojan horse networks) that activate–deactivate for leaking access to cultural capital. 

Clara presents a range of voices and media formats together to speak about and through the vernacular. “A high-low mix tape on the subject of the vernacular” combines lyrics, poetry, email snippets, and theoretical writing in the form of a mix-tape and lecture performance, understanding the vernacular in relation to the hegemonic position of “correct” English, writing from an “I” perspective.

M: So clara presents, in the publication, a mix of voices and media formats together to speak about and through the vernacular. It takes the form of a mixtape, that was already activated as a lecture performance. Clara will tell us much more about it.

A high-low mix tape on the subject of the vernacular

CB: Thanks M for the generous intro, thanks C + J and everyone else out in the ether
I'm going to do a drastic redux of the mixtape
I'm not sure how long it lasts, but I'll time it

We'll start with track one.
the way I began this was for searching for songs through searching for the word vernacular on [... a comment on the music industry]
*jewellry rattle*

Track nuber 1
B.O.a.T.S by Mojeed, from the album Westernized West African

They called our own langauges vernacular
So English was the 
Real language we had to speak in school so
Everything was English
With what we were taught in school
Nobody was thinking of
Whether to be African or not
We just accdepted that we were English
And everybody that went to England
For studies was a master you know
Everybody was to go to England
Come back home to be master you know

Track 2
Edouard Glissant
{Clara reads from the publication}
Since speech was forbidden, slaves camouflaged the word under the provocative intensity of the scream. No one could translate the meaning of what seemed to be nothing but a shout. It was taken to be nothing but the call of a wild animal. This is how the dispossessed man organized his speech by weaving it into the apparently meaningless texture of extreme noise. There developed from that point a specialized system of significant insignificance. Creole organizes speech as a blast of sound. 

CB: We skip to track 5,  which is a mash up

TRACK 5 Mash-Up
Inglan is a bitch - Linton Kwesi Johnson
[you can find this on youtube!]

CB: Track 7 is the vernacular chorus by Clara Balaguar, from the album Vernacular Language Toolkit

To speak of the vernacular is precisely that: to speak, to inhabit the present, what is contemporary. 

Proper language wants to stand still. It is backed by (presumably) centuries of practice that no longer want to practice. It is a conservative institution. Proper language is a canon protected by royal academies known for their aversion to history being made, being lived before their eyes or, in this case, their ears. History being made means the academy is being toppled, displaced. The academy refuses to recognise the vernacular because it is popular. Does the academy feel unloved in comparison? Or perhaps it sees the loss of its control as impending death. It is gripped by its own morbido. 
To be liberated from this subordination and the crushing self-loathing it engenders, the vernacular must assert itself as transcendent. It must continue to utter itself into existence, it must drone and ramble, leave its fragmented body as a whole voice, and occupy. Its audience is the ordinary. 

CB: I'm going to do an acapella rendition of Hawk Eye

TRACK 9 Mash-Up
Incantations - Hawk Eye

CB: [ reads further from the publication]
A word of caution to would-be lovers of the vernacular. Alterity makes no saints. Deep dive into the world of obscure and popular hip-hop, searching for the word vernacular reveals a quagmire of masculinity, much of it toxic. The noble savage is a myth with a shadow side. Patriarchy in communities of colour replicates as we speak. Not all of what is spoken in the vernacular, in languages marginalised, carries necessarily within it the key to liberation. The irony of colonialism is the vehemence with which its boot heel is caressed by the trodden. 

CB: again, by the artist moi, chorus(what eye have learned from
from the same album
[excerpt to be added soon]

CB: and we end the mixtape with track number 12, you won't be able to listen to the whole track that was a video. But I'll tell you a bit about it.
It's a pity I couldn't play you the whole mixtape today but time is of the essence.
The mixnotes on this track say;

Mix Notes Ad-lib about the template-driven software used to create this video. Templates, often built into software as native features, are built for those who haven’t a high-level understanding of the technology being used. Long dismissed by professional designers because it is at the reach of the layperson and thus not indicative of elite and exclusive products, services, markets, and aesthetics. Using templates and simple, commercial software (humble means) to create critical value. Also, an interesting look at how AI interprets general meaning of a text laden with obfuscatory spellings.

