Category: activism

thoughts – lipika bansal

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skype-interview from Delhi with Lipika Bansal, researcher and educator at Waag Society Amsterdam.
streaming movie — 12:30 // free art license CIK.

I am Lipika Bansal. Born, raised and based in Amsterdam from Indian origin. I studied international communications and science and technology studies. During both studies I looked at the influence of technology on society. My first study focused on ICT in developing countries and my second study looked into technologies such as biometrics and rfid and the acceptance in society of these privacy sensitive tools.

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representation – kristin prevallet

Today I am remembered as ghost, bloodsucker, banshee who fooled the camera because I have no reflection. I could go underground and no one would notice, fool Interpol and travel the globe: Johannesburg, Brussels, New York. I learned from Matsumoto to burn the tips of my fingers in order to rip off my prints. I learned to look into one person’s face and see the world. I saw myself in the world, and traveled through people’s faces. I am a ghost, and they are aliens. We are all aliens in our own home towns. There is no record of me. My passport shows me blurred into the background. I am dream-man, and I have oceans in my mind. I had a dream about a book thick and old, called UFO stories. I pulled it from the shelf and instantly knew aliens were asking me questions. They wanted to know about my home town in the global village but I couldn’t read the words:

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women thoughts – rose akumu

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Interview with Rose Akumu, as part of the Politics of Change project.
streaming movie — 04:30 // free art license CIK.

fablab Pabel

The Fab Lab (fabrication laboratory) is a small scale workshop with the tools to make almost anything. This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production.
While Fab Labs have yet to compete with mass production and its associated economies of scale in fabricating widely distributed products, they have already shown the potential to empower individuals to create smart devices for themselves. These devices can be tailored to local or personal needs in ways that are not practical or economical using mass production.

Hitendra Kuralkar and Hiren Panchal from Fablab Pabel.

Demystifying Science. The method of science-observation, measurement, recording, classification, documentation, exchange of information with others, making hypothesis, testing hypothesis by further experiments and observation. These methods of science are not only possible in every day life but are financially very relevant to all sections of society.
At Vigyan Ashram (FabLab Pabel), we encourage invention and innovation and put it to use. We also try to develop technology for income generation. Many of the technologies are developed by our students, who are dropouts according to the classical education system.

fablab Pabel: technology document
fablab Pabel on the web

politics of change

Politics of Change (PoC) is an artistic researchproject that documents the contribution of small communities to the construction of a more balanced society.

The research project ‘politics of change’ is a collective work where artists, working women, activists and ecologists, economists, educators and anthropologists want to initiate collaborative dialogues to research ideas and solutions which support decentralised structures, diversity and community development.

The project involves not only public discussion, but an extensive mapping and documentation of these proposals in an art context. Drawing on a wide range of artistic and theoretical fields, the aim is to imagine new and sustainable relationships between humans, their environments and technologies.

As artists, filmmakers, theorists and activists we have to enrich the public debate around sustainable living, the environment and eco-technology. We have to think about the kind of future in which
we want to live and work. What social and economic systems can we envisage beyond the regular ones? Is there anything that we can learn from existing (non-western) experiments?

The case study of the Barefoot College project is a good example to open the discussion.
The project builds upon Gandhi’s philosophy: ‘be yourself the change you want to see in the world’.
The highlight of the project is the solar department, where women from Asia, Africa and South America
are trained to become a solar engineer. During the 6 months training the women learn to work with appropriate technology to serve the needs and daily necessities of their communities.

rotating question: does it matter what we do?

We start with 4
18-19-20 december 2008 from 12 noon till 5pm.


street art – jasna dimitrovska


Street art is any art developed in public spaces.
The motivations and objectives that drive street artists are as varied as the artists themselves. There is a strong current of activism and subversion in urban art. Street art can be a powerful platform for reaching the public, and frequent themes include adbusting, subvertising and other culture jamming, the abolishment of private property and reclaiming the streets.

bombay impressions

bombay impression #01
streaming movie 01:08″

Fifty years ago, if you wanted to see where the action was in India, you went to the villages. Today, you go to the cities. What makes Bombay overpopulated is the impoverishment of the countryside, so that a young man with dreams in his head will take the first train to Bombay to live on the footpath. If you fix the problems of the villages, you fix as a happy side-effect, the problems of the cities.

