The Witches Cauldron - open activist archive
The Witches Cauldron
The open activist archive is a data “commons” based on the #4opens and motivated by the #PGA hallmarks.
We are aiming to create a data soup of metadata enriched digital items hosted on redundant federated network of hosts/servers around the world. The project will start by hosting the majority of the content from the expo on http://archive.org
Anyone can be part of this federated network which will be built out using the tools of the Open Media Network #OMN and #KISS to facilitate DIY is at the core of the project.
In this as a general statement we REJECT arrogant “expert’s” and “better” technological solutions that move us away from this core #KISS and #DIY ethos of The Witches Cauldron project. Simple and human scale or we will #FAIL should be in our minds as new people grow the project.
Rebooting Alt/Grassroots Media
The OMN Beta is a subset of the full open project.
Its a just the linking part. A first step to the data soup and open per2per network.
A single node will facilitate existing alt/grassroots media projects to link to each other. This will hopefully, partly overcome the #geekproblem to brining in talented developers to roll the rest out in a open way.
If this is blocked and stalls (possibility) the is away the evil of "funding" but its a many edged tool that cuts in all to predicable ways.
The BETA will roll out
* Basic content flows by tag
* Basic video player flow embed by tag
* Basic audio embed flow by tag
* Basic “blog/site/project list flow” by tag
* Basic “personal” grouping/flow by tag
Many of the existing radical alt/grassroots media sites (PGA hallmarks, #4opens) will be feed into the network (opt out) and all of the sites invited to become a active parts of the OMN by embedding sections/sidebars.
For the geeks http://omn.openworlds.info:8080
An early copy left project I setup while at undercurrents
Ruff cuts MPG1 Video CD-ROM
The project is complemtery to the VHS news video; it entails putting lots of roughly edited news shorts and good video clips on to a computer playerbal CD-ROM.
The CD’s can be freely copied and given away
The CD’s can be sold by us and the video producers to raise production costs.
They could be used for campaigning fundraising.
This is a radical alt-media project using existing simple, universal and very cheap technology. The common CD ROM, entwined with the international video standard MPG, and the web standard HTML.
Easy to edit
Basic editing is much easier now. Once you have an editing laptop it becomes second nature to do a ruff edit of any story you cover.
Of course making something that people will really watch is a little more time consuming and difficult. This project isn’t aiming to be whatchabel in the traditional way. It’s more for the people who were at the action or as a video resource. Also a means of communicating the fact that things you don’t see on tely are going on. People can get one of the actions they were on and of course will also get video of lots of other actions… It’s a stepping stone for people to create more polished and finished pieces for the undercurrents news video.
It’s a great distribution tool for an indymedia vagabond with a laptop with a CD burner and a DV camera. Get a long contacts list, a round the world ticket, shoot stories as you go and create and sell CD’s to finances the whole shebang, in the process nurturing the alt-media distribution network.
Copy-left and funding
The CD’s would be copyleft, that is, free to reproduce not-for-profit in whatever form. Anyone could create copies and give them away… If they sold them for profit this would break the copyleft agreement, unless they had a fund raising agreement. The outcome of this would be that the CD’s would be free to activists, who would get off the behinds and copy the CD’s (for free) for there friends and campains.
Sell the video CD’s for say:
We would agree to the selling of the CD’s in most circumstances
As a fund raser for a good course or project.
If the individual or organization produced one of the video slots on the CD.
With a funding sharing licenses
The project becomes sustainable to all concerned because the CD’s can be sold by both the producers and contributors with certain limitations.
Free to give away
The CD’s are of course free for anyone to produces and give away.
The producer of each video segment (or for each 5 min) automatically has the right to create and sell £100 ponds worth of CD’s. After this they can sell CD’s on the normal fund sharing bases.
The CD’s can be sold by people who have an agreement with ruff cuts, this will be on a funding sharing bases with 1/3 going to Ruff cuts and 2/3 of the sale prices going to the fundraising organization. This would be around £1.50 for a £5 sale and £3 for a £10 sale.
Notes on funding
The “free” contributor sales are limited to stop abuse of the system, with out some limit an enterprising capitalist, who made one piece, could make seruse money out of other people’s work. Why have money coming into the center? After working all my life in the alternative I am very awear that projects tend to disintegrate if the is not a strong focus to what they are doing. For this project to work well we need a sustainable core to the project, from both an infrastructure point of view and the people working on the project.
Sustainability need to cover the cost of the technology, Laptop, DV deck, Camera, tapes and Blank CD’s. The replacement cost of the laptop or Camera is around £1500… they will brake or get stolen. Thus need a cersurten level of funding not only to subsist but also to cover replacement cost of expensive equipment. For the project to have a strong core it needs to be abeal to provide the people working on it with a resnebal subsistence’s wage, which they would augment threw what ever other projects they were involved in.
