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Re: <nettime-ann> Free-Media / Cultural Hotspots Network Meetings
Thiago Novaes on Fri, 11 May 2007 19:20:08 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime-ann> Free-Media / Cultural Hotspots Network Meetings

que morram com a boca cheia de formigas.


On 4/25/07, Drew Hemment <drew {AT} futuresonic.com> wrote:
Free-Media / Cultural Hotspots Network Meetings

There is today a grass roots open source movement that is sweeping
across Brazil like wild fire and captivating the world's imagination.

A series of free-media events and gatherings over the coming weeks
will draw together UK individuals and groups working in free-media,
and culminate in a major conference and network meeting at
Futuresonic 2007 in Manchester with the leading figures from the
Brazilian open source movement joined by activists from across Europe.



Network meetings :

Friday 27 April / Cambridge
You are invited to a national meeting of
people and groups active in free-media.

Saturday 12 May / Manchester
Meet the leading figures in an open source
movement sweeping across Brazil like
wild fire.

Sunday 13 May / Manchester
An international gathering seeding new
local groups on the Brazilian model.

See also:

Addressing the sustainability of
future arts and culture.

An event looking at new techniques to
evolve media activism.

Hands-on experiments with video sniffin',
intercepting signals from wireless CCTV.


More info :


Friday 27 April / Cambridge
Temporary MediaShed, Dome 1, Parkers Piece, Cambridge

You are invited to a national meeting of people and groups active in
open source media production and 'free-media' sustainable computing.
The network meeting aims to reflect and draw together different
approaches to open source media production. The meeting will explore
the scope for a national tour of MediaShed's Gearbox free-media video
toolkit resource and website, a one-stop space for low/no-budget film

It will take place after the Gearbox launch on Friday 27 April
2pm-4pm, please come and meet us then. The venue is a temporary dome
that will be erected for Enter_Unknown Territories on Parkers Piece
in central Cambridge. For directions see the Enter_ website and
search for Parkers Piece or the domes.

If you are interested in attending this meeting contact
damien {AT} isomorphic.demon.co.uk
(on behalf of the MediaShed www.mediashed.org)

Initiated by MediaShed, hosted by Enter and part of a programme of
national activities led by Futuresonic. Gearbox is being implemented
for the first time in a commission for the Futuresonic 2007
exhibition, Art For Shopping Centres.


Saturday 12 May / Manchester
Saturday 12 May
Contact Theatre, Manchester


There is today a grass roots open source movement that is sweeping
across Brazil like wild fire and captivating the world's imagination.

A high profile session coinciding with the initiation of a local
Ponto de Cultura (Cultural Hotspot) in Manchester, based on the
Brazilian model, will be headed by Claudio Prado.

Claudio Prado (Brazil), 63 is the leading figure in the Brazilian
movement. He was deeply involved in the countercultural movement in
1960's London - he was one of the organizers of the first Glastonbury
Festival, and was involved in the launch of the International Times
and of the first format of Time Out. In London he met the musician
Gilberto Gil, now Culture Minister of Brazil, with whom he has had a
lifetime friendship.

Claudio is now in a unique position, working in a very new frontier
between government and media activists running the Digital Culture
Department of the Ministry of Culture of Brazil. He is the man
responsible for Brazil's involvement in international discussions
around digital and open source culture, and all its consequences in
IP regulations, cultural production and identity, creative economy
and so on. He is also responsible for putting all these concepts into
practice, through the Pontos de Cultura project - 600 grassroots
cultural centers spread all around the country that receive a digital
multimedia production infrastructure and take part in a series of
meetings and workshops regarding free and open source software for
multimedia production, open licensing, gift economy and similar

Claudio will be joined by other international open source activists
including :
Cristiano Scabello (Estudio Livre/Brazil), James Wallbank (Access
Space/UK), Matthew Edmondson (Open IT Up/UK), Dave Carter (Head of
Manchester Digital Development Agency), Vicky Sinclair (Ponto de
Cultura - Manchester), Pedro Zaz (Brazcast.tv), Phil Mayer
(Fluxo.org), Francesca Bria (Ponto de Cultura- Rome), Dario Biagetti
(Cultura Digitale Italia- Italy), Aoife Giles (Photographer from
Pontos de Cultura Brazil), MediaShed, UHC.

Conference sessions at 2pm and 8pm, with informal presentations
sessions in the afternoon.


Sunday 13 May / Manchester
Sunday 13 May, 12pm-5pm
Zion Centre, Hulme


Followed by a workshop at Futuresonic 2007 drawing together people
and groups active in open source media production, which will focus
on the establishment and proliferation of local groups, with a focus
on the goal of establishing a Ponto de Cultura (Cultural Hotspot)in
Manchester based on the Brazilian model. The workshop will explore
the local factors in different international contexts affect how open
source and free-media communities can develop and take root.


