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

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views


Enter your email address:

Entries with tag mainstream .

Is ideology back, we have missed you

The ideology of Isis has too legs

The first leg is in Saudi Arabia – Wahhabi's its deeply intolerant and imperialistic with petro dollars behind it.

The second leg is western arrogant imperialism hiding behind the tatty mask of liberalism.

If we need to bomb anyone maybe it should be the home county and the posh bits of Washington. If we need sanctions they should be on our alies the Saudi's.

Its basic stuff. The question for me is our ideology and were are its legs.

How far is Balcombe camp a responsible alternative?

Its interesting to be in the middle of camp life doing something that is core to the camp functioning. Am one of the crew responsible for the tech tent, we run a solar power set-up that charges the camp phones, runs the laptops and provides shaky internet for legal, media and wider camp community. This is currently working pretty well but we have a number of issues that need addressing, lets briefly look at each one:

We are completely reliant on a single source of power – solar – this as anyone knows is unsubstantial as people are finding out on dark rainy days – as we move into the autumn/winter this will stop working in a meaningful way. The is a blindness and intolerance to addressing this issue that is worrying and the wider camp is not taking on the responsibility for this issue.

The majority of people while expressing green views treat camp infrastructure as if it was normal mainstream home infrastructure. The is a tendency to get angry if they can't plug their phone in when they wont to or use the internet after dark, or watch videos over our shaky internet connection. You can explain to them all you like but when you leave the tech tent to get a cup of tea often when you get back you will find 3 extra phones charging and the laptop left on with nobody using it etc.

The solution being pushed is HUGE increase in battery’s and solar panels and tech so you can treat natural resources power as if it was home power. This is a surprising and shocking unthinking indictment of our culture, its why fracking/dangerous energy is happening in the first place. It seems people are un-willing to move closer to nature (even though they are living on a road verge in the rain) rather they unthinkingly continue to use technology to bend nature to there convenience.

We still have individuals who are ripping apart working camp set-ups see my last post for motivations for this LINK The camp is not taking collective responsibility over damaging individuals and there actions, the camp meetings are dysfunctional and fractures, the only way most things are decided is be mob rule or attrition through boredom. Consensus is failing through a lack of trust in the shifting camp crew.

If you wont to challenge fracking and dangerous energy extraction in general you need to be at least able to offer and outline of a working alternative. How can you build a green/alternative with out looking at this issues/mind set in our own camp.

Activist media and the Value of the URL link

The currency of the web is the link, so by linking to something you are adding to its value.

Regrettably, activists endemically link to corporate media and social networking sites thus adding value and power to these large multinational corporations they are in theory fighting against.

As a recent example (but I could pick almost any), at the CRUDE AWAKENING event on October 16th 2010, video producers put out links to alternative video sites:



And these links were re-posted for a while, but soon most re-postings and linking were direct to youtube rather than to the real producers' websites.

Why is this a problem? Just to repeat, linking is probably the strongest currency on the web, and anti-corporate activists are too often spending it in the mega-stores rather than the much better social/political experiences of their local cornershops.  We CAN build a powerful alternative to the mainstream if we spend our linking currency wisely.

LINK to alternative media whenever and wherever you can, with a valid link (includes http:// - www is no good). If you like a film, see if you like the films around it, and LINK to that flow of films, rather than a single video. There's much more value in a flow, for viewers and for producers.

You can also embed alternative media players on your blog or website (for instance http://visionon.tv/embed) and LINK to the urls of those. This is more useful than embedding a single film from youtube.

Valid LINKS and LINKING to flows help to build alternative, non-corporate infrastructure and it's free.

“create the world you won’t to see”

Balance of power in new-media's place in society from 09/05/2009


The balance of power in alt-media is too unbalanced to create an effective alternative voice in the upcoming mainstream media crises. Lets look at video on the web and IPTV


Currently alt-media video is scuwred to the geeks, all the current CMS's and tools are to complex and obscurantist to use. The technology needed to produce video content is in place, but only from the corporate providers. If we don’t worry about this then what is missing for video is the craft of story telling and the language of film. Geeks rule, producers are largely ineffective, and consumers very minority.

In mainstream, it is equally skewed to the producers (in this case the owners), geeks are hobbled by blind corporate structures and out of date management, and the consumers are just fed lowest common denominator drip. Sky TV and CNN

In the new social media spheres the consumers and producers have a much more balanced role, but are still healds by the walled gardens of the corporate mindset. The producers of the backbone services such as Twitter and Facebook.

What we have to build is a better balance between the geeks who produces the inherently complex tools in a form that are both accessible and useable by producers and consumers, the producers are left to produces what they wont in freedom and the consumers to consume it and in tern play a role in its production. The consumers choose to support the geeks and producers they favour.

This last outcome is both inevitable and very uncertain depending on which side of the bed you get out of in the morning.

A conference we organised - DRAFT invite from 06/04/2009

The confrunce venue was evicted just before the event! so it when't ahead in hackney instead.

The Media is Dead, Long Live the Media!

May 8th-10th - new media conference on Raven's Ait Island.

The imminent commercial collapse of mainstream media, and its replacement by PR-driven news, threatens the journalistic integrity and independence necessary for a free scoiety. The next generation could be without the 4th Estate.

