A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, the is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side the is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channals visionontv (2,622,479 views) and undercurrents (21,576,123 views)

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Hamish Campbell
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Date: 17/10/14
Richard Hering
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Patrick Chalmers
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Matthew Paul Foster
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Diamind
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Seraphine
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My videos - a winter project

Idea for a project for next winter.

I have been making activist films for 20 years well over 100 short radical actavist 3-10 minit news reports on many different campaigns. 

Tell the stories of video activism by my films – list all films then get key people who were in the campaigns (preferably in the video) to tell there motivation for being on the action/each film. Take all this footage to an abondond village on a Spanish island for 3 months next winter and edit it on solar power.

Its relatively simple and don’t have to work with anyone but me to get it done, which makes it easer (:

Is the value in stirring up the past?

DRAFT

looking at the actavist groups I have been involved with. Its interesting to try and record your view of what happened and why it happened. Though as most people will have internalised a different view to yours  this can be painful for thoughs who lived through this history. This rises the question of is this a useful thing to do? 

"those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it"  George Santayana

The is deferentially a problem of circler behaver in media activism and wider issues:

 

* Problem of liberal views of activist history 

* Problem of activist memory hole - our web resources are transient and the backups disappear. The mentality of activists tend to be “we invented this – this is new – we are the first”

* Academics will work with authoritative sources – this is inherently biased

* ...

Undercurrents and the birth of “video activism”

DRAFT 

With the birth of the camcorder a small organisation called undercurrets helped to shape the idea of “citizen journalism” well before it became a buzz word in the mainstream. How did it do this?

* distribution - it found a cheap universal technology the VHS video cassette.

* production - it had the only video editing sweat available for grassroots video making.

* mindset - A fertile crossover of mainstream and grassroots at the core of its DNA. it had an idea of quality which in hand with its radical horizontalisam of the ant-road movement it growth out of created a unique view of the world that you just didn’t see in traditional media.

* right place at right time - it came out of a movement and travelled within that movement – when that movement dispersed it to lost its way for a time.

Undercurrents is still running and supporting radical media though as the crew age's it has softened it's core subject matter.

Good activist media

Lets get positive for a moment What has worked in Alt/radical media?

DRAFT – looking at two contrasting successful activist media strategys.

When indymedia started in 2000 in the UK undercurrents the radical news organisation I was working for had played a role in its founding running a ALPHA build of the server code that the IMC sites were built on in 1999 at the reclaim the streets party in the city of London. A number of the undercurrents crew were involved in the group that setup in the UK IMC site and had its first outing at mayday 2001?

I used the site to upload images and videos on the day. I intaly had my doubts that such a radical experiment in OPEN publishing could work – so was a supporter and user of the IMC project before I became more fully involved – going so far as to found a regional IMC in Oxford. Soon after setting up in London the IMC project exploded around the world leading to the setting up of over 30-40 global sites and numerous IMC projects such as video, radio and print newspapers. Before blogs (and social media) the self publishing idea was a huge global success, oftern rivaling tredtional media on the audiance of the events it covered.

Climatecamp media team were a very nice bunch of people who successfully shaped and shifted traditional media coverage of climate issues in the UK (and around the world) . Rather than spend energy building there own media they focused on playing the traditional media and were very skilled at doing it – most have since gorn onto full time work doing the same for prominent NGO's.

So we have two differing but equal successful strategy for radical media, activists can and do do real affective radical media.

What are we building?

We are currently building up tools for the OMN

* linking

* newsflash

* video embed

* funding

We are building them in a facsimile of the OMN as we currently do not have any RSS-in to build the full network out. Without this core tool we can still build 3/4 of the network and test the trust based permissioning that will be at the base of it. This trust based permissioning is both a set of (practical) ethical principles and a concrete liferay permissioning and role system. We do not need the RSS-to do ¾ of the work as long as we work inside the liferay CMS for content sources. 

The OMN is a very simple thing

Open media networking

The data cauldron with configurer your own ladle tools.

Hubs/nodes - RSS item in and out ver tag for full participating sites 

Consumers/producers - native plug-ins and JS embeds for displaying and existing RSS out for source sites.

All data in and all data out – by trust, the users built the connections (which leads to paths to excellence)

Its application/platform agnostic.

The base is the hallmarks of ethical aggregation and opendata and (preferably) using openlicensing.

History of progressive media over the last 25 years

This is a NOTES for a DRAFT of a long post on history of progressive media over the last 25 years.

I have been working on subjects of technology and social change for over 20 years. It all started while I was at university and coming up to my final MA dissertation.

I was involved in live studio produced streaming internet TV in the early days “pirate TV” at undercurrents.

LIST the projects (many of them are linked from my old blogspot)

Around 15 years ago it became obverse that we had a looming crises in the funding and relevance of traditional media and a flowering of the possibility of a more open contemporary media by the internet.

I started to plan a project to fill this gap and build a better media. It started out called “offlineTV” as it was a internet distribution of the video from a prier CD-ROM based project “ruffcuts” the idea was to make the distribution of video by the web work in a simple and horizontal way. The consumption of this media was to happen offline at public screenings rather than on the web it self as the early web was still not a good place for reasonable quality video viewing.

Funding for this was not forthcoming... at the time as the was a general rejection of the scale of the upcoming digital transition crises in the traditional media ecosystem. I built a no-budgit version of the project bases on the applications built by the PCF a web server called Broadcast Masion (for torrents and RSS) and a offline torrent client, original based on azurease before moving to the miro client that PCF built. At this stage more people came on-board and we received some small funding to build a custom version of Miro client (making it less geeky). As we started to actually implement the project we came across the fundamental flaw in the possibility of a good outcome. The Miro client was customised 6 months after we decided to do this and by then the version of the software had moved on so we were working with out of date buggy code that could not be supported – it proved to be a dead end.

