This session was about several projects that relate to "writing our own history", focussed on Indymedia, but spreading out to other ideas.
imc uk history page - work in progress, a test-version is online
An "indybook" is planned by an editorial collective from the New York imc print version "The Indypendent"
- As a response to the book project, there is talk about a wiki book project, open wiki style - a bit more reflective slow and it could be personal too.
- There are lots of articles on indymedia, some written by people who are involved in indymedia and academia. (phd project about radical video just finished by someone who has actually been involved in indymedia work)
Some descriptions of the four projects, giving different views of the how to write our history.
Imc Uk History Project
A convergence of several things. The idea to make a chronology of things that the imc uk collective was involved in started as early as 2001 - ironically as part of a serious conflict within the collective. Ionnek made some notes about activities because of this conflict, to prove that "we are great" against the other side of the conflict. This list has been sitting there, was never used, waiting to be turned into some imc uk history record. In 2006, there was some funding for research on indymedia. Extending the imc uk chronology was part of this research. The new chronology was posted to docs.indymedia.org, the imc uk collectives were informed. Yoss, one of the techs, saw the material, he is a tech, interested in calenders at the moment. So he, ionnek, and a few others got together, he designed a web interface for a chronology database using a ruby on rails calender system. This open publishing website allows to upload various media formats (video, audio, txt, pics), and to add tags to each entry to make it searchable. These tags are presented as a tag cloud. You can also search the site, look at the material chronologically, and newswire style.
- Q: who is tagging? who decides? A: it is free tagging. Ionnek: I actually find it difficult to tag, and can't quite get used to it. We have set some tags in the publish form for people to tick. I haven't decided even myself how to use these tags. Yoss says, the page will create its own structure, the more entries go in and the more tags are being made. In the end, when you search something, you will find the info.
The more people upload stuff, the better.
The articles aren't published by the date they are published, but by the date they refer to. You can then get an overview, of when things happened.
It would be good to see for the history project to be a bit broader, as there is everything else that is involved in what happens. Maybe we need a better searh engine. At the moment it is a test site really, so it will not necessarily stay as imc uk only.
What about the use of databases to "write our own history"? I am working on a multimedia database about a protest movement - what sense does it make? There are so many websites that disappear, there are so many things I am trying to find from articles in the past. I hate it when things disappear out of the interenet. A database could collect specific information. It could also work with more established archives, or other movement archives.
How about an archive about the indymedia itself, or the struggles. all for all, pga nadir, the idea was to post indymedia posts about the pga to collect the history. but the scope became too broad, and it just lost focus and became a collection of random posts that people thought were interested in.
I think it is all just a case of tagging and organising the data better. I think people could take control of their bits of the site.
There are groups working on different issues, and i would hold them responsible for that, but there is no history about the groups and the collectives themselves and how they organised. there are reports about somewhere being squtatted, someone being evicted, but not the rest. it is interesting if nadir talked about how they work, and how it is changing and why, not just what they are used for and the content they host. the structures are really amazing
We need to break this in two. people need to do ti themselves. and facilitating them to be able to do it themselves. we don't need to focus on 'history' itself.
indymedia book project
it had a gmail address, it is a book project set up by some in ny, who have been criticised for their print project already - the indypendent takes adverts, and has paid staff, one of whome gets the ads. They got money to make a book - or a publisher is paying for it, 5% is going to uc-imc
It is written by people doing stuff by indymedia, which is different, people writing themselves. but it is being organised in a traditional top down approach, with a team commissioning
The team are asking for a synopsis about how things are happeining in oceania, it is just like when i am selling articles to the corp media. they will give feed back about it, how the ... do they know what is happening in my part of the world
There was discussion about this in Austin. There was also a lot of discussion about the ny print project more generally
chris anderson ny imc - detailed notes possible, not all issues raised replied licencing issues, someone in the global south would pay more than a weeks wage, republishing will not be possible as a book, but the articles could be open sourced
what about sending money from the book to the global south, without asking what was needed, we should clear up the money thing, there is some in advance, a lot of money, enough for a years wages in us, 5% to ucimc, 0% to global pot, revenue from the book will go to indymedia (?) there would be part of the money going to the global south (like a charity case?)
clarification: $12k, in three steps of $4k: prepare, submit, publish I don't care about the money, not the amount, it is the way, it's outs outside the indymedia system.
we should go through this and look at how it is reflecting a traditional capitalsistic approach to publishing. and why this couldn't fit under the name of indymedia just because you work for the us government in one part, and write a book about it all, you then publish it as published by the us government?
we could make a selection of articles that we have worked on, we do need to work collaboratively to make them readable to others, then if someone needs an article they could take them out of the collection, and then put them together for what they need them for. a pool of resources. toya's idea for doing this on the wiki is going in this direction. i've put notes from the g8 on the wiki, i'm fine for people to take bits out of it.
