About the Inaugural OS & Liminal Lab Autonomous Mechanics Radical Field Practice Cohort

I’m super excited to share this new project which brings together creative agents from The Operating System and Liminal Lab’s wide-ranging network — participants and facilitators from our workshops, authors and artists, collaborators, volunteers, and other culture workers — for a year-long experiment in collective autonomy, using the infrastructure of the OS & Liminal Lab.

This idea is, in a way, an iteration of the OS’s existing cohort model, but one that moves away from the notion of submission and “acceptance” of projects — which has always been problematic, used as a default, and not truly in keeping with the intentions of this larger ecosystem. While it offers the opportunity for publication, this is done in the spirit of encouraging and facilitating archive-facing, future-history-reframing, autonomous documentation practices for creatives who have already shown a willingness to eschew the top-down value systems being offered and validated by institutions. In fact: this first, invited cohort has been chosen explicitly for their demonstrated work against the grain.

[MEET THE COHORT! click here]


The members of the cohort are invited to participate in a variety of core programmatic elements, meant to complement and amplify their already existing practices. However, these “practices” can be emergent or in flux, without current “projects” or funding, a position familiar to so many creative people living under capitalism, and rather than make this a barrier to entry it becomes invitation, study, and is considered not as failure but simply another state of creative being.

Central to this project is a belief that it is the exploratory position of the practitioner towards their lives and the world in which we live that forms “art” — rather than the delineation of concrete “works” or “projects”; cohort members are actively encouraged to document (in any medium) their relationship to or interactions with health, labor, institutions, family, or any quotidian experience as opposed to being expected to produce or establish an explicit “project” or “publication” in the conventional sense. There is ongoing documentation from each cohort member, and then a final publication / collection and exhibition planned from the collective, as well as an invitation to use any and all of the OS’s Open Access Design Protocol / Project Resources as well as the Liminal Lab platform for the production and publication of objects and public programs.


The OS’s Field Notes series has been one of our longest running content streams, which I began ten years ago in 2012 with an invitation (drawn from my own background doing social science field practice) to artists from all disciplines to eschew formal projects and take documentation of their lives — our first mini-series, “From the Cannery,” from Jacob Perkins, followed the poet, painter, and co-founder of Mellow Pages library on his summer job working a fishing boat in his home state of Alaska.

For this cohort, the maintenance of a Field Notes series, appearing at least monthly, forms the backbone of the Year-Book Committee’s commitment to the process and the documentation of their practice / work / life over the space of the year. While some may choose to use this platform to create or sustain an explicit project, (as some have already begun) this is not expected or even necessarily encouraged.

The Field Notes series from each cohort member might then feed an individual publication, or support or inform a Liminal Lab program — but all series will become part of the final collective material documentation.


Each month, the cohort is invited to come together to gnash out some topics we are addressing in our practices. There is a challenge here that we’ve faced in the OS before, in that I am seeking to hold very light facilitation and provide infrastructure for something that hopes to be horizontal and become model for future operations outside this framework and/or without me present. I will lead initial sessions, but throughout the year cohort members are invited to lead a session or to propose a topic for the group to address. These will on occasion be open to the public as a Liminal Lab Program.


The project of the OS has long understood the “book” as a radical archival documentation and dissemination space: a curatorial, historical, collective, personally powerful object. In considering with intention the archival book-space as that which not only documents and long outlives the physical tenure of a performance, exhibit, organization, project and human producing it but also as the accessible vehicle presenting and offering the history of our making to those excluded and/or not able to enter / be present, I’ve long framed this larger experiment in documentaion as archive-facing. And as such, the year-book is archive facing. We are a committee, a committed group come together for a year to book, to document, and to create archive-facing materials of that work, while we work, and then at its conclusion to put this work together and consider what that means, and annotate into and onto the collective autonomous nature of this project: working alone, together. The cohort is envisioned to close with a collective publication / collection of publications and an exhibit, virtual and potentially live and/or traveling, but a performance or other programming may be emergent. All of this collective documentation is understood as part of our Year-Book.

Learn more about the 2022 cohort members here.



The Operating System & Liminal Lab is an open access social practice experiment in the redistribution of creative resources and infrastructures founded and facilitated by Elæ Moss with an ever evolving global network of creative collaborators of all disciplines (and species).

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Elæ Moss

is a multimodal creative researcher and social practitioner, curator, and educator. Designer @The Operating System. Faculty @ Pratt & Bennington [they/them]