Thursday Room. Resisting…

…the information enclosures. With James and ShinJoung in San Francisco and comrades in Munich and Glasgow. Studio 13, Soho, London, December 1st, 2011

MDR Bulletin 003


Dear friends,

We are looking forward to seeing you at the second Thursday Room gathering, from 7:30 onwards, on December 1st at Studio 13.

At 8 o’clock we will begin a video-skype with Shinjoung Yeo and James Jacobs in San Francisco. ShinJoung Yeo is a former librarian currently doing research in Library and Information Science at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. James Jacobs is a government information librarian at Stanford University. James and Shinjoung have long been collaborators and have been involved in several projects including Radical Reference, Question Copyright, and Free Government Information.

Some members of the Glasgow Open School who participated in the Hetherington occupation will also be linked in.

The theme of the meeting is ‘resisting the information enclosures’ – one central element in the conversation building towards a set of ‘Mayday principles’ relating to the formation and understanding of archives as a place where documents can be animated and ‘put to work’, rather than go to die. The concept of ‘public domain’ (likewise ‘open source’) is often seen as the antidote to private intellectual property; yet public domain without a mechanism for the prevention of commodification leads only to further commodification. Capitalism exploits unenclosed areas of the social world – libraries, health care, education, agriculture and so on.

Questions on the table will include: What curatorial and contractual arrangements resist enclosure? How to move beyond copyleft? What principles and practices challenge the very notion of ‘intellectual property’?

We would also like to recommend a video interview with MayDay Rooms friend, Rick Prelinger (of the Prelinger Archives), which we recently stumbled upon at the excellent video archive, ‘Steal This Footage’ (deriving from Steal This Film, 2006 & 2007). The issues Rick and others in this series discuss are highly pertinent to our conversation.

The whole collection is archived at:

Of immediate special interest are the following excerpts:
Rick Prelinger (1)
Rick Prelinger (2)
Lawrence Liang

Studio 13 is near the top of Dean Street (a block south of Oxford Street). Apologies, there is no bell. Please call 07947157338 to be let in. As before, please pass on this invitation to anyone you feel might be interested – and particularly with reference to this week’s topic.

We hope to see you there. All the best,
The MayDay crew

29 November 2011