Archive for September, 2011

September 30, 2011


by Tom Tenney

I had only just begun my reading on barter economies when my girlfriend serendipitously IM’d me the URL to fiverr which she called an “amazeballs idea.”    The concept is a webified version of “what would you do for a dollar?”  and allows people to post what they would do (legally) for five dollars.  Just a few examples:

I will sleep talk your website, product name or slogan on VIDEO for $5″

“I will use my deep voice to sing like Johnny Cash anything you desire while playing my acoustic guitar… for $5”

“I will edit your 30 minute podcast for $5”

I think this is fantastic… it’s kind of like a micro Elance, where there are no limits to the ridiculousness of the tasks.  Also, this is potentially a great way to get great, unique marketing material.  I have this idea that I want to order one per day leading up to the RE/Mixed Media Festival on October 22nd – and tweet the results each day.   I’ll keep you posted on how that goes (I’ve already ordered the sleeptalking video…)

September 30, 2011

Ev Bogue

by StefiaMadelyne

Ev Bogue

Hi! I’m Ev Bogue.

I’ve been trying to figure out what to call myself. A quick label for a business card or something like that.

I think I’m best described currently as a digital evolutionist.

My work is in the space in-between untethering and evolution. The change-space.

Why? Because I’m constantly evolving, and my work is teaching you how to evolve faster. Because, as I’ve seen in my own life, if I’m not evolving than I’m plateauing, stagnating, or becoming just plain boring.


Ev Bogue’s work in online publishing has been featured on The CBS Evening News with Katie CouricThe Guardian UK, and The Huffington Post.

Ev has spoken about publishing online at Stanford University.

Ev graduated from NYU and has worked in blogging at New York Magazine and Gawker Media.

More than 26,000 people read Ev’s blog last month


In summer of 2009, I was fat, unhappy, and sitting at a desk in Manhattan making 38,500+ a year at a job that had (for me) stagnated. Everyone told me that my life was supposed to be good. I had a good job, I had a nice apartment in a cool artist’s loft in Brooklyn. I was supposed to be grateful.

…and here I was smoking a cigarette out on the rooftop in Brooklyn. I had a 34inch waist. I was not happy. In fact, I was barely making enough money to survive in a city that I knew every corner of. I’d stopped evolving. Something had to change, and it was me.

My roommate came up to me on the roof. His girlfriend was recently pregnant. He sat me down. “Ev, I don’t know how else to say this. But, for the baby’s health, would you mind smoking outside?”

I went inside, looked in the mirror, and couldn’t recognize the face I saw anymore. Here I was, 24 years old, just getting chubbier, more depressed, and now I was killing my roommate’s unborn baby. Things had to change.

A year earlier, I’d watched as the girl I was with threw away all of her stuff and took off around the country with her guitar in my guitar case, and she survived. I could too, right?

So, that weekend of July 2009, I made a vow of personal evolution.

I untethered from smoking.
I untethered from all of my stuff.
I untethered from Brooklyn.
I untethered from my job.

I jumped on a plane to the other side of the country.

And I’ve been evolving my life and my work ever since.


Over the next few months my blog, my photo, my location, my services, and who my best friends are will probably change.

Since leaving New York in August 2009, I’ve lived in Portland, Oakland, San Francisco, Boulder, and right now I’m in Seattle.

I’ve made my entire income publishing online ever since. I’ve written three e-books, and now I publish a Letter on personal evolution in the digital age to a small group of remarkable folks.

You probably haven’t met the current me yet. In fact, you maybe never will. My work is constantly looking at myself, asking for feedback, and wondering how I can become a better person. I experiment in order to evolve.

So, chances are everything about me is going to change. One of the best ways to stay up to date is to subscribe to this blog via RSS or EMAIL.

How to Contact Ev

If you need to get in touch…
Phone: (347) 274-9878
Social: Google+

“Ev provides evolution assists.

Nothing is ever “done” anymore. Books aren’t even “done.” Things we used to could do and walk away from now evolve as we finish them. That scares people.

Ev eases the fear in 2 ways. 1. Helping you see that evolving can be fun. 2. Showing you ways to navigate it while working the alignment edge.” – Gwen Bell

September 30, 2011

Nurture: Making Our World Thrivable

by StefiaMadelyne


making our world thrivable


Our mission: is the conscious intent to nurture and grow thrivable organizations. Organizations generative of holistic value. Social benefit organizations that are ecologically generative, financially flourishing and operating in a holistic way. Our purpose is to make our world thrivable through facilitating collaboration, fostering generative innovation, and encouraging learning and sharing.

