Solar recharging a smart phone

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


Embed a radical media stream on your site

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


The Trials of the 1 occupiedjustice

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


Programming social change

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


A short film OUTLINE Hipster Burgers

Published Date 1/14/12 4:52 PM


* street in Dalston, filled with normal people, one hipster, 2 hipsters, half hipsters, then all hipsters

* Café (Otto) camera tracks, line of hipsters to the owner of the café serving Coffey – behind him a bored with organic, vegetarian, and Vegan (crossed out/sold out) burgers in stock.

* Montage different tables of happy hipsters eating burgers, the owner in the background with a questioner.

* Cut to owner asks questions to young pretty hipster couple “Q. something hipster, @ vegetarian or vegan”, hipster girl answers vegan. The owner is interested and asks them to the kitchen to see how the burgers are made.

* kitchen – have to right this bit?

* the owner standing by a rubbish bin, if you look closely in the bin are the cloths of the hipster bot and girl, CUT he washes his handing in a sink and they run red. He walks out of the kitchen smiling. FADE – Next day.

* SHOT morning clean up, glasses washing, righting up on the noticeboard “fresh in vegan burgers”

* CUT Kitchen chopping up the body, CUT to everybody eating

* Reverse opening shot, street full of hipsters, half full, 2 hipsters, one hipster, only normal people.

* Café closed sign, owners shuts door, takes off his hipster glasses and crushes them under foot, walks off – the street is empty.


Diaz up in the water tower

Published Date 1/2/12 9:34 PM

2001 – The G8 Summit in Genoa

I arrived in Genoa a few days before the anti G8 demonstrations were due to start, to help set up the Indymedia centre. We travelled in a tiny camper van with my frend Marion from Munich. The border caused no problem – the border guard asked us why we were going to Italia and we said we were holidaying on the coast, with a knowing look on both sides. Arriving in Genoa the police presence was heavy. The convergence centre was being set up down at the beach. Just a hundred yards away there was a huge police build up at the stadium. After wandering around for a while, we camped the night parked out of sight beside one of the big marquees of the half finished convergence centre. In the morning, meeting up with other groups, we made our way to the GSF and IMC organising building: the Diaz school. 

The IMC (independent Media center)

We found a place to stay at the IMC at the head of the stairs, on the roof, which was out of the way, and looked around. The video room was full of techy gear but none of it seemed to be available for public use. The centre was well equipped with computers supplied by the city, all networked together. The techy crew had obviously put a lot of work into the set up. There was Linux on all the computers but with no applications and no system of support to help people make the transition to this “non-standard” operating system – a powerful gesture of what is possible but practically useless. A re-occurring theme in the tec-journo divide.

The video room was a bit of a fiasco –  a lot of non-configured private computing kit – most of it password protected, taking up the majority of the space. There were no shared resources and it seemed none of the kit worked in a familiar standard way. An ego wank space with little organised IMC ethos.

Two PCs were “requisitioned” from other rooms and MS Windows was installed (as there was no functioning Linux video editing software). At one of the first meetings money was put aside to upgrade one of these computers to be a DV editing system with a new hardrive and Firewire card. On the other we installed an analogue video cpature card –  brought along from CanalB  – so we had two shared editing systems. The second of these created the bulk of the video that was uploaded from the IMC centre during the summit – the DV computer broke down on the second day and didn’t work again.

Marion and I headed down to the street to make the first report at the convergence centre. It wasn’t long before we were stopped and detained by a group of undercover policemen while doing a piece to camera outside the main police accommodation stadium – which happened to be right next to the convergence centre. We were held for a few hours while more and more undercover policemen arrived, until there were 10 or 12 police and two cars around us. They asked me for the tape in the camera – I refused – took down all our details and checked our passports – it become a bit nervewracking. I secretly filmed some of the secret policeman. Interestingly we were to see one of them two more times undercover at the counter-summit, and outside the IMC centre before the raid.

Driving round the streets trying to film the red zone barrier going up, we were stopped and detained twice. For an hour the first time and 3-4 hours the second. Arguing with the police and attempting to exercise normal civil rights proved fruitless. This was the first nagging Orwellian feeling that was reinforced over the week of demonstrating. The police were a state in themselves and there was obviously no respect for the role of law in their actions. Fear was starting to stalk the streets, encircling the meeting of the cabal of world power.


After the shooting of one demonstrator the tension was rising, paranoia about police repression spreading. People began to leave the indymedia center, people began to leave Genoa. There was much discussion of what to do and no firm consensus. Many people made the decision to leave independently until the numbers had halved as the night wore on.

At midnight there were shouts of “the police are coming”. I looked out of the window but couldn’t see anything. People started to run around, grabbing stuff and barricading doors. I ran to find Marion and told her about the hiding place on the roof I had checked out when we arrived. She grabbed the tapes and equipment and headed off.