Out reach persion
Video activist training
At the core of this project is not only the means of distribution, but a strong commitment to training as a means of creating content to distribute. If the project managed to create excess funding, that is it makes a profit this would be plowed back into firstly video activist training. This would also be a process of re-distributing the core funding to the producers, as the obverse choice to run the video training would be the very dispersed and embed in there communities producers of the ruff cuts video them self. And secondly to fund outreach screenings to the wider community.
Ruff cuts is both a process and a distribution technology that needs to be imbedded in the full breapth of the alt-media and wider globalization moment. Should be a joint project with indymedia? As a means of getting new video stories, fundraising and sharing distribution. But all the problems of working with a disorganization!
The basic Ruff Cuts MPG1 CD-ROM can be complemented by the higher quality MPG2 SVCD standard which allows around 40 minits of “DVD” quality video on a standard CD, this would allow more established video activist groups to distribution of more polished full length documenetrys threw the copy-left network.
The advantages of the Video CD over VHS:
Copying time CD takes around 10 minutes, VHS 1 hour
Similar quality of video
Can fit over 1 hour of video on a CD
Can be instantly edited, rearranged, dubbed or subtitled
Small to carry and cheap to post.
Will play on very widely availably low-speck computers
Will play on any computer platform, Mac, PC, UNIX etc.
Very cheap to mass-produce.
Making them one off with CD-R’s takes about 10 min and costs around 50p with label and cover
Commercially printing them makes them cheap anufe to give away 25p or less.
Sexy – cool image of video CD
Could be distributed threw more traditional outlets? Given away on magazine covers?
Advantages of the project for Undercurrents Archive (optional but worthwhile)
The undercurrents archive is both a wonderful resores for video activist film makers and a place were the ethical mainstream can get access images and voices from “our” point of view. The archive manages to servie and pay one meager wage threw these sales. The ruff cuts encoding of the MPG1 would bring much new footage coming threw the archive, which if the original producer agreed could be placed in the archive. This would be good both from a historical point of view; it would preserve the history of this alternative movement and from a finatial point of view of the producer and the archive if the video was used in more mainstream ethical productions. The CD-ROM would act as a good shop window for the archive – as the MPG1 video is only ¼ of broadcast resolution anyone who seriously wonted to make money from the video would need access to the full resolution original.
The global ruff cuts network
This project at the moment is an English language one, we need to think of other language versions – I prefer languages rather than nations as a means of making divisions, to be discussed during the process of launching the UK (global) model. It is relatively easy to make the Txt on the CD’s multy language, and the with some clever programming subtitles on the video could be made multilingual – that is you could choice the language but this would be a lot of work and commitment which I don’t think is around at the moment.
The advantages of the copyleft system
It means that any productions using part of the MPG1 video from the CD would have to be distributed under the copyleft system, thus could not be charged for. It normalizes the problem/delight of rampant piracy of the video pieces which exists already with out undermining the fundraising potential of the original producer of the video. It always camera people to feel more secure letting there video out into the world, thus allowing more people to see radical images. It is a positive alternative to the problem of hording lots of dusty tapes unviewed on shelves…
It decentralizes the distribution system while allowing some money to come back to the producers. Even if they have to sell the Video CD’s them selves!
Ruff cuts video CD project – provides VHS quality video which can be instantly edited or changed, dropped into people own projects. With web links to organization and more info. Have two CD’s finished.
Video CD’s simple to use and copy VHS quality video, am in the process of encoding the undercurrents tapes 1-10 in this format. Have done undercurrents 10
SVCD’s are 40 min’s of hi-quality “DVD” on a standard CD, a good format for relicesing new documentary’s have Globalization and the media on this format.
A copy left contract (needs to be cutermised)
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Hope filled tributary's feeding fresh water to the polluted mainstream
DRAFT of 3 examples of “working” contemporary alternatives and their malcontent’s.
The Village Butty
A lovely project provided originally by a hard-working individual with small funding and continuing energy. The need, boaters need a warm dry open common place, if their unique contemporary “village” culture is to survive the long term slow and grinding pushing out of CRT and local councils, not to menturn the self inflicted internal sabotage of its own often mad dispoleing crews.
The village butty is a re-booting/rebrinding of the older james's butty for hiar, the early project had burned out then faded due to the the off balance of money making outreach and community value boater use. In the end it alienated both and with a waning of good will and no money coming in the butty was going to be sold. A new younger more energetic crew came in to save the day, with a real crowed funding outreach, boater community lead, the butty was saved.
