XPUB Special Issue: Protocols

The text below is a snippet of a conversation between Leslie, Maria, Alessia, Senka, Michel and Zuzu, students of the Experimental Publishing program of the Piet Zwart Institute, taken from their show on Radio Worm.

Harmful Protocols

Leslie 00:00 Since listening to your radio broadcast last week, I was overwhelmed with this old, very old protocol, that luckily… well, I won’t say anything. And so, I started wearing, for the rest of the week the same plaid pants and striped shirt in honor of an old student that I went to school with who was… maybe a little bit like me, an outsider. But he always wore either plaid pants and a striped shirt and or vice versa. And he was picked out in the group as being…well…it just wasn’t done. student in the back can we say it is a semi-decentralized network semi-centralized on communities? That was the protocol at the time. You just didn’t wear plaids and stripes, there were certain lengths of your skirt and it couldn’t be higher, and you were sent home if your skirt was too high. Anyway, thankfully, all has changed. But why I thought about him is, because everyone laughed at him. Klara Debeljak Thanks to wiki He became kind of like a joker. And I don’t know, I don’t think he was always a joker. But I think it was kind of like his niche that the peer pressure paved out for him. He started inhaling PAM, which is a kind of anti-stick aerosol. And one day, it was the end of his life. So after hearing this word protocol, and audiohearing all the stories last Tuesday, I just had to wear this. runs here’s a small description of what you are listening to: 0:00-3:30: Leslie describing (the fatal consequences of) a cruel bygone protocol. 4:36-8:10: Maria sharing her ambivalent feelings towards protocols; annotation. 8:10 - end: relaxed talk between that week’s radio makers over protocols. You coming in here now is just really weird, because otherwise I would have just carried it… Here. No one else would know. I wouldn’t even tell my partner because it would sound so silly.

Alessia [00:02:19] No, it’s not silly!

Leslie 02:21 So now I’m telling you and you’re going to broadcast it. It’s really weird, but it’s okay.

Alessia 02:28 How do you think protocols changed from that time until now?

Leslie 02:33 Well, luckily, these types of protocols don’t exist anymore, and no one would ever even imagine it. And so I hope that the protocols that we are busy with today will also disappear.

Alessia 02:48 Do you think there’s a way to escape this curse of protocols in our whole life? And do you think that protocols are actually useful in a way? Or not?

Leslie 03:00 I think they’re useful because they bring about change. But protocols that are just restrictive and aren’t open to change… That’s a different thing.

Relationships to Protocols

Senka 03:23 Morning! audioYou are listening to a bunch of Experimental Publishing students desperately trying to figure out what archives are, what protocols are, and what all of that means in relationship to Radio Worm.

Maria 04:25 I just wanted to say that protocols… I think they’re both, in general, unfortunately, a necessity and a torture. runs XPUB’s ‘Protocols for an Active Archive’ can be heard every Tuesday on Radio Worm between 10.00 - 12.00 here: This is my personal take on protocols. I prefer to live my life without them and to practice my art, or my professional tasks, without really thinking about the protocols. They do evolve on their own eventually and then I like documenting them. But I also like breaking them because I really don’t like routine. I think it makes us stiff as people. It can be productive to have a routine, but it can also smother you. So this is my personal relationship with protocols and I think that it’s important not to follow them. Thank you.

Senka 06:02 Do you think there should be a kind of exemption that allows people to abandon a protocol completely, at any point, if it does not fit them anymore? And this is a question to Maria, but also to anyone else who might want to answer.

Maria 06:39 Unfortunately, a lot of things are sometimes of vital importance. So, as I said with my protocol, I wish that I didn’t have it and that I could live without it. But it makes my daily life doable – I can function through the protocol. I don’t think that there are exceptions to how problematic protocols are, but I think there are also no exceptions to how useful they can be. I think it’s all a matter of keeping the right balance, because, in the end, if you have too many of those you develop obsessive behaviors or something. It’s very good to have them in order to live your life through them but I prefer to leave the manual behind, so to speak.

Understanding Protocols

Michel [00:08:03] I feel like protocols are everywhere…

Alessia 08:05 Protocol, protocol, protocol…

Michel 08:07 Last night when I was sleeping, I also was thinking about protocols in a nightmare.

Alessia 08:12 I am really looking forward to the moment when we are not going to talk about protocols anymore.

Zuzu 08:23 Today, when I had the CSS lesson there was textsome command that made me think ‘Is this so complicated because human beings are too complicated?’ Because we are so complicated, the thing we produce needs a specific rule to help other human beings understand. So, we need the protocols to easily be in communication with each other or with a computer or something.

Alessia 09:01 Yes, that’s probably it.

Zuzu 09:05 The strange thing is that I’m a human being but it’s so difficult for me to understand these protocols, that have the original intention of making me understand easily.

Michel 09:23 It causes more confusion for you…

Zuzu 09:26 Yes.

Alessia 09:27 Because you need to actually textunderstand the language first. It’s like a code that you need to absorb and afterwards, you can understand the protocol. But without that base, you can’t go anywhere.

Zuzu 09:42 It’s more difficult for me… First, I need to understand the English language, and then I need to understand the computer language… Oh my god.

About this Text

Leslie, Maria, Alessia, Senka, Michel and Zuzu, students of the Experimental Publishing program of the Piet Zwart Institute, originally recorded this conversation on Radio Worm. A snippet was played as an audio intermission during the livestream of Screentime Airtime Facetime livestream. You can listen back through this link: This text will be included in the forthcoming book XPUB Special Issue #22: Protocols.