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bombay impression #02
streaming movie 00:54″

The growth of a megacity is an Asian phenomenon. Why do Asians like to live in cities? Some parts of central Bombay have a population density of one million people per square mile. This is the highest number of individuals massed together at any spot in the world. Two-thirds of the city’s residents are crowded into just 5 per cent of the total area, while the richer or more rent-protected one-third monopolize the remaining 95 per cent.

Suketu Mehta — Bombay lost & found

nightschool kids

For videos on the nightschools and eductation, check the category ‘media’.

Nightschools are set up to give working children a chance on education. Most of the pupils are girls whom in daytime have to herd the cattle or fetch water for the households. After their daytime jobs, they attend the nightschool from 7pm till 9.30pm. The girls, between 6 and 13 years of age, reacted all in a very shy way on our visit. It took them a while to regain their natural behaviour and to forget our presence.

Est-ce qu’il se passe autre chose, quand on est dans le documentaire et qu’une femme, un homme, un enfant vous confient un bout de leur vie?
Ils se confient. Ils se confient à vous. Je ne sais pas pourquoi ils vous confient tout ça. C’est leur secret.
Peut-être parce que vous êtes étrangère. Peut-être parce que vous allez disparaître de leur vie.
Ou simplement parce que vous êtes là ce jour là à la bonne distance.
[ Chantal Akerman, autoportrait en cinéaste ]

tilonia: the college, the village, the surroundings.

For a video-presentation of the Barefoot College, check the category ‘media’.

Tilonia is a very small village in the middel of the Rajasthan desert, about 650 km south-west of Delhi. Barefoot College was founded here in the early ’70-ties.
What makes it unique and different to all other centres of ‘learning and unlearning’, is its approach: it has devalued and rejected the urban professionals produced by the formal education system.
Over the years it became clear what exactly is unlearnt: the extent to which was underestimated the infinite capacity and competence of the people to identify and solve their own problems, by means of their own skills and mutual trust without relying on strangers’ skills and knowledge from outside.

Nearly three decades ago, the Barefoot People started putting Ghandian ideas into practice, not knowing weather their own ‘Experiments with Truth’ would work because they sounded so simple and yet so difficult.
The basic Gandhian concepts and principles of simplicity and austerity have stood the test of time. People live and eat together. People sit on the floor at Barefoot, and work. People in this College clean their own dishes, sweep their own floors and do voluntary work to keep the Centre clean. Everybody is equal. The ideas, values, humanity and compassion of the people are in focus. The lifestyle of Barefoot College harbours the spirit of a Gandhian ashram.

Interaction with the rural community has taught to respect the natural elements like water and sun. Since 1986 the Barefoot College runs solely on solar energy. Computers, telephone-lines, lighting for residencies and offices, water distribution, laboratory and maternity centre are run on power that comes from the sun. The nightschools for kids are provided with lighting from solar lanterns. Rainwater is collected in underground tanks. No water is wasted.

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introduction to barefoot college :: 10/01/08

select the flickr-album :: barefoot_college to view pictures
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After the 7.30 am breakfast, chapati’s and chai, Ramniwas takes me on a tour around the new Barefoot Campus. Explaining the Barefoot approach, the 14 programmes, he makes me visit all different sections and introduces me to the people responsible for their section.

Everything starts with a hands on education. Educated people don’t have to be necessarely litterate. One can function on an equal level in society by taking responsability on his/her job in an hands-on way. One of the most important Barefoot approaches to get people aware of their rights and to give them information, is the puppettheatre. By taking these selfmade avatars to the villages, they construct real-life situations to which the villagepeople can actively respond and interact.

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