DETROIT / ALLIED MEDIA CONFERENCE 2016

Space has often been used as a metaphor for uncharted, yet-to-be colonized territory. Similarly the mindspaces of marginalized persons are at risk of being infiltrated, surveilled, and used by colonizing forces. In this workshop we will use a DIY sci-fi lens for marginalized persons to explore and reclaim their own insane mindspaces while developing strategies for psychological survival in our age of warfare.

Presented by Ras Mashramani.
Friday June 17, 2016 4:00pm – 5:30pm
State Hall: Room 113
Hands-on Session

Track RAD Care Beyond Social Justice
Hashtag #DeepSpaceMind

DETROIT / ALLIED MEDIA CONFERENCE 2016

Space has often been used as a metaphor for uncharted, yet-to-be colonized territory. Similarly the mindspaces of marginalized persons are at risk of being infiltrated, surveilled, and used by colonizing forces. In this workshop we will use a DIY sci-fi lens for marginalized persons to explore and reclaim their own insane mindspaces while developing strategies for psychological survival in our age of warfare.

Presented by Ras Mashramani.

Friday June 17, 2016 4:00pm – 5:30pm
State Hall: Room 113

What happens when you don’t have a physical body or can exist in multiple places at once?

The Life Online workshop debuted at the 2014 Allied Media Conference in Detroit, inviting participants to share their experiences & memories of life online. We discussed early online memories, anonymous/fractured personas, strange/unsafe/nurturing cyberspaces & supervision (or lack thereof), and speculated what’s to become of our cyberselves in the growing state of big data algorithms and total identification.

It’s been a long time coming but the worksheet available at the AMC session is now available for download in PDF form. Click on any of the pictures below.

Life Online worksheet page 1life-online-worksheet-02life-online-worksheet-03

1st PART: HOW TO USE THE WORKSHEET (sheets 1 + 2)
You are collecting memories, remembering what used to exist, how you used to feel, what kinds of things you did and where, when you first began to have an identity somewhere other than In Real Life. You will use these memories for an important 2nd step. You can fill out the worksheet questions alone, individually, or read them out loud, with a group.

In our experience reading the questions off one-by-one with your group, then going back over them one at a time together is a super fun thing to do. People get excited remembering and sharing things they don’t really talk about in public. It’s also really cool when your group is made up of people from different age groups/generations, places, genders, and cultures because the things people remember can be super different and interesting.

If you are doing the worksheet as a group activity or part of a discussion, we recommend marking a good chunk of time just for talking. You can also have someone who keeps track of time so you don’t all get waaay way off track all hype talking about chatrooms and IMs and TOP 8s.

~ Write, map, draw your responses ~

  1. Describe an early or past experience you had online.
    This can be a description of virtual place/s or space/s, an event, a habitual occurrence, a feeling or atmosphere–– anything!
  2. “Where” was it?
    Examples: A chat room, fansite, forum, MMORPG, message board, AIM/Yahoo/MSN chat window, blog or journal platform, text exchange, etc.
  3. What were the “physical” characteristics of the virtual space/s?
    Examples: Design/layout & colors, event sounds, other users present, etc.
  4. What were the “cultural” characteristics in the space/s?
    Examples: Etiquettes, community morals/rules, handle/screen name conventions, in-jokes, taboo actions/behaviors, etc.
  5. Did you choose to “be” someone other than who you were In Real Life (IRL)? What was this virtual self (or selves) like? Describe the personality, abilities, appearance, relationships, or anything else you remember.
  6. What were your actual physical surroundings like? Were other people present? How old were you? What was the device you used to get online like? Did you have rules or limitations for using the device or being online?

2nd PART: TALK ABOUT HOW LIFE ONLINE FEELS NOW (sheet 3):
A whole lot of us experience life online nowadays almost explicitly through using Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Google, and other corporate owned social media networks that gather all manner of information/data from us in exchange for using their “services.” For a lot of us, these cyber spaces are very different from the ones we first encountered years ago. Many of us feel like we have to exist in these cyber spaces and networks in order to know what’s going on In Real Life anymore. Even the way we access these cyber spaces/places—the physical devices and interfaces we use—might be really different, from a big desktop computer to the smartphone in our hand. We think it is important and useful to compare and dissect current cyber spaces of today from ones we remember.

  1. Why do we all use these online spaces? Why do they look and feel and run the way they do? What are the consequences of my participation in these online spaces?
  2. Who made these cyber spaces? Why? What do they gain from them? How were they built and how do they run?
  3. What’s missing from these cyber spaces of today?
  4. How can I tell??
  5. Is there a kind of life online that I wish existed? What would I do differently than what currently exists?

Yea I miss the days when cyberspace was space. Now it's like a shitty mall full of mirror stores.