CB: there is one image in the dump I used text to image software to make a video. the I is eye. writing from the I and hearing the U. I ran it through the software, and then through text to image software i-u-software to image, you're just seeing one image, in the chat
here -

remember that everythime I am saying I it is written eye.

The eye is built to grasp everything “else”, outside of its body, outside of its lens. The eye’s function is to understand itself in relation to a landscape, inhabited by other eyes. 
The only eye that sees itself as it looks on the world is one that is ill. Clouded vision results from injuries to the ego as from lesions of the organ. The whole eye sees past itself, does not perceive the boundary between itself and the rest of the world. It is this borderless and self-unconscious eye from which our words must be spoken, which is to say, written. 

C: Thank you so much for this tour between tracks
It was  pleasure
We have received some news, ROsemary is having some technical issues with her internet
I would like to ask Marianne Plano, who designed the printed publication using LaTeX (or xelatex) and ImageMagick
We met Marianne in a time of struggles when she was figuring out what tool, software to use in relation to an OS design practice. ... snippets of these conversations found their way into this text ...

Marianne Plano is a graphic designer and developer based in Brussels.

Marianne worked with us on the making of the printed publication, which is made using latex (xelatex to be precise) and Imagemagick, next to some last minute InDesign needs. We met Marianne in the middle of a time of struggles related to the tools she uses to do design work and make lay-outs. This triggered a whole range of rich conversations around free software design practices, the adaptability of tools, software purity, ethics, the quality of lay-out software, the promises of free software design tools, but also their limits when it comes to controlling typographical details. Snippets of these conversations found their place in a short text that Marianne wrote called "A note on the font: Arial or Not?!" which you can find on the wiki.

Marianne Plano [MP]
I decided to do this talk wihtout a safety net.
    When you contacted me I was quite happy as I thought it would be a great project, and
The requirement was clear - that I would have to use free technology which was great
So I thought that would be great, to have someone talking to you on the process of the layout. BEcause sometimes, OS free tech can lead to errors.
Sometimes free technology can lead to errors
I was happy with, as Michael called them - happy accidents
I was happy at first, And then came the deadline, which was super tight
We were talking about web to print at first
web to print has some limits that you have to deal  with and for that you need time
as I got the first drafts there was a lot of the worst enemy of the person using webtoprint as it doesn't deal well with footnotes
I wanted to make a custom tool but that never happenned
I remembered there was something called LaTeX that was uses to make scientific publications, and it was really good for layout for math
If it can lay out math then why not ... 
I downloaded it, it took a night
Then I tested it with a footnote, and it worked!
this is it! this is where it starts.
This was a first for me, I have never used this environment.
It's more like an environment, you don't have many surprises with it, it was very efficient
I was happy to find out about that, without this proejct I would never have tried it.
It's not very well documented but it has a great support community
this software turned out to work quite well
It was fit for the publication because of:
because of it's ability to deal with footnotes, which were present in the submissions
and images, how to deal with them
we were going to use pantone colour
how do you use a pantone colour with images,
basically impossible, but the printer did it in the end.
this kind of software has limitation, but possibilities that make it interesting
I used imagemagick to make the cover, and to handle the images inside. It's a great software
I think the cover is one of those "happy accidents"
I tricked it to be readable.
It was a great experience, mostly what I remember about that was the conversations
We were going through a lot of different option before I settled on that one
they were always trustworthy of me
I should mention that free technology ...
Free technology doesn't go without guidelines
I did one on the night of the publication deadline
Which was made in offset printing, a machine has to wait for your material
You're not the end of the chain, the PDF has to be by their standards
I was really worried about this
This work in the context of offset printing and trying these technoloiges against such requirements. 
Trying those techonologies against those requirements is what makes it interesting
If you're printing at home the challenges are not the same.
The fonts - I decided to use proprietary fonts
I used propietory fonts, you can read my text to get the details
I don't like to make choices
The default fonts in my system were proprietary 
didn't see the point of not using them.
In my practice I like to use all kinds of technologies
They were open to have this in the publication, so thank you for letting me have this space
I could use the fonts I felt like using
Thank you!

