[-empyre-] Re: "hooded children of the revolution"
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- Subject: [-empyre-] Re: "hooded children of the revolution"
- From: Ryan Griffis <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 13:51:26 -0600
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Today is the last (official) day of a low power FM barnraising project
at the local Indy Media Center in the town i'm currently located
(Champaign-Urbana, or Chambana) being directed by the Prometheus Radio
Project. There's more to it, of course, than the actual construction of
a radio tower and production room. There have been workshops on the
tech, production and organizational aspects of a community radio
project as well as a general gathering of neo-hippies, anarcho-punk
kids, media reform activists, community media activists, wireless
nerds, and other gross generalizations of "types" one might find at
most indy media centers across the world.
i marginally participated: went to a few workshops, mulled around,
tried to meet a few people, looked around at the amazing facility (the
local US Post Office rents space from the IMC here. they have an art
space with exhibition and studio facilities, a community computer lab,
audio video production labs, a books for prisoners library and more).
it's a pretty amazing thing actually.
The workshops i attended were about the potential for community and
localized interests of wireless networks (mostly mesh-based).
There certainly is a lot of strong belief in the ability of these
particular technologies to really reform the way communities are able
to communicate and collaborate in ways that move away from a
commodity-dependent system (to the extent that you still need at least
a radio shack and a best buy to get the basic gear, not to mention the
backbone infrastructure of a major telcom). there were some people with
pretty strong opinions that mesh networks (that operate via nodes that
connect from house to house, basically decentralizing communication
among themselves - as opposed to a hub and spoke system) are inherently
mostly, i share this optimism and desire to make something of this
technology beyond a way to play games and buy more stuff.
but it's interesting to think about this in relation to the larger
history that Cara brings up (language and commerce).
we're looking to high tech to return us to a more localized form of
and the interesting thing to me (and where this dovetails oddly into
the peak oil comments made earlier), is that this may end up becoming
salient, not because of politics, but because of necessity. in which
case, the political reality (inequalities) of the body aren't any more
likely to be up for discussion. it could actually close down any
discussion pretty quickly.
but perhaps that's why it's important that the people driving the
localization of networks at this point are working from a "political"
subject position as much as anything.
i realize that this may be getting away from the commodification topic
a bit, but maybe it's not so far off. how do notions of a "gift
economy" follow or deviate from the rules of classical commerce? and
does the form necessitate politics? is a mesh network (which is also
the military's design for the internet btw) de facto more democratic
and less oppressive?
of course, i think we can extrapolate from the networking narrative i'm
using here to get at something more closely related to our discussions.
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