3rd PART: HOW DO YOU FEEL? REFLECTING & DOING
The worksheet is a meditation. It is a tool to help you think about what used to be, and how you felt, and how you feel today. For those of us in Metroplarity, life online used to be glorious anonymity in an AOL role-playing chatroom, a familiar digital dormroom in a text-based Multi User Dungeon, a PHPbb forum where your avatar, signature, and post count were the currency of cool, before Likes and Followers existed. For us now, life online is frustrating, surveilled, and a distraction from things we wish we were doing. We wonder what life online is like for children, teenagers, youth, for people whose lives IRL are being negatively impacted because they don’t have a connection to the networks. We wonder how our lives will be shaped by the ambitions of the governments, advertisers, and telecom corporations who harvest our data, and the privileged gatekeepers who will decide what to do with it.

This is a meditation.

BONUS PART: RECOMMENDED READING

WHAT CAN AN ALGORITHM DO? by Josh Scannell

The consequence of “whitewashing” data collection obviously materializes in the policing of the “real world.” IBM claims that their data analytic programs helped reduce crime in Memphis by over 30%. Microsoft, with the NYPD, hopes that the Domain Awareness System’s capacity to do things like digitize and compute bodily radiation levels and human spatial mobility will effectively nullify the emergence of criminal behavior. Every time a body is stopped and frisked by the NYPD, the relationship that is enacted is not a one-to-one, but also a production and performance of data, virtualizing the dissolving and dangerous body of crime into a graspable and controllable horizon of the real. These spectral data bodies are not preempting the real; they are actively producing the real. Data is neither representational nor hauntological (Derrida 2000), it is ontogenetic.

WHAT DO WE SAVE WHEN WE SAVE THE INTERNET? by Ian Bogost
Do we have such a “better world” thanks to the “free and open” Internet that we can feel 100% great about “saving” it? You’ll say “yes,” I know you will. Even to pose the question is considered obscene. You might even say so, posting angrily on multi-billion dollar services like Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr. Such “discourse” is the very point! The system is working!

BIG DIARIES: THEA BALLARD ON THE SURVEILLED EXPRESSIONS OF YOUNG WOMEN
By far the more formative of these platforms was LiveJournal, a space of intense feeling and ecstatic opinions, often a way to self-consciously posit myself as a person of a certain taste in a way that felt impossible elsewhere. Entries see-sawed between meditations on insecurity and an uneven family life, proclamations of new indie music or fashion magazine discoveries—a hint of honest, unhinged adolescent emotion tempered by re-imagining myself through cultural signifiers. This was viewed by a small circle of friends and a few internet acquaintances acquired through pop-punk message boards and Last.FM. But the fact that it was viewed at all served as a validation of my existence, injecting realism into the imagined selves about which I wrote.

COMING OF AGE WITH THE INTERNET: REMEMBERING WEB 1.0 by Jacob Savage
Back in 1994, AOL wasn’t even hooked into the World Wide Web—you couldn’t browse web pages—so we did the only thing we could do: we went into chat rooms and pretended to be people we weren’t.

PEOPLE WHO WRITE ABOUT THE 90S INTERNET AND HOW CYBERSPACE WAS THIS CRAZY SPACE BACK IN THE DAY by Maggie Eighteen
WHAT WERE THESE CYBERFEMINIST ACADEMICS DOING ON THE 1990S INTERNET?
WHY GLAZE OVER THE BASE? THE EMBARRASSING INTERNAL SEXUAL WORLD WHICH WAS THE NET? THE PREDECESSOR TO NOW? WHY FORGET THE MICRO GOVERNANCES & TRIBE LAWS OF AOL GUILDS? OF BULLETIN BOARDS AND FORUMS? OF MIRC? ::WONDERS WHY THEY NEVER MENTION ALL THE UNDERSTOOD RULES OF MARKING ACTION:: OR HOW THE CHATROOM COMMANDS DICTATED OUR BEHAVIORS? THE IMPORTANCE OF A FONT AND COLOR, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 10 CHARACTER AND 16 CHARACTER SCREENAMES? THE MALICIOUS TOS BOOT?
THE LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAG?

http://cyborgmemoirs.tumblr.com/tagged/life-online


A/S/L: Where Looks Don’t Matter and Only the Best Writers Get Laid by Elvia Wilk

Rather than proving to each other that they were humans, users of the developing system had fantasies of transcending their bodies altogether

TEENS REACT TO 90s INTERNET

KIDS REACT TO OLD COMPUTERS

A BRIEF GUIDE TO INTERNET NOSTALGIA by Gavin Haynes
…featuring the Hampster Dance, AskJeeves, Badger Badger Badger, and a few more.

some throwback 90s memorabilia jawns
http://cyborgmemoirs.com/map
http://oneterabyteofkilobyteage.tumblr.com/
http://www.internetarchaeology.org/
http://www.oocities.org/
http://reocities.com/

