Medialab Prado


Interactivos?'13 Tools for a Read-Write World. Call for Projects

Medialab-Prado and The Libre Graphics Research Unit are seeking for projects to be collaboratively developed during a two-weeks workshop to be held in Madrid, 15-27 April, 2013. We are interested in your ideas for tools to design, edit, draw and write together. This edition focuses on (re)inventing a Libre Graphics workflow that supports collaboration and exchange.

Advisors: Libre Graphics Magazine editorial team (ginger coons, Ana Carvalho and Ricardo Lafuente); Comunes Collective - KUNE collaborative software (Vicente Ruiz Jurado, Samer Hassan) and Jennifer Dopazo. Curated by Femke Snelting (LGRU, Constant)

Call Open: October 31 2012 – January 15, 2013.
Call for collaborators: February 5 – April 9, 2013 [+info]
Libre Graphics Meeting and presentations of the selected projects for the workshop: April 10-13, 2013. 
Workshop: April 15-27, 2013.
Prototypes showcase: April 27- May 31, 2013 [+info]



> Interactivos?'13 Tools for a Read-Write World
> Introduction to the topic
> Entry Rules
> Advissors' approaches
> Submission form


Interactivos?'13  Tools for a Read-Write World

Medialab-Prado and The Libre Graphics Research Unit are looking for projects to be collaboratively developed during a two weeks workshop to be held in Madrid, 15-27 April 2013.

We are interested in your ideas for tools to design, edit, draw and write together. This edition focuses on (re)inventing a Libre Graphics workflow that supports collaboration and exchange.

The workshop will be a collective platform for research, production, and learning. It supports the development of prototypes based on selected proposals. The work will be carried out in multidisciplinary groups comprised of the project leaders and interested collaborators. A team of advisors provides conceptual and technical advice.

Interactivos?'13: Tools for a Read-Write World is organised in the context of the The Libre Graphics Research Unit, a collaboration between Constant (Brussels, Belgium), Worm (Rotterdam, Holland), Piksel (Bergen, Norway) and Medialab-Prado (Madrid), funded with support from the European Commission. This project brings together typographers, web-designers, illustrators, graphic designers, cartographers, writers, artists and programmers and proposes a wide variety of activities, from theory to practice, through written texts, research meetings, experimental prototyping, seminars and workshops.

Interactivos?'13 happily coincides with the yearly Libre Graphics Meeting (April 10-13, 2013) to  an international gathering of users and developers of Free, Libre and Open Source software for creative work. Project selected to be developed on the Interactivos?'13 workshop will presented within Libre Graphics Meeting.


Introduction to the topic

Designers, illustrators and other artists depend largely on digital tools to create their work. They operate on bits and bytes that can be potentially viewed, copied or published instantaneously, and without loss. Their practice has become networked and distributed, challenging conventional ideas about who might call herself a specialist and what counts as a professional job.
Relations between users and producers have radically changed, or at least in theory. In a Read-Write world, any user has permission to view or make changes to files, has the ability to link materials, learn from them and blow them apart. In this workshop we want to explore how tools for creative work can take advantage of the kind of multi-directional workflows that have opened up.

To develop, design and produce shareable content, many different practices of knowledge need to work together. Tools function as probes in a multi-way web of connections, where communication technologies, digital materialities, systems for distribution and production conflate. We take the notion of "Read-Write" to extend beyond just the  "canvas" (the pixels of an image, the contents of a document), into software itself, and the related standards, platforms, frameworks,  hardware and ways-of-doing. As soon as we start thinking about what images we want to make, what languages we need to speak or what fonts we will use, we might understand which new interfaces to design, or how we can invent other ways of printing and drawing. Tools shape practice which in turn shape tools; tools developed for one purpose may lead to unexpected uses in another practice.

Tools are cultural objects that we think deserve your attention. They are not just a way to get a job done but they constitute a vital part of your creative practice. In the shape of a paint brush, the kink of a bezier curve, the change that a filter exerts over an image, they make your work what it is. Unfortunately, tools often suffer from overdetermined functionality and are full of assumptions. They are shaped by conventional models of production and distribution, conditioning your practice in terms of divisions of labour, vocabulary and medium. While physical tools can be easily altered or combined with the help of some gaffer-tape, digital tools are hard to penetrate, even more if they appear 'easy to use'. Paradoxically use-driven development and notions of "good design" can tend toward normalization that make unforeseen usage hard. On a technical level but also legally you are shielded off from tinkering, even if you use these tools every day to make your own work.

This explains why we find the lively culture of development that grew out of the Free Software movement, inspiring. It sparked the creation of new tools informed by a new type of practice: collaborative editing software, versioning systems for shared software development, secure and reliable web applications and much more. Because the source code of the programme is available to any user, F/LOSS tools are virtually polymorphic: they welcome divergence, alteration and exchange. Our enthusiasm for these characteristics also links to a history of art filled with creative collaborations of many sorts and to a long tradition of artists re-inventing their tools. The popularity of projects such as Processing, OpenFrameworks, ImageMagick, Arduino and PureData shows how productive it can be to take technology out of the confined box of pre-defined applications. Designers program posters, software developers perform live-code, artists develop software-art. And more importantly, interdisciplinary teams work together in-between technology, science and visual production.

GIMP, a software for pixel-image editing; Scribus, a professional layout and publishing software and Inkscape, an open source SVG graphics editor, are just a few of the tools available for those who want to design and publish with Free Software. They form just a tip of the iceberg of the many excellent F/LOSS-tools for creative work that are around. While we are grateful that those applications are being actively developed the Libre Graphics community, we think that simply replacing proprietary tools by F/LOSS does not do justice to the possibilities opening up.

