- Public Ruling Tournament For a Network Usurpation Module

PLENUM is a novel event format governed by a live-algorithm that can variably be adapted to a number of issues affecting communities, groups and initiatives within the independent, self-organising framework of net culture today.

PLENUM refers to the space of open public meetings and public speeches/debates as a commons. The project relates to the current discourse on open source software and open culture practice. It strives to probe consensual and participatory organisations, hold to account notions of transparency, shared commons and the underlying power structures.

PLENUM collaborates with XXXXX in devising a formal mechanism to facilitate a structured, regulated or crashed discourse in public commons. The PLENUM patch, a readily extendible Pd (pure data) patch, is concerned with an interface which operates in two directions - from the realm of speculative or expanded software (aka the social) into the reduced realm of codified software. Its output, paralleling open source and open society, takes into account space, time and sound as data. It operates in some kind of triggered switching/time slicing way between participants and echoes proceedings in escalatory fashion.

PLENUM plans its plenary meeting session during Node London media season in a 12 hour time span from sunset to dawn. It is structured in 5 acts and 2 interludes with a walk out on sunrise (exactly at 6:50am on March 26) to the river Thames.


PLENUM comes out of KOP's ongoing research project Commons/Tales and its "RULE OUT: Autonomy takes on Openness" workshop session at Open Congress, Tate Britain 2005. PLENUM at NodeL takes into account the media funding initiative and self-organizing efforts that produces this citywide London media season of March, 2006. On a larger scheme, PLENUM is concerned with the survival of media art institutions and the poly-independent system that we operate within. While questioning "how do ideas and principles such as self-organisation, openness, decentralization and scale free networks stand up to be scrutinized? - we propose a grand heading: " What’s the net culture of today?" for this plenary session. We invite media practitioners who are part or not part of NodeL as speakers, moderators, performers and participants for PLENUM's 12 hour tour de force. With an aim at developing a working module for agenda setting and self-organization, PLENUM further explores the tension between the individual and the group voice, the coming together and the potential escalation of arguments leading to the (un)aviodable crash of self-made social units.

Five expanded software acts

Software is concerned with an interface which operates in two directions - from the realm of speculative or expanded software (aka. the social) to the reduced yet equally effective realm of codified software and (as output, as interference, as noise) the entry of executed results back. A repetitive return trip. A two way street.

The code here is concerned with that which can be exchanged (or mapped over) on this interface. On the machine side that which is knowable for the patch - time, sound as data (amplitude and thus frequency which then opens up to statistical analysis across various domains), and, as we will have 8 microphones distributed in the room, space. Simulation, and code herrings push things further.

On the other side, the human, and within a narrow context the meta, the xxxxx/PLENUM experiment attempts a simultaneous overmapping of both realms using operatic, logical and holographic technique dressed up in the emperor's new clothes; the expanded software script (human) translated into machine and meta-human-machine operation. We would rather view interface in terms of a Gunter Brus incision than a question of design and GUI.

Code leaks both ways across a broken-world interface, a pornographic exchange, the dull promise of the world on a wire (puppet or network), and the entry of simulations theory. Code translates into the intensely operatic with orchestra, libretto, shameful life all on a multiplied plane. No other score or meta score exists. There will always be an outside.

All patches, software encodings, algorithmic elaborations for either space should prove readily extensible (in the codified realm, heavily abstracted and based on message passing, in the social realm driven by baroque protocol) and concerned with an extreme escalating overmapping of expanded and reduced software domains. The problem states itself as that of the practical and the experiment. Substance.


A powerful programming language is more than just a means for instructing a computer to perform tasks. The language also serves as a framework within which we organise our ideas about processes. Thus, when we describe a language, we should pay particular attention to the means that the language provides for combining simple ideas to form more complex ideas. Every powerful language has three mechanisms for accomplishing this:

* primitive expressions, which represent the simplest entities the language is concerned with,

* means of combination, by which compound elements are built from simpler ones, and

* means of abstraction, by which compound elements can be named and manipulated as units.

[Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman with Julie Sussman]

The software environment: Live specification of a language. This is not Pd, this is not SC3, this is not Common Music, this is not Scheme, this is not .....

The protocols: Ported upstream to the social. In order for heterogeneous systems (ourselves) to exchange data they need some sort of protocol agreed upon. Protocols are to be discovered and determined in situ favouring those which stress promiscuity and supreme pluggability.

The hardware: As many code operators/composers and artists as possible. Ten microphones, two mixing desks, cables, beamer.

The five acts, five software modules. Five versions of the same film or software. Five times five.