<<media crises links and txt>>

And new media has not realized its potential to fill this space.

Old media and new media need to gather together, sharing skills, resources and experience to create the media of the future.

We invite:

Traditional media people

Alt-media people

Media students

DIY culture practitioners

Indymedia people

Documentary filmmakers

Print journalists

Radio journalists

The conference will concentrate on the audio-visual side of media, with space for break-out groups for print, radio and web.

The space: an eco-conference centre on an island in the Thames 20 mins by train from central London.

We have a large hall, a cinema room, and 3 conference rooms. There is basic crash space for 40 people over the weekend. The conference will be run on an “un-conference” format, and will be funded by contributions for the space and meals over the weekend.

The conference is organised by visionOntv (http://visionon.tv) – an undercurrents project (http://undercurrents.org) <<bio>>

To book a place <<make a everbright account>>

To add ideas for the conference, contribute to the wiki or contact training@visionon.tv

The space:

You are very welcome to stay overnight to make the most of your time at the gathering, but we understand if you cannot.

There are three dorms of 6 beds each, and plenty of additional space and mattresses for camping. Please bring a sleeping bag.

A large vegetarian kitchen is available. Gathering participants will be asked to volunteer to create wonderful meals. If you have special dietary needs, please bring food with you.

Outline Agenda


From 5.00pm – social time

7.00 Dinner + go-round to introduce everybody

8.00 Film screening

Sort out accommodation



9.00am Breakfast

10.00 Workshops

1.00pm Lunch

Afternoon - Workshops

Including practical rapid-turnaround film making

7pm Dinner

8pm Film screening + editing


9.00am Breakfast

3 workshops (one practical on island, gardening, tidying etc)


Show our finished films

Social time (some people might head home)


A few people stay to clear up and help with space

The memory hole from 07/09/2010


The old-mainstream media used to dominate national, international and local news to such an extent that many voices were unheard and any radical story was systemically distorted.

With the onward march of the digitisation project (see more info LINK) the old-mainstream media is crumbling with the failer of its business model and the lack of any large scale replacement model waiting in the wings. This leaves a space which really needs to be filled.

Why radical media matters, this is a question that has been answered then forgotten repeatedly over the last 20 years.

Undercurrents grew out of a frustration with the limitations of mainstream media and made alternative media accessible to a wide ordnance. By nurturing grass-roots voices and empowering them to tell there “unreported” storeys using the powerful medium of video.

Indymedia grew out of the possibility of technology and created the ability for unmediated malty-media communication through a centralised collective process. That spread the idea of first hand reporting by normal people widely around the world.

Then many failed projects provided top-down solutions to this same problem of how to amplify the voices of the unheard. The is a wide and spreading NGO grave yard of failed “media projects”.

The current meteoritic growth of social networks and there maturing into personal life-streaming has provided a corporate controlled client server centralised solution to the same problem. But the issue of control and ownership is largely hidden from the view of million's of users. No such project as they are attempting has yet seceded on the open internet and if they were to succeed they would likely have to break the “key open bit” of the internet.

Lets briefly look at what happens next:

More and more “news” becomes personal and falls into the hands of a few dotcom “social media” companies. 

The old media/which used to dominate that survives the “digitisation transition” is increasingly filled with easy and profitable corporate PR rather than the old idea of journalism which it claimed to champion.

The radical alternative is playing very little role currently, this has to change.

What is the problem/solutions?

Good media is hard to make

Distribution networks need to be built and most importantly sustained – media is a flow not isolated individual items, this is (surprisingly) not understood well in the social media age.

Whona-abeys will always take up the openings in media spaces – and there agenda isn’t radical though they will try and wear radical cloths. Its important to not let them set/keep the agenda.

The left/progressive has a strong tendency to be divisive and uncooperative – its important to build this into any project that can be sustained. It always about a diversity of voices not one unified central voice.

Currently the is a “digital hole” in the sustainability this leads to the problem of sustaining media spaces outside the personal or volunteer space. The fading hope of advertising saving the paid media space is unlikely to come true. At its best, Social media sees through Advertising thus rendering it much less affective if it is used to hide/obscure unpleasant truths and to make transparent the empty creation of needs and foles promises that it is based on. It is looking like Advertising is not going to plug the gap in “digital hole”. 

This is what we need to do:

So we have to make something that is hard – easy

we have to build a diversity of sustainable media networks not many failed single sultutions.

we have to keep them open even when the will be strong voices for the one true way, the one authoritative voice dressed as consensus process.

we have to replace advertising as the financial model of in-depth journalism.

And standing in our way actually is very little, the old-mainstream is currently in a rout, the new/whonabeys have little real attractive to offer. And the openness and the tools we need are already close at hand. What are you waiting for “just do it” is the conclusion of how activist organise get to it (:

How do we work LINK to just do it

Trust and control are real life issues in mainstream and radical media (DRAFT)

Need to wright a post about how this affects/blocks meany diffrent areas, here is a good link for academia http://www.masmithers.com/2011/09/26/blogging-and-trust-in-universities/

Showing 7 results.
Items per Page 10
of 1