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(Porqué escribimos un manifiesto sobre la interfaz de usuario en el contexto digital)
(Algunos manifiestos a tener en cuenta antes de escribir un manifiesto sobre interfaces)
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This manifesto includes many voices, but there are also many silences. The exercise in synthesis and consensus that was required in order to draft a text collectively has not favoured nuances and complexity. As such, the Manifesto should be read as a hypertext with links to other texts that complement it and that continue to unravel some of the ideas set out in these fifteen points.
 
This manifesto includes many voices, but there are also many silences. The exercise in synthesis and consensus that was required in order to draft a text collectively has not favoured nuances and complexity. As such, the Manifesto should be read as a hypertext with links to other texts that complement it and that continue to unravel some of the ideas set out in these fifteen points.
  
=Algunos manifiestos a tener en cuenta antes de escribir un manifiesto sobre interfaces=
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=Some manifestos to take into account before writing an Interface Manifesto=
  
La genealogía del manifiesto es difusa y tampoco parece que exista acuerdo acerca de sus características definitorias, se trata de un género tan amplio que en él tienen cabida textos muy dispares que van desde la declaración naval en una aduana de las mercancías que transporta un barco; a un programa político para derrocar al sistema dominante; pasando por toda la tradición artística iniciada por las vanguardias - en la que el Manifiesto futurista (1909) es quizás el ejemplo más paradigmático-.  
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The genealogy of manifestos is fuzzy, and there is no consensus on its defining characteristics. The genre is so broad that it includes very diverse kinds of texts, from a customs declaration of the goods carried on a ship to a political programme to overthrow the dominant system, by way of a whole tradition in the arts that began with the avant-gardes – of which the Futurist Manifesto (1909) is probably the paradigmatic example.  
  
Algunos de estos manifiestos se vinculan a corrientes utopistas del siglo XX (dadá, situacionismo, punk). Pero si buscamos referentes que traten sobre las relaciones con la tecnología en términos de pensamiento crítico, vemos cómo estos han proliferado en las últimas décadas, en paralelo a la eclosión de las nuevas tecnologías y al desarrollo de la sociedad post-capitalista, marcada por el cinismo, las nuevas formas de trabajo inmaterial y la cultura de redes.
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Some of these manifestos were written within 20th century utopian movements (Dada, Situationism, punk). But if we zoom in on examples that question our relationship with technology from a critical perspective, we see that they have proliferated over the past few decades. This trend has gone hand in hand with the new technology boom and the advance of post-capitalist society, with its cynicism, its new forms of immaterial labour, and the network culture.  
  
Un manifiesto pionero en introducir el pensamiento crítico en el ámbito del diseño es [http://firstthingsfirst2014.org/ The First Things First manifesto]  publicado en el periódico The Guardian 1964, tuvo el apoyo de más de cuatrocientos diseñadores gráficos y artistas. El texto reaccionaba contra la opulencia de la Gran Bretaña de los años sesenta y buscaba radicalizar el diseño, que según los firmantes se había vuelto vago y acrítico. A partir de las ideas de la Teoría crítica y la Escuela de Frankfurt, así como las de la contracultura de la época, afirmaba que el diseño no es un proceso neutral, carente de valor. Atacaba a la cultura consumista que sólo se interesaba por comprar y vender cosas, y reivindicaba la dimensión humanista del diseño gráfico.  
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One of the first manifestos to introduce critical thought in the design field was [http://firstthingsfirst2014.org/ The First Things First manifesto]  published in The Guardian in1964, and signed by over four hundred graphic designers and artists. The text was a reaction against the opulence of Great Britain in the sixties, and aimed to radicalise design, which its signatories claimed had become vague and non-critical. Drawing on the ideas of critical theory, the Frankfurt School, and the counterculture at the time, it claimed that design is not neutral and value-free. It attacked consumer culture, which is only interested in buying and selling things, and defended the humanist dimension of graphic design.  
  
