Posts Tagged ‘cartographies’

While we justified our trip to Brazil as attending a conference, I will now openly admit that it was actually a festival. After three days of listening to all kinds of interesting projects and networking opportunities, I felt like my head was flowing over with information and new inspiration to take home again.
Experiencies exchangeTo give you readers some context: Festival Cultura Digital is an International encounter where different people, projects and groups present themselves in order to strengthen an international network of people working in the field. Three days full of experiences exchanges, workshops and keynote speakers such as Yochai Benkler, Michel Bauens, and Paolo Coelho amongst othersall treating the workings of the web, independent media, hacking and so much more. We were there, now known as ‘map:m()b’ to talk about mapping stories and community journalism.
We were scheduled only on the third day of the festival and therefore had the rest of the days to watch and learn from the other projects. Many interesting ideas passing the agenda. The festival hosted such an great amount of projects and initiatives that it was impossible for us to attend them all, however I do want to give you an impression of some projects to expect there.

Waste2No.
Waste2No project explores how the Internet of Things (IOT) can be integrated with Urban and domestic environments in order to enhance sustainability. In this stage, the project aims to create a website that allows people to share, sell and trade.
Waste2No plays in to the community feeling, of sharing things with people in your environment. It is an app where you can point out the things you can miss by scanning them and putting them in the object cloud. Consequently, people in your close vicinity do the same and when you need something you can look up through the app if people around you might be able to lend it to you. I liked this project very much having in mind the enormous amount of waste people produce. From my own obsession with recycling, I could only cheer for this project as not only do we prevent ourselves from buying everything, it will also increase the connections within a neighbourhood.

Chokepoint
This project aims to map ‘owners’ on the internet. Where are the control nodes of the service used by thousands of global citizens.
An Amsterdam based project that gives workshops on how the internet works. They for example teach children on how the network functions and ask critical questions such as:”Is the internet only turned off in a little circle, or in the whole country?” If there is still connectivity you can use that still to communicate. An important asset as we are ever more exposed to the Internet and more dependent of technology. Asking critical questions can’t start early enough and is done way too little!

As I mentioned earlier, there were many many more projects but I will keep the amount to be discussed here limited.

The second day was important for us as we would meet up with several people from the cartography group. As the schedule of Cultura Digital was quite chaotic despite the strict time schedules, we noticed that many of our ‘colleagues’ were as lost as we were. Eventually we decided to make our own network meetup and had a long and useful talk with Breno and Mariana, two members of a group called Mapas de Vista, an app in order to map on CMS systems such as Drupal and WordPress. After a short presentation of Leo, the more technical expert behind the system he got us convinced and in only a few mouse clicks, we destroyed our whole website. Obviously, as it was supposed to be a simple operation, it always turns out be not so simple in the end. Luckily, we were in the presence of the right people and were able to install the website the right way eventually. Even though not nearly finished yet, please feel free to have a peek at our new website: http://mapmob.org.

After that, all participants were invited to have a look in IPE, at Morro da Conceiçao, a digital culture space with a political notion. After a tour in a beautiful part of Rio, we were treated with a performance by a theater group treating gender topics amongst others.

IPE

The final day then, we were scheduled for a presentation that got completely on the background of all the interesting things to do. We spend the whole morning editing but managed to complete it at the due time. Unfortunately our attempt to upload it ended up a little buggy, but we’ll try soon again. Ellen prepared a last minute Portuguese presentation informing about our project Dreammachine.
And as we haven’t been updating you much lately, this is shortly what it’s about:
Our aim is to visualize dreams of youngsters in order to make them think out of the box. Not only do we believe dreaming is great and necessary to get yourself inspired to achieve things, at the same time we want to challenge them to use new techniques such as video and photo editing. Our experiences so far, in the Netherlands are that many of the kids still remain dreaming in terms of work and that only few talk about becoming happy. As well money seemed to be an important issue for many of the kids (often from Moroccan and Turkish descent).

The gran finale of Festival Cultura Digital was the arrival of old minister of Culture Gilberto Gil. Although I often don’t feel much for ‘the famous’ I caught myself laughing sheepishly as mister Gil patted me friendly on the back. A proud feeling of our first festival as map:m()b duo.

 

 

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In my second week in Medellín I spent some time on my project with Hiperbarrio. The organization tries to reach social inclusion through means of digital media in several depressed neighbourhoods in Medellín. By giving workshops in photography, blogging, podcasting and the use of free software, they try to keep the youngsters off the streets. Their methods are based on the idea of sharing knowledge, where anyone that can add something should give a workshop to the others to share that knowledge. Free culture therefore plays a very important role in keeping the organization sustainable.

This Tuesday I went to La Loma, an area even behind la Comuna 13, about which I blogged in an earlier post. The problem with this area is that it has been home to about all the violence and corruption that you can think of. As the area is located in a gray area of what is considered La Comuna 13 and San Cristobal, order and state presence have been largely absent. This led to the forming of gangs, paramilitaries, left wing insurgents such as FARC that have long used the area for their drugs-related businesses at the expense of the inhabitants. When I arrived everything seemed calm, but Henry, the coordinator of the program knew to tell me that this could change any day. In the library of La Loma I speak with Andrés, an ex gang member that has now dedicated his life to his work at Hiperbarrio. I’m guessing he is around my age, 23, 24 maybe. Hiperbarrio, in which he enrolled 2,5 years ago, saved his life he says. Before that he was mainly involved in the gang life trying to ‘protect’ the ‘invisible borders’ that mark the region of La Loma. In Hiperbarrio he entered another reality where it was about collaboration, learning and being critical to the society they live in. He is now one of the coordinators that implements this program in another area in Medellín, using one of the public libraries as their weekly meeting points.

Another project that I was particularly interested in was related to Cartographies. Gabriel Vanegas, the sub-director of Hiperbarrio told me that they are now trying to map the area of La Loma, with all its streets and institutions to establish themselves on the map (photo): “If you search for La Loma now, you often get an area that seems to be just woods, but it’s more than that, and it is important for the people here that they do not become forgotten”. And who better to tell you where to go than the people that actually live in the area? The project therefore makes special use of the locals to draw up the map: “with cameras and pencils, we send the kids out on the street to create their vision on the neighbourhood. And although a slow and tedious process, it is advancing.”

Talking about cartographies also reminds me of the final results of LabSurLab. I know I already went a little too excessive over this, but I can’t help sharing one more video. Most of the participants were already involved in similar projects across the world such as AntenaMutante, Platohedro, No2Somos, Cartografías Sonoras and Hacktitectura to name some.

This is the video that used the song of Yhiel, the young rapper I commented on earlier. The cemetery where many of the victims of Operación Orion Rest In Piece stands central because in the end, it doesn’t matter to which class or group you belong to, we all end up the same…

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYKyswQC%5D

On the Meipi Map you can find the complete result of all the videos shot during LabSurLab presented as cartographies.

These are 2 of the videos that were made during the 5 day workshop ‘Cartographies’ @ LabSurLab, Medellín. Within these days, several groups went into la Comuna 13 to interview people, and record memorable places. Artists, activists, academics, hacktivists, rappers, video producers; all worked together to make it happen in just 5 days. Nice fact is that most of the music in the video is produced by local rappers of Comuna 13. In one of the other videos, a song was used by Yhiel, the young rapper that got killed by the ‘sicarios’, or hitmen, only about a few weeks ago. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s worth watching: