Lately, by chance and inquiry, I’ve been into topics related, but coming from different ends. These four reads and books capture the sphere if interest quite good.
- Sacred Servers (“COMPOST Issue 01: Sacred Servers by Zach Mandeville,” n.d.)
- Uncivilizing Digital Territories (“COMPOST Issue 02: Uncivilizing Digital Territories by Luandro,” n.d.)
- Teaming with microbes: The organic gardener’s guide to the soil food web (Lowenfels, Lewis, and Ingham 2020)
- ON THE NECESSITY OF GARDENING: an abc of art, botany and cultivation. (ON THE NECESSITY OF GARDENING: An Abc of Art, Botany and Cultivation. 2021)
The first two are from an online magazine called COMPOST, which is short for Commons Post, a zine about creative works about the commons. In Sacred Servers, Zach Mandeville writes about what I means to give away authority over one’s own data to multinational corporations. I was especially fond of the Harawayesque normalizing story at the end of the essay. In it he describes how the server infrastructur of a rural community would look like, if they would own their servers and use them in a homesteady way. I found it quite inspiring and will approach our community garden to ask, if I could install my server there. I loved how there is this connection between the digital, AFK communities, server infrastructure and gardening – something that I’m actively searching for.
The second text by Luandro expand on this notion on digital infrasctructure for communities and goes into details and learnings from projects they did. I love how there is a radical community/user orientation (Huvila 2008) in their approaches.
A strategy we’ve been using to construct community-first user flows has been to explore the connection people have to the territory they inhabit. Instead of showing user-centered content first, we choose to prioritize by showing the community land, its peoples, and cultural expressions. But having outsiders craft user-flows for a community they don’t belong to undermines their digital autonomy. As many communities have their own bakers, they should also have their own digital crafters.
Both texts are down to earth, pragmatical, rooted in reality, with, for and by the people. Both texts are clearly material and post-digital. I love them. I’m into community archives (Huvila 2008) lately, but that is a post for another time.
From here we go to gardening, soil and hummus. I love that this magazine is called COMPOST. The lin between compost, commons and the digital is simply beautiful. We recently got a place in an allotment. We do a pretty easy style of gardening, a gentle back and forth over our wishes and intentions and what the garden will grow. Lately, with a nice rythm of sunshine and rain, everything is growing a lot. A lot of the things we don’t need, we pluck and leave as green fertilizer. There is many books on gentle and restorative gardening, and most of them focus on some practices. Only a handful focus on making once understand the whys, and that part is always super important for me. I found Teaming with microbes (Lowenfels, Lewis, and Ingham 2020) a fantastic resource on the why. It is a pragmatical book, with many recipes on how to do things in the garden. But first it makes you understand physics, chemistry and most importantly, the soil food web aka who is eating who and what is happening in between. I learned so much, understand so much more now about soil and it is written very accessible.
The last read, ON THE NECESSITY OF GARDENING (ON THE NECESSITY OF GARDENING: An Abc of Art, Botany and Cultivation. 2021), was given to me my a dear friend and I’m enjoying the shit out of it. It’s a messy piece of art theory scrapbook with all the things that make up contemporary critical theory discourse. I’m feeling at home with it, but wouldn’t recommend it as a primer I guess, it’s already too deep in its own lingo and perspectives. If you like and are familiar with Haraway, Wark and the like you might like it and may enjoy the particular view on gardening it’s presenting 🌱 🌿 Besides that it is really really beautiful :) it’s large and has a nice haptic. The scrapbook feeling goes well with the content and invites to a non-linear reading and exploration. I’m quite in love with it’s wild typo and toned colors
“COMPOST Issue 01: Sacred Servers by Zach Mandeville.” n.d. https://one.compost.digital/sacred-servers/.
“COMPOST Issue 02: Uncivilizing Digital Territories by Luandro.” n.d. https://two.compost.digital/uncivilizing-digital-territories/.
Huvila, Isto. 2008. “Participatory Archive: Towards Decentralised Curation, Radical User Orientation, and Broader Contextualisation of Records Management.” Arch Sci 8 (1): 15–36. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10502-008-9071-0.
Lowenfels, Jeff, Wayne Lewis, and Elaine Ingham. 2020. Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web. Portland: Timber Press.
ON THE NECESSITY OF GARDENING: An Abc of Art, Botany and Cultivation. 2021. S.l.: ARTBOOK D A P.