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Themesicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_sicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_s
Opus (Raqs Media Collective), 2001Swipe Bar (Swipe)

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reserved copyright.» [44] This concept builds on Richard Stallman’s original GNU project, the idea of «free as in free speech» software, and «copyleft» protection. [45] Many artists and artist groups have structured projects around related concepts. Raqs Media Collective’s «OPUS» (2003), for example, is an «open platform for unlimited signification,» which encourages users to upload texts, images, audio, and video for others to freely modify. Modifications are called «rescensions,» a powerful concept, which Raqs defines in «A Concise Lexicon of/for the Digital Commons» as: «A re-telling, a word taken to signify the simultaneous existence of different versions of a narrative within oral, and from now onwards, digital cultures. Thus one can speak of a 'southern' or a 'northern' rescension of a myth, or of a ‹female› or ‹male› rescension of a story, or the possibility (to begin with) of Delhi/Berlin/Tehran ‹rescensions› of a digital work. The concept of rescension is contraindicative of the notion of hierarchy. A rescension cannot be an improvement, nor can it connote a diminishing of value. A rescension is that version which does not act as a replacement for any other configuration of its constitutive materials.


The existence of multiple rescensions is a guarantor of an idea or a work's ubiquity. This ensures that the constellation of narrative, signs and images that a work embodies is present, and waiting for iteration at more than one site at any given time. Rescensions are portable and are carried within orbiting kernels within a space. Rescensions, taken together constitute ensembles that may form an interconnected web of ideas, images and signs.» [46]

Resistance and Engagement

In the face of both the privatization of the public sphere and government curtailment, often on security grounds, a number of artists are leveraging the network to monitor the monitors. Ryan McKinley’s «Government Information Awareness» (2003), for instance, was a distributed platform linking various publicly available databases and constituent input to create a knowledge base about U.S. government officials that mirrors, at least metaphorically, the government’s renamed versions of its «Total Information Awareness» program. [47] «Swipe» (2004) is a bar, which Beatriz da Costa, Jamie Schulte, and Brooke

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