ZEMOS98 is a team of cultural workers. We try to create critical thinking, we try to deconstruct the mass-media messages, we try to weave networks, relationships and communities. We try to work in the intersections and margins. We try to work (g)locally, behind the borders. We try to take care of our networks and we try to reuse and remix all of our contents. We try to organize a Festival every year and we try to create a New Media Laboratory called 98LAB to learn about this things.
So, basically, we try things.

We are going to be part of the ECF’s Idea Camp

Topic: Audiovisual / Format: Research / Project: Doc Next Network

ZEMOS98 will be part of the ECF’s Idea Camp from 23-25 October in Marseille. The ECF received an astonishing 813 proposals in response to our open call for ideas about how to engage people in re-defining and shaping public space. From this treasure trove of applications, they selected representatives of the most 50 most innovative, daring and inspiring ideas to join the ECF’s Idea Camp.

We, as ZEMOS98 and as part of our work in Doc Next Network, has presented this idea to be there:

“Ostrom.TV” is an R&D project which pretends to map independent video hosting platforms based (mainly) in Europe and to foster connections and collaborations between the agents behind these platforms. The different communities who are already redefining the public sphere need an audiovisual archive without the private criteria of the big video-sharing companies (like Vimeo, Youtube, etc.) and with a socially-engaged perspective which should include the idea of the digital commons as something essential for our cultural heritage.

There are so many popular services which are hosting video on the Internet and are dominating the digital public sphere: Youtube, VIMEO, Blip.TV, Dailymotion, even Facebook or Twitter…but, in most cases, these are businesses and they defend their interests instead of having criteria close to social issues related to citizens’ rights.
It’s necessary and politically urgent to have websites that host video with a socially engaged philosophy. Across Europe there are different and small experiences that are trying to develop services like that. But to becoming an alternative to Youtube requires a lot of effort and resources.Therefore, many of these experiences just make little steps and after a certain time, they just stop.

So, based on the FOSS (Free-Open Source-Software) philosophy, what if we map and share who is developing archives with an open code? And what if we put these agents together to try to build a European and open-source audiovisual archive? That’s the objective of “Ostrom.TV”.

In the digital era we cannot understand a public digital space without Net Neutrality and the Digital Sovereignty. Both concepts are two of the main principles of the Digital Commons and are part of one of the most important community projects of the 20th century: the Free Software movement. Are those principles in danger right now? Yes, and this is why this is one of the main reasons to develop “Ostrom.TV”.

Public spaces are under attack, especially now in the post-Snowden era. The fierce capitalism is defending its system. Fortunately, we do know that we have a lot of different communities defending those spaces. Sadly, most of the times, without the support of the government (regardless of their scale: local, regional, national and European).

So, in these times, we have to think and act collectively in order to avoid the privatization of these spaces. And most video-sharing websites are increasingly restricting the type of content that we can upload to their systems. They are using arbitrary arguments to deny the access to a lot of content which sometimes is crucial for the political debate.

Some alternatives have already been launched. But we don’t want to start yet another new platform. “Ostrom.TV” will be an open research project which should be useful for social agents and web-developers already working on this specific issue. The idea and the resulting research should work as a hub, as a link between these projects and people.

So, the main specific motivation of Ostrom.tv is to propose the conditions for building a European open source video-sharing platform. And the motivation behind it is to preserve the right of access to culture.

This open research is aimed at communities who could ideologically feed on Net Neutrality and Digital Sovereignty even if they are now using other audiovisual platforms for practical reasons. It is aimed also at those who are already practicing the new-media-activism: hackers, media-activists, etc. Lastly, this open research is aimed at public institutions who should make a reflection about the free FOSS-based philosophy projects which have a democratic operating system and which also combine two important concepts like privacy and universal access to content.
We have found some interesting partners who are already part working on free audiovisual platforms/projects:

  • Europeana.eu (Europe). One of the most inspiring projects related to our cultural heritage.
  • Makusi.TV (Spain). A project which already has achieved 19.950€ through a crowdfunding campaign to develop a free audiovisual archive.
  • Archive.org (USA). One of the most important contemporary and digital archives of our era.
  • Mediagoblin (USA). A FOSS to create your audiovisual website. They obtained more than 60.000€ in a crowdfunding campaign.
  • Wetube (Mumbai). A video archive project of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.

We hope the ECF’s Idea Camp inspires us not only to continue developing this research but also to meet other peers and new friend in this journey to foster social justice through the free culture.

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