Our guiding theory of change:


  • We are a servant leadership organization creating flourishing, interconnected and resilient organizations and ecosystems.
  • We embody the spirit and values of openness, diversity, utility, solution-focus, and community-driven/bottom up.
  • We believe that nurturing change agents is best achieved through pro-active listening, information sharing, cross-pollination, and ongoing connection. (as we have tested through best practice coaching, social network analysis, and community development)
  • We believe that engaging a broad range of leaders and influencers across thrivable-related networks encourages creativity, connection, and collaboration.


Whether environmental, economic, political, organizational, or social, it is clear we do not live in a sustainable nor just world. While we have made great strides in the last 100 years, our current systems are in or nearing crisis, and we are entering an era of turbulence as we shift from one paradigm to the next.

What we have been doing isn’t working anymore. We need to consciously design our systems to be thrivable, and we believe that thrivability is generated from the dynamic interplay of the elements of the system.

It is all about how we measure success. The behavior of any system is defined by the way we choose to measure success..  We help bring alignment to our measures of success, so that you can build community, help our ecosystem generate abundance, and be financially successful. Profit is not the goal

A thrivable system is one that is generative of diverse, adaptive, innovative, holistic abundance. Biomimicry of nature.

Issues Addressed

Our current crisis are not inspiring nor are solutions interconnected.

Fragmented efforts hampering our thrivability: even well intentioned efforts fail to be fully thrivable because they’re not woven into a bigger picture.
Problem focus rather than solution focus – meaning that people try to address things with a limited perspective and with simple goals of ending the problem rather than creating something thrivable.

Core beliefs

  • Thrivability is the enmeshing of open, pragmatic, community-driven opportunities with creativity, empathy, and positivity.
  • Transformational philanthropy along with social capital committed to collaborative creative enterprises leveraging collective wisdom and working, with deep consciousness, toward “green” and “just” efforts will result in a thrivable world.
  • Without consciousness, we can’t work together well, nor will we have social justice. And the planet isn’t worth saving if it is only for a select few. Consciousness->social justice->sustainability is a virtuous cycle.
  • We alone cannot make the myriad transformations necessary, we must work with, for, and between others with similar aims. Social innovations from social entrepreneurship to social media, together we can do more.


Co-learning Programs and Products:

  1. Webinars/workshops weaving across multiple domains with rotating leaders and ongoing online community conversation
  2. Unconferences
  3. Thrivability Cards, Workbooks, and other playful DIY co-learning materials


  1. Thrivability assessments
  2. Mapping of present and possible future
  3. Online community design and development
  4. Customized in depth analysis, advising, and nurturing


Driving Assumptions

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

“Act always as if the future of the universe depended on what you did, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes any difference.” – Buddha

“What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Johann von Goethe

“And I have the firm belief in this now, not only in terms of my own experience but in knowing about the experience of others, that when you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there were going to be doors and where there wouldn’t be a door for anybody else.” – Joseph Campbell

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” – John Lubbock

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” – Rosalind Russell

“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” – Brian Tracy

Jean Russell

Jean Russell co-founded catalyst organizations and Inspired Legacies. Jean is dedicated to shifting our collective awareness from sustainability (where we seek to eliminate social, financial, and environmental harm) to thrivability (where we contribute meaningfully and consistently to a deep cultivation of natural, financial, and social systems) provides a rallying point for those interested in systemic change.  Her passion project,, grows a movement for thrivability through a wide network of visionaries, thought leaders, change agents, and entrepreneurs. She launches an ebook on thrivability, written by over 50 thrive agents, in March 2010.

Creating and nurturing conversations, Jean opens opportunities for transformation.  Her generous spirit, coupled with her coaching approach, earned her the name “NurtureGirl.” Her coaching and facilitation approach focuses on the flow of communication and an empathic sense of interpersonal dynamics. Jean leads strategy retreats and social benefit conferences, collaborating with colleagues in fields ranging from social media/networks to philanthropy, currencies, green/sustainable design, community development, and human rights. Jean has coached social entrepreneurs and change agents on four continents.

September 30, 2011

Birds of Brooklyn

by StefiaMadelyne
An Aural Landscape

Celebrate Urban Birds

Posted in April 8, 2011 ¬ 12:10 pmh.Jenna

Birds of Brooklyn is now featured on Celebrate Urban Birds!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has decades of experience connecting hundreds of thousands of people with nature. Their newest initiative, Celebrate Urban Birds, involves using visual and performing arts, participatory art, and science projects to engage city dwellers.


As our bird populations decrease, their silence sends us a warning signal about the failing health of ecosystems.

Birds of Brooklyn is a community-based audio artwork that brings the sounds of Brooklyn’s displaced, endangered and bygone birds to sites around the Borough.

