Everything about this short speaks to me about participation. From the outsourced nature of its production to its clear message. Made by the same team who created “Connected”, its a humanist look at our present situation. We have been declaring our “independence” for so long, perhaps it is time to begin declaring our “interdependence” and truly look at how closely we are linked and in need of one another. Click here to declare your interdependence on their map.
Ubuntu is a concept stemming from Africa that encompasses a mentality of togetherness, our allegiance and relations to one another. In terms of the participatory space, I find it a fundamental concept. I learned of the conecpt through a program I took called “mindfulness without borders.” MWB is a council building educational program that works with schools and communities building participatory models for open dialogue. Here you can find a list of podcasts relating to the various steps of council building. It was a highly educational experience for me, learning how to be a mediator, and taught a great deal about how to ignite someone’s self knowledge rather than feed information.
A translation of Ubuntu is “I am what I am because of who we all are.” Archbishop Desmond tutuo offered a definition in a 1999 book:
A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
A further explanation by Tutu:
One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about hte fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.
Destructables.org is an advertising free Do It Yourself website for projects of protest and creative dissent. The site features user generated step-by-step video and photo/text based instructions for a wide range of dissenting actions, including (but not limited to): art actions, billboard alterations, shop-dropping, protest strategies, knit-bombing, making protest props, interventions, methods of civil disobedience, stencil work, performative actions, and many other forms of public dissent – from the practical and tactical to the creative and illegal. It is a living archive and resource for the art and activist communities.
I love that these guys were looking at the information available elsewhere online (specifically instructables) and decided to create their own for the purpose of culture jamming. They also have several organizations working with them; Center for Artistic Activism, The Yes Men / The Yes Lab, Crimethinc, Andrew Boyd / Beautiful Trouble, Di Rosa, and Southern Exposure.
For an alternative peek at the possibilities of public theatre I enjoy keeping tabs on New York’s own Improv Everywhere, a diy prank collective which gathers support for their events via online newsblasts and facebook events. To date, they have caused over one-hundred scenes and enriched the lives of thousands. Above is a brief video documenting their project “Say Something Nice” in which they attached a megaphone to a podium fixing the instructional sign [look]. The piece was moved throughout Manhattan, but this video of Union Square so quickly re-purposes a place of transit towards a place of appreciation. Certainly some of the most beautiful moments I could hope to witness in this city. Enjoy!
As we’ve mentioned a few times in class already, this weekend is Maker Faire. Not only does it play really well into the overall theme of the class, but it is a REALLY REALLY FUN EVENT! It is just a ton of people sharing projects and ideas. You can learn to solder for a dollar (personally I think it is a skill everybody should know), its very easy, and when you’re done you get a neat little blinking badge.
For anybody interested in meeting up as a group and checking out the grounds, I plan on attending Saturday. I’ll be there around 10:30am. Email me at brewn477(at)newschool.edu if you would like to meet up. I’ll try to coordinate everything if there are a bunch of people who would like to join me.
Location – Take the LOCAL 7 train to the 111th St. stop.
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th Street
Queens, NY 11368-2950
Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Saturday, September 17th – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, September 18th – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
You can ride in a gigantic fire breathing dragon!!!