Friday, May 30, 2008

Report from the Transmission Asia-Pacific Meeting--West Java, Indonesia, May19-25

Transmission is a meeting of free and open source software (FOSS) developers and video activists. The week was filled with talk on open source content management systems for web (like plone, plumi, plone4artists, show in a box, drupal, joomla,, video compression, creative commons -- well, you get the picture.There are videos and more information about the gathering at the Plumi site.

For a non-computer geek like me, it was important to see what free and open source softwares can offer in terms of flexibility and security. That open source softwares is a logical alternative because it runs well even on the crap computers in developing countries like the Philippines. And to speak little of the politics behind refusing to fund a large corporation such as Microsoft! The Java meeting also gave our video group Kodao Productions a lot of options to syndicate our videos online. Watch out for our website soon!

Initially, I was concerned that maybe the geeks would be ungrounded to the peoples struggles and thus alienate the broad masses that we video activists are reaching out to. I thought that this venue was created without seeing beyond the videographers, missing the point of bringing videos to the people who are offline. Putting our videos out there in cyberspace will not reach Aling Bebang, unless we provide her basic computer literacy.

My pessimism dissolved when the sessions got going. I understood that the meeting simply aims to arm us with tools we can use (for free!) to forward our causes. Interesting sessions include pirate radio, G8 info session, machinema and games.
Sometimes, it was between the sessions that I felt thrilled to be in TX-AP. Talking to other activists and camp staff was priceless. It was fun singing around a roaring fire with an ensemble of strings while the moon rose. I keep the memory of music from the jamming with Baba, Oomleo, Adel, Gega, and Sasha. On Thursday, we were able to take the afternoon off and swim at the icy Tanakita waterfalls. It was so cold that the existential bites your ass -- you are alive! So in that buzzed nirvana, on Saturday night, I did the salsa and bachata with Indrani and Natsumi, and blazed rocked the muddy dancefloor.

I especially enjoyed the film screenings from video activist groups from different regions the world. It was a good way to learn about the struggles in other locales, and to situate ourselves in the world wide movement for genuine change. Overall inspiring, the gathering of about 40+ people in West Java was a great space to cook up projects and revolutions. (BY RISA)


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