The Global unMonastery Summit

After the Summit

The Global unMonastery Summit took place 19 January through February 2 in Berlin, Germany. Live documentation of the Public Programme sessions, as part of transmediale 2015: CAPTURE ALL, can be found on our hackpad.

For an overview of the Programme, see below. Summaries and outcomes of sessions in the Foyer and the Apartment are forthcoming.

unMonastery, a community-based social innovation, addresses the interlinked needs of empty space, unemployment and depleting social services by embedding committed, skilled individuals within localities that could benefit from their presence. unMonastery is a non-profit project that aims to challenge existing dependency chains and economic fictions, developed in collaboration with EdgeRyders, a distributed think-tank wielding collective intelligence.

As part of transmediale 2015: CAPTURE ALL, unMonastery has been invited to initiate a gathering and regrouping of its respective networks, collaborators and allies in the city of Berlin, with a view towards forging new friendships. Following from the first iteration of unMonastery, prototyped in the ancient city of Matera between January and October 2014, The Global unMonastery Summit will signal a moment of reflection, reexamination and public presentation of its efforts to date.

The Summit will unfold as a trilogy woven by infrastructure space and distributed across multiple sites, with: a gathering at The Apartment, a public programme in The Foyer of Transmediale and The Network, an offline network intended to connect both sites and support the localised release of The unMonastery Bios, a toolkit designed for replicating unMonastery. This composition of spaces will be used to host public workshops, informal gatherings and open dinners, disseminate the unMonastery designs and further develop the project as it continues to scale.

Each component of the Summit has been designed to offer alternative forms of engagement in the unMonastery’s work through intimate discussions, remote collaboration, and participatory workshops. The Summit’s individual components and scheduled events are detailed below.

The Apartment

The Global unMonastery Summit

Central to this year’s Summit will be the communal apartment of the unMonasterians, utilised in the run up to the opening of Transmediale as a laboratory and development space for a more nomadic iteration of unMonastic life, with unMonks living together for an intensive but short period of time in accordance with a set of predetermined, experimental vows.

The apartment itself will serve as a meeting place and informal workshop venue for two weeks, hosting dinners, conference calls with international initiatives and transforming the kitchen into a biohack lab in collaboration with Brian Degger and Rüdiger Trojok, involved in Hackteria. Anyone will be welcome to turn up and get involved, for the address and more information just email us

The Network

Connect to unMonastery-8105

The offline mesh network will be built during the first days of the Global Summit and serve as an openly accessible repository of documentation and a means of linking The Apartment and The Foyer in information space. The network will host a simple interface for the launch of the special, localised release for the Alpha version of the unMonastery Bios.

The Foyer

The Global unMonastery Summit’s Public Programme

Located in the foyer of transmediale, our public programme for the Summit seeks to facilitate a space for a broad base of ideas that function as catalysts for the thinking that underpin the development of the unMonastery concept. Workshops, discussions and presentations will serve as a platform for an ecosystem of initiatives, organisations and individuals who share similar objectives and trajectories.


unMonastery Waypoint

Facilitators: unMonasterians and unAmbassadors


Transmediale will coincide with the localised Alpha release of The unMonastery BIOS, a toolkit, compendium and the core knowledge base of the initial learnings of unMonastery prototype. Acting as a roadmap, manual and oracle, the materials will be made available as an exclusively local download on our offline network and as a limited print production toolkit for use during sessions at the unMonastery Waypoint, located within the project hub.

Throughout the festival days, we will prototype, enact and revise the use of the BIOS through a series of role playing games intended to envision possible scenarios engendered by the development of new unMonastery spaces and activities. At the Waypoint, unMonasterians will facilitate the role playing game as a tool for collective storytelling and embedded, emotional understanding in shifting societal structures. The space will serve as a gathering point for the curious and those interested in experiencing the unMonastery and its two hundred history firsthand.

INFRA_LIFE and Neo-Nomadism: Hacking existing infrastructure and institutions

Facilitators: Noel Hatch and unMonasterians

Time: Thursday, 29/1, 1100h-1400h

The ground is shifting, the landscape is changing and new migratory patterns are on the rise. As the effects of austerity are felt, the necessity to dramatically rethink the social and geo-spatial infrastructure that underpins our everyday existence has never been so vital – the hacking and protocolisation of one’s lifestyle could in fact point to an entirely new way of existing in the world.

Emerging from a series of distributed conversations, clandestine working groups and conferences that have taken place over the past two years, a growing network loosely framed under the alias INFRA_LIFE has emerged. As a part of that network, unMonastery has scheduled this session with a view to bringing together those involved to substantially build on what has gone before.