To make our toolbox relate to the world in more interesting ways, we need to go beyond bug reports and feature requests, and this is precisely why we hope you will participate in Interactivos?'13: Tools for a Read-Write world. Designers, developers and authors: Put your knowledge, skills and experiences together and imagine future tools. You will change your practice along with it.

Orientation of the projects

We are interested in your ideas for tools to design, edit, draw and  write together. How can we collaboratively produce books, leaflets, posters, websites, stickers, fonts, maps, data-visualisations? We are interested in projects that are radically open, that start from a collaborative practice rather than adding a 'blog this'-button as an afterthought.

This edition of Interactivos is dedicated to tools. Proposals for new, re-appropriated or re-combined software, hardware, standards, formats, scripts, platforms are welcome; they can be digital, physical, local, networked or bridge between.
We are looking for proposals for digital and physical tools that support the production of federated, distributed and shareable content.

At the workshop we assume you will work with Free, Libre and Open Source software, that your projects support Open Standards and that results will be made available under a type of license that invites re-appropriaton, re-use and distribution.


Entry Rules

From among the submissions received a maximum of 8 projects will be selected to be produced in a two week workshop at Medialab-Prado in April 2013.

The chosen projects will be developed with the aid of several advisors and assistants in addition to a large group of collaborators.

The open call is aimed at typographers, web-designers, illustrators, graphic designers, cartographers, writers, artists and programmers, or to any other person interested in the theme of the workshop. 

Proposals may be presented by individuals or groups. Each participant or team may present as many projects as they wish. 

Selected projects must be open to the participation of other interested collaborators who will be able to contribute to the production of the prototypes during the development of the workshop.

Therefore, there are two levels of involvement in the workshop:  

1 - as a project leader 

2 - as a collaborator in any one of the selected projects 

Once the projects have been selected, the second step in the process will involve a new call for those people who would like to participate as collaborators The call for collaborators will be open from February 5 to April 9 at Medialab-Prado's website.    


General Information about the Workshop 

During the workshop, various activities will be scheduled, such as talks, presentations, seminars or specific mini-workshops. Work days will be adapted to the specific needs of the projects in conjunction with the activities ongoing at Medialab-Prado.

Opening hours: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm

The workshop will be held partly in English and partly in Spanish, with no formal translation. 

Given that the main objectives of the workshop are to foster the development, distribution, and free access to new approaches and new technological tools, participants are encouraged to prepare proper documentation for the developed projects, both during and after the workshop. For this version of Interactivos?, we ask you to publish the results and source code under licenses that grant access and distribution of the knowledge produced during the workshop.


Technical Requirements 

The evaluation team will assess submitted projects for technical feasibility – successful projects should have clearly specified technical and spatial requirements. Should the evaluation team have doubts about any technical requirements, they will contact the authors of the proposal. Projects will be carried out and exhibited at Medialab-Prado buildings. Medialab-Prado will provide basic equipment and the means to produce the selected projects, pending prior application from the proposal’s author(s).Access and use of Medialab-prado’s technical equipment will be supervised by a coordinator from the space. Expenses for material or equipment not planned for or approved in advance will not be covered by Medialab-Prado, but will be the expense of the project leaders.

Medialab-Prado will provide Web hosting as needed for the projects and also the tools and platforms required by participants to properly document the process and the results. LGRU and Medialab-Prado promotes the use of free software tools and encourage participants of the workshop to work with shared and open code applications and environments.  


Travel and Lodging Aid

Medialab-Prado will provide lodging (at a Youth Hostel) for participants who's project was selected and who are residing outside of Madrid. Medialab Prado will also cover travel expenses to Madrid. In the case of collectives, Medialab-Prado will cover travel expenses for just one member of the group.  



All those interested in taking part in the workshop must fill in and submit the online submission form 

Open Call closes: October 31 2012 – January 15, 2013
Selection of proposals: January 15 - February 2,2013
Call for collaborators: February 5 – April 9, 2013
Development of projects: April 10-23, 2013

For further information please contact interactivos[at] 

Final Decision

The evaluation team will comprise of the workshop curator and advisors as well as Medialab-Prado staff. Projects will be judged based on:  

  • Project quality  
  • Suitability to the call for projects 
  • Technical and logistical feasibility; clarity in the explanation of the project  
  • Combination of various fields of knowledge  
  • Willingness to collaborate with others in project development  
  • Use of open software tools and licenses that grant access to the processes and the results  


Notification of Selected projects 

Selected projects will be announced on Medialab-Prado and LGRU website. Applicants will receive notification via email. 

Project Promotion 

The resulting prototypes will be presented to the public by their developers and then exhibited at Medialab-Prado. In addition, the projects and/or related documentation will be published on Medialab-Prado and LGRU websites.  


The developers of selected projects agree to attend the workshop from April 10 to 23 and to finish and document their projects, as much as possible during this time.

Projects carried out will be the property of their author(s), although whenever said-projects are shown at festivals or exhibits, and whenever images of said-projects are reproduced in catalogues or websites, their relation with the Interactivos?'13 Tools for a Read-Write World workshop carried out at Madrid should be acknowledged and the names of the people who collaborated in developing the projects should also be credited. The projects exhibited may be shown in Medialab-Prado and LGRU's website and printed catalogues.


Submission Form  

Entry constitutes acceptance of all contest rules.  

This activity has been funded with support from the European Commission.



This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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