April 2007


"Our entire global system is a political construct, and Brazil is
doing its best to hack that system to make it work better for the
billions of people on this planet who dont own Microsoft stock. " -
Alex Steffen

From the favelas of Sao Paolo to villages far up the Amazon, in the
poorest communities in Brazil, a network of grassroots digital media
centres are leading an open source revolution. At the last count,
there were 600 of these Pontos de Cultura (Culture Hotspots) running
on free software, recycled technology and a balance between
government support and the dedication of local activists. Its a model
which promises to extend open source culture through a whole society
- and which is creating excitement around the world.

"Every license for Office plus Windows in Brazil means we have to
export 60 sacks of soybeans," explains Marcelo DElia Branco,
coordinator of the countrys Free Software Project. "For the right to
use one copy of the software for one year or a year and a half, until
the next upgrade, we have to till the earth, plant, harvest, and
export 60 sacks of soybeans. When I explain this to farmers, they go

The adoption of free, open source software by the government of the
worlds fifth largest country has a straightforward logic to it. But
its the vision that goes beyond that logic which is increasingly
drawing international attention. For Claudio Prado, the man who
started the Pontos network, another world is not just possible - its
already here. "The digital world is another world," he insists.
"Industrial Age logic is no longer sustainable."

Soon after the election of President Lulas government in 2002, Prado
went to see his old friend, the renowned musician Gilberto Gil, who
had just been made Minister of Culture. He wanted to talk to him
about an idea for using technology and cultural activity to help
Brazils poorest communities find "a shortcut from the 19th century to
the 21st".

"Because this wasnt something that could fit into the Ministry of
Culture the way it was, he asked me to wait a few weeks." Instead of
waiting, Prado decided to make a start - and so, as a few weeks
turned into two years, he found himself building a new department out
of good will and thin air. He would speak at international events on
behalf of the government - yet with no budget, the Digital Culture
programme was being run by activists and grassroots organisations,
instead of civil servants.

This suited Prado down to the ground. He talks mischievously about
how he "hacked the state" and built a government programme "from the
outside-in". And two years later, when funding finally arrived, he
was able to build on the network of artists, activists and hackers
which had collected around the project in the mean time.

Prados suspicion of bureaucracy and top-down, one-size-fits-all
solutions has influenced the way government interacts with the
Pontos. Rather than parachute new facilities into a community, the
programme works with existing local organisations. But although the
resources attached are significant, the selection process favours
organisations without previous experience of government funding.

"NGOs that are used to receiving money from government become experts
in - receiving money from government!" Prado laughs. "So we dont
choose the projects by whether they have their papers in order."
Instead, potential applicants are judged on their cultural and social
merit, and then provided with help to complete a formal application.

Each new Ponto gets a multimedia kit including a video camera and
microphones, as well as a set of recycled computers. But its not
about giving people a load of technology, then hiring a company to
come in and fix things every time something goes wrong. The focus is
on self-reliance and demystifying the grey box - opening up the
machine and learning how to maintain it for yourself.

The convergence of artists, activists and hackers is not unique to
Brazil. All over the world, groups are coming together and creating
hubs of free software, recycled technology and grassroots creativity.
The difference is, Brazil is the first country where a government has
got seriously behind the idea.

The hope is that, as open source culture makes the transition from
the margins to the heart of society, it can bring with it a different
approach to development and economics - one based on collaboration,
autonomy and decentralisation.

Text commission for Free Studio event at Futuresonic 2007 :



Free-media is an approach to technology and media production which
makes use of the surplus of computers and electronics in society,
promoting recycled computing and open source methodologies. It
doesn't cost much because it makes use of public domain Free and Open
Source Software, and recycles freely available old equipment, waste
materials and junk (FOSS). Free-media increases access to media
technologies, especially to the people who need it most and can
afford it the least, and lowers environmental impact of the media we
produce and consume.

Free-media is about finding inspiration and resources in our built
and natural environment that were previously dismissed as being
without value or irrelevant. It is media that is open, transparent,
unrestricted and outside proprietary controls, so you can freely
change it, rewrite it or rebuild it to suit yourself. Free-media
allows signals, things, objects, people and actions to pass "freely"
between each other. It is about opening up the implicit meaning of
media itself - to mediate not by controlling and ordering what can be
said, shown or heard but by providing the means to unblock channels
of access, release currents of energy and reveal the margins of what
people can feel, sense, reason and imagine.

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