As a starting point, session participants will be invited to examine and project what is anticipated in the next 1 to 5 years within their personal, political and networked spheres - with a view to temporarily aligning perspectives and intent, so that in conversation we can effectively prototype new forms.

From this point, the working group will focus on the culture being built, the facilities being created and how we might collectively advance its development – broadly seeking to collectively answer a set of questions to which future instability gives rise.

How can we re-appropriate existing infrastructure, services and institutions to meet our shared goals, and what will we have to develop ourselves from the ground up?; What are the existing key geographical flashpoints for effectively re-framing the narratives of the next decades?; What are the necessary safeguards required for preventing a rerun of past?

#temporarycustodians: A proposition for ecological collections management

Facilitators: Maurice Carlin, Helen Kaplinsky, Erica Scourti, Susanna Davies-Crook

Time: Thursday, 29/1, 1500h-1800h

#temporarycustodians, is an R&D project initiated by curator Helen Kaplinsky and artist Maurice Carlin, asking how the shift towards the sharing economy, collaborative commons and peer2peer distribution might constitute an alternative to historical modes of public and private collecting. The term ‘custodian’ evokes responsibility, guardianship, and care taking; ‘temporary,’ the ideal of a TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zone) and a property function of ‘holding without owning.’

The historically enshrined principles of collecting forbid deaccessioning, condemn art works to spend 90% of the time in storage, and remain in a constant and stable state. This workshop will consult and diagram the artwork as a networked resource to consider a repositioning in relation to collecting cultures: how do artworks become visible during the presumed invisible moment of storage, what are the alternatives to the arrogance of institutional commissioning, and how to approach the production of artwork as an ecological activity, where materials compositing an artwork may pass into another industry?

Enclosures of Toxicity

Facilitators: Jeffrey Andreoni, James Lane

Time: Friday, 29/1, 1100h-1300h

We will present a brief overview of the concept of "toxic enclosures", citing examples from contemporary history in which invisible linkages between sites and objects of contamination have succeeded in creating a "toxic commons."

The growth of these areas throughout the world has formed a porous barrier through which people may pass, but not without taking a bit of contamination with them as it penetrates their corporeal encasement, thus shortening life expectancy (while potentially enriching the quality of their lives). It is the ultimate toll for crossing a barrier.

Ancient Greek mystery cults and technology will be paralleled to contemporary religious and industrial practice. The long lineage of Gods and mortals from antiquity to present will be explored, tracing chthonic and often mirroring personas such as Plouto (Underworld) and Ploutos (Wealth) or Demeter (de-meter / mother earth) and her daughter Persephone (pherein-phonon / to bring death). Participants will explore (hands-on) some of the benefits and ill effects of confrontations between inactivity/radioactivity, mortality/divinity, remedy/poison.

Tales of toxicity will be interwoven with mythology and possible ancient anti-solutions which are now being used to combat the toxicity and will influence our future civilizations.

The Enclosures of New Athens workshop, which took place in November 2014, illuminated the subsumptuous tunnels of exploration down which we'll journey in the relative safety of our TBM (tunnel boring machine) during this session.

Requirements: Bring your geiger counters.

Blockchains: Technology for a people's globalization?

Facilitator: Vinay Gupta

Time: Friday, 29/1, 1500h-1800h

Vinay Gupta of the Ethereum project will discuss the political anomaly of bitcoin, the libertarian cryptocurrency, and discuss what these technologies of radical decentralization can offer the world and how we can expect them to evolve in future.

The session will look specifically at the interface, interaction and convergence of new and maturing technologies as they come together in a developing world setting; solar cheaper than grid power, effective and affordable virtual reality and mesh networking. How do systems of government, identity, finance and security operate and adapt in this new world? And can we steer that?

Mobilising Infrastructure Space

Facilitators: Jay Springett, Erica Scourti, Tobias Revell

Time: Saturday, 31/1, 1200h-1400h

“The activist need not face off against every weed in the field but rather, unannounced, alter the chemistry of the soil.” - Extrastatecraft, Keller Easterling

What do we consider to be the critical infrastructure of our age? And does there now exist a common language that could facilitate its shared use, reappropriation and mobilisation?

This session will seek to unpick how the use of existing infrastructural protocol, language and narrative can potentially be used to shift global information landscapes, broadband urbanisms, and free trade atopias.

The session will be led by Jay Springett, responsible for the network artifact #stacktivism; initially launched into the Twitter-sphere as an attempt to generate debate around, the emergent conversations and line of enquiries around infrastructures and the relationship we have to them. This gathering will open with the presentation of work by Erica Scourti and Tobias Revell who feature in this years Transmediale - after a series of short presentations for framing the subject at hand, discussion will then be opened out to those in attendance.