During daylight and early-evening hours bird songs that are rarely heard in densely populated Brooklyn neighborhoods are projected from each participating Host location. Twenty different recordings can be heard by neighborhood residents and passersby, including the Ring-necked Pheasant, Grasshopper Sparrow, and the Eastern Blue Bird.

This audio art project aims to reconnect city dwellers with the natural sounds of the area and raise awareness about declining bird populations in urban environments.

For more information contact: jenna (at)


About the Artist

Jenna Spevack is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York.

Using drawing, installation, and digital media, her recent work looks at survival in the shifting natural and social-political environments.

For more information visit:

A Special Thanks

To the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Brooklyn Arts Council for funding and support.

To Peter Dorosh, Tom Stephenson, Ronald Bourque, Anne Hobbs, Christianne White,Brooklyn Bird Club, Celebrate Urban BirdsCornell Lab of Ornithology and local, Brooklyn-area birders who offered their suggestions during the research phase of this project.

To artist-farmers, Thad Simerly and Kimberley Hart, for their excellent installation skills.

And to Arthur Peters and John Huntington for their sanity-saving programming and technical expertise.

September 30, 2011

Brooklyn Design Lab

by StefiaMadelyne

BROOKLYN DESIGN LAB  :  design and art classes in Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, daily, after-school, weekends, school breaks, summer, toddlers, pre-k, kindergarten, kids, children, grown-ups, adults

ABOUT BROOKLYN DESIGN LABBDL grew out Amy’s passion for teaching. She has always been inspired by how children work as well as their art. Children are excited by new ideas and materials. They bring fresh energy to their work and each other.BDL’s mission is to bring design and art to the children (and grown-ups) of our community. Great design is all around us, from the coffee cup to the Brooklyn Bridge. Why not be part of the great design?

As part of our dedication to design and art in Park Slope, we host window exhibits to the community as well as fundraising events for local schools.ABOUT AMY YANG : FOUNDER+TEACHER

Amy has a BFA from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. Her photography has been exhibited throughout New York City and internationally. Amy spent a few years in the web world, and served as Creative Director of Screaming Media where she worked with Jay Chiat (he had great shoes). Amy is also the Amy in Lily+Amy, LLC, the clothing company she created with her mom. Lily+Amy outfits babies, kids, and grown-ups.

Teaching has always been a passion for Amy. She has worked in the Studio in a School’s Early Childhood Program, as well as Medical Center Nursery School (an early childhood school affiliated with and supported by Columbia University) and Brooklyn Free Space preschool. Amy was also an instructor for eight years at Parsons School of Design, Pre-College Academy.

And, if you think you might have seen Amy feeding the sea lions and training the pigs at the Central Park Zoo years ago, you’d be right!

Amy lives in Park Slope with her husband and two children, Luna (7) and Mars (3).

Seating for ages 18m-4

Seating for grades K-6

Asa, age 5

September 30, 2011

Mobilityshifts: An International Future of Learning Summit

by StefiaMadelyne



The New School

A conference, hands-on workshops, project demonstrations, exhibitions, and a theater performance connect the theories of Jacques Rancière and Ivan Illich with learning projects that escape the boundaries of schools and universities, mobile platforms, and the Open Web. Stop, reflect, listen, discuss, and build with artists, media experts, policy makers, technologists, students, teachers, librarians, legal scholars, and education activists from more than countries. Sponsored by the Office of the Provost. For more information,

How do learners become ethically and politically committed cultural agents? Oct. 10-16, 2011

The Institute for Distributed Creativity (iDC) invites you to its mailing list. The iDC has organized several large-scale conferences such as The Internet as Playground and Factory. Known for its mailing list, the IDC is a forum for informal learning for some 2000 researchers ranging from artists, legal scholars, librarians, media scholars, designers, and educators to political activists.

The Internet as Playground and Factory


Today we are arguably in the midst of massive transformations in economy, labor, and life related to digital media. The purpose of this conference is to interrogate these dramatic shifts restructuring leisure, consumption, and production since the mid-century. In the 1950s television began to establish commonalities between suburbanites across the United States. Currently, communities that were previously sustained through national newspapers now started to bond over sitcoms. Increasingly people are leaving behind televisions sets in favor of communing with — and through– their computers. They blog, comment, procrastinate, refer, network, tease, tag, detag, remix, and upload and from all of this attention and all of their labor, corporations expropriate value. Guests in the virtual world Second Life even co-create the products and experiences, which they then consume. What is the nature of this interactive ‘labor’ and the new forms of digital sociality that it brings into being?  What are we doing to ourselves?

Only a small fraction of the more than one billion Internet users create and add videos, photos, and mini-blog posts. The rest pay attention. They leave behind innumerable traces that speak to their interests, affiliations, likes and dislikes, and desires. Large corporations then profit from this interaction by collecting and selling this data.  Social participation is the oil of the digital economy. Today, communication is a mode of social production facilitated by new capitalist imperatives and it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between play, consumption and production, life and work, labor and non-labor.