Looking out of the side window I could not see any police around the front door so I shouted back to the people blockading the door, trying to calm the situation.

I went up to the roof to film the carabinieri breaking into the building next door – a van smashing through the front gate; police breaking the windows with chairs, smashing down the doors with tables they found in the courtyard. Worried for my safety and the video I was recording, after a few minutes I decided to head back downstairs to see if the police were coming into the IMC as well.

After two flights, turning a corner, I came face to face with a carabinieri policeman dressed in full body armour with his truncheon drawn panting his way up the stairwell. At this I turned and flew up two flights shouting, “they are in the building”; past the barricaded door to the IMC and up to the roof. Dodging the spotlight from the circling helicopter I headed over to the window of the water tower and lowered myself in whispering “Marion it’s me”. No answer. Creeping through the darkness with the only light being from the IR beam of my camera, I made my way down through the corridor of water tanks whispering “Marion are you there?” and starting to panic that she was not. A small and frightened voice came back: “turn the light off”. She was hiding in the space behind the last water tank.

We waited. She had brought a bottle of water and supplies. We talked about what we would do if and when the police came. Would they come in and search… would they throw tear gas… would they smash our equipment and break our bones.. these all seemed very real.

The helicopter circled, its spotlight lighting up the window of the water tower. There were noises of movement outside: the police searching the roof. We kept very quiet and still.

We were there for 3-4 hours. There was screaming from the street below and cries of “assassina”. We only came out after the helicopter had left.

There were survivors wandering around the roof top, numbed and in shock. I interviewed two English girls who had been in the IMC during the raid, then went downstairs to survey the damage. Doors were smashed open. Computers were dismembered: their hard drives ripped out, monitors smashed. Across the street there was much worse waiting. Blood had covered the floor, congealing into puddles, and sprayed up the walls. Trails led into huddled corners; clothes lay around in disarray, personal belongings were strewn across the floor, speckled here and there by blood stains. Desolate, dazed people were searching through the piles. Reporters stood in small, silent groups. The trail of blood led up the stairs. Bits of skin and clumps of hair stuck to the walls. Following the broken doors and hasty barricades, looking in cupboards and under desks, everywhere someone could have hidden there was blood and broken skin, the bashing of heads against walls, the smearing of blood stained hands. There was a smell in the building. The Carabinieri had left their mark.


Were do I come from politicly

Published Date 1/2/12 7:04 PM

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…


Stupid individualism and Re creating the Soviet Union

Published Date 1/2/12 5:52 PM

This is from 07/03/2005

You can go on this journey and find these things out thus creating a possibility or you can push them under the surfaces, smother or bash them every time they spring or seep out of our subcultures.

The lack of any group memory

In activist cercals it is thought a good thing to constantly re-invent the wheel… it’s a symbol of belonging to not rock the bout.

* Tribalism – it’s symbols and seint markings – cercals and there disappearing spirals

* Ridged thought – political correctness and it hidden fidgety – re-creating the Soviet Union

* Stupid individualism

What do all these things mean?

Stupid individualism – is all bound up in the smallness of the ego that capitalism makes in us all. Me, me, me is a strong priority even in our most enlightened people.

Re-creating the Soviet Union – is an excellent way of describing the rigidity of much “thought” and clocking of real process. Just as the Soviet Union had a modeal constitution on paper, but acted in a very different way, activist are continually re-righting and re-righting paper utopias and then, actively working under completely different ways – this has been a continues problem for outreach of most projects I have been involved in. The paper ways fall over as they are never enacted by the majority of people. And the hidden ways though often surprising affective at getting things done are very disempowering beyond the small cleack at the center. If we keep re-creating the “soviet union”, unconsciously certainly, nothing can be achieved by this… they had the secret polices and a highly authoritarian polices state to make there paper constitution in to a big illusion and there hidden workings into an affective administration… we just have a paper illusion that confuses and a hidden minority who burn out and move on.

Tribalism – gives the sence of blenonging which for the majorty is the atractive part of the actavist project. The outcome is relativly uniportent to the majoraty of the peopule involved in any campine, they simpaly move onto the next issue as the poassion/creativerty of the last issue burns out. This churning ends with most individuals returning to the treditional tribes of consumerism and carrerisam.


An idea for internet TV from 2001

The green, world approach and local approach.



How this will work with broadband Internet TV




In the mainstream the mantra of who, what, where is not new, though with interactive consumption it is taking on a new importance. Profiling is big on the NET, everyone is after personal information to “personalise” the alienation of blind consumption. Looking into this can of rotting worms can we find anything worth composting to enrich our garden?


Proposal for a self-directed TV channel.


A global TV channel, starting small with the current technology and skills, in stages moving into an open universal global media outlet. The experience for individuals is that each has a channel of there owen, and you can sample others’ channels by amalgamating them with your own – you meet someone, and like their outlook… merge their profile into yours. You like a pop band, merge their channel to yours. This will create overlapping virtual community channels.

