Another status update on MetaReciclagem

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(e-mail enviado para a lista da waag-sarai platform)

After some time trying to rescue the lab in Olido gallery, we gave up. After all, as I said before, it's major elections year, and the city telecenters coordinator didn't want to understand that we work with the federal government, but are in no way affiliated with PT or any other party. For them, it's easier to think in terms of "who's with them is not with us".

Then came A Teia, the megalomaniac meeting of the cultural hotspots, solidary economy and related subjects. You won't understand the size of it with the pictures. It was big. Too big, some say. Comments are that BRL 8,5 million (~ USD 4 million) from fiscal incentives were spent in the event. It happened in Bienal, the huge building designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the middle of Ibirapuera Park. Over 500 projects from all around the country were able to exhibit their products.

Products? Yeah. Ideas such as solidary economy and grassroots entrepreneurship dominated the event, and are becoming more and more present in the Cultural Hotspots. More important than cultural production itself. But that may be subject for another e-mail. One of the best results of A Teia has been that 25 cultural hotspots finally got their "multimedia kits", composed of one server, one multimedia workstation, one thin client, video camera, printers, audio equipment and more, and brought the kits back home, with a customized multimedia GNU/Linux distribution configured.

Last year, we were promised BRL 50k for a MetaReciclagem meeting during Teia. Then it became to BRL 16k. Then less money and more responsibilities. We gave up on the national meeting, and Dalton decided to create an exhibition on things that he and Glauco have been doing. Nevertheless, we scheduled a MetaReciclagem meeting, with people from São Paulo and all the metarecyclers who were in the city for Teia. Around twenty people attended. It has been our first meeting since august, and a very important one. For the first time, Dalton was not the center of the meeting. If we are to succeed in adopting a de-centralized methodology, we can not depend in one person or group of people to lead everything (even though we acknowledge the importance of leaders, even in self-organized structures). Some people got to know each other that day. By the end of the meeting, we decided to re-design our online infrastructure and to write down some important concepts that are needed to define whether or not a specific action can be labeled MetaReciclagem. Some new ideas appeared, such as a periodic two-page PDF publication to be printed and distributed in the Spores; comix-style educational material related to MetaReciclagem; and a weekly podcast. Let's see if any of that comes true. I'm very optimistic with it.

In talking with people involved with MetaReciclagem in São Paulo, one decision has been made: some of us will try to create a space in São Paulo that does not depend on the municipality or any federal resource. We'll still need to get paid, but the idea is to set up a space that is somehow self-sustained. We're having conversations on whatg is the best form for that to happen, and are planning to have concrete plans in the next months. Now, I realize that that is what Waag/Sarai platform requested us two years ago, but perhaps we were not ready yet. And, anyway, I am really excited with the way things are developing with des][centro. This space, of course, will be part of des][centro.

Then again, some of us are still involved with the federal government. We have been called to create  content for online courses on MetaReciclagem for the Casas Brasil project, that is developing 90 "expanded" telecenters, with library, multimedia studio, auditorium and... MetaReciclagem labs. It's been great in the sense that we were able to focus on questions such as _what is MetaReciclagem_, and how do you make people understand that. There are two courses, being released with open licenses in the next weeks: one on MetaReciclagem concepts, and the other on the praxis of MetaReciclagem. We'll publish them in our own e-learning environment as well.

And some breaking news: this is not to be publicized yet, but MetaReciclagem got honorary mention in digital communities category for Prix Ars Electronica 2006. I don't know exactly what to expect from that...