The revenues of today’s social aggregators are promising but their speculative value exceeds billions of dollars. Capital manages to expropriate value from the commons; labor goes beyond the factory, all of society is put to work. Every aspect of life drives the digital economy: sexual desire, boredom, friendship — and all becomes fodder for speculative profit. We are living in a total labor society and the way in which we are commoditized, racialized, and engendered is profoundly and disturbingly normalized.  The complex and troubling set of circumstances we now confront includes the collapse of the conventional opposition between waged and unwaged labor, and is characterized by multiple “tradeoffs” and “social costs”—such as government and corporate surveillance. While individual instances are certainly exploitative in the most overt sense, the shift in the overall paradigm moves us beyond the explanatory power of the Marxian interpretation of exploitation (which is of limited use here).

Free Software and similar practices have provided important alternatives to and critiques of traditional modes of intellectual property to date but user agency is not just a question of content ownership. Users should demand data portability, the right to pack up and leave the walled gardens of institutionalized labor à la Facebook or StudiVZ. We should ask which rights users have beyond their roles as consumers and citizens. Activists in Egypt have poached Facebook’s platform to get their political message out and to organize protests. Google’s Image Labeler transforms people’s endless desire for entertainment into work for the company. How much should Google pay them to tag an image? Such payment could easily become more of an insult than a remuneration. Currently, there are few adequate definitions of labor that fit the complex, hybrid realities of the digital economy.

This conference confronts the urgent need to interrogate what constitutes labor and value in the digital economy and it seeks to inspire proposals for action. Currently, there are few adequate definitions of labor that fit the complex, hybrid realities of the digital economy. The Internet as Playground and Factory poses a series of questions about the conundrums surrounding labor (and often the labor of love) in relation to our digital present:

  • Is it possible to acknowledge the moments of ruthless exploitation while not eradicating optimism, inspiration, and the many instances of individual financial and political empowerment?
  • What is labor and where is value produced?
  • Are strategies of refusal an effective response to the expropriation of value from interacting users?
  • How is the global crisis of capitalism linked to the speculative performances of the digital economy?
  • What can we learn from the “cyber sweatshops” class-action lawsuit against AOL under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the early 1990s?
  • How does this invisible interaction labor affect our bodies? What were key steps in the history of interaction design that managed to mobilize and structure the social participation of bodies and psyches in order to capture value?
  • Most interaction labor, regardless whether it is driven by monetary motivations or not, is taking place on corporate platforms. Where does that leave hopeful projections of a future of non-market peer production?

– Trebor Scholz


September 30, 2011

On the Make

by Nick Brewer

This morning I found a great (short) article by Phillip Torrone about the growing popularity of the making culture. I think it really drives home the benefits of making things and venues for education.

“Forget the cliché of a lone hobbyist tinkering away in the garage; modern makers are more likely to work with each other, taking advantage of the sharing and publishing tools offered by the internet.”


September 29, 2011

Subway as stage.

by debmlong

This is one of my favorite examples of DIY theater, currently. Some of you may find it annoying (as I did, initially), but it is certainly a creative use of public space, and definitely an interesting way to have diverse crowds connect through a shared experience, in this case Shakespeare:

I haven’t caught these guys since mid-summer, but if you do happen to catch them, likely on the L or G train, it is certainly more amusing than some other things you might encounter in a subway car.

September 28, 2011

Dorkbot Next Wednesday!

by Tom Tenney

I think this would be a totally fun thing to do as a field trip.  I ‘ve never been to a dorkbot (but I’ve been to Nerd Night!) and would love to have an excuse to check this out.  Who’s in??

Here’s the URL:

And here’s what’s at the URL for all you lazy non-clickers:

people doing strange things with electricitywhat: dorkbot-nyc meeting
where: Location One (Greene between Canal & Grand)
when: Wednesday, 05 October 2011, 7-9pm
$$$: $$$FREE$$$ (donations to Location One appreciated!)


The next dorkbot-nyc meeting will take place at 7pm on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at Location One in SoHo.

The meeting is free and open to the public. PLEASE BRING SNACKS AND DRINKS TO SHARE!!! WE ARE HUNGRY!!!

We’re always looking for (and playing) more dorkbot theme songs! Bring or email one and we’ll play it at the meeting.


