Workshop in Mons

Formatting Utopia – from Paul Otlet to the Internet
Monday 17 Nov, 1–8 pm

“The way information is organised and presented is influential for the way we perceive and understand the world. The internet gathers information and creates networks for interactive encyclopediae (Wikipedia), ‘Folksonomic’ categorisations (Flickr) and through ‘Social Tagging’. Our workshop deals with the hierarchies that mark the way we use and access information and with the potentials and pitfalls of the internet concerning knowledge organisation.
The Mundaneum is based on Paul Otlet’s (1868–1944) utopian project to foster pacifism. His archives of the world’s knowledge, represented by all the books published until the beginning of the 20th century, was ordered by a universal objective system (CDU) and his ideas to diffuse this knowledge anticipate the internet.
How is the actual internet influenced by ideologies, censorship, commercial interests? How do current projects from the arts and design realise the utopian potentials of the internet? After a guided tour through the Mundaneum’s archives, these questions will be discussed with Stéphanie Manfroid (Mundaneum, Mons), Metahaven, (design, Amsterdam), De Geuzen (art/design collective, Rotterdam/Brussels), Joachim Schmid (artist, Berlin), and Sabine Niederer (curator and researcher of Network Cultures, University of Amsterdam).
Formatting Utopia is a collaboration of artist Marjolijn Dijkman (Enough Rooms for Space, Rotterdam) and Annette Schemmel, curator, in the framework of the curatorial research project decollecting (H+F Curatorial Grant at the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Dunkerque, France), with the Mundaneum (Mons), the Conseil Régional Nord-Pas de Calais, the Ifa and the Mondriaan Foundation.”