2 November 2013
Location: Kapitaal
11:00 - 23:00
3 November 2013
Location: Kapitaal
11:00 - 20:00

Marcell Mars – ‘Free Libraries for Every Soul’

Long before the slogan ‘Information wants to be Free’ was coined, the founder of the modern library Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) had a dream. He believed in ‘Free Libraries for Every Soul’. Libraries were our first databases and books our first web pages. The footnote inspired Tim Berners Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, to invent the hyperlink.

‘Free Libraries for Every Soul’, lecture and hackaton within the Impakt Festival, is an ode to books and libraries. It explains how we can radically change its shape, processes and access; from printed matter to the application programming interface (API) and from prints to algorithms. Hacker and cyber-librarian Marcell Mars will lead a hackathon whereby graphic designers, hackers, UX designers, bookmakers and programmers will collaborate to provide contemporary substantiation for Melvil Dewey’s dream.

The backbone of this dream is a global P2P library through which everyone can share his/her e-books and PDFs with the rest of the world from their own computer using a peer-to-peer network. The P2P infrastructure encourages people to review the entire infrastructure surrounding books. Imagine if every footnote actually becomes a hyperlink that can immediately open up every other book in the world? How can we use RISO printers and Print-on-Demand processes to turn the world’s literature into books and printed materials? How can we enrich the world’s library by adding resistance literature, censored pamphlets and obscure manuscripts using DIY book scanners?

This form of production and value creation is hard to conceptualise within existing economic theories. It was long supposed that the ‘employee’ or ‘entrepreneur’ were the only two ways of participating in the economy. The advent of digital networks caused the rise of a third mode of economic production: commons-based peer production. Programmers, hackers and the open source community work together without contracts, company or other institutional structures. In spite of this, they have managed to create the Linux operating system and set up Wikipedia.

The Public Library Hackathon will give you 24 hours to contribute to a global commons, the library and the canon of our culture. A weekend of value creation outside the regular logic of the market. Bring your laptop and your wildest dreams!

Free Libraries for Every Soul is part of the Work Songs programme curated by Monnik.

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