One of the most distinctive photos from the Camp was the one of the red aerial photography kite taken from a boat on Lake Orta. Hagit Keysar, who brought the kite to the Camp, has had a big year: only four other Campers have starred in a documentary film! Hagit was one of the information-activists profiled in our film From My Point of View in the Exposing the Invisible series, in which she shares her journey of using visual methods to document and expose housing demolitions in Palestine.
More recently, Hagit has been working on opening up architecture. Her work at Public Lab open sources the architectural model as a way of encouraging communities’ participation in urban issues. This practice of ‘civil architecture’..
“is a developing field which brings forth an alternative to top-down mechanisms of urban planning which are led by the capitalist logic of economic growth, professional knowledge and structural power relations. Rather than accepting the need for hierarchical structures in knowledge and space formation, the ideas of civil architecture open up possibilities to develop dynamic and collaborative processes based on networks of knowledge and action.”
Read more about civil architecture and Hagit’s new work on the Public Lab website.
A year after the Camp, Chris Michael will be criss-crossing the United States on his motorcycle on an important storytelling project: his own. When Chris was three years old he lost his father to suicide and says that it has been a ‘unique, tough world’ to inherit. To explore and aggregate the shame, questions and sadness of other men who have experienced the same thing, Chris is starting a collaborative storytelling project that will involve travel, video and storytelling. Support him and this unique project by learning more about the project and donating to his Kickstarter appeal.
Angela Morelli, an interaction designer who was on the Camp facilitation team, is dedicated to how scientific information is communicated so as to increase awareness and engagement. She has spent a good part of the last year working on a new graphic story called ‘Food is for eating‘. Based on data from the Food & Agricultural Organisation, FAO, Angela’s new infographic informs the reader about food wastage and how it can be saved.
She says of the project: “The project is the result of a belief that communicating science with clarity and beauty can spark understanding and engagement. It is the result of eleven months’ work spent studying, discussing and researching, in order to imagine and design a good story through the right balance of words and images. The project has been almost a zero-budget project, I was blessed having the support of an incredible design advisor, Tom Halsør, how lucky!
A year ago she published a project called The Water We Eat based on research by Prof Allan, water scientist and inventor of the Virtual Water concept. See more of her work here.
On May 8 in Berlin, at the 2014 edition of Re:publica – one of Europe’s most popular tech conferences – two activists masquerading as Google employees presented a new Google product called Nest. It features fake privacy-encroaching products that seem all too much like something that Google would actually make. The parody products include insurance against data theft and leaks (‘Google Trust’), a personal drone for daily life (‘Google Bee’), a location-based crowd-sourced hug matching (Google Hug’), and a memorial for the departed made possible through data mining (‘Google Bye’).
A collaboration of Info-activism camp participants Jean Peters (starring as Google’s ‘Paul von Ribbeck’) and Faith Bosworth (as the ‘hard to place’ ‘Dr. Gloria Spindle’), both from the Peng! Collective, the joke got attention from several hundreds sitting in the Re:publica audience, thousands of live stream listeners and Youtube videos viewers, German and international media – including die Zeit, Forbes, and Fast Company as well as support from several German NGOs and members of political parties (read more here). The Re:publica audience was invited to join in the joke after the presentation. Many played along, some took it seriously, and the hoax was spread through tweets. #googlenest trended in Germany for 5 hours and the website received over 35 000 visits in its first day.
Google contributed to #googlenest ‘s popularity by an official statement that they had nothing to do with the joke. They have also sent a request to hand over the Nest URL or to display clearly thereon that content is satirical. The site is now “down”, but has been mirrored and archived and it also lives its postmortem life, the Google-like candle testifying to Google’s fear of others’ launching Bye before they do. The initiative continues to inspire others. As for Google, one can understand them: it’s easy to get paranoid in these times. Follow: @PengBerlin #googlenest
The first episode in Tactical Tech’s new film series, Exposing the Invisible, featured Paul Radu, an investigative journalist whose ‘follow the money’ techniques are helping journalists uncover crime and corruption. Paul was one of the lead facilitators at the Info-Activism Camp running the Investigation Track.
In the second episode out in November, we profile three participants from the Camp – Brown Moses, Rajwa Tohme & Hagit Keysar. This film presents intimate portraits of these three Campers and their DIY investigations of the ‘Youtube conflict’ in Syria, land-grabbing in Lebanon and the demolition of homes in Palestine.
Shortly after the Camp, we learned that one of our campers, Niels ten Oever, a programme coordinator at Free Press Unlimited, was on a sabbatical to rethink organisations, technology and access to information. Here, in his own [lightly edited] words, he tells us why.
New, collaborative projects are one of the most beneficial outcomes of Tactical Tech’s camps. None have developed so quickly as Diana and Linda’s formation of Artists Without A Cause (AWAC), announced on the last day of the 2013 Info-Activism Camp.