Con la emergencia de Internet y las nuevas tecnologías de la comunicación, aparecen varios manifiestos que conciben el ciberespacio como un nuevo lugar mucho más flexible y que por su juventud permitiría la reinvención de ciertas nociones y categorías.
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The emergence of the Internet and new communication technologies inspired several manifestos that defended the idea of cyberspace as a new, much more flexible space that, in its very newness, offered the possibility of reinventing certain notions and categories. In 1985 Richard Stallman wrote the [http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.en.html The GNU Manifesto] (1985)to explain and define the goals of the GNU project, a Unix-type operating system based on open development, free distribution, and a commitment to remain true to those values as it evolves. This text is considered the cornerstone of the free software movement. Along similar ideological lines, the Mozilla Manifesto [Mozilla Manifesto https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/details/],ets out ten principles based on the idea of the internet as a global public resource that must remain open and accessible, and invites people to contribute to the project.
  
En 1985 Richard Stallman escribe el [http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.en.html The GNU Manifesto] (1985) para explicar y definir las metas del proyecto GNU, un sistema operativo tipo Unix desarrollado de forma abierta, distribuido libremente y con el compromiso de seguir evolucionando en las mismas condiciones, este documento es considerado la piedra fundacional del movimiento del software libre. En esta misma línea ideológica encontramos el [Mozilla Manifesto https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/details/], un conjunto de 10 principios que articulan una visión de Internet como un recurso público global que debe permanecer abierto y accesible, y que invita a conseguir contribuidores para el proyecto
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A year after Stallman’s Manifesto, Loyd Blankenship aka “The Mentor” wrote [http://phrack.org/issues/7/3.html The Hacker’s Manifesto] (1986),(1986), also known as “The Conscience of a Hacker”, a short essay written after the author’s arrest. It is considered one of the key works of hacker culture, a true hacker guide with an ethical position in regards to piracy that defends altruism and the idea that technology should be used to expand our horizons and to try to keep the world free.
 +
Another founding text of the internet age is the [http://newclues.cluetrain.com/ New Clues Manifesto],linked to the techno-utopianism that developed in the United States as part of the “dot-com” culture of the nineties. Its ninety-five theses about the impact of the net on companies, workers, and consumers defend the idea of the internet and markets as a conversation. Although it is certainly an interesting example, particularly because it is an open source document designed to be shared and reused – the manifesto is available on GitHub and has been updated for the past fifteen years – it suffers from a somewhat uncritical approach to the neoliberal ideology that underpins the new economy.
  
Un año después del manifiesto de Stallman, The Mentor aka Loyd Blankenship escribe el [http://phrack.org/issues/7/3.html The Hacker’s Manifesto] (1986), también conocido como 'La Conciencia de un Hacker', se trata de un breve ensayo escrito después de la detención del autor, y es considerado uno de los referentes de la cultura hacker, una auténtica guía hacker con un posicionamiento ético para la piratería, defiende el altruismo y que la tecnología debe utilizarse para ampliar nuestros horizontes y tratar de mantener el mundo libre.
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One of the most visionary texts of this kind is Donna Haraway’s [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Haraway "Manifiesto para cyborgs. Ciencia, tecnología y feminismo socialista a finales del siglo XX"] Originally published in 1985, it reflects on human-machine relations and predicts many of today’s conflicts that are, in part, a consequence of the invasion of new technologies. Haraway uses the metaphor of the cyborg to describe a post-gender work inhabited by hybrid beings, with no clear boundaries between the organic and the mechanical, the material and immaterial, and different sexual identities. Technological interfaces also make it possible to invent identities. Haraway writes: “This chapter is an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction. It is also an effort to contribute to socialist-feminist culture and theory in a postmodernist, non-naturalist mode and in the utopian tradition of imagining a world without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end. The cyborg incarnation is outside salvation history. Nor does it mark time on an oedipal calendar, attempting to heal the terrible cleavages of gender in an oral symbiotic utopia or post-oedipal apocalypse.” 
  
