PadminiRayMurray
“Gathering Multitudes: A bag of stars” is an interactive 3D essay, encouraging players exploring a game-world to imagine spaces such as seed banks as a metaphor for digital servers and to contribute their own visions for the same. The approach is inspired by feminist autonomous infrastructures which are grounded in consent, intimacy, situated knowledge and memory, seeded connectedness and autonomous decision-making.
Our work at Design Beku offers speculations and alternatives to the suffocating technological regimes that we find ourselves subject to. “Gathering Multitudes: A bag of stars” is a 3D essay, encouraging players exploring a game world to imagine spaces like seed banks as a metaphor for digital servers and to contribute their own visions. In the game, you walk through the essay, explore related inspirational materials and, ultimately, leave a love note to the promise and potentialities of seeding alternative spaces for our stories. Servers and hardware might seem far removed from the gentle and generative promise of community seed banks, but “Gathering Multitudes” is an invitation to remember that technology is built by human beings and that it is possible to re-imagine how we can use technology in human and humane ways.
This approach is inspired by the notion of feminist autonomous infrastructures, which is grounded in the principles of:
  • Consent and intimacy
  • Situated knowledge and memory
  • Seeded connectedness
  • Autonomous decision making
Listen to Jac sm Kee et al’s podcast, “Technomagical Fires to warm your heart,” for more on feminist autonomous infrastructures.
This work was also inspired by the folks at Solar Protocol in New York, an initiative which offers low-carbon alternatives to the energy-intensive corporate server model, an excellent example of how autonomous structures might manifest in the world. I was attracted to how poetically this project supports my hypothesis of seeds as data and look forward to seeing this data garden grow.
“Gathering Multitudes: A bag of stars” was commissioned by the NEON Digital Festival 2021 as part of their Wired Women theme. It is available to play at https://tinyurl.com/multitudes21 game and this chapbook is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

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References: D’Ignazio, Catherine, and Lauren F. Klein. Data feminism. MIT Press, 2020 // Le Guin, Ursula K. The carrier bag theory of fiction. Ignota Books, 2019 // Niederberger, Shusha. “Feminist Server – Visibility and Functionality: Digital Infrastructure as a Common Project.”

Creative Commons, 2019.

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