But the is a denial/unknowing of the need to balance/manage community that is pushing this out of balance to the money making side (fair anufe the failer of this side of the balance was the resion for the need for the reboot). But if this understandable swing reaction is not brought back into balance then the good will of the community side of sustainability balance will be lost and with out this it becomes harder to keep a boat working on the water, aspesheraly in such a small place as London. The boater community provides the couler and direct practical support when needed, as well as its own headaches ;)
This needs a community hart-hart gathering to unblock the constipation that is currently blocking the shit from coming out, a bit of composting will need to be preprepared for this gathering for the resulting smell not to drive people away.
The London Hackspace
One of the few continuing/ongoing “secessess” of alt-DIY organising in the UK. It is not only a fantastic place full of interesting, competent and active people, its organised in a way/model for how grassroots could be expanded out to fill in more social spaces.
Was originally set-up and run by a competent invisible affinity group as the space grew this became an opaque affinity group, with suseass and increasing membership this opaque group became visibly dysfunctional due to dilution and burn out of the original core crew. Affinity organising, while still core, was submerged into bureaucracy, hard rules and angry trolls hitting each other with them filled the online spaces and left the real world space dulled and filled with low level broken.
The space continues and a big smoky flare up and resulting gathering helped to resolve the surface issues, but the underlining fractures have not been addressed to truly sustain the project, lets hope it survives the move to the next premisses and continues to grow and mutate.
The Hive Dalston
This one started well but fell into an ideological clash that became hidden in a smoke screen of personalty politics. The lack of any clear vision made it impossible to resolve as the underlining tensions were blocked from being spoken. One side pushed the other aside and took over sole running of the project, it became a ideologically driven shadow of what it needed to be, in this it moved to being part of the problem rather than part of the solution, making it hard to continue to support the project in any way.
This is not beyond rescue, and the balance between (selfish/stupid) evil and (open/growing) good is still in the air. One solution, a moment of evil, a bit of power politics would put this project back on track, light and dark need each other, some times the devil is right.
To move all these projects on we need to reknit the broken bones of the past.
Smartphone Solar Charging
Am thinking of running a workshop on small scale solar power.
Here is an example of a cheap set-up that will run your large smart phone (and charge a tablet)
This a Samsung Note phone to give you an idea of the size.
The panel is rate at 1amp were the 6000mAh pass through USB battery is rated at 2.1amp's
Thus the set-up will charge your phone as fast as if it was plugged into the wall, using the battery as a reserve of power to achieve this.
This is a light weight and cheap solution costing less than £40 a realy usefull travel and adventure tool.
DIY solar power to far
Many of the times I tell people how easy it is to build a small solar power set-up, I am given a dismissive and superior reply that I should be making my own panels not advising people to buy ones. This like many insecure replies is both wrong, dis-empowering and could be dangerous. Here is an article on the subject http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/Solar-Articles/build-your-own-solar-panels.html the article highlights its not a bad thing to actually make your own solar panel, just don’t do it as a serious way of generating DIY power. To give building a go try this article http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Solar-Panel
A basic solar power setup for summer laptop use and winter lighting
Here are a list of components you could use to build a basic solar power set-up for powering a laptop in the summer, charging a phone and LED lighting. In the winter it would provide lighting and basic phone charging but would have problems keeping a laptop running. The images and links are just examples, you would need to research at time of buying for best cost/utility of components. Am up for consultion on this.
The panel goes in a sunny location (high up and out of the way) with no shade, the cable comes down to close to the battery (make up the connectors for the charge controller) connect the panel to the charge controller and the controller to the battery with as short wires as you can manage. Then the battery to the 3 way splinter, plug the 12v cigarette lighter plug into the splinter for laptop and USB charging. Wire up the LED light strips with cheap wire to the battery with a switch. Then connect the voltage meter to the battery its very important not to run the battery at less than 12v as it will permanently degrade its function after a while. Try and keep the battery full charged at 12.6v if you can, to do this it is best to use the power during full sun in the middle of the day and not at night, if you store the power to use latter you can lose as much as 40% of it...
100w solar panel from under £100
Basic Solar Charge Controller Solar Panel Battery Regulator under £20 (a 10amp charge controler is fine)
*** you will need to get the correct conecters for the cables for the charge controler you buy ***
12V 110AH Leisure Battery at under £100 you could just use a old car battery, but it would degrade in 6 month to a year depending on use.
You need a "lug" to put on the top of the 12v battery to screw the connectors two and rings to put on the end of the cables
BATTERY LUG TERMINALS around £10
To connect things to it you need:
MULTI SOCKET CAR CIGARETTE LIGHTER SPLITTER USB PLUG CHARGER DC 12V under £10 you would need to cut the plug off and directly connect this to the battery (remmber red (white strip) goes to + and black to - if you do this wrong ones you burn out the USB sockit)
Warm White LEDs Waterproof Flexible Strip Lighting12V, best off buying these from hongkong (less than £15) then cut it up to fit the space.
