Making Matters. A Vocabulary of Collective Arts

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About 'Making Matters'

H&D (Anja Groten, Heerko van der Kooij, Karl Moubarak, Juliette Lizotte) designed the publication 'Making Matters. A Vocabulary of Collective Arts'

Editors: Janneke Wesseling, Florian Cramer

Editorial committee: Florian Cramer, Anja Groten, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Pia Louwerens, Marie-José Sondeijker, Janneke Wesseling

Contributors: Aliens in Green, a.pass / Lilia Mestre, Florian Cramer, Display Distribute / Elaine W. Ho, Feral Atlas / Lili Carr & Feifei Zhou Anja Groten, Thalia Hoffman, Jatiwangi art Factory / Bunga Siagian & Ismal Muntaha, Eleni Kamma, Frans-Willem Korsten, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Pia Louwerens, Dani Ploeger, Kate Rich, Femke Snelting, Olu Taiwo, Janneke Wesseling, West / Baruch Gottlieb, West / Akiem Helmling, Z. Blace

Partners: Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University; Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam; Waag, Amsterdam; West Den Haag; Willem de Kooning Academy and Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam

Support: Dutch Research Council (NWO), part of the project 'Bridging art, design and technology through Critical Making' (project number 314-99-203), research programme Smart Culture

Design: Hackers & Designers

June 2022, Valiz with support from Dutch Research Council (NWO) | Pb, 20 x 11 cm (h x w) | 336 pp. | English | ISBN 978-94-93246-11-9

| To purchase the book visit the website of the publisher Valiz

The blurb of the book reads

The world today faces overwhelming ecological and social problems and the concern for material existence on earth is more pressing than ever. Making Matters spells out various roles that visual artists and designers play facing these issues. Collective action is necessary and inevitable.

Collective action often changes the artist’s identity and working habits: from individuality and autonomy to collectivity and collaboration, both locally and globally. These developments have given rise to new kinds of collective art and design practices: artists work together with non-artists, make products for their local environment and take on multiple identities, such as researcher, community activist, computer hacker or business consultant.

Making Matters looks at art practices across all continents that do not conform to a Western concept of art nor to traditional distinctions between art, design, research and activism—where the boundaries between art, design, research and activism become blurred or are dissolved. The entries in this vocabulary experiment with concepts and keywords of current art practices that may no longer be recognizable as art.

a note on the design of this publication

As the vocabulary of collective arts is intersecting many fields of knowledge that cannot be easily confined to separate categories, terms also spill over into other definitions and other chapter themes. The design of this publication accommodates non-linear reading, without compromising orientation. That is, cross-references are indicated with seven different kinds of arrows, referring to one of the seven chapter themes. The arrows occur on the chapter introduction pages, next to the respective terms, as well as in the side bar navigation of the respective chapter categories. This allows the reader to quickly sift through the book and find terms in different contexts. In addition, elements in the side bar navigation subtly poke out when indicating the occurrence of a term in the text.

The design of this book is part of an ongoing collective exploration into unusual, non-proprietary, open-source, free and libre publishing tools and workflows. Such tools come with their own quirks and ask us to re-think and re-shuffle design priorities. For instance, when it comes to detail typography—the perfect line break or kerning, we had to make concessions in this publication. Still, by putting into practice different tool-designer scenarios we hope to contribute to a growing community of designers who consider it relevant to rethink their tool-ecologies. Building on the knowledge and practices of many designers and collectives that work with and contribute to open-source approaches to designing on and offline publications,[1] Hackers & Designers’ publishing experiments intersect computer programming, art, and design, and involve the building of self-made, hacked, and reappropriated tools and technical infrastructures, which sometimes results in books, such as the one you are holding now.

Following open-source principles, the tool ecosystem that evolved around the design of this publication is documented and published on the H&D website[2] and git repository[3] under the CC4r license,[4] providing the possibility of continuation in other contexts, studying, critiquing, and repurposing.

The tools ecosystem includes: MediaWiki, Jinja templating, Pagedjs for the layout, and Scribus & Gimp for image retouching and cover design.

All typefaces used in this publication are available at ‘Badass Libre Fonts By Womxn’,[5] a repository of open source and/or libre typefaces composed by Loraine Furter.