Featuring the frugivory and bendy-fingered:


Katrina Cass & Alex Alsup: BBOX Radio — Internet Radio from a Recycled Shipping Container
Downtown Brooklyn is a funny place. The Fulton Street Mall is an epicenter of shopping and style. The so-called ÒBrownstone BeltÓ encircles the mall area and has born repeated, failed, attempts to reshape downtown. BBOX Radio takes its place at the center of all this as an internet radio station built into a recycled shipping container that features original programming developed by the Brooklyn community. With a live performance venue, gallery space, and diverse roster of talk and music shows, BBOX Radio is a combination of analog and digital media — something that can bring the Brooklyn community together in person and broadcast to the world online.

Jody Zellen: Urban Rhythms
Jody Zellen investigates ways to integrate new technologies into her practice. She has become increasingly interested in making works that involve active audience participation. To that end she creates net art projects, site specific interactive installations and is now embarking on creating artworks for mobile devices. She will talk about her interactive installations “The Blackest Spot” (2008) and “The Unemployed” (2011) currently on view at Disseny Hub Museum in Barcelona, and “Urban Rhythms” a new art app that will be available in the iPhone store soon.

T3db0t: Deconspectrum
We humans tend to treat our perceptions as holistic — as seeing things as things, instead of as an accumulation of parts, details and features. This is the great abstracting power of the 3-pound neural network in our heads, and is a major differentiating characteristic from other computational paradigms. But what happens when we are confronted with a former whole that’s been broken into its constituent parts?”Deconspectrum” is a sound-reactive installation that takes the notion of a spectrum analyzer and pulls it apart, gutting our monolithic perception of sound and laying out its component viscera in the form of flickering, colored light-cubes, leaving them out in the open to decompose into a new autonomy.

September 28, 2011

DIY Slider

by sarafusco

For any video enthusiasts, here’s a pretty sweet idea for a DIY slider using a gorilla tripod and skate wheels.  The instructions began to get a little confusing to me in the middle of the video, but it looks relatively do-able.  Maybe?  Anyone have an old pair of skates they aren’t using?

September 28, 2011

GeekMom’s 10 Takeaway Lessons From Maker Faire NY

by Farah

Blogger Andrea Schwalm wrote a great post summing up her experience at Maker Faire. Her points (aside from the one about how her son is so great) touch on a lot of topics we’ve discussed in class or posted about here like sustainability, the importance of play, programming with Arduino, ham radios, hackerspaces, etc. She includes tons of links to the projects and groups featured at the Faire as well as recent news stories about making/DIY. It’s definitely worth looking at if you weren’t able to attend or even if you did go and want to further explore some of the initiatives encountered there.

One of the things Schwalm links to is Jody Culkin’s “Introduction to Arduino” comic. For those of us without prior programming experience, this might be a helpful primer in advance of Nick’s workshop:

Click the image to download the PDF!

September 27, 2011

The Video Lab: “Geeking out” at The New School

by alexandrakellyg

“[…] as youth engage in DIY efforts, they are learning to critically read and write the world.”

– Yasmin Kafai and Kylie Pepper in Youth Technology and DIY: Developing Participatory Competencies in Creative Media Production

Tevin Campbell is a Senior at Washington Irving High School.  As he presents his film “A Nice Day at Oval Park” to an audience of over 100 graduate students in an Understanding Media Studies lecture hall, he doesn’t flinch.  “Making this film, I got to know the ins and outs of being a filmmaker.  It was cold on some days and I didn’t want to go outside, but I made myself.  And now, I want to be a filmmaker as a career.”

Tevin’s aspirations to be a filmmaker were inspired by this small participatory youth media program at The New School, The Video Lab.  The Video Lab was started over nine years ago by Carol Wilder and Dawnja Burris as a way to bring our Media Studies knowledge into the community and teach students how to tell their stories through film.  Many students have access to filmmaking equipment through their phones, but very little access to mentors who can work with them to understand media through creating media, rewriting the metaphor of reading the world to read the world (Freire & Macedo 1987) as filming the world to see the world.  Washington Irving High School has minimal art programming, but is overflowing with students who have stories that need to be exploded onto the big screen.  The big screen is not just for celebrities.  At The Video Lab and many other youth filmmaking programs, the big screen is for the everyday; for our ideas and our lives.

The Video Lab Spring 2011

At The Video Lab, curriculum is guided by the students.  Their attendance and commitment to the weekly program dictates the depth and bredth of the filmmaking process.  Below is a short film that depicts a “typical” brainstorming session.  Students come up with ideas and, like clay, shape them into short documentary films over the course of a semester.

At the end of the semester, students present their work to an audience who asks them questions about their process. Every student has a different way of explaining their own storymaking journey, but ultimately there is an increased group cohesion that comes with spending hours and hours editing films with Final Cut Pro, scarfing down late night pizza and then pulling it all together for the public together, as a group.