Requirements / Reading List:

e-flux editorial “Quasi-Events”
The Black Stack - Benjamin Bratton
Holding Up the World, Part II: Time/Bank, Effort/Embankments - Elizabeth A. Povinelli
The Negative Floats: Questions of Earth Inheritance - Natasha Ginwala and Vivian Ziherl
“Infrastructure Fiction” - Paul Raven
McKenzie Wark on Haraway, Marx, and #Accelerationism
Tim Maly on the tragedy of the systemic sublime
“The Container is not the Shipping” - Matthew Sheret
No to NoUI - Timo Arnall
Roads to power - Jo Guldi
Someone else’s problem? - Paul Raven
Designed conflict territories - Tobias Revell
Infrastructure for Anarchists - Vinay Gupta
Who owns the means of not dying? - Jay Springett

unEarthing unMonastery: An introduction to the unMonastery and its BIOS

Facilitators: Ben Vickers, Mathew Trivett

Time: Saturday, 31/1, 1500h-1800h

“We talked of a Treasury of Wisdom, Rebooting Democracy, Resiliency Hubs, Transparent Budgeting, Creative Extinction, a Society of Inclusive Civil Survivalists. Among our slogans were indeed Collapsonomics, State in a Box, unCivilization, The Age of Crisis. It seemed to me that someone was finally addressing the Dark Arts of confronting the ghosts that haunt us.”
— Bembo Davies, reflections on a weekend spent at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg 2012, that saw the birthing of the unMonastery concept

unMonastery is a radical response to present and future systemic crises aimed at supporting appropriate technological initiatives and living experiments. Providing a physical space for a distributed network of hackers, artists, and social innovators, the unMonastery aims to establish a network of spaces throughout the world, which can work together autonomously to prototype new solutions to common problems.

Drawing on the history of Monasticism, the unMonastery project seeks to develop a new communal, protocolised approach to the development of a global community which together is capable of moving in unison over the next century. Built in collaboration with EdgeRyders LBG and the city of Matera over the course of 18 months, the project seeks to challenge existing dependency chains and economic fictions.

The first unMonastery opened its doors February 2014 in Matera, Italy for a period of seven months and provided abundant raw material in documentation, methods and commentary. So to avoid reinventing the wheel and reliving our slowly dawning understandings and mistakes, from this documentation we have amassed a core knowledge base that painstakingly evaluates aspects of our work and turns it into a workable, reusable toolkit; The unMonastery BIOS.

For transmediale 2015 we will do a localised release of the Alpha version of The unMonastery BIOS, as freely downloadable material available through our offline network to those attending transmediale.

This session will serve as an introduction to the unMonastery concept, its progress, its future and the components of The unMonastery BIOS, led by Ben Vickers, first unAbbott of the unMonastery, and the unMonasterians.

Requirements / Reading List:

The Rule of Saint Benedict - Living protocol for the Benedictine monastic order
Monastery vs. unMonastery: reflecting on...Father Cassian Folsom - Alberto Cottica
Can Monasteries Be a Model for Reclaiming Tech Culture for Good? - Nathan Schneider

Makerfox: The Value in Network Barter

Facilitators: Vinay Gupta and Mathias Ansorg (Remote participation)

Time: Sunday, 1/2, 1500h-1800h

Makerfox is a moneyless marketplace focusing on the maker / hacker / DIY / entrepreneurial economy. Developed by Matthias Ansorg, Daniel Ansorg and supported by the Edgeryders community, the Makerfox platform launched in the aftermath of the Great Recession and ensuing European austerity. It uses novel algorithms in a web-based platform to run an economy on a modern, computerized form of barter, and is meant especially for areas where big numbers of people are economically excluded ("jobless") even though they have skills, time and needs.

Makerfox allows you to participate in a complex barter-based economy; post what you have and what you need, and the software will automatically make a multi-party barter exchange for you when one becomes possible. In addition, Makerfox recently added moneyless crowdfunding; so if you’re running a project that benefits the planet but monetary donations are never enough to cover your expenses, this might be for you. With moneyless crowdfunding, you can give and receive donations for projects on a resource and in-kind basis.

This session will give an overview of how Makerfox works and facilitate a deal between participants. You can just watch, but we invite you to be a part of it: in that case, register an account, bring your project, skills or items to start trading. The tail end of session will be focused on discussing the implications of network barter systems, what the effects of mass adoption might look like and how Makerfox as a platform could better support the work of those participating in the session. Bio: Mathias Ansorg is a computer scientist who got his diploma in 2006 from Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen, Germany, and has worked as a self-employed IT professional since 2008. Matt is interested in all things about alternative economics, including timebanks, complementary currencies, cryptocurrencies and credit-based schemes, and has long dreamed of a software system that can reconnect Europe's idle resources and economically excluded people into a flourishing and fair economy. He writes a blog over at and at Twitter as @matjahu.