The main problem we faced was inertia – in the internet technology world things change very fast thus tasks have to be abstracted into big ideas, medium term goles and short sprints. The long term goles have to be simply recorded and change very little – there job is to keep the focus sharp on the medium turn goals so that the sprints are focused and worthwhile. The medium term goles have to be looked at at least every 3 months to keep them relevant. The short sprints should be just that short and preferably time constrained – otherwise the is a strong danger of them drifting into becoming the medium term goles and then settling into replacing the big ideas leaving the project itself barren and irrelevant. This has happened repeatedly in the visionontv project.

We found a opensource corporate CMS that was built with the DIY ethos of open collaboration and most impotently was built with open industrial standereds rather than transient fashionable activist technology. With this we built the hashed together the first version of our proposed site and looked to get the key missing technology created

* RSS in and out by tag

* A universal media player based on RSS as a feed language.

Then the is a open mindset based on co-operation and building a common wealth that is important.

Creative taging - some work practice notes

How its CORE to the project that you push aside something you don’t like in the information flow. Note I did not say remove it rather push it to one side this is important as this is the bases of the understanding of human nature that is embedded in the visionontv project. The act of pushing aside by ADDING meta data is a creative one as it will push it into the view of other people who will simulely push the object into view of other people intill it reaches the people who do like it. The problem we have is that people do not get beyond thinking about themselves. The instinct we have to change is that of BLOCKING that is inaction/disengagement or the active removal of content by censorship or wherewithal from the bigger project. This is a normal reaction in the “stupidly individualistic” world we live in and in no way surprising or unusal outcome. BUT it is clearly damaging to good outcomes we need.

If content is posted “within the broad guidelines of the hosting environment” YOU remove something you don't like by adding to it, not by removing it.

Controversial notes

Limitation of the people am working with

- those coming from the old left suffer from the limitations of the old left - Boxer the houses in animal farm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_(Animal_Farm) describes in a very B&W way.

- those coming from Newmedia suffer from the fashions of corporate controlled new media they relay on.

- those coming from activism are bound by the activist mindset – which often merges into a lifestyle

- those from the NGO world are bound by the limits of funding and careerer building.

Have been involved in many alt-cultures over the years and understand there limitations all to well. To have a hope of making this project work we need a core crew who reach outside these roles or at the minanem bridge them in a creative way.

A brief history of activism

This is a DRAFT

#Occupy has become bureaucratised and continues as e-mail lists and side projects, not very active.

#ukuncut has become institutionalised. Still active - presser protests in conjunction with NGO's

#climatecamp The anarcho' s left and most of the rest got jobs in NGO's a few continue in other campaigns. It has run its course, the influx of liberals had watered it down till its DNA failed. The healthy ones went onto Ukuncut. Fuckup, not conspiracy sadly. A spattering of global projects remain.

(google trends not accurate)

#submedia still banging the radical drum

#Indymedia failed from the opposite resion the activists excluded other groups in till the weren't a healthy mix left. Then the group dwindled by exclusion and inbreeding till its DNA was two narrow to evolve when it needed to change with the growth of personal publishing. It was replaced by blogs then corporate social networks. Still exists.

The are still some active IMC's would be intresting to look at why some are still working?

#undercurrents burned out of funding then failed to re-new with the fund-raising charity side not feeding into the active political production side. The charity/NGO side then shrank and dispersed. Still exists

(google trends not accurate)

#schnews had some lean times but seem to have survived in the radical project Though clearly fading on this graph of web searches

 

Damping down alternative voices

This is an interesting example of why visionontv is needed in the world of social media domination the video was pushed very hard and was shared extensively in Facebook and to a lesser extent in Twitter but has only 750 views - which isn’t rarely anufe to motive the continuing production of news reports (most videos get much less)

Facebook has algorithms to push up content that is advertising/branding friendly and twitter is building them. These will have a strong affect of damping down alternative voices. Traditional Social Media is no longer a way of distributing alternative voices - its time to build our own http://visionon.tv (need a link for the OMN)

What is needed for the next 5 years to build a open media web

* We have to discredit the domination of corporate social networking such as FB and twitter as solutions. (this should be easy – but needs to be put in a centralised place that is easy to send people to). WHY

* Deal with the “geek question” how to get user-friendly – user-relevant free tools (open-source) as a focus of geek development. Currently 99% of geek development time is wasted here, this is a HUGE untapped operturenerty for open tools. (this is a hard one as the problem is invisible/irrelevant to most people). 

* The need for open industrial standards rather than fashionable standards. This is a “geek chattering class” issue and is simply solved by a critical mass of chattering about open industrial standards.

* Co-operation is an issue for left/progressive contemporary media projects, its a steep clime to get simple linking between sites to happen. We are working on a number of projects to address this.

* Traditional Journalism is a obstacle to the building of open media, as they still have a gate keeping role on what is seen as news and many contemporary media people are sucked into the traditional media world as a career option due to the continuing failer of contemporary media business models. We currently don’t have a good solution to this problem.

If we have a strategy for dealing with each of these issues than we can realisticly move onto building real infrastructure. http://visionon.tv

UPDATE

Its interesting that people say to me that these things aren’t needed or are two vague – my answerer is simple and straightforward if you don’t deal with them then your project WILL LIKELY fail so you should at minimum have them as a highlight on your project description and at best have continuing documented experiments on over coming them for your project to succeed.

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