Conversê metarecicleiro pra parceria

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As I commented in the fellowship proposal, our main defficiency is documentation. I’m focusing the work plan on providing an infrastructure and a methodology in order to enable and improve both technical and conceptual conversations about MetaReciclagem. From that conversations, we believe will emerge our vision and methodology, network architecture and space design, based on things that are already running.

We had a general MetaReciclagem meeting two weeks ago, to inform everyone about the status of the projects. That day, we started a conversation about MetaReciclagem methodology, that is currently running on our mailing list. Very interesting points are emerging. I’ll try to keep you aware whenever we get to a consolidated point.

About the current situation of MetaReciclagem:

* Currently there are thirteen people directly involved with MetaReciclagem (it means, dedicating some part of their time to the projects and earning at least a minimal financial compensation from that), six of them almost fully dedicated to the project. We’ve got also around another twenty eventual collaborators or volunteers.

* We’ve got an experimental lab in Santo André, a city nearby São Paulo. In Santo André, we are working with seven cooperative associations: they attended an educational process and each association got an used computer by the end of it. As cooperative associations in Brazil are not a natural target for business IT industry, they lacked management software adapted to their needs. We are now in the final process of creating a GPL PHP + MySQL system for them. It’s going to be released early august, if everything goes ok. We’re also beginning a casemodding course, an online “radio” streaming, and we’re helping in the experimental technology part of a Public Science Museum / Open School currently being developed, which will hold a computer recycling lab, a multimedia lab using FOSS, and a series of scientific experiments dealing among other things with computers and technology. For the Museum, we have already set up an interactive videowall totally built with old computers, and a thin client network for the library of Parque Escola, where we are researching.

Pictures of Santo André:

* The autolabs /cajus project is done. We learned a lot from it, surprisingly most about dealing with media educators that don’t want to learn to use FOSS ;) From the 300 youngsters that were at the beginning of the project, around 12 are still with us. We are waiting for a position of the coordinator of the project, about helping the kids creating a self-managed enterprise working with IT and free software.

* Me, Dalton and Willians went to Porto Alegre to attend FISLi. We had the chance to explain MetaReciclagem for the coordinator of Telecenters in Porto Alegre, who pointed he wanted to replicate the project there. Instead of selling our experience to them, we decided to invite his tech guys to spend some weeks with us in São Paulo. Don’t know yet if he understood, but we’re waiting. I joined tactical tech (.org) in a “mapping session” for projects using FOSS to help nonprofits in Latin America. Me and Dalton also spoke about nonprofits and free software at DebConf.

* There’s a project from the Planning Ministry, to get all used computers from federal government and deliver them to social projects in order to create telecenters. We’ve hear rumors of around 240,000 computers a year. We’ve also heard rumors they would call MetaReciclagem to help defining a methodology for that. Unfortunately, nobody called me or anyone from MetaReciclagem about it. My guess is that it’s pure political vaporware…

* We’ve met a guy called Etienne Delacroix. He’s from Belgium, has some sort of involvement with MIT and is responsible for a course called “Taller de Arte y Programacion”, someting like Art and Coding Factory, in an university in Uruguay. Soon, he and Dalton, one of MetaReciclagem tech articulators, were talking about possibilities of deconstructing that thing called “the computer” to construct experimental installations. We did a workshop las week, on FCM (World Cultural Forum), here in São Paulo. Pictures here:

Etienne gave us a lot of insights about space design, preparing technology for appropriation and treating technology as craftsmanship. He already transformed Dalton’s house in a permanent lab. I’m almost there also.

* is a “free radio rhyzome”. Some of the guys of Radio *******, one of the most well-succeded free radios in Brazil, got a server inside *****, and set up a streaming server, to replicate the transmissions of some free radios all around Brazil. Even though, some of the radios do have an internet connection, but not a computer to stream the signal. We’re gonna provide those radios recycled computers.

* Pontos de Cultura is the new name of the BACs project, from Claudio Prado, the articulator at Ministry of Culture, which I think I have mentioned before. There will be an experimental center downtown São Paulo, in a former movie theater called Olido (pictures here: ) and then 100 PdCs (”Culture Points”) throughout the country. The goal is to provide an emerging technical infrastructure to projects already working with cultural production within a social context. They’ll get a PdC kit (network server, multimedia workstation, mini-DV camera, sound equipment) and if we can convince people at the ministry about it, we’ll provide them a distributed publishing and conversation environment, with integrated IM, chat and P2P networking (BTW, how’s OpusCommons? Do you think it fits?).

Yet to write:
* Liganois
* MetaOng
* MetaReciclagem methodology discussion

Next week.


> What are the preliminary shared values between the members of the group?

exactly what we’re trying to identify with the discussions I told you about. Until a given point, it seemed like it was something directly related to things we’ve been doing around São Paulo. In the last few months, however, people from other initiatives are getting more and more interested in replicating metareciclagem. I guess it’s changing, from a group of people doing things, to a methodology of getting old technological assets in order to create what we’ve been calling “social technology” in order to transform communities, based in 4 points:
- free software
- lowtech
- free knowledge
- self-replication

> What are the points of divergence and differing points of emphasis?

mostly, engagement. some of our collaborators only want to post comments on a mailing list, others want to dedicate their lives full-time to the development of social technology.