Someone (who is involved in imc) edited a book for routledge (uk acedemic publisher). One of the G8 Wiki pages was put in the book, but it has been shortened so much it is now dead. Some imc people wrote an article for this book under a collective nickname.
If someone wants to write something about the g8 it is out there, nothing new needs to be written. it is written for ourselves and if others come to us they can use it too
isn't that the wiki
well the articles tend to be more factual, less of the feelings and ...
there are lots of posts like this on different places, even on the wiki, it would be good to put them in one location, and letting people edit the texts so different versions are available
throwing money at the global south in itself is not helpful, and demeaning, we need communication and skills,
i think it is important to go through the book project, to analyse it, how accessible it is, and what the worries are about 'THE indymedia book' because of all these concerns. the wiki version is to critise it, but also do something positive and creative.
it is different who signs it is it different if imc ny signs it yes, i still wouldn't subscribe to it
they did say it was not intended to be 'THE indymedia book', as the text is going to be open source, we should make our own pdf
i am not interested in taking that sort of text
it could be a starting point for the wiki, then there can also be local articles about some indymedias etc
it is the second or third book project that has been run in thes same way, we should be looking to writing a structure, so we have an alternative way of producing books. these might be ways for it to be done
the wiki is a work in progress, it is good
it is very tempting to want 'a book', but i just couldn't see how it could happen, spending a lot of time on the structure, hence becoming the editor - i see the anger it creates, and how easy and the reason why it happens like that, it is better if you give space and have collaborative editing
it is possible to do it collabortively, the last g8 feature was an example, done together rather than with the individual stuff at home afterwards. the expectiation of the writing is different, you have to step back, don't expect your name, don't expect the reputation, starting there you let go of certain formulations more - it may be stuff people don't find interesting.
the g8 article is a good example, we didn't need to get consensus from the global indymedia network for a start.
moving on with being comfortable with the book, it isn't going to be sold as a commercial one, there is plenty of writing about indymedia, so it doesn't matter, anyone can write about indymedia - they don't have to buy a license. any arsehole can write about it we don't need to like it. but contributors really need to think about if there is anything they want, and how they want to submit things
the thing about this book that makes me angry after all this time is that we haven't come up with a better way
because we never felt the need, we had the internet
the need for a book, not everyone has the internet, it is another way of getting stuff out there,
we should be printing more than just about indymedia
what is this about then, how groups make technologies, how you make a media centre with no money, who are these people are they all geeks, what are the social networks, how to do radio,
diy culture party and protest in britain edited by different people involved in different bits of the campaigns, it was a great story book and guide, not just about the movement but what it was doing
don't need to write about there stuff, just link to it
does such a book make sense at all, there was a pga project, looking back at something years afterwards has been quite inspiring, and the websites weren't there anymore. it is a good guide.
indybook is revealing different ways that people see indymedia a difference between us and europe [o! not just europe, i'm from oceana too] - us see it as an alternative press agency, we have a different view of this
having information available, but allowing different groups to print differently depending on what interests there are
we should call out for all the books, articles, everything done so far, we should use them for a start
there is already the essay collection
the trouble with a book is it is held higher and quoted by academics, they are just so far behind that they will respect it too much, that will happen no matter how it has been written
we should write an article about the book, and submit it to the book
it would be easy to get into a strange fight about this
why isn't it done on regions, and split up the editorial like we do
we are everywhere - notes from nowhere collective (5 named people) - we are documenting a movement, just collecting original reports leaflets etc. including a focus on the global south, lots of differnt typefaces etc. even them i was angry with, people from london were puting that book together and they didn't ask us about us, it was ok, but it as an editorial descison that they made - the feeling of being exploited was there
you need to know where indymedia is coming from, it is a distinction other people can't make, if it is good or not, it is about people talking for themselves, and we feel it important the same to be able to talk about ourselves.
it may end in a fight, but it has been one that has been avoided over and over, an underlying conflict about these issues, people feeling uncomfortable, print imcuc etc. why not have the discussion. lets have this out in the open.
== Conclusion ==
- an article about traditional book writing
- to work on a pool of resources - wiki
So is someone actually going to do it? The article, yes!
We should write an e-mail too.
Do other community projects, or tech collectives want to write there history?