Otro de los textos fundacionales de la era de Internet es el [http://newclues.cluetrain.com/ New Clues Manifesto], vinculado al tecno-utopismo que se desarrolló en la década de los noventa en la cultura “punto com” de Estados Unidos. Sus 95 tesis acerca del impacto de la red en las empresas, los trabajadores y los consumidores defienden la idea de internet y los mercados como una conversación. Si bien resulta un referente interesante porque se trata de un documento de código abierto, diseñado para ser compartido y reutilizado -el texto está disponible en GitHub y se lleva actualizando durante quince años-, hay que tener en cuenta que adolece de cierta falta de visión crítica con la ideología neoliberal subyacente a la new economy.
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Haraway’s text was a crucial influence for the cyberfeminist movement, which picked up some of the strategies of the 1920s avant-gardes, such as the concept of utopia and the manifesto form. It paved the way for the 1991 [http://www.obn.org/reading_room/manifestos/html/cyberfeminist.html Manifiesto ciberfeminista para el siglo 21], for example, which defends the use of information and communication technologies on the internet as a strategy by which to destabilise the patriarchal system. Along similar lines, the  [http://www.obn.org/cfundef/100antitheses.html “100 antítesis”], was a kind of anti-manifesto written in the framework of the First Cyberfeminist International in 1997, which describes every thing that cyberfeminism is not: it is not a border, or ideology, or tradition, and it does not only have one language.  
  
Pero sin duda, uno de los textos más visionarios, que reflexiona sobre las relaciones humano-máquina y que avanza muchos de los conflictos contemporáneos que en parte derivan de la invasión de las nuevas tecnologías es el [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Haraway "Manifiesto para cyborgs. Ciencia, tecnología y feminismo socialista a finales del siglo XX"] de Donna Haraway, publicado por primera vez en 1985.  Haraway utiliza la metáfora del cyborg que sirve para para definir un mundo postgenérico habitado por seres híbridos en el que desaparecen las fronteras entre lo orgánico y lo mecánico, entre las identidades sexuales, lo material y lo inmaterial. El interfaz tecnológico permite asimismo inventar identidades. Haraway introduce así su ensayo “...el presente trabajo es un canto al placer en la confusión de las fronteras y a la responsabilidad en su construcción. Es también un esfuerzo para contribuir a la cultura y a la teoría feminista socialista de una manera postmoderna, no naturalista, y dentro de la tradición utópica de imaginar un mundo sin géneros,sin génesis y, quizás, sin fin. La encamación del cyborg - situada fuera de la historia de la salvación- no existe en un calendario edípico que trat de poner término a las terribles divisiones genéricas en una utopía simbiótica oral o en un apocalipsis postedípico.” 
 
  
El texto de Haraway resulta una influencia fundamental para el movimiento ciberfeminista, que retoma algunas de las estrategias de la vanguardia de los años XX como el concepto de utopía y la redacción de manifiestos. Nace así, en 1991 el [http://www.obn.org/reading_room/manifestos/html/cyberfeminist.html Manifiesto ciberfeminista para el siglo 21], que establece las posibilidades que las tecnologías de comunicación e información desplegadas a través de internet traían consigo como estrategia para desestabilizar el sistema patriarcal. En la misma línea, en 1997 en el marco de la Primera Internacional Ciberfeminista, se escriben las [http://www.obn.org/cfundef/100antitheses.html “100 antítesis”], una suerte de anti-manifiesto que describe todo lo que el ciberfeminismo no es: ni frontera, ni ideología, ni tradición, ni un solo lenguaje.  
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To conclude, I would like to mention two recent manifestos that have been particularly inspiring due to their critical approach to the use of technology. On one hand, [http://criticalengineering.org/en Critical Engineering Manifesto] (2011-2014)originally written in 2011 by three media artists, claims that our techno-political literacy is challenged with every technological advance, considers that engineering shapes the way we move, communicate, and think, and that it is the work of the critical engineer to study and exploit this language, exposing its influence.  
  