M: Thanks Marianne for sharing
I'm happy to have you here!
We have Cannach here with us 
Also to have you and Cannach with us, let me briefly introduce them
Let me briefly introduce Cannach
[bio to be added soon]

Cannach MacBride CMB:
OMG I'm so emarrased that you read my whole bio! and I haven't prepared but I was thinking that 
There are two main things I wanted to say:
First a massive thankyou 
to C, M and J for being so great to work with, and all of the writers. That is what 
That's what I love about editing, getting to
to inhabit other poeple's writing
That was a real pleasure
I think the other thin I will try and riff, something that I think about often are the words
There's not often a time or space, and in this role
not usual that I get to say anything about what I did
fundamentally copyediting is
it's a practice of upholding certain systems of normativity
they might be very insignificant systems, like whetere the . goes, or if you use / or \
many people don't care at all but somehow it's weird you inhabit this system of rules
but ok. I think as an editor because we made up the style guide in response to the files as I opened them.
that's not how it normally happens, so that felt 
it felt appropriate to the content.
Something that I think is really immportant, that I am always trying to foster as a copy editor.
It's a practice of tuning in to someone else thoughts and writing style
so I am quite low in my interventions. There are different ways of practicing. One is like being the police and one is like being, what is it that you want to say. 
You kind of inhabit the space between the writer and the reader
You are only ever trying to think of, access, in a way to the amterial.
How can the material be as untouched as possible
while like certain things are made as accessible as possible.
That means taking away these tiny, tiny things
make certain different people's brains jump, depending on how they process information
"ok this text is going to be read by people who process information in many different ways"
how can we make this process relatively smooth while having all the difference
the texts in this publication 
I feel like they triggered something in, I don't knwow ehre this goes yet ...
We've had some conversations about 
protocols and scores and I feel like thinking about ...
Thinking about natural language processing and what vernacular forms of language processing is very fun to think of through an editorial lens
what vernacular forms of language processing could be, was fun to think about in an editorial lens.
But that is enough, Thank you!

C: Thank you Cannach - we were also discussing how copyediting is a form of caretaking
and how the text is received by the readers.
We will introduce the final speaker. [bio forthcoming]

Silvio Lorusso (SL):

SL: Yes sure, first of all I will say that I am happy and happy to help you coordinate this publication.
It's the first publication of the Everyday Technology Press
I couldn't ahve imagined any better start for this small venture
the publication manifests the principles that we try to pursue with this initiative
Everyday technoloigies has to do with situating technologies - high and low depends on point of views
Also what we consider the skills needed to engage with certain technologies
vernacular comes to matter really fits, since there is a wealth
There is a wealth of different approaches to this idea of ETP
um, this has been also an opportunity to take the issue practically
look into the technologies, the technioques in the act of publishing in a concrete sense
so it's also an opporunity to look into mundance things, how to get an ISBN? ...
how to get an ISBN, pantone colours, paper, different standards
the payments system, struggling to find a system that works.
for now we have settled with paypal but we're going to work on this
this is also when we give a shout out to Dennis de Bel !!!!!
who designed the webshop where you can find the publication
so I want to conclude by expressing my gratitude to being part of this initiative.

M: Let me switch to conversation mode.
Thank you everyone for being here. Sharing your contributions, we were so happy that you all could make it. We are a little over time.
To open up to responses, questions, comments, 
We have our eyes on the Narrowcast chat
write in there :)
To the contributors, would you like to respond to one anothers work?

