REINCANTAMENTO - Open source and work-in-progress meditation on magic and technology


✦ Open source and work-in-progress meditation on magic and technology

Where are you?

This is the website of REINCANTAMENTO, an independent research project curated by Alessandro Y. Longo. REINCANTAMENTO is born as a series of articles by Alessandro Y. Longo on Medium in April 2020, concerning philosophical approaches to digital technologies, the problem of surveillance, the matter of design and possible solutions to re-enchant our tools. From this crucial philosophical frame, an online meditation was born with a daily activity on Instagram and the release of articles, videos, and more. REINCANTAMENTO is not exclusively a personal project. First, other minds' constant contamination and influence have been crucial for Alessandro's research ideas. Secondly, many collaborators helped during the years, and a collective entity, Speculum!, was born from this project. Current collaborators are Marco Mattei, Vincenzo Grasso, Anna Fasolato, Giorgio Craparo, Jeein, and more.

Drawing from some crucial readings, REINCANTAMENTO tries to analyze with an oblique and magical the machines’ impact on the world. This website is a playful archive of all the materials produced across different platforms.

The process of web design has been oriented around the concept of

A concept dating back to Web 1.0, a digital garden is an experience that affects the senses, a cognitive space living an eternal work-in-progress, an oasis of cues, sparks and multimedia deluges. Compared to social media's logic:

“The Garden is our counterbalance. Gardens present information in a richly linked landscape that grows slowly over time. Everything is arranged and connected in ways that allow you to explore. [...] You get to actively choose which curiosity trail to follow, rather than defaulting to the algorithmically-filtered ephemeral stream. The garden helps us move away from time-bound streams and into contextual knowledge spaces. ”

Crossing different styles, from pixel-art to old cryptography manuals, via retro games, HD aesthetics and blogosphere frenzy, the first iteration of our garden is born. Far from being truly autonomous, this digital space is still a work-in-progress and further iterations are planned.

P.S. If you're interested in learning more about digital gardens, click on these flowers 
🥀  🌸 🌼

What do we do?

REINCANTAMENTO is mainly a writing platform, which has squatted several Italian magazines in the biennium 2020-21. In 2022, different changes in my personal life have led REINCANTAMENTO to privilege independent writings and collaborations with other entities.

In the Writings section, you can find all the articles both in Italian and in English.

The Bonus Texts section includes the two contributions made for Fondo - an artistic space in Turin - and the ideas behind the logo of REINCANTAMENTO, Blume #1. Plus, it contains some notes on the idea of digital gardening and a dialogue written for Stasis during the event 'Holy Waters' in December ‘21. We thought of some reading paths to give coherence to all this material, you can follow them by clicking on the keys at the bottom of the articles. This idea is still in development.

The Videodrome collects the multimedia content of REINCANTAMENTO. You will see the two seasons of Speculum!, the series dedicated to philosophical speculation, hosted by the Decamerette network during the two Italian lockdowns. Speculum! is the collective entity mentioned above and born from REINCANTAMENTO’s spores: it’s a philosophy trio composed of Alessandro Longo, Marco Mattei, and Vincenzo Grasso. During 2021, Speculum! was a newsletter now it’s partially on hold, sending some emails from time to time. You can stay updated on what we do on our Telegram channel. Other videos hosted on friends’ channels plus the video essay Archeologia Futura (Future Archeology), my talk on Tech Collapse, and more videos are part of this section.

Finally, the Garden section, a reworking of the Tumblr-era blog, is a messy page of visual inspirations and HTML tricks, an experiment in jpg file curation, and a radical elaboration of the idea of repost.

Why are we doing it?

We want to contribute to the construction of a common and collective horizon for a new techno-social evolution. To help dissolve the disciplinary boundaries that separate concepts from matter, code from artworks. To connect the dots across the jagged map of the present so that new paths can emerge. Trying to occupy the Insta-space without falling victim to influencers-anxiety and hype cycles. To nurture the hope that new networks and new machines can be born for the people. Alternatively, to fail spectacularly while trying.

A new, formal introduction - 31.10.22

After two years of REINCANTAMENTO, it’s time to make an order. REINCANTAMENTO started as a series of articles and eventually explored media like podcasts, video-essay, live streaming, generative models, etc. The visual component became more and more prominent with time. The web design and this page's visual aspect - the fixation on certain icons, the use of colors, etc. - are crucial in our meditation. For this reason, we created a small visual grammar to help navigate and categorize REINCANTAMENTO heterogenous research tracks. We divided our work into six different categories. This system of colors will characterize every new node of our constellation. This system will characterize every new node of our constellation:

1. Digital Gardens: personal spaces on the Web, renewed user experience, design for the commons, and networks of solidarity.
2. Peer-to-Peer Constructivism: decentralized webs and p2p, blockchain and NFTs, torrent culture, re-building Internet structure
3. Synthetic Creativity: art & machines, generative models, literature and music playing with digital tools, history of net art, playful approaches to technologies.
4. Resisting Surveillance: resistance to Surveillance Capitalism, tactical tech, GDPR, and other legal approaches to hiding personal data
5. Red Cybernetics: non-Western and non-capitalistic metaphysics of technology and computation, red cybernetic in URSS, China, Chile etc.
6. Tech Collapse: the materiality of tech, finite resources and supply-chain issues, the geopolitics of components

These categories are not purely thematic but represent different perspectives that go to make up the oblique gaze that we have always tried to integrate into our project.

  1. Digital Gardens addresses the problem of sociality on the Internet and the existential experience the user faces.
  2. P2P Costructivism tells us about attempts to reconstruct the structures that characterize the network and, more generally, a constructivist approach to the problems of the digital world.
  3. With Synthetic Creativity, we celebrate art's playful and sometives naive approach to technology and its ability to gracefully reveal some of its interesting dynamics. Visual arts, music, and literature teach us much about how to deal with the digital revolution.
  4. Resisting Surveillance is the legal and tactical perspective toward the present state of affairs, the set of solutions and resistance coming from both the State and activists against the Tech Giants’s domination.
  5. Red Cybernetic is a decolonial exploration in search of new metaphysical understanding and paradigms of computation, outside of the Western World.
  6. Tech Collapse represents the infrastructural issue on which the digital world is founded: the limited amount of resources, conflicts over components, and problems of provisioning, while global warming catastrophe unfolds everywhere. 

One final note: we must always remember that "the map is not the territory." Expect, therefore, that even our mapping will prove partial and incomplete, that categories will blur into each other, and that new islands will emerge over time. This is an attempt to provide a new rhythm to our work but is in no way definitive.