Por último nos gustaría hacer referencia a dos manifiestos recientes que han resultado especialmente inspiradores por su aproximación crítica al uso de la tecnología. Por un lado, The [http://criticalengineering.org/en Critical Engineering Manifesto]  (2011-2014) es un texto firmado en 2011 por tres artistas interactivos en el que se defiende que cada avance tecnológico es un reto para el alfabetismo tecnopolítico, considera que la Ingeniería configura nuestra manera de movernos, comunicarnos y pensar, y que la función del Ingeniero Crítico es estudiar y explotar ese lenguaje, revelando su influencia.  
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Meanwhile, the [http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne/pieces/manifesto-post-digital-interface-criticism Manifesto for a Post-Digital Interface Criticism] written by Christian Ulrik Andersen and Soren Pold, directly tackles the subject of digital interfaces from a critical perspective, and its theses clearly influenced our research.  
  
Y por otro lado, el  [http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne/pieces/manifesto-post-digital-interface-criticism Manifesto for a Post-Digital Interface Criticism] escrito por Pold & Andersen que trata directamente sobre las interfaces digital desde una perspectiva crítica y cuyas tesis resultan una clara influencia para nuestra investigación.  
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The abundance of published material, and in particular the existence of a critical manifesto on the subject of digital interfaces, made us question what we could contribute to the debate.  
  
La abundancia de material publicado y en especial, la existencia previa de un manifiesto sobre las interfaces digitales desde una perspectiva crítica, nos lleva a cuestionarnos cuál puede ser nuestra aportación a este debate.  
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As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for using the manifesto form is that we wanted to emphasise the “ideological” aspect of interfaces at a time when they are tending to seemingly vanish and to be perceived as a neutral space.  
  
Como decía anteriormente, una de las motivaciones que nos llevó a utilizar el formato del manifiesto es enfatizar el aspecto "ideológico" de la interfaz en un momento en el que esta tiende a desaparecer y a percibirse como un espacio neutro.
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But the challenge we have taken on, and our contribution to this field, is not just to write a manifesto and a series of accompanying texts, but to develop an interface prototype for the actual manifesto.
 
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Pero el reto que nos hemos propuesto y nuestra contribución a este campo es, no sólo la  escritura un manifiesto y una serie de textos que lo completan, si no el desarrollo de un prototipo de interfaz para el propio manifiesto.
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=Manifesto Sprint=
 
=Manifesto Sprint=

Revision as of 12:27, 5 August 2015

Why we are Writing a Manifesto on the User Interface in the Digital Context

Are we aware of all the interfaces that we use on a daily basis? Do we know how to decode the ideology behind them? How do they influence the construction of our identities? How do they condition our interactions with others? How do they generate economic value? Is it possible to design an ethical interface? Can we make the invisible visible?

When we decided to write a manifesto, the idea was to start a conversation and explore these questions further. All good conversations include questions as well as answers and diverging opinions. And at the end of a really good conversation, you feel as if you’ve been journey in which you’ve experienced something about the world that you would not have imagined earlier.

The Manifesto was our aim, but also our point of departure and the compass that has guided this collective research through the readings, workshops, and roundtables that we’ve organised as part of the PIPES_BCN project, which began in November 2013 as part of a broader investigation within the European project Participatory Investigation in Public Engaging Spaces (PIPES).

In Barcelona, Hangar, in collaboration with the UOC, decided to produce a multidisciplinary conceptual framework to reflect on interfaces, rethink their design and models of use, and stimulate the creation of more open and collaborative interfaces. The research is influenced by semiotics, science and technology studies, media studies, software studies, and actor network theory. Some key references when it came to writing the first drafts of the Manifesto include Interface Criticism: Aesthetics Beyond the Buttons (Christian Ulrik Andersen, Soren Bro Pold), The Interface effect (Alexander Galloway) and Evil Media (Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey).

As we immersed ourselves in all the readings and references that explore interfaces from a critical perspective, we went through a stage in which interfaces became a critical tool through which to rethink reality.

Thinking in terms of interfaces means adding a layer of complexity, trying to decode things beyond their obvious meanings, and sharpening our perception of the limits of everything that mediates our interactions. Then we began to see interfaces in everything around us. Language as interface, skin as interface, public space as interface, bathrooms, a gameboard, a map, a gynaecologist’s speculum... everything was interface and, of course, when everything is interface the concept becomes so broad that it dissolves and becomes inapprehensible.