This would come to £200-250 with out the battery and take a day to put together with basic soldering/crimping skills. Probably a day to order from ebay and Amazon.
* use a volt meter to check polarity when connecting cables
* use your nose to smell for burning and look out for heat
* never plug any 12v components directly into the solar panel with out the battery in between (apart from charge controller)
* don’t run the battery under 12v for any length of time
* keep the battery full charged as much as possible
* in the summer make shore the battery is in a well ventilated space as it may produce explosive gases
* in the winter make shore the battery doesn’t freeze
* to conserve power run your laptop with its internal battery disconnected
Repair fibreglass boat
Work to do before painting the outside of the boat. Reparing dings, scraps and dents. Filling in the missing grounting on joins and waterprofing leeking nuts and bolts.
How do we organise from 19/09/2009
This was copied over from the visionontv process page:
This is the process of the visionOntv affinity group so far (an affinity group is a trust network)
At the core of any affinity group is a core/periphery relationship and a usheraly unspoken way of moving between them.
At base, the project is DIY for core crew:
* For simple changes and improvements, just do it. If you think people should know, e-mail them.
* For major changes (e.g. changing key text on the front-page), run it past people first, including those who may disagree.
* There should generally be time to put up everything you can as a draft to the wiki page so others can have input. For really big changes, talk to everyone, and call a meeting if people feel it is needed.
* If someone keeps fucking up and ignoring the process call a meeting.
* When the project has grown start a weekly online meeting for people to update everyone on what they have been up to. And as a way into the affinity group.
Do everything you can in public (ONLY stuff that needs to be is ADMIN only)
If the trust network breaks down, and they do sometimes, then people should do different projects. And by doing well in their project re-build the trust based on common understandings. Trust is built by doing core things that need to be done and lost by talking about doing things or just taking up time and space with no outcome. If anyone is terminally annoying then in the end they will go away - it's best not to feed the trolls.
Solar Vagabond - escape the rat race
You can run IT equipment with renewable energy. Would you like to escape the rat race and move your office to the hart of nature, deep in a old growth forest, camping on a beach. Anywhere the is sun you have a power source.
In this video I take you through how to set-up a basic portable solar set-up to power a laptop. The cost is around £300-400 for a DIY build.
Find out more at http://hamishcampbell.com/gadget
What is a Rainbow Gathering?
"The largest non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization. To be honest, the Rainbow Family means different things to different people. I think it's safe to say we're into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles. We also believe that Peace and Love are a great thing, and there isn't enough of that in this world."
Is a good discription of rainbow gathering from Benoit Paillé
Why do activist media? from 17/09/2009
This was written as a reaction to activist focus on getting traditional media and the growing trap of corporate social media.
Why do activist media?
To do an action and not be able to communicate it is almost not to do the action at all.
* You need a photo of the spanner going into the works
* You need a photo of the campaigners going over the fence.
* You need video of the activist saying why they did it
* You need a picture of the target and the target at work
All these things are needed to communicate why, what and when the thing happened – if they aren’t there then the public affect of the action will be but a fraction of what it could be.
The economic damage of the spanner going into the machine will be real, but the inspiration of the action is in many ways as important as coverage like this is probably the resion/motivation for the current action – and it is only a series of actions that will change society not isolated and invisible single actions. Using media to amplify your message is key to the content of your action.
You could invite mainstream media along
* but they likely won’t come
* they will tell the target and/or the police
* they will not be part of any illegal activity so wont get the shoots they need to tell the story.
* when you are done a editor higher up (in hand with there lawyers) will change the message to be something you will not only be disappointed with but probably furious with – it’s the nature of mainstream media to misrepresent any social change activity that isn’t sanctioned by the mainstream, this is unlikely to change.
Media is key to the message, all media is good media, but some is more useful for radical purpose than others. Lets make DIY work and make our own media.
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.
Traditional media people
DIY culture practitioners
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.
To book a place <<make a everbright account>>
To add ideas for the conference, contribute to the wiki or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
From 5.00pm – social time
7.00 Dinner + go-round to introduce everybody
8.00 Film screening
Sort out accommodation
Afternoon - Workshops
Including practical rapid-turnaround film making
8pm Film screening + editing
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
F***K off and do it your self page from 13/10/2010
F***K off and do it your self
Were do I come from politicly?
Thinking were we come from... mainstream bohiminasm, hippy drop-out culture, Greenham, CND, vagabond, labour party, student, squatting culture, protest camp culture, DIY community group organising, undercurrents, internet utopian's, Anti-GM direct action, coupuratewatch, risingtide, indymedia, summit hoping, anti-war direct action, mainstream alt-tv, rescuing/ running a community centre, European social forum/SWP, visionontv, climatecamp, Rebelus Media Confunce, occupation movement...