Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important as a means of distributing and sharing information. Cell phones, wireless hand-held computers, and new devices we haven't even seen yet are being used in new and unanticipated ways.
To the villainy-of-the-rich theme emanating from Washington, a child is born: Occupy Wall Street. Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters denounce corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over.
These indignant indolents saddled with their $50,000 student loans and English degrees have decided that their lack of gainful employment is rooted in the malice of the millionaires on whose homes they are now marching — to the applause of Democrats suffering acute Tea Party envy and now salivating at the energy these big-government anarchists will presumably give their cause.
Shot and edited by Igor Kharitonenkov in very short order, this 4-minute documentary gives an excellent summary of the My Dot Tour initiative. Props to Kate Balug (GSD alum, co-founder of the Dept. of Play, and a good friend of the Center) for all of her incredible work on this project!
The MIT Center for Civic Media contributed in the overall planning of the project and with the implementation of the technical infrastructure that supported the neighborhood tours. In particular, this project proved to be a good application of the Center's VoIP Drupal platform, an open source framework that makes it easier to build communication systems that integrate phone, SMS and web together (http://drupal.org/project/voipdrupal).
Understanding the impact of global production, and the supply chains that lie behind them, has become a significant part of my work. These issues have been brought out over the past few days by the release (and subsequent removal) of a game on Apple's App Store that treats some of the very same concerns. Phone Story, created by radical game developer Molleindustria (and partners, including Yes Men incubator Yes Lab), continues Molleindustria's attempt to "reappropriate video games as a popular form of mass communication" and "investigate the persuasive potentials of the medium by subverting mainstream video gaming cliché." It's the latest in a portfolio of explorations into issues like the impact of the petrol era and creations like every day the same dream that question the narratives of dominant ideology. Each of these explorations takes a slightly different form:
Many communities suffer from "timenesia": a lack of awareness-of and interest-in their own past, present and future. They don't showcase their rich past, aren't aware of their neighbors different takes on their present, nor their hopes for their shared future.
Sasha Costanza-Chock is joining the faculty of the Comparative Media Studies program at MIT as Assistant Professor of Civic Media, and is one of the three principal investigators (along with Ethan Zuckerman and Mitchel Resnick) of the Center for Civic Media. He caught up with his new colleague Ethan Zuckerman to talk about his background and his plans at MIT.
"I'm a scholar and activist as well as a media maker," explains Costanza-Chock. "My scholarship has been based on engagement with the world of media activism and civic media more broadly." In his work at MIT, Costanza-Chock plans to continue straddling the line between action and reflection, building tools and systems to help communities express themselves and reflecting on the role of media in social movements.
Through the Center's Department of Play and the Comparative Media Studies department, I've been working with a team of people to launch Aago, a mobile app for Apple devices focusing on media creation, organization and sharing. Targeted to teens, the app aims to help them document group or individual creative projects (filmmaking, tech or art projects, citizen journalism) by creating "stories" made up of mobile photos, videos, and audio clips, which can then be arranged and exported to the web. Later features include collaborative production both on the app and on the web, where users can create and curate content with select peers or facilitators.