Society of Molecules (2009)

Society of Molecules (2009)

A distributed International Sense Lab event.

>view more responses to the event via Inflexions No. 3

Society of Molecules took place in 15 countries concurrently over a period of one week. The framing problems of the event concerned distributed collective process. How to you convey process without reducing it to the reporting of information? Is it possible to convey the felt quality of experience across distance? How can reciprocal implication in a shared process be activated and enacted at a distance? How do we make ourselves a distributed event? Each of the 15 groups (“molecules”) was challenged to develop their own unique answer to these questions in the form of a local group project addressing political or institutional issues felt to be pressing, and in particular structures or tendencies that militated against collective creative activity. Working together on the SenseLab grouphub, we designed relational techniques to bring the local interventions. “Emissaries” travelled between local groups in advance of the event, to create a web of shared experience among the local groupings. The aim was to create the conditions for a contagion of concepts and techniques between the projects at the level of their process in its incipiency, so that they would begin to resonate in their formative phases, and the effects would continue to be felt after the event. When an emissary arrived (without prior notice) at a given molecule, they were invited into the group to share a “relational soup” (a collaborative exploratory activity). Together, they distilled a “recipe” from the experience. The recipe was brought home with the emissary, who left behind a “process seed.” The process seed was a proposition for a creative group activity sent by the emissary’s home group. The process seeds were to rest fallow until after the event, when they were to be opened as a gift of further process toward prolonging the collaborative contagion. Each molecule presented their activities in the “Tangents” section of the third issue of Inflexions.

Original Call for Participation


- each molecules will be 3-10 people.
- Each molecule will set up an aesthetico-political action
- Micropolitical actions can take 3hours – 7 days to unfold and can be ongoing
- The local should be at stake for each molecule
- each molecule will explore in whatever way works for their action the concept of an 
institution (which can be anything from road-maps, traffic, universities, art galleries etc)
- each molecule will contact with a list of its members, including a movement-profile (see below) for a contact member
- each molecule will find a seed and do research on that seed (see below)


- Society of Molecules will take place from May 1-May 7 2009
- by October 31 2008: all molecules will have contacted the central hub – Erin
 with their location, a list of all members, and the movement-profile
- by December 31 2008, each molecule will have made contact with the central hub to organize the sending of the emissary (see below)
- by December 31 2008: each molecules will have crafted a plan for raising money for their emissary
- between January 01-April 30: each molecule will send their emissary and receive an emissary


- each molecule will assign an emissary from within its group.
- This emissary will travel to another molecule between January 1 and April 30 2009.
- once the emissary is identified by its home molecule, that molecule will contact the central hub ( and request a location.
- if the location is still free, the emissary will be given the host molecule’s “movement profile” (see below for explanation on movement profiles)
- it will be the emissary’s job to locate the host molecule’s designated person
- when the emissary has made contact with the host molecule’s designated person, it will be the responsibility of the host molecule to extend hospitality to the emissary
- the duration of the visit will be worked out by the emissary in relation to the home molecule and the host molecule
- each emissary will bring a seed with them and leave it with the host molecule

Movement Profiles
- by October 31 2008 each molecule will choose one member (not the emissary) to act as a host for that molecule
- the host of the molecule will create a movement profile that will be sent to the central hub by October 31 2008
- a movement profile includes but is not limited to: the host’s regular movements (where they drink coffee, where they go out for a drink, their favourite walks, their mode of transport, their preferred outings etc) as well as their address and phone number
- if there is a chance that the host may not be available throughout Jan-April 2008, it is up to the molecule to decide how to handle it (another member of the molecule could “become” the host, for instance, moving in their profile, taking up their habits, for the time of the host’s absence).
- Emissaries are encouraged to engage in creative ways of locating their hosts
- when the emissary finds the host, it is the host’s responsibility to gather the members of the molecule and to collectively extend hospitality toward the emissary
- the gathering of the emissary and the host molecule will involve the creation of a “relational soup” 
- a “relational soup” can be a food-based soup eaten together or another kind of soup (this is up to the host molecule)
- once the relational soup has been digested (figuratively or not), the host molecule together with the emissary will craft a recipe that the emissary will bring to his or her home molecule
- the recipe may have an effect on how the home molecule crafts their own molecule.


- the seed that the emissary leaves with the host molecule will be “activated” after May 7 by the molecule
- the seed will act as a mode of gathering the force of the molecular collaboration toward a future project
- this future project (the growing of the seed) will be documented by the molecule (all molecules)
- the idea is that the growing/maintenance/engagement with the seed should be directed toward creating an ecology of practices that emerge around an actual planting.
- it is our hope that the documentation of this seeding practice will create modes of cross-contamination of practice that will tie into molecular organisation both past and future. Note: when the emissary brings the seed to the host molecule, he or she also brings a document on the seed as researched by the home molecule

Contributions and responses via Inflexions No. 3:

Appetite Forever: Amsterdam Molecule*
Rick Dolphi jn and Veridiana Zurita
Digestive Derivatives: Amsterdam Molecule*
Sher Doruff
Body of Water: Weimar Molecule*
João da Silva
Concrete Gardens: Montreal Molecule 1*
Cuerpo Común: Madrid Molecule*
Jaime del Val
Dark Precursor: Naples Molecule*
Beatrice Ferrara, Vito Campanelli, Tiziana Terranova, Michaela Quadraro, Vittorio Milone
Diagramming Movement: London Molecule*
Sebastian Abrahamsson, Gill Clarke, Diana Henry, Jeff Hung, Joe Gerlach, Zeynep Gunduz, Chris Jannides, Thomas Jellis, Derek McCormack, Sarah Rubidge, Alan Stones, Andrew Wilford
Double Booking: Boston Molecule*
Free Phone: San Diego/Tijuana Molecule*
Micha Cardenas, Chris Head, Katherine Sweetman, Camilo Ontiveros, Elle Mehrmand and Felipe Zuniga
Futuring Bodies: Melbourne Molecule*
Tony Yap, Mike Hornblow, Pia Ednie-Brown and her Plastic Futures studio- PALS Plasticity and Autotrophic Life Society, Adele Varcoe and her Fashion Design studio (both from RMIT)
Generative Thought Machine: Sydney Molecule*
Mat Wall-Smith, Anna Munster, Andrew Murphie, Gillian Fuller, Lone Bertelsen
Humboldt’s Meal: Berlin Molecule*
Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Alex Schweder
Lack of Information: Montreal Molecule 2*
Jonas Fritsch, Christoph Brunner, Joel Mckim, Marie-Eve Bélanger…
Olympic Phi-Fi: London Molecule 2*
M. Beatrice Fazi, Jonathan Fletcher, Caroline Heron, Luciana Parisi
Vagins-à-Dents: Hull Molecule *
Marie-Ève Bélanger, Jean-Pierre Couture, Dalie Giroux, Rebecca Lavoie
Wait: Toronto Molecule*
Alessandra Renzi, Laura Kane