Cristina Ribas, Giseli Vasconcelos e Tatiana Wells (for Portuguese click here)
The Tactical Archives project is an archive dedicated to mapping the production of networks, free knowledge and internet culture in Brazil. Over the last three years, besides organizing an archive available online, we have been drawing a visual cartography that shares this history. With this project we carry out a research that seeks to cover a series of publications, events, festivals, tactical media, internet and free knowledge in Brazil in the period from 2002 to 2018 (ongoing). The project also creates collective situations to collect narratives about this history. We have been privileging the protagonism of women in this history and in these narratives, which we feel are still well out of step with the narratives mobilized by men.
Cartography and archive can be thought of in many different ways. Cartography in this project is thought of as a research methodology, as well as a visual form that contributes to the sharing of this history. We think of cartography in its complexity, presenting not only the events that produce the history of these networks, internet and free knowledge, but the whole political context of this period, with the aim of intervening in the present and nurturing futures. We think of cartography as a research method also because it desires a collective agency, inaugurating space for a series of analyses and approaches to these practices in Brazil – a polyphony of experiences, voices, situated realities, risks and inventions.
The collectivity that we nurtured in the early 2000s seems to encounter other realities today, and we want to be able to analyze how we can encourage new collectivities beyond the various alienations that captured forms of producing network have insisted on configuring. We want to be able to touch also on the functioning of the public machine in relation to polyphonies, recalling the productive relationship we once experienced, while – on the other hand – it is with regret that we see the constant collapse of policies for culture and digital literacy. We approach this history from two ethical points: from the thinking that subjectivity is a collective agency, and from a feminist perspective. We bring to the surface of this research our condition as women researchers as ways of insisting on non-hierarchical and non-technocratic ways of doing. This also means aiming at connecting with creative and not destructive potentials, beyond a separation between object and subject. The cartography (and the archive) we organize is, therefore, a semiotic expression of the networks we build and that, at the same time, sustain us in our processes of existence.
The visual cartography presents this research, which has emerged from several conversations between Giseli, Cristina and Tatiana and was finalized by Cristina and Lucas Sargentelli. It had its first presentation in 2018 at the exhibition Arte Veículo (curated by Ana Maria Maia, Sesc Pompéia, São Paulo) and the second one a year later (SESC Santos). The cartography shapes the four periods we look at in the context of collaborative networks, listing events, political moments, culture and digital culture policies, projects and festivals. It also presents the more than 40 publications made during the period.
The research for this cartography assumes its processuality, and for this very reason we update it as we hold moments of collectivization. The first time we exposed the cartography, in 2018, we held a Laboratory inviting seven more women to participate in the first update of the cartography – Tininha Llhanos, Adriana Veloso, Fabiane Borges, Milena Durante, Inês Nin, Elisa Ximenes and Sue Nhamandu. Over the course of three days, we listened to and added new content and perspectives to the ongoing archive. In the workshop in São Paulo we recorded short videos that work as teasers of concepts, practices and contents that narrate this history of the internet in Brazil. The videos deal with subjects such as: visual cartography, submedialogies, tactical media, metarecycling and hacker culture, memory and Brazilian internet, commons and collectives, techno-shamanism and intergalactic commune. In one of the videos Cristina tells more about how we think about visual cartography in this research process, and ways to think and perform cartography collectively:
“We can think of cartography as a tool for the co-production of subjectivity, of this being in the world, in its path, in its journey. And it can also be used in these collective processes in order to show a series of processes and productions that these individuals develop. Not all cartography necessarily becomes visual, cartography can become visual if it makes sense for a process, unfolding from a research, from a need – as is the case here. We decided to use cartography as a research method that permeates our lives, our paths, as producers, developers, non-artists, artists, archivists of the digital production networks, of the internet, of tactical media, of free knowledge, so we understand our experience as unseparable from the research. The laboratory we are having these days brings together 9-10 women. So we have been thinking about our collective experiences in relation to this production. We decided to bring this production in its visuality because of the need to be able to see the power of this history, the power of this production, also to create a space for navigation – in which more people can find their own trajectories, and can project their own trajectories in it. That is why we say that this cartography is made extensively, and also intensively. We want the intensive part of the cartography to come from the personal experiences of the participants, and from the perception of their life trajectory in relation to the political moment that Brazil was living or is living now. We see cartography as a super tactical tool at this moment in which it is necessary to look at these techno-politics, at this production of digital culture, of free knowledge, a crucial moment for us to be able to reorganize the present in order to project new futures.”
Find all of the videos from the workshop here.
The cartography presents the concepts that were collectively created and mobilized (in block text); events and festivals have a date (beginning and end), or if they are on going with a (-) sign; relevant publications such as books, collections, dissertations and thesis are presented with a book symbol; and finally the political context is presented in gray, in a smaller font, as are the hashtags. The publications are all available on the website-archive of the Tactical Archives project.
By organizing labs to recollect this stories, we call for the sharing of this research and also for the continued composition of this cartography, which intersects and complements with other cartographies, surveys, maps, diagrams, narratives, analyses, and more.
Giseli and Tatiana presented this process at the Radical Networks event in Berlin in 2019 and Cristina at the Convergences International Seminar in Porto Alegre. Along these three years we worked on two texts that tell about the process of research and creation of the cartography and the archive in the form of a website. These texts were published in APRJA (English) and in the Convergences International Seminar (Portuguese).