The interface is indeed a vast concept that extends beyond the bounds of the physical and the virtual. To avoid diluting the focus of the research, we decided to delimit the field. And while it is possible to extrapolate many of the points in the Manifesto to all types of interfaces, here we are referring specifically to the user interface in the digital context.

We could have chosen a form with fewer connotations than a manifesto, or simply compiled a series of texts around the object of study, but precisely because the research we are carrying out emphasises the political power of interfaces we wanted to come up with the textual structure that was most appropriate to the ideas we wanted to transmit.

We chose the manifesto form because it is away of protesting or reclaiming. A manifesto aims to engage the person who reads it, and publicly challenges the dominant discourse, proposing an alternative. As such, it is a political tool. While one of the main problems of today’s interfaces is the fact that they tend to mask conflict, a manifesto does just the opposite; it deactivates clichés and expresses specific values that question the status quo.

If a manifesto were an object it would be a megaphone; if it were food it would probably be a little bit too spicy; and if it were a person, it would be the one who always puts up her hand to raise awkward questions and contradictions.

This manifesto includes many voices, but there are also many silences. The exercise in synthesis and consensus that was required in order to draft a text collectively has not favoured nuances and complexity. As such, the Manifesto should be read as a hypertext with links to other texts that complement it and that continue to unravel some of the ideas set out in these fifteen points.

Some manifestos to take into account before writing an Interface Manifesto

The genealogy of manifestos is fuzzy, and there is no consensus on its defining characteristics. The genre is so broad that it includes very diverse kinds of texts, from a customs declaration of the goods carried on a ship to a political programme to overthrow the dominant system, by way of a whole tradition in the arts that began with the avant-gardes – of which the Futurist Manifesto (1909) is probably the paradigmatic example.

Some of these manifestos were written within 20th century utopian movements (Dada, Situationism, punk). But if we zoom in on examples that question our relationship with technology from a critical perspective, we see that they have proliferated over the past few decades. This trend has gone hand in hand with the new technology boom and the advance of post-capitalist society, with its cynicism, its new forms of immaterial labour, and the network culture.

One of the first manifestos to introduce critical thought in the design field was The First Things First manifesto published in The Guardian in1964, and signed by over four hundred graphic designers and artists. The text was a reaction against the opulence of Great Britain in the sixties, and aimed to radicalise design, which its signatories claimed had become vague and non-critical. Drawing on the ideas of critical theory, the Frankfurt School, and the counterculture at the time, it claimed that design is not neutral and value-free. It attacked consumer culture, which is only interested in buying and selling things, and defended the humanist dimension of graphic design.

The emergence of the Internet and new communication technologies inspired several manifestos that defended the idea of cyberspace as a new, much more flexible space that, in its very newness, offered the possibility of reinventing certain notions and categories. In 1985 Richard Stallman wrote the The GNU Manifesto (1985)to explain and define the goals of the GNU project, a Unix-type operating system based on open development, free distribution, and a commitment to remain true to those values as it evolves. This text is considered the cornerstone of the free software movement. Along similar ideological lines, the Mozilla Manifesto [Mozilla Manifesto https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/details/],ets out ten principles based on the idea of the internet as a global public resource that must remain open and accessible, and invites people to contribute to the project.

A year after Stallman’s Manifesto, Loyd Blankenship aka “The Mentor” wrote The Hacker’s Manifesto (1986),(1986), also known as “The Conscience of a Hacker”, a short essay written after the author’s arrest. It is considered one of the key works of hacker culture, a true hacker guide with an ethical position in regards to piracy that defends altruism and the idea that technology should be used to expand our horizons and to try to keep the world free. Another founding text of the internet age is the New Clues Manifesto,linked to the techno-utopianism that developed in the United States as part of the “dot-com” culture of the nineties. Its ninety-five theses about the impact of the net on companies, workers, and consumers defend the idea of the internet and markets as a conversation. Although it is certainly an interesting example, particularly because it is an open source document designed to be shared and reused – the manifesto is available on GitHub and has been updated for the past fifteen years – it suffers from a somewhat uncritical approach to the neoliberal ideology that underpins the new economy.

