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
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
Production Projects & Ideas

Local Food Systems

There has been a lot of debate lately on the issue of regenerating local economies and production, instead of relying on globalized, delocalized products. This has even spawned new social consuming trends, like the localvores, people committed to consume only locally produced food. Farmers also are eager to revitalize local production, consumption and networks, to strengthen their economy, reduce their carbon-footprint and depend on less mediators to reach consumers.

Local Food Systems is one of this networks, located mainly in the american states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They state:

  1. We have the people, land and climate needed to produce fresh, affordable, and healthy food.
  2. Our growing community of producers and consumers can create strong local food systems, reduce use of fossil fuels, and create businesses and jobs.
  3. Vibrant local and regional agriculture generates wealth in communities, establishes healthy environments for families, and enhances quality of life for all.
Categories
Economy Projects & Ideas

Coop57, ethical financial services

Coop57 is, as its name says, a cooperative providing financial and saving services. Essentially, it functions as a large, horizontal network of solidarity and mutual aid. If a company wants to ask for a loan, it has to be involved in the project first.

It has only presence in some parts of Spain, mainly Catalonia, where it was born, Aragon, Andalucia and Madrid, with plans to expand soon to other areas as Galicia.

Categories
Organization Projects & Ideas

The Buckminster Fuller Idea Index

This website and Revolution Summer have a similar purpose of showcasing projects that may spark social change or resolve pressing issues, like access to water or enviromental pollution by proliferation of combustion engine vehicles. Of course, the difference is that the Buckminster Fuller Idea Index gives a prize of $100.000 to the winner project each year.

The winner of the 2009 edition is this project by MIT researchers that proposes to replace the private owned fossil fuel vehicle traffic inside large cities with a network of battery-powered small vehicles, that can be rented at convenience in racks spread throughout the city, similar to the public bike rental systems in cities like Barcelona or Paris:

Mobility-on-demand systems provide racks of these vehicles at closely spaced, convenient locations around an urban service area. Vehicles automatically recharge while they are in these racks. Users walk to the nearest rack, swipe a credit card, pick up a vehicle, drive it to a rack convenient to their destination, and drop it off. These are, in other words, ubiquitously distributed one-way rental systems. These systems are highly efficient in reducing urban congestion, energy use, and carbon emissions. They are synergistic with ubiquitous wireless networking and distributed intelligence, and with solar-friendly, wind-friendly, fuel-cell-friendly smart electrical grids.