In its interactive shape the channel can be made up of tasters, with a list of viewing options, or can be set to play a more traditional no-interactive schedule. Instead of reaching for the TV guide, just look at the options available on your own channel – or any other global mainstream or counterculture channel.


You choose what to whach as any interaction will bring up a new list of content – much like a real-time review engine. The system then “creates” a channel for you [these will be made up of basic templates*]


* The templates will be baced on traditional TV scheduling the differences will lie in the content. An example would be the BBC 1 schedule. News and life styeal for breakfast, daytime soups, B films, early evening???? Local and global, News then mainstream drama and documentaries, music and such. The programs would be a mixture of live streams (news and sport), new productions and seareals mixed with archives. All profiled the majority to your inclananation, with links and a minority of conflicting views. This will be mixed in with a “random” selection of the “best” that others profiles are watching and some deserving editorial “gems”.


Your profile will be adjusted in real-time by your choices of program subjects, by your choices of what is in your profile and, finally, you can go into and directly edit your profile.


The content will be freely added by anyone, from more conventional channels or archives to new community or low-budget specials. Content can consist of local issues on council flower beds to the latest Hollywood blockbusters.


The individual or corporation who adds content, fills in a basic profile for the program. When submitted, this is first sent to “reviewers”, that is people who have expressed an interest in reviewing content. They then each add to the program’s profile and when there has been a large enough consensus the program is dynamically added to the schedule, with the new consensus profile. The reviewing process is open to all. The System is open to content from all over the world.


All the profiling data is dynamic. If you give a program a good rating its whole profile will be merged with your current profile. Trashing a program will reverse this – it will subtract the profile. This process will be elastic in its effect – it will have a moderate immediate effect and a smaller long term effect. Thus if you are a sports addict and for what ever reason you trash three sports programs and chose a comedy program instead, for the rest of that day you will get comedy and “teasers” of other subjects, the next day you will get half comedy and half sport… on the third day you will get the majority of what you watched on the second, and some of any “teasers” you followed. This process works in reverse, with individual viewers’ profiles affecting the profile of the programs themselves.


The profiling system will work as a tree, with top levels and side levels branching off. The top levels will be decided by the user’s profile, and then dynamically adjusted.


Some profile categories could be:


Fixed: nationality (country/region); language (spoken/subtitles); type (film/documentary/news/sport/commercial, review; subject (searchable key words) etc.


Variable: quality (good – bad), accessibility (easy – difficult), violence (child – adult), erotic (conservative – liberal), ideology (progressive – reactionary) etc.


This approach would be modified for live streams and real-time news features which would work on a system of trust – that is on an registered profile of the organisation – which again will be adjusted by views real-time choices. Self profiling by active intention and passive consumption.


There are also interesting statistical ways of collecting and processing such information, which could be included.



User interface


The basic interface idea is simple, a single button that gives you the option of trashing content you are not interested in. Interface options vary in their level of interactivity, encouraging interactive uses rather than leaving the channel on autopilot.


1. Dumb – by trashing programs the user doesn’t like and rating those they do.

2. Basic interaction – by choosing from the cued up list of possible programming that is provided with any user interaction.

3. “What mood am I in?” Expressed by the web – sliders – the users can express an interest in certain areas by elastically/temporarily changing the sliders on their profile. (dynamically created by their profile, with one or two challenging additions)

4. Traditional key word searching (with or without the aid of their profile).

5. Directly changing their profile (this complies with data laws).




1. You can make your own, or organisations’ profile public so that other people can watch it and you can watch other’s… Undercurrents, football stars, NGO’s, Channel 4 etc.

2. You can “merge” others profiles in to yours, such as an organisation, famous author’s or popstars. Which will provide an easy way of getting an interesting personal channel, and seeing the world from different points of view.

3. You can bookmark TV series and news services, so that they always appear when a new content comes out.

4. Key words can form part of your profile, such as a city, person or brand.


It is important to realise that any large “outside” change will soon be personalised by your own interactive choices reshaping your profile to represent (and challenge) your point of view. A Universal TV Channel is not about dumming down people, it is about taking away the dull bureaucratic routines needed to choose “quality” and “truth” in our heavily commercialised and consumptive world.



Is flexible and from a number of conflicting sources. It is interesting to note that the content providers and viewers can choose which revenue funds their viewing in real-time, and this will also control our revenue flow. In this the project is one of a viewer/producer workers co-operative.


Funding roots


E-commerce’s commissions

State money (grants/regional funding)


Donations (PBS)

Pay per view


Advertising is very problematic, but the money has to come from somewhere… we could accept advertising and feed this to people’s profiles – for the mainstream this is the goldmine of revenue, and just like goldmines it has the problem of wide spread pollution. The adverts would directly pay to the content providers (video makers) a commission on each viewer with a cut for us as the provider. This is the dream of mad consumptives, though we live in such a world.


