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Announcing Standing – an app for playful activism

Standing

Today we are mak­ing Stand­ing avail­able for iPhone. Stand­ing is an app for play­ful activism, which we have been work­ing on inter­mit­tent­ly since we first announced it back in August 2013. We are pleased to have it out there and are excit­ed to see what peo­ple will do with it.

With Stand­ing, you can stand still for a cause of your choos­ing in what­ev­er place you feel is suit­able. The app records how long and where you are stand­ing and shares it live on the accom­pa­ny­ing web­site. Once you have fin­ished, it is turned into a last­ing record, which you can share as proof of your com­mit­ment to the cause.

Standing

The project was inspired by the stand­ing wo/man protests, which were ini­ti­at­ed by Erdem Gündüz on 17 June 2013 by stand­ing in Tak­sim Square in Turkey. The top­ic of ludic resis­tance has been a long-last­ing inter­est of ours and after much speak­ing and writ­ing on the sub­ject we felt the need to make some­thing that direct­ly con­tributed to it. See­ing the act of stand­ing being used as an effec­tive way of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence delight­ed us and we felt it served as a per­fect start­ing point.

Hash­tags, posts and pho­tos of the peo­ple stand­ing in Turkey eas­i­ly found their way online. It had a very meme-like qual­i­ty. We want­ed to extend the act of stand­ing even fur­ther by cre­at­ing an app that would track the loca­tion and dura­tion in real time.

Standing

Non­vi­o­lent civ­il dis­obe­di­ence can con­tribute to change and has done so in the past. A well-known exam­ple would be the 1960 Nashville sit-ins. Today, the rela­tion­ship of con­tem­po­rary tech cul­ture with activism is many-faced. Web­sites and apps have become the fore­front of gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate per­sua­sion. We are inter­est­ed in using this ver­nac­u­lar for play­ful resis­tance.

More prac­ti­cal­ly, and per­haps more impor­tant­ly, we think Stand­ing sits in between the fric­tion­less, and there­fore almost mean­ing­less act of sign­ing an online peti­tion and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a phys­i­cal protest which can be intim­i­dat­ing, chal­leng­ing or even dan­ger­ous. Stand­ing is a dis­trib­uted, asyn­chro­nous way to play­ful­ly and non­vi­o­lent­ly express that you real­ly do care about a cause.

Although earnest­ly intend­ed as a thing peo­ple can actu­al­ly use to express them­selves, the irony of using an app to “solve” the “prob­lem” of activism is not lost on us. We are ful­ly aware of and sym­pa­thet­ic towards the argu­ments against “solu­tion­ism” as artic­u­lat­ed by Moro­zov and oth­ers. This project is a way for us to com­ment on the same phe­nom­e­non, by play­ful­ly appro­pri­at­ing the “medi­um” of the app for non-instru­men­tal pur­pos­es.

Get Stand­ing in the Apple App Store. Mean­while, we intend to devel­op both the app and the web­site fur­ther. They are both still in an ear­ly, exper­i­men­tal stage. Regard­less, we do hope you enjoy using it to stand for a cause, and look for­ward to hear­ing any feed­back you may have.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted May 22, 2014 at 11:26 | Permalink

    I like it. Reminds me of the say­ing ‘Don’t just do some­thing, stand there!’ Wish I could stand on Android…

  2. Kars
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 12:56 | Permalink

    Thanks Syl­van. Great minds think alike!

  3. Kars
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 12:57 | Permalink

    We would love to sup­port Android, but doing things with motion on it is kind of a chal­lenge.

  4. Posted May 30, 2014 at 18:30 | Permalink

    Looks good, but it does seem vul­ner­a­ble to accu­sa­tions of both solu­tion­ism and net delu­sion (Morozov’s pre­vi­ous book on cyber-utopi­anism). How does the app escape this, or com­ment on it? What if dura­tion were in hours instead of sec­onds? Isn’t activism defined by fric­tion?

  5. Alper
    Posted June 2, 2014 at 17:14 | Permalink

    @bernard: Activism isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly defined by fric­tion but Stand­ing does gen­er­ate more fric­tion than your stan­dard click­tivism.

    Oth­er than that, we men­tion Moro­zov above for exact­ly that rea­son and we think this approach is not instru­men­tal­ized exact­ly because it is play­ful.