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(en) UK, Media HackLab at the anarchist Freedom place - Whitechapel High St, London E1

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 1 May 2004 06:25:28 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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"Hacking - subversive use of technology. To cross boundaries and
borders by means of open communication networks, to freely share
and exchange information and ideas."
Media HackLabs - autonomous technology zones, spaces for learning,
for making your own media, for the sharing and developing of free and
not-for-commercial-use technologies and software, for battling
surveillance and alienation, for ongoing projects and for using new
forms of communication in direct action.
Hacking as an attitude: this is our vision, not just computer

We regard hacking to be an attitude that isn't confined to information
technology. Our way of being hackers is apparent in day-to-day life,
even when we're not using computers. It reveals itself when we fight
to change the things we don't like, such as force-fed misinformation,
the use of expensive technologies that are not available to everyone,
and having to accept information dispensed without any interactivity.
A project of communications

In an atomised society where ideas have become “intellectual
property”, most people know enough about computers to
consume but not to create, all communication is mediated through a
prism of control. We can use technology to break alienation,
communicate with each other directly and challenge the notion of
ideas as private property.

Geeks challenged the notion that creation, advance and development
could only happen within the capitalist paradigm of need for profit.
These kids did it cos they could, did it cos they loved it, were driven by
the love of the new, inspired by sharing new ideas, new information,
the challenge of creating. And sure, some of them sold out to
microsoft, got rich, but a hell of a lot didn’t.

And the reaction to the slow strangulation of free information by the
huge dinosaurs of greed, Microsoft and IBM was : Fuck you, we can
do it faster, funnier and freer. You’ve got Windows - a system that
offers no capacity for learning with a prohibitive price tag and viruses
galore, we’ve got GNU/Linux - freeware DIY, more stable,
virus-free & cost-free. You’ve got Sony, we’ve got Napster,
Gnutella & peer-to-peer. Surfing rapidly replaced sailing the high seas
as the pirates leisure choice of the future.

As the corporations moved in like vultures, open-source became a
movement, kids who’d just been doing it for fun got angry, got
organised. Hack-meetings mushroomed across Europe - meetings of
digital communities and countercultures where codes were created
and cracked, defiance against surveillance was discussed, skills were
shared, information exchanged, net strikes plotted. People talked
about technology but also about politics, about free software and
related ways of thinking.

The logical next step on from these temporary zones of autonomous
technology were Media HackLabs - permanent spaces, places for
learning, for making your own media, for the sharing and developing
of free technologies and software, for battling surveillance and
alienation, for ongoing projects and for using new forms of
communication in direct action.

Our Media HackLab is inspired by communications actions from
around the world. Here’s a few examples:

- Project at MIT which created a computer programme that could
map out a safe passage through the CCTV cameras in a given area of
a city. The same project created robots that could go out leafletting
and make political speeches as a way of breaking down alienation!
- Projection of anti-war messages onto the Houses of Parliament.
- Daily pirate radio broadcasts to prisoners in Thessaloniki. An action
which later escalated to the occupation of national commercial radio
stations in Greece to broadcast solidarity messages to the prisoners.
- Woomera 2002 ‘No Borders’ camp - border hack
technology which explored ways of breaking down the borders and
exploding the silence between protesters inside and outside Woomera
detention centre, by use of methods that ranged from noise actions to
Indymedia Phone Indymedia Patch technology (PIMP) where
detainees could make a phone call that was automatically transferred
into an mp3 file for upload onto the Desert Indymedia website.
- Indymedia - network of collectively run media outlets "for the
creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth.
Working out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work
for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and
unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity." Accessible,
democratic and decentralised - anyone can log on with their own
- East London Wireless Project, one of many wireless projects capable
of providing free internet usage to all buildings in a given area. Faster
than broadband & cost-free.
- Pirate TV - one Rome social centre set up their own TV station,
then went round their neighbourhood knocking on doors, and tuning
people’s TV’s into the station.
So what are we actually gonna do?

* Free internet/computer access
* Video/audio editing suite
* internet radio/internet TV
* Making films
* Hosting hacklab conferences
* Using/making radio transmitters
* Free software freeshop
* Participation in wireless internet projects

Workshops in:

* Internet/email/basic computer use
* GNU/Linux freeware
* Graphic design/web design
* Filming
* Video + sound editing
* Computer assembling/recycling
* Setting up internet radio
* In addition to using and learning existing technology we also wish
to participate in creating ecologically sound alternatives

Get involved

The Media HackLab is in the process of being set up every
Wednesday afternoon from 2pm-7pm at Freedom, Angel Alley, off
Whitechapel High St, London E1. Nearest tube Aldgate East.
Everyone is welcome to get involved whether or not you have
computer experience. We are still looking for donations of computers.

A new web site for the Media HackLab has been set up at here. This
is a wiki site - it is totally interactive and anyone can upload or
download stuff to/from it.

There is also a new Media HackLab discussion list. To subscribe, fill
in the subscription form here

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