One of the most visionary texts of this kind is Donna Haraway’s "Manifiesto para cyborgs. Ciencia, tecnología y feminismo socialista a finales del siglo XX" Originally published in 1985, it reflects on human-machine relations and predicts many of today’s conflicts that are, in part, a consequence of the invasion of new technologies. Haraway uses the metaphor of the cyborg to describe a post-gender work inhabited by hybrid beings, with no clear boundaries between the organic and the mechanical, the material and immaterial, and different sexual identities. Technological interfaces also make it possible to invent identities. Haraway writes: “This chapter is an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction. It is also an effort to contribute to socialist-feminist culture and theory in a postmodernist, non-naturalist mode and in the utopian tradition of imagining a world without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end. The cyborg incarnation is outside salvation history. Nor does it mark time on an oedipal calendar, attempting to heal the terrible cleavages of gender in an oral symbiotic utopia or post-oedipal apocalypse.”

Haraway’s text was a crucial influence for the cyberfeminist movement, which picked up some of the strategies of the 1920s avant-gardes, such as the concept of utopia and the manifesto form. It paved the way for the 1991 Manifiesto ciberfeminista para el siglo 21, for example, which defends the use of information and communication technologies on the internet as a strategy by which to destabilise the patriarchal system. Along similar lines, the “100 antítesis”, was a kind of anti-manifesto written in the framework of the First Cyberfeminist International in 1997, which describes every thing that cyberfeminism is not: it is not a border, or ideology, or tradition, and it does not only have one language.


To conclude, I would like to mention two recent manifestos that have been particularly inspiring due to their critical approach to the use of technology. On one hand, Critical Engineering Manifesto (2011-2014)originally written in 2011 by three media artists, claims that our techno-political literacy is challenged with every technological advance, considers that engineering shapes the way we move, communicate, and think, and that it is the work of the critical engineer to study and exploit this language, exposing its influence.

Meanwhile, the Manifesto for a Post-Digital Interface Criticism written by Christian Ulrik Andersen and Soren Pold, directly tackles the subject of digital interfaces from a critical perspective, and its theses clearly influenced our research.

The abundance of published material, and in particular the existence of a critical manifesto on the subject of digital interfaces, made us question what we could contribute to the debate.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for using the manifesto form is that we wanted to emphasise the “ideological” aspect of interfaces at a time when they are tending to seemingly vanish and to be perceived as a neutral space.

But the challenge we have taken on, and our contribution to this field, is not just to write a manifesto and a series of accompanying texts, but to develop an interface prototype for the actual manifesto.

Manifesto Sprint

Con el objetivo de trabajar de forma intensiva en el Manifiesto, los días 16 y 17 de mayo de 2015 tuvo lugar en Hangar el Manifiesto Sprint con: J.L Marzo, Tere Badía, Pau Alsina, César Escudero, Jara Rocha, Andreu Belsunces, Quelic Berga, Laia Blascos, Mario Santamaria,Femke Snetling, Rosa LLop y Clara Piazuelo.

Durante estos dos días se llevaron a cabo varias dinámicas para poner en común las ideas que cada uno había trabajado de forma individual en sus textos. A través de un display físico que unía los textos con los 14 puntos del manifiesto pudimos visualizar el entramado de estas relaciones. Y utilizamos las herramienta del proyecto ICONUU, consiente en una tablet para el diseño de iconos, para experimentar con su interfaz y estudiar su naturaleza aplicando el conocimiento teórico generado en la investigación.

El resto de las dinámicas estuvieron enfocadas a imaginar el formato final del manifiesto. Una de las preocupaciones fue que el Manifiesto tuviera un impacto real y no se quedara únicamente en el plano discursivo. Para pasar de la palabra a la acción, tomamos cada punto del manifiesto y desplegamos una serie de actividades, actitudes y acciones para desarollar una relación activamente crítica con las interfaces. Estas acciones se clasificaron en cuatro tipologías: poétics (P), awarnes (A), change habits (H), change de world (w)

Finalmente se acordó volcar y ordenar la información en este wiki, ya que se trata de una interfaz abierta, y resulta es muy útil para la difusión de conocimientos y el trabajo en equipo.