Textual Re-knittings

From Hackers & Designers
Textual Re-knittings
Name Textual Re-knittings
Location Het Wilde Weg
Date 2023/07/18-2023/07/27
Time [[]]
PeopleOrganisations Victor Chaix
Type HDSC2023
Web Yes
Print No
22 textural reknitting.jpg

The concept of this workshop is to collectively experiment with, and interrogate, our digital reading and writing practices. Through new ways of reading and writing together, allowed by digital simultaneity, we will use the margins of different texts as spaces of predilection for encouraging collective reflection.

The idea is to develop a relational online thought, capable of generating value, beyond the probabilistic and disembodied "thought" of Generative Language Models (GLMs) such as Chat-GPT. As such, participants will allow themselves to partly loose control over their reading and writing, by sharing it with others. In a spirit of trust and camaraderie, we will engage in a process of co-curation, co-archiving and co-creation, with unpredicatble outcomes.

Alike coding "bricolages", our writing will be dynamic, and networked. We will be moving by association, rather than by story. We will not shy away from necessary digressions. In this multi-directional thought, with no specific end-goal, we should be able to generate a multi-faceted perception of ourself as a community and contribute in fostering a collective identity, even if inevitably temporary (the process of collective individuation never reaching an "end point" as such).

We will, in sum, play with the "social text", in which conversations on the margins of texts make those the beginning of new conversations, which can then become the the center of other texts. After making cuts and links across ideas through our reading, we will then reknit the holes and valleys between the different ideas in our collective re-writing. Through this activity, we should be able to reconsider what it means to be human, in and with the computationalized text.

Tools involved:

The theme of this activity will be hopepunk, both theoretically and practically:

  • We will try to collectively, situatedly define it together: a definition that aims to be more "akward", out-of-sync than "encyclopedic", as one of the underlying aim of the activity is to reconsider reading/writing/thinking itself, in face of Chat-GPT and other GLM's stereotypical tendencies of repeating the most probable from their corpora (itself probabilistic).
  • Through our practices and experimentations themselves, hope-punk will be seen as something to be earned rather than imagined: making our way collectively through the digital "no future" space to open in it a space of textual playfulness, warmth and meaningful links. Hope-punk can in this way be seen as this effort of going from our situation of "enslavement to the machine" to one in which the machine becomes the medium to collectively individuate ourselves - an open space of possibilities.

In order to define hope-punk in new ways, every participant will be able to recommend an article or a text freely available online, for the group to annotate, in close or far connection to the theme of hope-punk. Surprising materials are welcome. Please bring with you 1 or 2 online references that you can relate to the concept of "hopepunk", at the beginning of the workshop, in order to contribute to the constitution of a common resources pool that will then be annotated during the the summer camp.


  • Laptop with Google Chrome or Firefox browser installed.
  • The installation of the Hypothesis browser extension, the creation of accounts and integration of the workshop annotating group will be done at the beginning of the workshop (around 15 minutes).

The workshop will be divided in 2 parts:

1. Collective reading/scanning/harvesting of selected texts and articles through individualized annotations, shared with the group. In real time, annotations can be commented by other members and be as such the source of many discussion threads. This reading part will thus both "personal" and "social".

Duration: ~1week, freely, during the summer camp, in a "diachronic" fashion. It is important to leave us time at this part, for comments on each other's annotations, personal reflexions and digressions, ...

2. Collaborative writing/connecting/transitionning between all the selected fragments made during the first part, using the very selections/annotations/discussions on the margins as materials for the constitution of a collective text, connecting them with each other simultaneously. This writing part will thus be both "collaborative" and a process of subjective associations.

Duration: 4h, with some breaks. It is important to be more in a "sprint" approach for this part of the workshop, a synchronic moment of re-knitting and collective production.

The second part is as such connected to the first one in the sense that it should be a collage-writing: an unpredictable bricolage of the pre-constituted, annotated, materials generated in the first part.

At the end of the activity, we will leave ourselves an hour for collective reflection, first on the pad and then out loud, on these reading and writing practices:

  • what distinguishes reading and writing and what brings them together?
  • what are the limits and potentialities of social reading and writing through digital means/tools?
  • what forms of literacy of digital spaces can we encourage, beyond coding competencies?

We should be able to leave with printed booklets of our collective work, thanks to the portable printer that H&D can bring to the camp :)

Participants: This activity is suitable for the whole group of ~30 persons. We will distribute the different readings as well as the writings sections, by simply writing our names next to the resources that we have annotated as well as under the sections in which we want to reknit different fragments/annotations and make re-writings. This should allow us to better coordinate ourselves as a big group, by accordingly going in the non- or less charted territories of reading/annotating as well as of writing/re-knitting, in the document.

In the pad with the common pool of resources, we will be able to give indications as to which parts of the textual reference can be particularily relevant for the hopepunk theme/concept, via comments.

The workshop will be in English and we will solely work on texts written in English. No computational knowledge is needed.


Victor Chaix is a Master student in Digital Humanities, at the University of Bologna. He currently prepares his Master’s thesis at the Institute of Network Cultures, theorizing and experimenting new possibilities for the “social text” – a heightened potential for texts in their digital configurations opened up by the like of web annotation, collaborative writing and "metadata".