De-platformization, Ethics and Alternative Social Media

Against the totality of networks and corporately owned social media, what are workable strategies and ethical approaches that allow for alternative ways for our social life to emerge?
In the international symposium De-platformization, Ethics and Alternative Social Media, we seek to open a discussion, which will not only critically discuss platforms and commercial social media, but explore possibilities of the commons through a number of practical and theoretical positions, public discussion and hands on workshop.
We know and repeatedly analyze a host of issues with commercial social media and digital labour, but little attention is paid to efforts at building alternatives, such as community-run social media and other forms of de-platformization.

The online streaming of the symposium De-platformization, Ethics and Alternative Social Media was organised by Display & Artyčok.TV on September 25th, 2020.

Participants: Dušan Barok (Monoskop), Lídia Pereira & Christina Cochior (Varia), John Hill (LJMU, UK), Liaizon Wakest (Trash Future), Michal Klodner ( NFA)

Curated and Organised by: Hana Janeckova (Display), Nikola Brabcová (Artyčok.TV) and Michal Klodner (,NFA)



The story of artist-run servers stretches back to the 1990s to communities such as Xs4all in Amsterdam, in Berlin or in Linz. These and many other groups found themselves expanding the idea of the personal computer to a community resource. These resources provided simple services such as e-mail clients, mailing lists, website hosting, shell access and audiovisual streaming for their milieus, supporting free expression and experimental approaches. Countering the stereotype of self-contained nerd culture, they were very much localised and embedded in various cultural scenes, often operating out of artist-run spaces. The impetus behind was not only to counter the environment controlled by commercial providers but perhaps more importantly community awareness and the need to maintain shared social spaces. Twenty years later, the centralisation of the internet has brought new dimensions to their continuing relevance. They provide means for building an autonomous infrastructure operating the nodes of distributed and libre networks (, self-hosting, etc.). They also provide safer spaces, regulated by communities themselves. They are however often taken for granted and rarely feature in discussions about alternative internet. In this presentation I will briefly discuss their genealogies, varieties and dilemmas.

Dušan Barok is a researcher, artist and cultural activist. He edits Monoskop and his practice involves networked media, participatory events and experimental publishing. Dušan Barok is best known for Monoskop, a platform for avant-garde media studies he initiated in 2004 as part of the Burundi collective. Since 2009 he also runs its affiliated online library Monoskop Log created together with Tomáš Kovács.


How can we build an infrastructure together? During this talk, we will focus on the acts of collective infrastructure making that have happened in Varia, namely our homebrewed server running our website, instant messaging service, etherpad, shared calendars, etc. We will contextualize these activities by shedding some light on Varia’s collective statement and shared goals of its members.Varia is a collective-space for developing cooperative approaches to everyday technology. As Varia members, we maintain and facilitate a collective infrastructure from which we generate questions, opinions, modifications, help and action. We work with free software, organise events and collaborate in different constellations.

Cristina Cochior (RO) is a researcher and designer with an interest in automation, situated software and peer to machine knowledge production Her work largely consists of investigations into the intimate bureaucracy of knowledge organisation systems and more recently, collective digital infrastructures.

Lídia Pereira (PT) is a designer, artist, and researcher. Her work focuses on the political economy of the internet, algorithmic governance and labour in and around corporate social networks.


Decentralisation is a key tool in the fight against the monopolistic power of social media platforms, which out of technical and economic necessity limit the freedom and creativity that networked communication offers. There are, however, problems that arise from the way the ‘user’—as both a technical tool and a subjective identity—relates to the platform. Just as a platform expects certain things of their user, so the user expects certain things of the platform. What would need to happen to change the expectations and power-dynamics of this relationship?

John Hill is an artist, writer and educator based in Prague. As a founding member of the collective LuckyPDF he has exhibited internationally and been commissioned by major institutions, including Hayward Gallery and Frieze Foundation. His recently completed practice-based PhD, as part of the LJMU (Liverpool) Uses of Art group in partnership with L’Internationale, looks at how cybernetic methods can be put to use in artistic and institutional practice. He teaches on Experimental Media Course at Prague College.


The fediverse is one of the largest autonomously created digital infrastructure projects ever attempted. It has thousands of developers and admins making digital homes for millions of humans around the world. It is not a company nor an organization. It was created by independent people working together. This presentation will attempt to explain the processes, structures and potentials of the fediverse.

Liaizon Wakest grew up in an anarchist commune in rural America. They can be found climbing into dumpsters from Mexico to Kazakhstan looking for trash to make art with. In recent years they have been focused on research into ethical technology and infrastructural anarchism. Find out more about them on 


About house plant servers, forest galleries and solarpunk gardens. About creating media as ethical infrastructures contributing to thriving ecosystems. About binding to corporate socioeconomic structures or choosing human social cooperation.

Michal Klodner works in the field of audiovisual and live performance and independent film. He completed his doctoral studies on the subject of postmediality at FAMU. Presently, he is involved in the digital curation of moving image archives and research of the documentation, presentation and analysis of moving image at the National Film Institute (NFA) and


activism anarchy digital platforms ethics capitalism communication community collaboration technology sustainability English friendly