edited by Femke Snelting, Christoph Haag – Conversations


Constant Verlag, ISBN: 978-9081145930, English, 360 pages, 2015, Brussels

Since the late nineties, Constant, the Brussels-based artist-run organisation, has been an ensign in the world of Free/Libre/Open Source Software, especially as FLOSS relates to design. Their commitment to support its development has gone well beyond the technical, nurturing a rich cultural discourse around it, never going too far from its core principles. This work, unfortunately, has not propagated enough beyond already well-initiated circles. This book is composed of twenty-one interviews with theorists, programmers and designers. The dialogue is a combination of technical notions with visions, statements, informal stories and plenty of links and references. From the first chapter it is clear that this book is “short-circuiting” its own content. Its dust jacket is “randomised”, (software generated) as each copy has a different cover design. Working through the colophon, we can find a list of people who transcribed the interviews, the complete list of software tools and fonts used to make the book, and a link to the websites where the reader can download software, texts, a complete PDF and even an explanation of the production workflow. Indeed, the form of the conversations / interviews in this book is perfectly consistent with the dialogues, working habits and sensibilities that the FLOSS scene has always been based on. But here it’s constantly related to design issues, valorising, in a very enjoyable format, the body of work (projects, conferences, workshops) accomplished by Constant in the last few years.