The future of academic discussions, on Limina

Limina n.2

Limina n.2

Our article “Utopian Architectures and the Dictatorship  of the Imaginary. A Selection of Topics in Favor of Holistic Education Paths, and the Role  of the Fish Eye in the Observation of Reality” (by Salvatore Iaconesi and Stefano Bonifazi) has just been published on the n.2 Issue of Limina (on page 183), by Planetary Collegium’s M-Node.

It is a peculiar article, as it uses a novel form of system which has been designed and proposed to suggest new forms of publishing which can be used to structure academic discussions, including their outputs in terms of papers and articles.


“Classical” scientific publications are created by crystallizing the results of the research of one or more academics/scientists/researchers at one specific moment in time, also loosing the information about the dynamics according to which these results have been produced, their connection to the evolution of the research process, the relations and interactions occurred between among all parties engaged, and their unfolding through time and relational space, including the possibility to represent  the network of contributions (be them practical, relational, theoretical, operational, thematic…) which have brought to the scenario described in the “paper”.

The “paper” or article is, basically, a narrative, structured along the lines defined by good academic and scientific practices, which looses all dynamic information about the research process being described in it, also making it very difficult to connect to its further development.


To produce the paper we have used a system called Knowners, an Open Source WordPress Plugin which allows you to represent the network of relations running among the content produced by multiple authors operating onto the same publishing space (implemented through a website running the WordPress CMS).

During the research process all the activities which formed the research were added to the Architon website:

While adding the various parts of the research to the system, a network formed, which can be seen in the home page of the site.

Architon's main network

Architon’s main network

The various elements of the network are  calculated in real-time by a keyword based and natural language based algorithm which analyzes the content added to the platform, and uses the themes and tags used in the various information bits (parts of article, texts, data and meta-data added to the system under the form of posts and multimedia elements) to describe the relations running among all elements, their authors (which can be more than one, under the form of multiple WordPress users, or under the forms of commenters).

Each element of the visualizations is interactive, allowing users to decide the focus of their navigation, and to easily traverse the topics and relationship networks defined through the research.

So, as the research process unfolds, its content network unfolds as well, preserving the time-scheme (under the form of the time-data generated when creating the content elements) and the relational-network running between the authors and other forms of contributors (e.g.: commenters) taking part in the research under various roles, and also running between the various contents, allowing to highlight:

  • the themes touched by the research, and their relations
  • the contributions of each author in relation to each theme
  • the time-based dimension of the research process

The system also allows to keep track of the future development of the research: by simply including a QRCode and a link to the graphic layout of the paper, readers can connect directly to the online system and, thus, see its updated status, in real-time, and also eventually contribute to it, making all this wealth of information not only immediately accessible, but also interactive and participatory.

The scientific article becomes alive: a relational network which evolves in time and to which anyone can participate.


We’re developing the Knowners system to allow interconnection between different systems.

Imagine two teams of researchers working on the similar issues, maybe from a different point of view.

Imagine they work using this kind of system to produce the content and the outputs of the research.

Since the two teams share some of the same issues, some of their content, keywords and themes will match, with the resulting relations-network reflecting the differences of their approaches, methodologies and results.

We’re developing the function which will allow to interconnect two or more of these Knowners systems so that different researches could be visualized onto the same graph.

This would bring an incredible result: the possibility to being able to immediately and visually compare researches operating on related themes, and to visually understand and interact with their interrelations, dependencies and mutual interactions.

Also: the fact that all this is working on standard, open, consolidated protocols (such as the ones used by web systems such as WordPress, including RSS, pingback, XML-RPC, atom, etc) opens the doors to incredible possibilities, such as the one (which we are developing) in which as soon as someone produces scientific content about a theme which is relevant and interrelated to your research, your visualized graph would transform to reflect this, showing, actually, who is working on your same themes, and how, and how it is related/different/complementary/divergent from your work.

Read/Write Reality, An intensive workshop on Ubiquitous Publishing

RWR, Read Write Reality logo

RWR, Read Write Reality logo



WHAT: 3+1 days of intensive workshop on the possibilities offered by Ubiquitous Publishing techniques and technologies

WHEN: from 13th to 16th September 2011

WHERE: Cava de’ Tirreni (Amalfi Coast, Italy)


Do you want to learn about new business models, new forms of expression, new possibilities for culture and knowdledge?

Are you looking for new tools for freedom of communication, expression and for knowledge or content diffusion?

