Learn more about Julie Gendron:
Check out some of the bigger ideas:
Collaborators and Projects mentioned:
The Offer Need Machine Collaborators:
Produced by the Artengine Stream Team:
Mikke Gordon aka Seiiizi https://twitter.com/s3iiizi
Kimberly Sunstrum https://www.kmbrlysnstrm.com/
Production Design Consultation
Leslie Marshall/MAVNetwork http://mavnetwork.com/
Post-Production Support: Chris Ikonomopoulos
DEL Theme Music by Mikki Gordon aka Seiiizi
Artengine’s Digital Economies Lab brought together a diverse group of artists, designers and other creatives to rethink the infrastructure of cultural production in the 21st century.
Funding for the Digital Economies Lab was received through the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategies Fund.
Artengine’s Artistic Director Ryan Stec in conversation with Digital Economies Lab (DEL) participant, strategist, designer, artist and independent creative director, Julie Gendron, where they discuss Gendron’s work on the Offer Need Machine (ONM). Within this discussion Gendron addresses quantifying value by breaking down the mechanics of trust, recreating the ephemerality of chance interaction, and rating and evaluating with care.
This discussion brings together artist, scholar and Director of Creating Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations at the Canada Council for the Arts, Steven Loft; craft historian Sandra Alfoldy; architect Tom Bessai; and fashion designer, Valerie Lamontagne, to consider the way we talk about making.
The ONM stands for “Offer Need Machine,” and it’s a theory so far that there would be some sort of digital tool that we would eventually create…that would allow people to connect online to offer one hour of service to another person in the arts…Then, from there, that person that offers an hour,…that person can receive an hour of expertise from another person.
It’s not directly reciprocal…They can offer something, of that kind of scale, to someone that wants that. The idea is that one person offers and in order to receive they have to offer first.
We are not intending on facilitating long term connections.
This is not Facebook.
We are just creating the spark…
It’s almost like a little incubator of relationships.
The idea of you having to input something, whether right now the unit is an hour of time and knowledge and expertise that you might have, you sort of put it into the system, an offer for others, and then that allows others to kind of pick it up.
It’s not, like you said, a one-to-one exchange.
This is a distributed idea of there being a network of possibilities for you to draw upon.
Do you see it as, I hesitate to say transactional but in the sense of, if you put one in and then you take one out, are you sort of expected to be giving and receiving in like an alternating form? Like, is there supposed to be a kind of sum zero, do you think, for a participant?
Someone, if they feel very altruistic, can go and give as much as they want but they don’t have to take anything back.
The idea is that you have to give first, because there’s a whole set of values being created through this project.
It’s not just about this transaction…there’s more to it.
I think what’s unique about this project is that we are expecting people to come to this–we haven’t decided on the technology–so, this thing, machine. It’s called the Machine…Between Macy and Kofi, we have created a code of conduct that we work together with an understanding of how we’re going to work and what we want to achieve and what we want to learn from each other and we’re going to carry this out into this machine that we create.
The idea is that when someone comes to ONM, they will actually have to commit to a certain value system. And that value system, what we’re going to try to do is normalize respect and care.
So, you can’t be on there if you’re going to take advantage of anyone.
We’re also trying to normalize something that doesn’t happen much anymore, especially, because the internet and social media makes everyone jealous of each other.
We’re trying to normalize taking joy in other people’s success.
That’s the spirit that you have to come to in this, that you were actually trying to make other people’s success and that success is not limited. It’s actually infinite in the same way that people think about love, right? Like we can live together and all be successful. And so, with that, people have to know what their boundaries are.
People have to self-reflect. People have to work on their trauma, because there’s a lot of it in this world. I think I said this already, but people need to know what their boundaries are and they need to know when they start saying, “No.”
They need to know what the limit is of what they’re going to give in that one hour. Going onto that platform means, or whatever it becomes, that they’re almost agreeing too, in ‘terms of service.’ That’s very different than a corporate ‘terms of service,’ where it talks about, “Don’t sue us,” you know, or “You can’t sue us because we’re invincible.”
Yeah, you have no rights.
So, what we’re saying is, “You have lots of rights and you need to exercise them.”
People are already sharing and caring for each other.
Many of social medias’ worst parts amplify performativity, sensationalism, all of these things.
At the same time, they’ve been instrumental to social movements and care, in the last year and a half particularly, but I think both of us sense that maybe that’s happening despite the infrastructure of the network. It’s not encouraged by the network but rather something that people overcome within the network to actually reach out and create those connections.
I think the important part is that we’re making it so that it’s fleeting in that one hour, and that you can back out of that relationship. I think a lot of other social media, because they have a business, they need to have this model and this amount of users and they need to stay online this amount, all these statistics and how it’s supposed to work.
Their main goal is retention.
Whereas our main goal is not retention.
Our main goal is, like I say, that spark of connection passing on some really valuable information quickly.
Then, if it turns out to be really valuable, then you go offline or you go onto your own, little communication tools and create a longer term. So, that brings up questions about how do we make sure they’re still safe once they’re off?
And what is and when is our responsibility stopped?
Like, ephemerality and even anonymity are both values. Anonymity, in particular, has a value. Privacy is something that we’re losing. So we’ve lost–we lose yards of it every day, but the ephemerality of the interaction that you’re about to spark, I think that’s a really interesting condition: to think of going into a network and participating in something that actually requires a fair amount of commitment, in some ways, to be involved, but can have these sort of fleeting elements in which one can come in and, and maybe once one is initiated over a certain period of time coming in and coming out. Allowing yourself to be there and available, but also be able to…
Yeah, because, like for example, I’ll just do it from my own point of view.
The mansplaining thing is a real thing, right.
And so me going on there and needing some advice from someone, I might end up with a mansplainer but I can put up with that for an hour and shake my head at the end of it, but I don’t have to have that relationship past that one hour…I might still get some important information from that mansplainer, but there’s also something triggering about being mansplained too, you know what I mean? And that happens with a lot of people, from different backgrounds.
Yeah. Well, I think that’s an interesting scale of stake as well, and that idea, like you’re talking about the spark that this is like, “I’m not hiring you for a big contract in which 50% of it you’ve been explaining to me things I already know.” We’re engaging in a smaller thing and there’s much less at stake.
Yeah, and hopefully if someone gets a dead hour maybe they can go and teach how to knit for one more hour, to another person, so that they can get another hour that maybe it feels better to them.