rosa’s Ecofeminist Dictionary (rED)

This part of the Catalog was born on rosa, a small yet significant feminist server that travelled to six communities in different European cities in 2022, as part of the project A Traversal Network of Feminist Servers (ATNOFS). rosa’s Ecofeminist Dictionary (rED) is the result of many conversations I had with those who have logged in and out of rosa that year.

ATNOFS took place at six locations across Europe. Its main protagonist, rosa, hopped on and off trains, and one time even travelled by mail, disappearing from the network only to reappear again shortly after, anxiously awaited by us, a group of users experiencing (sometimes uneasily) the Feminist Server Manifesto's last statement: a feminist server "tries hard not to apologise when she is sometimes not available" 1.

ATNOFS was a collaboration between several communities that wished to take time to exchange ideas, skills, and knowledge about intersectional, feminist, ecological servers, with the goal of creating a long-term collaboration framework together with a network of people interested in self-hosting, federated practices that follow feminist, intersectional principles. The project was a reaction to the growing unease with the increased reliance on the media oligopoly of Microsoft, Google and zoom for communication during the lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic; a reliance that is now completely entrenched and normalised. All six collectives shared a wish for cultural and political expression outside the monitoring of employees and users via obscure, bureaucratic algorithms, and advertising monetisation.

During the year, six physical meetings were held, called “chapters,” which were documented on rosa. A web-to-print ecosystem of custom open source tools, created by Varia, were used to turn this documentation into one final publication2.

While I was collecting terms for the Catalog, it struck me that the naming of things... is a very male dominated space 3. Conversations about this topic happened in the terms of a rather homogeneous demographic. However beautiful the wording, the lack of diversity was painful. When Wendy van Wynsberghe from Constant tagged me in a message on Mastodon about a call for proposals, I decided to join what would later become ATNOFS, to find out what the practices around feminist servers have to say about a smaller environmental footprint and to find out if there is such a thing as an ecofeminist server.

I traversed each chapter – hypha (RO)4, Feminist Hack Meetings (GR)5, esc medien kunst labor (AT)6, Varia (NL)7, Constant (BE)8 and LURK (NL/UK)9 - with this focus, picking up on different threads throughout the project. Towards the end, I asked each community to suggest a term that could reflect their practice. Not as an act of territoriality, of coining a word, but as an attempt to deterritorialise the language around sustainability and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), to speak about it in our own words. This attention to language and wordings was a common thread throughout the project, a (re)claiming of space by (re)naming, speaking in and on our own terms with each other when logged on rosa.

Thank you to all who took the time to hang out and talk. It was so enjoyable, I forgot I was working. While writing I realized that representing these conversations perfectly is impossible, so I tried to find my balance on the thin line between 'you had to be there' and quoting people word for word, but I cannot resist this one, from a recorded conversation between me, Alice Strete, and Cristina Cochior from Varia:

M: "I had lots of stuff to discuss but we sort of meandered. That's OK, I didn't want to be very structured with questions like 'what is a feminist server?' and then note down your answer and copy it into my thesis."

A: "We also don't have an answer :)"


Thanks to the generous contributions of: Sergiu Nisioi and Anca Bucur of hypha, Mara Karagianni, Artemis Gryllaki and Aggeliki Diakrousi of Feminist Hack Meetings, Roel Roscam Abbing, Lídia Pereira and Aymeric Mansoux of LURK, Cristina Cochior, Alice Strete, Manetta Berends, amy pickles, and Julia Bande of Varia, Reni Hofmüller and Nina Botthof of esc medien kunst labor and Wendy Van Wynsberghe, Élodie Mugrefya, and Martino Morandi of Constant. Lots of gratitude to Solar Protocol (Tega Brain, Alex Nathanson and Benedetta Piantella) for featuring rosa's Ecofeminist Dictionary in their exhibition Sun Thinking.

