everything you want to know about OKNO
The real story
An organisation is a concept. It is a structure you dream up and try out. You want to see if it could work out. Most of the time organisations are used in a consolidating way. The more it becomes an administrative reality the more it abandons this experimental aspect. They are there but live out their administrative reality, instead of their unfulfilled dreams. Within their structure, there is not any compulsion to keep up the change. They don't act in society anymore. They either stop to exist, are abandoned or are forgotten.
The funny thing is also that actually society does not really demand a strict and administrative definition for an organisation to be in existence. When a couple of people agree that they will act together, de facto they become an organisation. For instance back to the 80s, the CCC (Cellules Communistes Combattantes [trans. Communist Combattant Cells]) and Pierre Carette probably had no intention to run an administration for their actions, which included bombing NATO buildings, US business firms, and ... the Belgian Employers Association. And in a way a cultural collective organisation does not need to be filed officially to deploy artistic actions.
Nevertheless and unfortunately, one needs an official legal basis to receive recognition and support from government, so we began to think about tweaking the system in a direction that we would not be occupied with too much administration, receive funding, and still remain open for change, experiment and innovation. And so we started a kind of umbrella organisation. That is how OKNO was born. And the first thing we did was buy a server, with a good up- and downlink connection. That is what we thought organisation could be like. Kurt Vonnegut, a forgotten chemist but famous writer once said: "I think that novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex."
So much for most of the arts and its organisations. Not for OKNO!
The official story
OKNO is a Belgian non-profit cultural organisation, officially recognized and supported by the Ministry of Culture. The organisation functions and is organized as a platform for several real and virtual organisations, that work within the area of technological arts in the broadest sense.
OKNO organises in 2006-07 a number of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, and performances. The themes are mainly: code and algorithms, communication systems, ecological technological art. The presentations are experimental, and basically demonstrate a process-driven or researching approach, within the domain of technological art and culture.
The main collaborating organisations for the moment are: - so-on (installations and performances, production and presentation of technological art) - code31 (permanent workshops and realisation of projects, server management including streaming infrastructure) - mxHz.org (research and development, connected performances, installations).
Okno supports artists that research, develop and create innovative forms of cultural production in the field of technology and media arts, and presents the processes and results of this research to a broad and diverse audience through a program of interactive installations, experimental concerts, performances, workshops and lectures.
Okno tends to be a physical and online meeting place for established and young artists, a platform for the development of collaborations and partnerships. The collaborative building of knowlegde and its transmission is at the core of all projects. They all focus on employing and deriving today's and future's technologies in a new and surprising way. The connection between art and science, between analog and digital media is explored in a continuous way.
Okno wants to encourage and initiate the participation of an artistically engaged audience, facilitating a dialogue with current forms of artistic practice. Therefore, we offer a virtual and physical public forum for artistic reflection on technological inspired media arts, and we promote a critical view on the cultural and aesthetic influences of mediatechnologies.
OKNO was a motor for the 2004-05 educational collaboration project XMEDK. This was a workshop series organized by 3 important art centres and labs in Brussels: Nadine, FOAM and OKNO. For 2 years they set up a successful educational experiment, providing a working alternative for the lack of a dedicated postgraduate institution for art and technology in Brussels/Belgium. Currently we are expanding it to other interested cultural organisations in the area.
OKNO has an active interaction between international and local setups, and positions itself as a junction in an international research-and presentation network for new media art. With national and international partners we work towards the presentation of international projects through connected online collaboration tools as live streaming and other digital media techniques.
There is a strong affiliation with Central and Eastern European like-minded organisations.
During the last years part of our mobility program was investing in inviting and sending affiliated artists within the context of workshops, festivals and conferences. Since 2006 for that purpose, an international residency has been organized.