Balkan.OS - A Multi-World Operating System

Gheorghe Dan

Among Romanian peasants the ritual narration of stories (i.e., during the night) defends the house against evil spirits. Still more, the narration leads to the presence of God.

Creating a world entails the reconciliation of the real and the apparent. A system which legislates a strict distinction between these is a kingdom of darkness. So long as this distinction is maintained we cannot begin to understand.

This paper discusses Balkan.OS, a multi-world autopoietic operating system, that employs a region's folkloric and cultural artifacts in
an osmotic, continuously adaptive, context aware, dynamically relational assemblage that transcends deterministic/individual aspirations and the conscious imagination, towards a continuum of permutations between the real and apparent.

Unlike its western counterparts, Balkan.OS is not designed, programmed, nor authored. These approaches proclaim to liberate and empower us, yet often the answers they devise imprison us further by narrowing our field of vision so that all we are left observing are the ideas we create, superimposed upon the world around us. The gains afforded are often contrasted by the scarcity of meaning left behind.

We adopt the view that the world of living things contains the restrictions and structures necessary for a meaningful existence, resilience and growth. As such Balkan.OS is deeply rooted in the authorless, ageing and evolutionary processes that comprise a region's folklore and culture and embraces reality as a generative, multi-layered continuum.

Balkan.OS is not a dislocated, contextless operating system programmed by experts for experts. It is an operating system suitable for children and the non-specialist. It is continually defined by the myriad interactions of a community, and therefore reflective of its social, intellectual and emotional dynamics. It is personally and communally meaningful and astutely intuitive, enabling the transposition/pollination of skills and knowledge between the real and the apparent.

The Balkans represents a commingling of worlds, what Foucault refers to as spaces that are "capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible ...". Its inhabitants, having been blown together and apart by the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Habsburg empires, have evolved a multiverse of cultural traditions and artifacts.

Balkan.OS embraces this multiverse and presents an invitation to rediscover the pleasure of gesture, the spirit of curiosity, the notion of intimacy and sharing, towards an unpredictable yet dialogical, affective, continuous state of being.

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