Requirements: Register on


Jeffrey Andreoni

At the age of three Jeffrey Andreoni received his first memory. He was being chased. He saw it was his brother chasing him. He jumped under a table for safety but hit his eye on the leg of the table because he was no longer small enough to slide gracefully under it as he had at an earlier age. It was his birthday. Everyone at the party stared in horror as the birthday boy got up crying from under the table with a massive black eye. He blew out the candles in tears.

Maurice Carlin

is a Manchester-based artist. His work merges performance, place and publishing to produce dialogues between digital and physical experience. His work has been featured in Frieze, The Guardian and Art Monthly. In 2007, he co-founded Islington Mill Art Academy, a peer-led experiment into alternative modes of art education. Recent shows include First...Next...Then...Finally, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2013), Blanco Blanco, La Escocesa, Barcelona (2012), Self Publisher and Other Works, Banner Repeater, London (2011), How to Stay Awake, MCP, Antwerp (2011) Other Forms of Life (with Bik van der Pol), AND Festival, various locations (2010). Maurice is Director of Islington Mill, a leading independent UK arts organisation based in Salford, in the NW England. Structured around an organic network of independent artists, Islington Mill runs innovative inter-disciplinary public arts programmes and artist residencies alongside studio spaces and an artists’ B&B.

Susanna Davies-Crook

works predominantly in performance, workshops, video and text. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and the University of Leeds, and is currently in residence with #temporarycustodians, supported by Islington Mill, Arts Council England, Castlefield New Art Spaces and the University of Salford where she is an associate artist.

Vinay Gupta

is the inventor of the hexayurt shelter system, the world’s leading open architecture project, and a long time student of critical infrastructure and disaster management theory.

Noel Hatch

develops and manages research and design programmes for public services, think tanks and cultural organisations to better involve communities and transform services. He is passionate about social design, ethnographic research and systems change. Noel has co-founded various award-winning civic innovation and social design programmes, including Transformed by You, Creative Campaigns Camp and the Kent MBA Programme. Within European Alternatives, he runs the Making a Living, London Transeuropa Festival, Hack (y)Our Borders, Mapping the Civic Economy programmes. He is currently a Hub Launchpad Scholar, RSA Fellow and writer for New Start Mag.

Helen Kaplinsky

is an independent curator based in London. She has undertaken fellowships with the Contemporary Art Society and the Arts Council Collection. Both considered the relationship between property and collections. Over past few years she has contributed to programmes at Whitechapel Gallery, South London Gallery, Tate (Britain and Liverpool), The Government Art Collection, The Photographers Gallery, ICA (London), The Liverpool Biennial, MIMA, Goldsmiths University, LIMAZULU, Mercer Union (Toronto) and The Public School of New York.

James Lane

is a Greek-born visual artist based in Athens, Greece currently utilizing transmedia, photography, video and performance. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions including the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece, Freud’s Dreams Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, ACG Gallery at the American College of Greece, DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece, Megaron Music Hall Athens, Beton7, Athens, Greece, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, Athens, Greece. At the core of the artist’s interests is the investigation of new strategies to draw parallels between current and past territories, fusing the mundane to the unearthly or the trivial to the orphic.

Jay Springett

is a musician, writer, and communicator. He is concerned primarily with humans, organisations, technology, infrastructure, and the unseen intersection points of how these things co-exist and keep us alive. He also co-curates The Thought Menu: a nomadic talk and event series, and is passionate about DIY culture.

Mathew Trivett

is a producer specialising in interdisciplinary and practice-led research with artists, designers, technologists and educators. His work focuses on critical innovation, human-centred design and network cultures. He founded and leads on Broadway’s Near Now programme in Nottingham, supported by Arts Council England. Through Near Now, Broadway commissions projects and new work with world leading artists and engages in research activities that explore the place and impact of technology in everyday life. @mathewtrivett

unMonasterians and Friends

include Bembo Davies, Ben Vickers, elf Pavlik, Gaia Marcus, Ilaria d'Auria, James Lewis, Juliana Maria van Hemelryck, Katalin Hausel, Kei Kreutler, Lauren Lapidge, Lucia Caistor, Luisa Lapacciana, Maria Byck, Muhammad Khaleel Jaffer, Nadia EL-Imam, Ola Moller, Arthur Doohan, and Elina Makri.