Would you like to discover what will be the next possibilities for e-books and digital publishing, starting from the opportunities offered by our present times?

Do you want to learn and acquire the “new ways of writing on the world” that are turning our bodies, architectures, spaces and objects into publishing surfaces?


READ/WRITE REALITY (RWR) is an intensive and visionary workshop created to pragmatically explore the methodological, technical and technological possibilities offered by Ubiquitous Publishing.

A 3+1 days hands-on and minds-on program in which we will follow you through the creation of a full ubiquitous publishing project, starting from scratch and ending up at product release. Participants will learn the methodologies, the conceptual and technological frameworks which will enable individuals, organizations, companies or collectives to use ubiquitous technologies to enact new forms of communication and expression, new business models, new ways in which you can activate your strategies and observe their effects.

Out of the monitor, in the spaces of our cities, bodies, objects and products.

RWR will be held on September 13-14-15+16 in Cava de’ Tirreni, at the Ostello “Borgo Scacciaventi”, a beautiful setting in a 15th century building near to the famous Amalifi Coast. The workshop will fill 3+1 days of intense activities, visionary discussions, engaging hands-on practices, on-the-field explorations and content-production, an “ubiquitous movida” to be discovered, great food, wine and scenery, in contact with the rooted traditions of the beautiful South of Italy.

During the last day (Sept. 16th) a big party and a city-wide event will mark the achievement of your work: the result of the RWR workshop will be exposed in a prestigious building in the center of Cava de’ Tirreni, at the presence of internationally known academics and researchers.


The workshop is addresed to:

  • designers (wishing to know,understand and use Ubiquitous Publishing technologies);
  • communicators (who want to understand and learnhow to bring digital information out of the monitor, into the city, in people’s pockets, on objects and in the places we traverse in our daily lives);
  • developers (who want to learn how to build engaging ubiquitous interactive experiences);
  • artists, journalists, scientists and researchers (wishing to add ubiquitous technologies to their toolset for expression, information, knowledge, education and research practices);
  • and strategists (with the desire to gain knowledge and insights to confront with the next step of digital communication).


Technologies you will use:

  • iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets
  • location based, GPS, digital compass
  • accelerometers for gesture-based interactions
  • augmented reality: location-based, marker-based, computer vision based
  • mobile tagging: QRCode, barcodes
  • HTML5, CSS3, WebGL
  • multimedia of all sorts, 3D, 2D, sound, immersive sounds and visuals
  • projection mapping for architecture-based content and interaction


Deadline for enrollment & Conditions

20th August 2011

Only a limited number of 35 people will be accepted:


ATTENTION! Students, artists, researchers, people working in educational or non-profit sector, young (less than 26 years old) and old (over 70), benefit from special conditions!


The Program for RWR

The Program for RWR







RWR is a project by

FakePress and Art is Opensource

in collaboration with:

Cantro Studi di Etnografia Digitale, Ninja Marketing, Ostello “Borgo Scacciaventi”


supported by:

LiberLiber, MELTINGPOT – Cantiere Creativo per la New Media Art, Piemonte Share Festival, StoriaContinua


More info at:

New scenarios for education and action: back from Milan

Just back from the Always Already New conference in Milan. (here the abstracts of the contributions to the conference)

The conference subtitle “Thinking Media, Subversing Feeling, Scaffolding Knowledge: Art and Education in the Praxis of Transformation” was pretty close to what took place there at the Mediateca S. Teresa, in which many artists, researchers, hackers and practitioners of arts and sciences gathered discussing and sharing their projects and visions with the rest of the guests.

The interesting topics were multiple, and I found one as specifically insightful: a possibilistic view on the models for education.

Together with Stefano Bonifazi we presented a project titled “Utopian Architectures and the dictatorship of the imaginary“, emerging from a discussion which arose on the AHA mailing list.(you can find the paper here )

The discussion started while analyzing the results of an architecture competition and noting how monumental, futuristic visions of architecture were the ones pushed as the drivers for innovation, to shape imaginaries and to create opportunity.

This discussion (obviously taking into account the endless discourses on utopias) ended up into really interesting domains, in which software and architecture mixed seamlessly. Language was pushed to some extremes, but similarities emerged among software and physical architectures, as definers of the spaces in which people’s lives take place.

Encoding the world’s spaces and times, in both their physical, cognitive and imaginary dimensions, is a powerful act of authority, and it is exactly the process which is at the base of Power’s most advanced strategies. Utopias are extensively used in this process, as well as a trend that sees the complete commodification of all domains of our lives, be them public or private, and of the practices of education, communication and knowledge sharing and diffusion.

