Redesigning Money as a Tool for Self-Management in Cultural Production
Money is a crucial mediation for organizing in capitalist societies. Those who lack money cannot easily organize and raise collective consciousness. A naive form of consciousness may reject money to prevent greed and envy. Yet, a critical state of consciousness should see money as a tool that can be redesigned to encourage different feelings that can ballast anti-capitalist transactions. This research describes Colaborativa@PE, a collective who designed digital social currencies to nurture solidarity bonds in several cultural production collectives spread through Brazil. These collectives embarked on an inquiry that led them to experiment with solidarity economy and self-management. The need to digitalize their self-management practices brought them to Corais Platform, a free software/design suite that adopts a participatory metadesign approach. Colaborativa@PE’s members joined the platforms’ metadesign and proposed a new social currency tool, soon implemented. With this new tool, the Colaborative@PE’s associated collectives greatly expanded their selfmanagement handiness degree, becoming more critical of its possibilities and limitations for organizing. While analyzing this case, this research concludes that the redesign process can be characterized as a form of conscientization in light of Paulo Freire’s and lvaro Vieira Pinto’s works.
solidarity economy; self-management; cultural production; conscientization.
Frederick M.C. van Amstel (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of Service Design and Experience Design at the Industrial Design Academic Department (DADIN), Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR), Brazil. His PhD thesis, accepted by the University of Twente, maps the contradictions faced by architectural design and service design in contemporary practice. His recent research deals with the contradiction of oppression and the possibility of designing for liberation through decolonizing and hybridizing design. Together with several people, he founded Faber-Ludens (2007-2012) — the first Brazilian Interaction Design Institute, Corais Platform (2011) — a free software suite for self-organized collectives, and Design & Oppression (2020) — a network of solidarity across different fights and struggles in design.
Rodrigo Freese Gonzatto (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor at the Polytechnic School, Pontifical Catholic University of Paran (PUCPR), Brazil. His research deals with relations of freedom and oppression in the social production of existence through digital technologies, mainly through the lens of an Interaction Design theory grounded on the STS studies of Alvaro Vieira Pinto and Paulo Freire. His PhD thesis recovers critical perspectives of the “user” concept in Human-Computer Interaction, analyzing how users were underdeveloped, historically deskilled, and removed from privileged design spaces. Rodrigo is a co-founder of Corais Platform (2011) — a free software suite and design livre platform for self-organized collectives, Rede Alvaro Vieira Pinto (2015) — a research community centered around the work and ideas of the Brazilian philosopher who inspired Paulo Freire and others, and Design & Oppression (2020) — a network of solidarity against the oppressions that manifest through the design.
Pedro Henrique Jatobá (he/him/his) currently coordinates Intercidadania Institute’s major educational project Universidade Livre da Chapada Diamantina (UCLD – Open University of Chapada Diamantina) in Pernambuco, Brazil. Pedro also works for EITA Free Software Cooperative, mainly in education and management projects such as Varal and Rios platforms. He is a founding member of the Collaborative Producers Network that connects self-organized collectives that strive for solidarity economies across Brazil. He studied some of these collectives in a Master thesis in Social Management and Territory Development developed at Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and in a Bachelor thesis in Computer Science at Catholic University of Pernambuco.