Highlights from Tevin Campbell’s film, “A Nice Day in Oval Park” – about a park in his neighborhood in the Bronx

September 27, 2011

Maker Fair. DIY, Recycling and Education. Silla Re-Uso, Colombia

by Natalia Guerrero

At the Maker Fair that took place in Queens, NY this year I couldn’t stop thinking about the intersection between trash (what we throw out or discard as no longer useful), the appropriation of the concept maker, recycling and education. A couple years ago in Colombia the government decided to ban all the non-institutional recycling taking place in Bogotá city in response to the inadequate (translation: pleasant to the eye aesthetically) medium of carrying the trash by recyclers. The use of horses and even people to pull on wooden carts seemed to be the focus of this whole issue on how to dispose of the waste in the city and the unpleasant aspect and smell of the families who went through the trash. This lack of thoughtfulness on the issue left out that 55% of the population in Colombia is below the line of poverty and that around 60% of the income for families comes from informal work, including recycling. Recycling has always been left for the unprivileged and the stigmatization of this population is significant. Nevertheless, a small part of the population, artists privileged in a way for being able to have and education began to use waste as their prime source for their designs and trash began to be something more digestible.

Going beyond the simple realization that waste is not always un-useful, becoming a Maker and also to incorporate this as a tool for education and empowerment can be truly a challenge. This is where Silla Re-Uso comes into place. Samuel Córdoba designer and Director of the documentary Tumaco Pacífico, traces the path from his experience and responsibility as a film maker in Tumaco to building chairs out of recycled carton boxes.  “Me siento bien sentado sobre una silla de cartón” (I feel good sitting on a carton chair”) became an idea that left the art gallery to become a proposal that involves the community in a space that allows them to also become makers. Fundación Promedio was then born from two fabulous artists, Catalina López and Samuel Córdoba, who together envisioned a place for the Maker Community with the mission of creating artistic activities in defense of the environment and culture.  Fundación Promedio created workshops to bring the recycling community into a space where they could learn to be makers by gaining knowledge on a craft that is just one step ahead from what they already do, recycle.

DIY, Recycling and Education. The fulfilling experience of learning, making and then being able to pass a certain knowledge; ex: how to learn and make a chair, goes beyond the simple need to protect the environment. The documented experience in this case exposes a whole economic and political context. What I like about this project its the ability to bring forward a Maker Community who can  re-assign the value of their work and give the individual maker its importance when it relates to the community.

September 27, 2011

Theater of the Opressed and Street Theater. Unidad de Operaciones Tácticas de los Payasos Policías de Puerto Rico

by Natalia Guerrero

The Police Clowns of Puerto Rico brought performance into the street as a political tactic to join the student protests who where fighting for the right to education in the public university of Puerto Rico. Through their performance they over took the public space to bring into the discussion the contradictory relationship of the State forces who in their mission to protect the order and lives are also used to oppress and control freedom of speech. In their mission to accomplish this, direct and indirect violence is executed, political arrests and forced disappearances, physical abuse and justification of violent actions. The discourse and mission of the clowns in their manifestations contained the same discourse the police uses to justify their violent actions to maintain public order. Los Payasos de la Policia de Puerto Rico publicly reclaiming their right to also protect and verify the law.

MISSION (in spanish):

1. Proteger la vida y propiedades, impedir el crimen y el desorden.
2. Prevenir, descubrir y perseguir el delito.
3. Cumplir y velar por el cumplimiento de las leyes, reglamentos y ordenanzas municipales.
4. Observar y procurar la protección de los derechos civiles del ciudadano.
5. Observar en todo momento una conducta ejemplar.
6. Tomar las providencias necesarias para garantizar la protección de las personas detenidas.
7. Tratar cortésmente al público y prestar la debida ayuda a las personas que la requieran.
8. Prestar la debida protección al pueblo reunido legalmente para cualquier fin lícito.
9. Obedecer las órdenes legalmente emitidas por sus superiores.
10. Ser puntual en sus compromisos oficiales y diligentes en el cumplimiento de su deber, actuando siempre en forma ecuánime, serena y justa.
11. Orientar y aconsejar al público sobre el mejor cumplimiento de la ley, así como en todo lo que concierne a la seguridad pública.

Part of their discourse is to inform citizens of their rights and the mission of the clowns (which is the institutionalized mission of the Police of Puerto Rico). With this they bring up the need for their presence in this space. During the performance the clowns involve both the public and the Police Force and confront the Police who are in violation of their own purpose which now will be in vigilance by the Clown Police and the civilians. The clowns are there to symbolically protect the public and students from the brutality of the police presence which is in violation of the right to have Universities and schools free from the presence of the State Forces. The clowns re-assumed their protagonist function in their performance and in society by making a “joke” of the protagonist who separate themselves from the mass, the Police. The Police clowns play out symbolic disputes embedded in the fight and struggle of the oppressed in Puerto Rico through out its history.