There is a war. And it is a war on/of codes.

The idea of a meta-approach to this war of codes emerged in the discussion: if the scenario of this war is “the framework” (be it software or architecture, defining our world in bits and meters) this is where we will fight it.

We decided to build our contribution to the conference on the idea of a framework that would allow the composition of multi-voice, recombinant research paths.

The idea was to create a parallel, a layered view, a model for vision that could host multiple perspectives and re-encodings of reality: as authority wishes to encode, we wish to let multiple encodings co-exist and self-determinate.

We began with software.

What emerged was a model. A networked model.

We gave a first, simple implementation of this model. You can find it here.

And here you can download the software to enact one yourself (using a WordPress website).



This first model implies the possibility for multiple subjects to participate to a networked discussion.

The discussion is produced by multiple interventions (ideally short, pill-like interventions on specific items of knowledge, but can be of any length/extent) including their text and multimedia documentation, and characterized in terms of subjects and areas assessed using simple, commonly known tagging/category mechanisms, defining taxonomies and folksonomies.

The system continuously observes the emerging taxonomies and folksonomies and generates interactive visualizations that can be used to non-linearly navigate through the dynamically generating networked-knowledge base: different perspectives on the world emerge by navigating along different paths on the graph, and contributions instantly alter the emerging graph, to include their points of view.

What comes out is an architecture that enacts the networked view on society, politics, relationships and knowledge which we have learned to understand while studying Foucault, Deleuze, Bateson, and making them accessible and transparent.

And, most of all, usable and simply researchable.

So: everyone is invited to join in the discussion on architon and, most important of all, to use, modify and imagine uses for the model described by it, by downloading the software, installing it and using it for their education and knowledge sharing practices.

Here are the next steps in the development of the framework:

  • implementation of Ivan Ilich‘s 4 levels of education web as a complete environment
  • implementation of a p2p system (or site 2 site system) that allows configurable interactions and integrations among multiple systems (thus obtaining distributed education webs on single projects, areas and competences)
  • invention and implementation of use cases dedicated to real life scenarios such as classes, conferences, research processes, projects, knowledge sharing, to introduce this network vision in various human activities
  • implementation of mobile and location based usage scenarios, so that even more possibilities open up in physical, geographical space
  • implementation of usage cases dedicated to letting physical objects entering the knowledge webs through tagging, augmented reality and sensor technologies, to include tangible scenarios into the system

You are all invited to joining in the discussion/development.

We are constantly using the platform under many instances for research, work and education with our students, already testing out some modules that enact many of these new development paths. If you’d like to join in or to know more about the evolution of the project feel free to contact Art is Open Source and FakePress.

Technical note: the software uses this wonderful javascript information visualization library, which I urge you to investigate on, as it’s a wonderful and really useful open source project led with incredible passion. (it has a BSD licensing scheme)

Knowners WordPress Plugin: new Version

knowners wordpress plugin

knowners wordpress plugin

the Knowners WordPress plugin allows you to transform link collections and your WordPress blogs into interactive visualizations of knowledge networks.

A new version of the plugin has just been released by FakePress and Art is Open Source.

The main enhancement of the plugin is the direct integration on the wordpress posts of your blogs, using tag usage to create the relation graph of the visualizations.


the plugin is based on the Javascript InfoVis Toolkit library.

The new version has been created for the Architon Project: more on this in just a few days.

Knowners, a link sharing plugin for WordPress

Art is Open Source and FakePress just released Knowners a link sharing plugin for WordPress.

Knowners screenshot

Knowners screenshot

Knowners is a WordPress plugin developed by FakePress and Art is Open Source to setup an effective link publishing website.
The plugin is still in beta, but it already offers interesting possibilities.
It is thought as a large scale widget, usable inside your WordPress websites to setup a link sharing area on your web page.
You can publish links, categorize them with tags, automatically create relationships and taxonomies.

a screenshot of Knowners

a screenshot of Knowners

This plugin is in its 1.0 version. It still has limited functionality. We are working on it. We would love to hear from you, with your suggestions on the features you would like to have.
Please check back soon for updates: we are releasing a new version in just a bit, with an enhanced link editing scheme (the current one is quite limited).

[ Download the Knowners plugin here ]

[ Download the Knowners Test Theme for WordPress here ]

[ Knowners on WordPress ]