Fonts used: Ortica designed by Benedetta Bovani, Authentic Sans designed by by Christina Janus and Desmond Wong, and Combine designed by Julie Patard.

[1] Collectives that inspire us in our design experiments are Varia, Constant Association for Art and Media, Open Source Publishing, the practices and knowledge deriving from educational contexts such as the student-led interdepartmental initiative PUB at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam or XPUB—a master programme of Experimental Publishing at Piet Zwart Institute, the digital and hybrid publishing research groups of the Institute of Network Cultures. Concretely, the technical infrastructure and workflow used to create this publication (wiki-to-pdf) is building on the code repositories of Martino Morandi (Constant Association for Art and Media) developed for the publication ‘Infrastructural Interactions’ edited by TITiPI (Helen V Pritchard, Femke Snelting) ( /wiki-to-pdf), and Manetta Berends (Varia Collective) developed for the publication Volumetric Regimes edited by Possible Bodies (Jara Rocha, Femke Snelting), published under the CC4r license ( /mb/volumetric-regimes-book).





Code repository

H&D Wiki-to-Print Publishing Workflow


  • update nginx section and example files after final config
  • update localstettings exampel file after final config
  • update the common.js and commn.css files after the final config
  • figure out how venv works (@hrk?)
  • make config.js.example


This H&D's take on the wiki-to-print workflow initially developed by the people at ConstantVZW, OSP, varia and titipi.

In short, this workflow is as follows

Mediawiki > HTML page > Jinja Template > PagedJS > PDF

Essentially there are two sides of this project: 1. Wiki: Here, an active instance of Mediawiki facilitates the co-creation and management of publications under two associated namespaces: "Publishing" for content (written in wikitext) and "PublishingCSS" for styles (written in CSS).
2. Preview: Here, a web-interface previews publications created in the wiki in HTML translated through Jinja templates, as well as PDF, translated through PagedJS. This interface also allows a closer inspection of the publications' CSS styles.

On the server, there are some other interwoven running processes including a MariaDB database, a python script serving an API to handle requests for creating and updating files, and several python helper scripts mediating the translations of languages across interfaces, converting images to appropriate formats, and aiding in the creation of miscelleneous styles.



  • A server running Debian (or other similar distro)
  • PHP version 7.1+
  • Python3 (or at least configurable in a virtual enviroment)
  • Apache2 or Nginx (we are using nginx)

Make sure you have write, read and execute persmissions at the server's web-accessible directories.

Start by cloning this repository into a web-accessible directory of your liking.

git clone /var/www/wiki2print 
# your path could be different, we chose this one, remember it for later

Please follow the individual installation instructions for each of the Wiki and the Preview parts of this project in their respective sub-directories and return to this section for their overlaps.


Each of the two side of the project has it's own configuration files and respective parameters: 1. Wiki: The main configuration file is LocalSettings.php. Secondary files are Common.js and Common.css. 2. Preview: The only configuration file is config.json.

The above links point to example configurations that are specific to each side of the project. Below are explanations of configurations that are shared between both.


In order for the preview side of the project to know where to look for publications in the wiki side of the project and how to handle custom configurations, we choose specific Namespaces for the mediawiki under which all publications exist. This is explained in detail in this part of the documentation. It's important that this is a custom namespace and that the preview configuration and wiki configuration both use the same ones. In this project, we use the namespace Publishing to house all our publications' contents and an associated namespace, PublishingCSS to house all our publications' styles.


After setting up both sides of the project, we configure nginx to handle URLs in this way:

/        =>  localhost:5522                      # web index
/wiki    =>  /var/www/wiki2print/wiki/mediawiki  # wiki interface

Note: You will need to refer to this configuration during the process of installing the Mediawiki to get access to the web-installer.

See example nignx configuration.

It's recommended to generate an SSL certificate for this project as user-logins are part of it. We used Certbot for this.


Please refer to the user documentation produced here: docs.



Heerko, Karl, Anja & Juliette

Building from the work of: - TiTiPi's Infrastructural Interactions - Manetta's work on Volumetric Regimes - Constant's Diversions - many more...

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