September 27, 2011

Language(s) and Intercambio de Communidad

by andrewjbowe

Andrew Jay Bowe

Within a contemporary framework, John Bell has appropriated many of Boal’s techniques for his Bread and Puppet Parades. Bell communicates a similar form of extensive version of language within his assessment of theater, ‘For three and a half decades the Bread and Puppet Theater has been communicating in the language of puppets, masks and images; sharing (with hundreds of volunteer performers who have worked with the theater around the world) a particular dialect of that language…” (Bell 272). Bell’s project, a public theater using puppets to display a spectacle of political and social issues that dissent from the modern entertainment industry and capitalism, is directly influenced by the transformative process through which images-language can ignite forms of agency and action. To subvert stabilizing notions of language, both the concrete location of education as a physical space and mental-grammatical space, using a moving parade of image-phrases is to ask for a participation and excitement that is a tactile use of language.


Though, there are numerous other examples of organizations that have attempted to center their attention on transforming the immediate situation of language and language access. While Friere and Boal operate at a macro-dialogic location of shifting the entire structure that produces consciousness, many community organized non-profit organizations have operated at a micro-level in order to offer the skill of language for immediate utility. Organizations such as “Intercambio de Comunidades”—a growing organization out of Boulder, Colorado, which seeks to “help immigrants achieve greater self-sufficiency and confidence” through English education courses as well as citizenship workshops –look to rearrange the access of marginalized people to a variety of forms of social capital. The organization, develops by asking volunteers to sit and have conversations with immigrants who have a scales of English proficiency, the framework is non-traditional in the sense that most of what is communicated is a meta-conversation on language where the English-education volunteer and the Immigrant teach one another about themselves and about their languages by speaking about language.

The focus of this organization on English education courses highlights the practical need not only for the transformation of the oppressed consciousness, but also the need for an immediate form of assistance in the process of seeking the skill of language. While the technique of many community organized literacy organizations does not at first seem to allow for a consciousness of ones oppressive position, these organizations help to undo the oppressed/oppressor dichotomy by bringing folks together from a variety of backgrounds and asking that they interact together and teach one another. It is in this sense that language might not plainly be imagined as a form of interaction that expresses thought, but language as a relation that happens in-between the changing notions of self and other.

September 27, 2011

Creation Nation Station

by athenallewellyn

The first floor of 765 Broad Street, Newark NJ used to be an office. Where cubicles once divided an open floor, the art work of thousands of Newark’s youth  now flourishes. An in-kind donation from the owner of Cogswell Realty, in the five years we have been there the Creation Nation Parade came and has grown. In preparation for the upcoming Parade we have opened our doors twice a week as a free makers space, where any individual is welcome to come and paint, build or fabricate from our various array of supplies and scraps. We make collective banners, individual pro-create signs (rather than protest) while some artists simply use the space as a studio and work on an ongoing project to display in the parade. The sessions are loosely guided by artist supporters, and we break each session for a fifteen minute open discussion addressing the concept of a “Creation Nation”. These discussions have been amazingly enlightening, as a dialogue grows between many different members of society. These photos are of some of the sessions and think boards the group has come up with. Anyone is welcome to join us, a schedule can be found by clicking here.





September 26, 2011

The Politics of the Theater of the Oppressed

by sarafusco

I just came across this workshop happening on Saturday, October 15th.  There’s a registration fee ($50-$75), but looks to be really interesting:

October 15th, 2011 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
The Politics of the Theater of the Oppressed
Facilitated by Marie-Claire Picher

This workshop is an outgrowth of a collaboration and some recent conversations that took place between Julian Boal, TOPLAB facilitator Marie-Claire Picher and other members of TOPLAB. When it first originated in Brazil in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Theater of the Oppressed (TO) was a political and theatrical project that sought to work with oppressed people and communities toward their own self emancipation and to change society and abolish the class structure that is the underpinning of capitalism. Today, a good amount of the radical political thrust and focus that motivated and informed TO as it was originally conceived and formulated is lost in much of its current practice. This workshop will attempt to return to the political, pedagogical and theatrical roots that are central to the theory and praxis of Theater of the Oppressed. With the surging popularity of “reality TV” and “interactive art” produced by corporate edict, the accelerated commodification of culture and its ongoing recuperation by capital, once-genuine participation in daily social life has too often become nothing more than a fashionable, radically-chic presentation (and consumption) of culture; in the case of TO, such presentation compromises the radical sensibility that is at its core and turns it into a poorly-disguised form of interactive manipulation.