OrDeR Of ThE ShAdOw Wolf cyberzine
http://www.legowelt.org/cyberzine.htm

Over the past several months, the four of us at Metropolarity HQ have seen our likenesses, labor, and wordsmithing appear on myriad outlets across cyberspace and IRL, but visitors to this site probably wouldn’t know about any of that since our primary propagandist is a slovenly beast with failing prosthetics and not enough time discipline, limbs, or plausible fake names to keep up appearances. They now wish to apologize for this lowly recap post, the contents of which you might already know about if you follow us on tumblr, where we are slightly more active, or if you peep the #metropolarity tag on twitter and instagram

But without further ado, we present a small collection of our articles and celebratory bits of news, in screencap format.
Click the pictures to read the articles in full. =}

 

MARCH 2014 ~ We appear in a very favorable arts & culture feature in our local City Paper. Contrary to the headline, we are not all based in West Philly…
crew-city-paper-feature1

 

JUNE 2014 ~ The squad and network organize the Liberation Technologies: Science Fiction for World Building and Survival programming track for the 2014 Allied Media Conference in Detroit. One of several, the LibTech track contains eight sessions of speculative workshops and panels for radical educators, artists, and activists involved in media-based organizing.
amc-libtech

 

AUGUST 2014 ~ Ras and Eighteen write about our current operating parameters for Broken Pencil magazine’s Zine Philosophy section. Eighteen is especially fond of the cover tagline “Queer Cyborgs Liberate High Tech,” a delicious conflation of Metropolarity’s work with Eighteen’s own.
us-in-broken-pencil

 

AUGUST 2014 ~ Rasheedah begins a stint as contributing columnist to the Atlanta Blackstar’s BLERDS series, with a solid array of interviews and topical features covering the arts, technology, and the in-between.
rasheedah phillips for atlanta blackstar's blerds series

 

OCTOBER 2014 ~ Eighteen is named a recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Art & Change grant, money which will help them on their Quest to self-publish a print book and audiobook of their dystopian cyborg series, All That’s Left.
leeway-grant-Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.07.05

A few days later, they find out their work was included on the syllabus of a gender and sexuality class for the University of Penn’s English department. One of the required reading pieces is Gentry, a piece written for the 2nd Metropolarity zine, which namedrops Penn in a speculative tirade about a gentrified and flooded out future Philly…………..
our-cyborgs-our-selves-penn-class

 

OCTOBER 2014 ~ Alex writes a Highly Appropriate article for the Philly Weekly about one of the grand masters of sci-fi, Samuel R. Delany. People are rightfully stoked.
alex talks delany

We also did a few zine fests, put out the Future Now collab zine, and Rasheedah incredibly (bow down) put on her yearly AfroFuturist Affair‘s annual costume and charity ball, this year themed Black Holographic Memory, which expanded from the original ball into several days worth of film screenings, workshop days, and rock and roll shows (AND is a community fundraiser that you can still donate to!!). So that’s what we’ve been up to, besides our full time jobs of course. ¬__¬

Make sure to check out our Events Calendar for what we’ve got coming up for these final weeks of 2014.

The quoted part of this post’s title comes from Ursula K. LeGuin’s acceptance speech at this year’s National Book Awards. We consider it a call to arms.

Join Metropolarity & network at this year’s The Allied Media Conference, a collaborative laboratory of media-based organizing strategies for transforming our world, held every Summer in Detroit!

DID U KNOW? METROPOLARITY PRESENTS A SCI-FI FOCUSED PROGRAMMING TRACK THIS YEAR!
\\\\ Liberation Technologies: Sci-Fi for World Building & Survival ////

The post-apocalypse is here and real, where ancient and varied modes of survival and technology have been erased in the name of Empire and Progress. What do we do when access to memory/the past is standardized? This track explores how people at the margins can remix, rewire, and revive emancipatory technologies such as storytelling, world-building, magic, sci-fi and speculation to envision and conjure narratives of power and joy. Through engagement with tools like portals and time-travel, we will develop strategies to manifest new/ancient narratives into reality. We will envision a world that has happened, is happening, and will happen. We hope that travelers will walk away with the courage to embody the power of fiction and visioning in healing personal and historical trauma and disenfranchisement. We want to create and share multifaceted inclusive networks that emerge our bodies from isolation and oppressive paradigms to keep our souls alive.

Join Metropolarity & network at this year’s The Allied Media Conference, a collaborative laboratory of media-based organizing strategies for transforming our world, held every Summer in Detroit!

DID U KNOW? METROPOLARITY PRESENTS A SCI-FI FOCUSED PROGRAMMING TRACK THIS YEAR!