  1. Reiter, U., Snelting, F., Reckard, D., Metzlar, D., Hofmuller, R., Sombra, L., et al. (2014) Are You Being Served? → Summit afterlife. Available from:
  2. Wynsberghe, W., Dobrițoiu, V., Săvoiu, T., SpiderAlex, Nisioi, S., Hofmuller, R., et al. (2022) A Traversal Network of Feminist Servers. Rotterdam: Varia. Available from:
  3. I must admit, I had just watched Douglas by Hannah Gadsby and felt particularly inspired.
  4. hypha (RO) is a collective based in Bucharest, Romania. It is an unfinished project. They are still writing their story. hypha is a non-homogenous group of individuals. The people taking part in hypha meetings are joined by the curiosity to explore technology with both curiosity and critique. hypha meetings have been informal. They discussed subjects that emerged naturally from their lived experience. Their understanding and relationship with technology differs from person to person. This created a space of diverse opinions. They have held space for their differences, and they have held each other through learning about the things that they struggled with. They also gathered to watch and discuss movies — curated documentaries about hacking culture. These stories sparked further exploration. This description is an adaptation of The Unfinished Story.
  5. Feminist Hack Meetings (FHM) is a project initiated in Varia, Rotterdam, that aims to create a safe space to explore the suggestions, urgencies, and potentials of feminist hack and tech initiatives. FHM organizes research meetings and workshops around technology and feminism, enabling diverse activities such as sociopolitical discussions, prototyping, skill sharing, and experimenting with various artistic practices. Feminist pedagogies and Free, Libre, and Open Source Software ideas of sharing inspire their working methods. Their sessions are open to people who envision the making of technology, and its processes, as a feminist practice.
  6. esc medien kunst labor is an art initiative, a cultural organization, and exhibition space based in the city center of Graz, Austria. While its main task is the production of art, it also puts emphasis on the observation and capturing of artistic processes. The artistic activities of esc mkl are determined by the fact that art is understood as a subsystem of social and societal reality. As a hub for the exchange of ideas, esc mkl serves to network between artists, scientists, theorists, and many more while also providing infrastructure, technical support, and advice. Furthermore, exhibitions contribute to the public awareness of art and promote artists.
  7. Varia is a collective space in Rotterdam focused on everyday technologies. They believe technology shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of specialists. It affects everyone and should enable, rather than preclude, diverse ways of living. Focusing on everyday technology means questioning the hierarchies in place within technical objects and therefore the valorisation of skills needed to design or use these objects. This means reconsidering the hegemony of high tech: cheap, artisanal solutions are their method of choice.
  8. Constant is an association for arts and media run by artists, designers, researchers, and hackers based in Brussels, Belgium. Constant works to systematically create collaborative situations that engage with the challenges of contemporary techno-life. At Constant, they develop projects at the intersections of art and technology in which, for them, it is important to make connections between intersectional feminisms, free software, and copyleft approaches. Together, these allow them to imagine webs of interdependencies, infrastructures of solidarity, poetic algorithms, conflicted data processing practices, and principles for multi- and/or fuzzy authorship. For them, generating puzzling questions is a strategy that offers openings for profound, complex, and playful research. These questions are stumbling blocks that help them realize that the technologies they are interested in are not about fluency, smoothness, optimization, and efficiency, but are instead full of assumptions and problems that demand our continuous attention.
  9. LURK started out as a small collective of artists/hackers, cultural workers, art, sound, and design practitioners (from makers to writers) interested in facilitating and archiving discussions around net- and computational culture and politics, proto- and post-free culture practices, (experimental) (sound) (new media)(software) art, and other such topics. They have been active since 2014, and today they are best described as both a collective and a community of communities. Practically speaking, they offer, to like-minded people and peers, the possibility to host their email discussion lists, access instant messaging services, participate on alternative social media platforms, as well as make use of an audio and video streaming server for events, radios, and miscellaneous experiments.