Marie-Claire Picher is a co-founder (1989) of the Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory (TOPLAB) and has worked and collaborated closely with Augusto Boal until his death in 2009. One of the most experienced TO practitioners in North America, she has presented thousands of hours of TO facilitation training in New York and throughout the United States, as well as in Chiapas, Tabasco, Mexico City, Guatemala and Cuba.

September 25, 2011

Finally i can post!! Donald Reed

by diydonaldreed

An interview I did with one of my best friends who pretty has a DIY jewelry business.  And has become pretty successful all on her own.  She has sold jewelry to a few celebrities I.e. Erykah Badu, and just keeps on getting more and more opportunities.


She blogs, photographs, does her own public relations, designs jewelry, she is a part time stylist, and poet.  She is very busy.


The interview..


A great example of “Do it yourself” within our culture today can be seen
in the world of blogging. A good friend of mine Nyne, of Nyne Lyves,
knows a bit about this as she made all of her success through the online
world. Nyne is a rising jewelry designer, who gained most of her fan
base from Facebook. She blushes when we have these kinds of
conversations about how her mini empire has begun. “It’s so wild because
I have literally had a presence on the Internet since…middle school? I
remember joining Facebook in 2006 when it was only available for college
students. Now I have a Facebook “fan page” because I have “too many”
friends, like what is that?!” Though the idea of starting a fan page
sounds a bit obscure, the truth remains…the Internet is the place to
begin for an artist. Now Nyne is an Influencer for Vogue, and spends her
free time working with kids. Over the summer she spent a month at an
all-girls camp teaching them jewelry design; with DIY tips using nature.
The girls made pieces ranging from rock rings to purses with shells. For
some Facebook is the arch nemesis to reality, but for Nyne Facebook has
opened the door for opportunity.  the site to check her out is

September 24, 2011

Collaborative Consumption: Collective Intelligence to the Service of Trading, Bartering, and Swapping

by Ariana Stolarz

The Cyberspace promotes the “rapid integration of intelligences”
(Pierre Levy, Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age, p. 146).

The C-Factor. In recent years, the concepts of community, cooperation, collaboration, crowdsourcing, the commons, and collective intelligence have circulated and considerably increased their appeal with academics, marketers, and the informed public. A great deal of literature seeks to explain the reasons why people collaborate, while emphasizing the role of digital technologies as catalyst for the various examples to succeed. Currently, new and creative ways of self-motivated collective action have proliferated beyond the exchange of knowledge and information. I am particularly interested in the raise of what has been called collaborative consumption—understood as new practices of “bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping, redefined through technology and peer communities”—, and in getting a deeper understanding of the reasons why this concept is now trending (Botsman and Rogers, What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, p. xv).

The throwaway mode of living—characterized by the raise of hyper-consumerism and the production and consumption of disposable items since the early fifties—is now witnessing successful counterexamples of repetitive consumption practices over ownership. At the heart of these practices is the calculation of how we can take an object’s “idling capacity and redistribute elsewhere” (Botsman and Rogers 83). Some examples, just to illustrate a few, include the swapping sites SwapTree, Squidoo, U-Exchange, and ThreadUp, where users swipe books, movies, games, and kids’ clothes. FreeCycle and ReUseIt are sites where people give unwanted items away. The car sharing and per hour car rental, facilitated through platforms such as RelayRide, GetAround, Whipcar, Zipcar, ZimRide, NuRide, and GoLoco, is predicted to become a $12.5 billion industry (Botsman and Rogers xiv-xviii, 84-85). In all these examples, the direct link between producers and consumers is restored leaving aside the middleman.

Numerous authors study the proliferation of a variety of technologies of cooperation, its uses and individual motivations. While most of this literature places a central role in the medium – one architected to foster collaboration – I will argue that the success of current collaborative consumption practices lays at the intersection of a) new technologies of cooperation (computer-networked platforms), b) social modes of organization (in particular, network theories), and c) cultural transformations (more specifically, i) a reinvigorated meaning of trust that emerged from the convergence of new technologies and social networking functions; and ii) a need to be more open to new ways of accessing what one needs and how to go about getting it,  heightened by an increased consciousness in environmental issues and the effects of the global economic crisis) (see Regis Debray’s  mediological approach, Media Manifestos: On the Technological Transmission of Cultural Forms).

Of course, digital technologies are key vehicles for these transmissions to thrive. The Internet offers platforms, such as, that make technically possible what was previously theoretically unimaginable: new reliable forms of collaboration among otherwise unconnected individuals.

September 22, 2011

DIY Electric Car

by rygielia

Electric Porshe

Ever wonder what it would take to convert your gas guzzler into an electric car? Well wonder no longer because Jack Rickard and Brian Noto have you covered on their weekly webcast Electric Vehicle Television (EVTV).

AND bonus link to the NPR story that covered them earlier this week: