Categories
News & Media Projects & Ideas

Infochimps

Everything is digitized these days. Almost all of our activities, online and offline leave a footprint that will be stored in 0’s and 1’s. All this wealth of data is fueling new perspectives and disciplines in art, journalism, anthropology, social research and, of course, in marketing and advertising.

For most people though, it may be difficult to gain access to datasets, whether because of a lack of expertise, contacts or money. Infochimps is a searchable collection of datasets that can be shared or sold. For those datasets that are free, you don’t even need to create an account to download the data. You can see examples of what can be done with the data found in the site.

There are three facets to Infochimps, community curation, user uploading and marketplace.

  1. Community Curation – In order to have a comprehensive collection of datasets that are discoverable and useful, members of the Infochimps community curate datasets. This includes fixing mistakes, improving descriptions and pointing to other sources.
  2. User Uploading – Users upload their datasets, or datasets that they deem useful, building the commons.
  3. Marketplace – Infochimps provides a marketplace for users to buy and sell data.

Infochimps is powered by Infinite Monkeywrench, an open source (GPL 3) set of tools and programming frameworks to work with large sets of data. Infinite Monkeywrench can be downloaded here.

Categories
Art & Craft Projects & Ideas

VODO

The changes that the new digital paradigm has brought to the distribution of cultural works, specially of those like still images, audio and video that can be easily copied and shared online without losing any of the quality or properties of the original work, don’t mean the disappearance of the role of intermediaries, if they are understood as curators, and not as business middlemen.

This trend has enabled the blooming of the netlabel scene in music, who has brought great artistic and commercial successes. VODO functions in exactly the same way as a netlabel, but its purpose its limited to the distribution of film works.

Each month, VODO distributes one film feature through P2P networks, also promoting it through partnerships with its distribution network, mainly bittorrent trackers and sites. The films distributed through VODO range from documentary to drama, from animation to live action.

Viewers of the films distributed by VODO can donate money back to the creators through its system, or become subscribers. This (a “regular supporter”) allows loyal VODO users to participate in the decision-making process, voting for films to be distributed through VODO, suggesting film-makers, and interacting with the creators of the films. VODO opens the curatorial process to everyone who wants to become involved.

Categories
Art & Craft Education Projects & Ideas

OurGoods

With a little help of your friends, so it goes the song. And it also seems to be the motto of OurGoods, a peer to peer social network that puts in contact people with a “have” with people with a “need”. It also provides the tools to facilitate the bartering between people. The project is intended to be used primarily by artists, with the aim to support that community in times of economic pressure, when resources are scarce.

OurGoods supports the production of new work through barter, because resource sharing is the paradigm of the 21st century. OurGoods is a scaleable, local initiative and part of the growing landscape of alternative models of exchange in art, design, and culture. OurGoods is specifically dedicated to the barter of creative skills, spaces, and objects. OurGoods helps independent projects get done.

The bartering platform is currently being tested as an aplha version, restricted to New York City only, but as the project matures, it will allow participation from people from outside the arts community and from other locations around the world to form local exchange networks.

One of the interesting peculiarities of the project is that it forbids the participation of organizations, requiring you to participate as an individual.

The starting point of the OurGoods project was the Trade School, in which you could register for classes in a range of different subjects, as long as you provided something (a service, a good, a space) to the teacher in return. The Trade School is scheduled for a re-opening in September.

You can find out more on OurGoods in this presentation or ask here for an invite code to participate in the beta.

Categories
Education Intellectual Property Projects & Ideas

Open Knowledge Foundation

The Open Knowledge Foundation is an english non-for-profit organization whose objective is to promote open knowledge, defined as:

Any content, information or data that people are free to use, re-use and redistribute — without any legal, technological or social restriction. The main principles are:

  1. Free and open access to the material
  2. Freedom to redistribute the material
  3. Freedom to reuse the material
  4. No restriction of the above based on who someone is (e.g. their nationality) or their field of endeavour (e.g. commercial or non-commercial)

The main purpose seems to be to apply to culture and knowledge the same principles that were developed for free and open source software. To achieve their objectives they work on several projects, a couple of which revolve around the idea of open data and open government too. Some of their projects are:

If you want to participate, they are very open to suggestions, proposals for new projects and, of course, donations. You can also take a look at the tasks list on their wiki.

Categories
Environment Projects & Ideas

Guerrilla Gardening

When your city council neglects to take care of the public green spaces in your city, who you gonna call? Not the city council gardeners, but your own neighbours and friends.

Guerrilla Gardening is a loose network of local groups that want to regain control of the public space, and more precisely, of the green spots in our cities, from the institutions. The act of citizens looking after their own green spaces fosters consciousness of public spaces, improves their involvement in city matters, and of course, makes better looking gardens. And maybe some vegetables and fruits for tasty victories over concrete and ugliness.

Guerrilla Gardening

In the Guerrilla Gardening website you can find a community posting board with local groups in your country, with sub-boards for states and cities. If your country or city is not listed, you can send an email to open up a new board and start organizing a local Guerrilla Gardening group.

The Guerrilla Gardening groups are totally independent from each other, there is no central organization nor do you need to affilliate or even sign up to the website. You can just set up your own website to organize your community, as this group in Madrid has done (weird copyright legal notice and all).

Categories
Environment Projects & Ideas

DIY City

How can inhabitants interact with urban planners and affect the way their city evolves? How can they think, and propose, better solutions for urban problems in a horizontal way, adapted to the particularities of a district or neighboorhood, or building, instead of having an elite deciding what’s best for everyone?

DIYcity is a site where people from all over the world think about, talk about, and ultimately build tools for making their cities work better with web technologies. The result is an open source suite of tools that residents of any city, anywhere, can plug into and use to make their area better. This toolset, as it grows, becomes an initial version of a city/resident interface. This interface is the ultimate product, and the ultimate goal, of DIYcity.

Cityleft works for a new theoretical and practical scenario in urban planning. The new scenario is called Urbanism 3.0.

In Urbanism 3.0, Urban Art Interventions and Peer to Peer (P2P) projects are conceived to simulate alternative urban scenarios in public space capable to affect region making as well urban planning, involving the participation of a broad research community made of urbanists, social workers, NGOs, environmental artists, graphic designers, minorities, inhabitants, and so on.

The mention of anything 3.0 or 2.0 or whatever makes me cringe a little bit. We should drop the mentions of x.0 in our projects as this assumes that is the next, logical step in the evolution of a certain discipline, and inherently, excludes any other approaches. There are no hegemonic, totalizing, global solutions to problems or ways in which a discipline, science or cultural feature may evolve.

Categories
Art & Craft Projects & Ideas

Radical Cross Stitch

Radical Cross Stitch is an australian blog and wiki dedicated to political DIY craft, with the aim to create a community for this kind of projects.

What we are underutilising is the potential for crafts to express our rage at the stupidity of the world, demonstrate our vision for how to do things better and at the same time honour our mothers, grandmothers and great-great-great grandmothers. Women (and men) are rarely getting together to create community based craft projects designed to express a creative vision for a better world.