In the chat: F_S is typing ... made it both ways 😃

M: the question connecting every contribution - where is the vernacular.
They relate to standards, standards of type, layout, image, topographies ...
We ourselves want to continue this research on the standards in language processing tools
how to structure something that is so hard to grasp?
an ongoing contradiction between language and structure that we are really fascinated by
where is the vernacular? is somehow the red thread through the book
that is answered in so many answers

Michael Murtaugh (MM):
A phrase that caught me from Rosemary's essay, between the ... and the handmade
when she was talking about the use of a particular software to try and make an index
That comes back to me now that you're describing the vernacular too
When Cannach was talking about the grammar, and making the surface smooth while maintaining the textures
Making the surface smooth while maintaining the texture

M: Yes you get the textures in the material, and you keep the gestures

C: This morning we had a micro-converasation about this. There is this ... between programming languages
I never phrase it as a contradiction
programming languages take time to learn, and use them, and then in comparison to[?] the vernacular, and the amount of standards that exist in the computing world
a lot of people who program are autodidacts. who learn by themselves, not in relation to standards. There is also something in this practice of sharing ways of doing things that speak back to what we imagine VLT might be
We're speaking about programming, but also curious about other practices
Claa and Cengiz are having an event tomorrow as well, Vernacular Design Process

We've been doing these talks over the last two yeasrs about street typography
in immigrant communities here in Rotterdam and how it relates to other vernaculars elsewhere
taking the form of a calendar, event and calendar available at Printroom

C: It's nice to mention, and also to bring in other fields

M: The publicaiton was for us a moment to bring in all these different practices around the vernacular together, and that is something we really wanted to do
you're already invested in the vernacular for so long
There are so many stories, and to bridge that to programming and software culture
to bridge that to programming and software culture, it has been a struggle all the time.
what exactly is the vernacular bringing us, that we want to dive deeper into
what do we want to bring this to?
seeing Michael's essay, the vernacular is described as a struggle as well. A way of ebing senstive to surroundings that are maybe more scripted, not so far that so far from the way street typography is operating in Cengiz's contribution

CB: mispronounciation, how to misuse software so that you make error
how do you misuse software in order to create an accidental error
what accident happens when you have no mastery
how can accents create accidents? An untrained hand, or tongue or eye? Not neccessarily challenging cannons, In the case of Lynton ... he was using this creolised language but there was a rising conscious ...
maybe Cengiz you want to jump in

CM: part of the text I was using was about popular discoures, in academica but also architecture and popular culture
people talk about the vernacular, but that fails to acknoeledge that these things are made by people who are highly specialised or trained in what they're doing
what generated these things in the first place?
unskilled or amateur thought, or a domain made by high skilled workers

C: Thank you Clara & Cengiz. Cannach, would you like to add something?

CMB: Yes I wanted to weave together something from across a few of the different texts in the book, which kind've relates to - what Clara was saying about what happens when you use tech to hack them in ways they were not designed
What happens when you speka back to technologies in a voice that they didn't think they would be spoken to.
For me one of the most important facts that I learnt, this things in Halycon Lawrence's research - on AI speech recognition systems - AI can recognise many different accents
and by default different types of embodied accent, be it gendered, assisted devices, AI can handle this it's just more slow. 
The default is set for speed.
that piece of information is so vitally important
I really wanted to highlight the political stakes that the texts are discussing
through various different voices
there are a lot of productive, creative spaces for making, but there is also 
there's also the reality of what this publicaiton is trying to unpick
these tools are being developed in ways that are fundamentally oppressive
they re-empower oppressive systems that already exist
along all the vertices of power that we know
this thin  about vernacular as a space of liberation and expression
the oppression of vernacular .. colonial capitalism that continues.
That's it.

C: Thank you so much, I think you've encapsulated it quite well
Operating on different lanes of speed - 
the urgency to develop the vernacular, to gain access
the other hand, perhaps also refusing these algorithms

Would anyone like to reply to this? 
Then othrwise we think these are really wonderful words to end on.

Thank you so much everyone for joining, and sharing texts, the work you have done in the publication.
We will share again the link to ETP -
Afterwards we will also make an access copy
There will also be an audio recording

thank you so much to everyone!
M: Thanks everyone!

* the song B.O.A.T.S by Mojeed plays *



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