Links to commercial sites – both mainstream and counterculture – the balance is decided by people’s own profiles. We take the standard Internet commission for referrals and any purchases that these create. It is important to note that adverts are profiled just like programs.


Public service? Government money? If this was possible, we could then pass this onto content providers and take a more respectable running cost commission. A good source of funding.


Donations, the old PBS projects. May work for special interest groups, again we have the opening of taking a small commission in the middle.


It is important that a proportion from each revenue stream is cross subsidised to all viewed work. Thus the mainstream movies advertising would pay for the counterculture response. Creating the liberal (and free market) ideal of “perfect knowledge”.



History of The European Newsreal

Published Date 1/2/12 5:32 PM

Hamish’s history of The European Newsreal

The has been much talk about doing a European wide video newsreal for the last 10 years or so. Undercurrents, which grew out of the UK anti-roads movement was in its latter additions an attempt at covering geographic wider story’s. However it wasn’t till the digital camcorder revolution and the communication revolution of the internet made video documentary work at a grass roots level sustainable.

I was working with undercurrent in Oxford covering demo’s and teaching the actional video activist course at Ruskin collage. The European Newsreal came out of 6 months of funding I wangled, which left me free to …. I had been thinking of doing a European video production/screening network for some time, had raised the issue at a number of European manifestations and alt-gatherings. Had meet many good and committed video makers, B- of CannalB (Berlin) in Genoa had impressed me with her work ethic, Marion from Munich had translated the 9.11 film I had brought back from NY IMC. I visited croater were I meet Iva and Oliver who were making original videos and organising screenings. With such good committed and driven people something should be possible if they could all be connected together and a common spark ignited.

At the time I was supplying short edited news stories for World in Crises a weekly 30 minute report for Freespeach TV in the states. While chatting to Eric by e-mail one day the subject of a European news program came up, FSTV had been running the Indymedia Newsreal for the 6 months at this point. Eric had some development funding which had to be spent before the summer so the European wide news project was pushed into fast gear with the help of Anna Bragga (who was planning a new alt-media magazine) and Paulo we organised the Islip gathering by inviting all the nice people I had meet that summer to Oxford.

The idea was to produces a “Europeanised” version of the American project. Keep it very simple with the minimal of rouls and constraints, build it up slow from the core (and committed) group bring in new people as the project grows. The project was to be firstly very simple with no aimless politicking (the pain of progressive IMC type projects) to consist of a page of structure and a paragraph mission statement. The dynamics of the group and regular face to face meetings would keep the project on the productive path. With this in mind it was decided to make the project affiliated of the IMC rather than a direct IMC project, making its out look much more open to non activist ghetto ideas and techniques. For me it was very important that these simple processes need to be agreed from the very beginning then changed by experiences of producing the half hour video. Being very aware of the problem of all talk and no action from the endless activist dream world of East Oxford.

One of the core ideas for me was that we would use blagabel video CD’s for screening and distribution rather than VHS as this would allow a non-centralised and most importantly robust distribution network. VHS being analogue doesn’t work at all well as a non hieratical distribution medium. Its is difficult and time consuming to copy VHS on a small scale. With latter practical but (blind) desion to use VHS we were committed to uncontrolled DV masters being distributed, unrestrained exploitation of others work being a re-accruing problem and is one of the main sources of paranoia in the activist ghetto that I felt we need to avoid this (or at least mediate it) from the beginning. But with most of the innovations I had in mind they only surfaced latter as people directly experienced the issues. This agen is a damming theme from the ghetto that experiences and innovation is seen as a threaght rahater than encouraged. In the ghetto the is little respect for the hieraceys of knowledge involved in knowledge and craft production, this childish attitude is both a blessing when it challenges the existing power structures and a damnation when it undermines real solid alternatives.

We set up the Islip list as a means of achieving this early consensus so that the gathering itself could be the place were we got to know each other and actually share the practical skills of producing a pilot issue of the project. Very few alt-projects are sustainable, the ones that are sustainable tend to be focused on small and closed cleacks, almost all of the IMC networks embody this. In such projects it is generally a small tightly nit core who do most of the work, surrounded by a shifting periphery.

Islip was a faler at creating such a functional core… it instead instutuanlised a fundamentalist and paranoid muddle which the project is now struggling with. The project dose exist but it suffers from a lack of clarity, dignity and warmth that very much questions its long term sustainability. Perhaps after the meeting in May this might be opened up as the paranoia and megalomania of activism may have died down anufe for a solid, practical and interesting project to grow from the current weed racked ground.

Myself am getting on with a more defined project from the start – European wide video activism traing caravan. Funded and role defined from the beginning.

Hamish Campbell, Oxford 2003