video | MIT Center for Civic Media

The Ukraine-Latin America Connection: Clustering Countries by Video Trends

Why would some online videos trend in both Ukraine and Latin America? I don't know, but it looks like they do. Continuing our work on the What We Watch project, which Ethan previously blogged about, I noticed that Ukraine has a surprising (to me) number of trending videos in common with countries like Mexico and Argentina. Here's one example:

Tell us your story

"Join us, tell us your story" is the prompt given by the Kitchen Sisters for their most recent project, "The Hidden World of Girls." This is one of 3 storytelling projects I've been enjoying lately that center women as storytellers about their lives and histories.

The Hidden World of Girls

The Hidden World of Girls, is a recent project by NPR radio production duo, The Kitchen Sisters. It's a series of radio documentaries featuring women and stories about women that people called in responding to the full prompt, "Who are the women that inspire you? What are the rituals for girls in your community? Whose stories have yet to be told? Help us on our quest for tales of the extraordinary and everyday, from the past to the present" by calling into the Hidden World of Girls message line (202-408-9576) or leaving stories in writing, images, audio and video on the web form.

Video: Civic Media Session, "Civic Disobedience"

(For great detail about the "Civic Disobedience" session, check out moderator Ethan Zuckerman's write-up.)

Watch the full video...

Video: "Steve Kurtz: Cultural Resistance"

A Civic Media Session about models and techniques for public interventions and soft subversions aimed at undermining authoritarian tendencies in a time of neo-liberal domination.

Known for his work in Electronic Civil Disobedience and BioArt, Steve Kurtz is a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble, a collective of five tactical media practitioners of various specializations including computer graphics and web design, film/video, photography, text art, book art, and performance.

Formed in 1987, Critical Art Ensemble’s focus has been on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology, and political activism.

Download! (.mp4)

Maine Congresswoman requires earmarks to be submitted by video

One of my favorite dorky words is "affordances". As in, what are the affordances of, say, a push-bar across a fire-exit door: pushing, even when the user is panicked, and definitely does not afford for pulling.

Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine is using affordances brilliantly by requiring people to ask for earmarks via video submission. Video's affordances are that it's easily viewed, easily shareable, easily archiveable, easily citeable--and thus doesn't afford for less ethical requests:

As your Member of Congress, I am committed to doing everything I can to support the economic and community development important to the people of the First District---that means fighting for sound federal investments in our community that can grow our economy and create jobs.

The magic, terror and potential of world webcams

I have recently become obsessed with Google's world webcam widget, which I have embedded on my iGoogle page. There's also a main page, hosted by a partnered for-profit company (Catfood Software) where you can check out some of the 800+ webcams set up around the world.

What's cool/horrifying about this is that it doesn't just show you a webcam; it lets you control the camera. You can zoom in and out, up and down. You can jump to a drop-down menu of locations (city center, famous church, boardwalk) set up by the camera owner. You can follow people as they walk down the street, and even take a still photo. This is equal parts terrifying and amazing. How can we reappropriate this surveillance for artistic, political or civic purposes? Wouldn't it be more powerful if people knew of the existence of said webcams and were willing and engaged participants in the virtual interaction between a stranger's computer screen and their beamed image?