Liberation Technologies: Sci-Fi for World Building & Survival

The post-apocalypse is here and real, where ancient and varied modes of survival and technology have been erased in the name of Empire and Progress. What do we do when access to memory/the past is standardized? This track explores how people at the margins can remix, rewire, and revive emancipatory technologies such as storytelling, world-building, magic, sci-fi and speculation to envision and conjure narratives of power and joy. Through engagement with tools like portals and time-travel, we will develop strategies to manifest new/ancient narratives into reality. We will envision a world that has happened, is happening, and will happen. We hope that travelers will walk away with the courage to embody the power of fiction and visioning in healing personal and historical trauma and disenfranchisement. We want to create and share multifaceted inclusive networks that emerge our bodies from isolation and oppressive paradigms to keep our souls alive.

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ABOUT THE AMC

CREATE
At the AMC, we understand media as any way in which we communicate with the world, from zines to breakdancing, to designing neighborhood-based communications infrastructure. We share and create media that exposes, investigates, heals, builds confidence and radical hope, incites dialogue and debate. We demystify technology, not only learning how to use it, but how to design and build our own. In doing so, we redefine technology’s role and impact in our lives. The AMC creates learning environments for all ages and skill levels, including hands-on workshops, strategy sessions, presentations and performances.

CONNECT
The AMC is a network of networks – social justice organizers, community technologists, transformative artists, educators, entrepreneurs, and many others — all using media in innovative ways. Some of these networks sprout from the conference, grow over the course of the year then reconvene in Detroit larger and healthier. Others use the AMC as an annual point of convergence and a space to forge new relationships. Through cycles of participatory investigation and experimentation, our networks continue to grow, generating new theories and practices of media-based organizing.

TRANSFORM
As our networks grow, so does our capacity to take collective actions to transform our world. At the AMC, we develop new leaders and new forms of leadership, design new methods of problem-solving, cultivate the visions of our communities and build our power to make those visions real.

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Browse the 2014 Tracks, Practice Spaces, and Network Gatherings that make up the AMC here!

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REGISTER TO ATTEND! /// FIND HOUSING, RIDESHARES, CHILDCARE & ACCESSIBILITY HERE

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Allied Media Projects Network Principles

We are making an honest attempt to solve the most significant problems of our day.

We are building a network of people and organizations that are developing long-term solutions based on the immediate confrontation of our most pressing problems.

Wherever there is a problem, there are already people acting on the problem in some fashion. Understanding those actions is the starting point for developing effective strategies to resolve the problem, so we focus on the solutions, not the problems.

We emphasize our own power and legitimacy.

We presume our power, not our powerlessness.

We spend more time building than attacking.

We focus on strategies rather than issues.

The strongest solutions happen through the process, not in a moment at the end of the process.

The most effective strategies for us are the ones that work in situations of scarce resources and intersecting systems of oppression because those solutions tend to be the most holistic and sustainable.

Place is important. For the AMC, Detroit is important as a source of innovative, collaborative, low-resource solutions. Detroit gives the conference a sense of place, just as each of the conference participants bring their own sense of place with them to the conference.

We encourage people to engage with their whole selves, not just with one part of their identity.

We begin by listening.

This just in from our affiliates, the #libtech crew!!!

CALL FOR PROPOSALS!

LIBERATION TECHNOLOGIES : SCI-FI FOR WORLD-BUILDING & SURVIVAL at the Allied Media Conference 2014, June 19~22, 2014

This year the Sci-Fi Track has returned in the form of the Liberation Technologies track, which hopes to use SF (science/speculative fiction) as a tool in fighting oppression, and builds off past tracks and movement building, such as the Science and Social Movements track and the Octavia Butler and Emergent Strategy sessions.

The post-apocalypse is here and real, where ancient and varied cultures and technologies have been erased in the name of Empire and Progress. What do we do when access to memory/the past has been standardized, and the potential to manifest and (dis)embody the joyous unknown has been shamed and left behind?

This track seeks sci-fi and speculative themed session proposals that disrupt, deconstruct, and reframe oppressive mainstream media networks, narratives, and representation by using sci-fi possibilities to reorient existence.

Appropriate themes and activities include:
Afro-futurism, healing practices, bodies and abilities (paranormal, dis- or otherwise), storytelling, emergence, meme-making, imaginative world-building, fan-fiction, magical real[ness], DIY sci-fi, intersectionality, collective memory, speculative cities, exploding binaries, digital places/cyberspaces, redefining science/technology, technologies that are incomplete, gestural & in process, recuperation of technologies both ancient and contemporary, mythology, affect and public regulation of feeling, ∞.

We explicitly seek to welcome & center the #libtech track around:
People of color, black people, trans* people (transwomen, non-binary trans, transmen), youth, native people, fat and abundant people, surveilled people, dis-abled people, mixed people, non-people, and the communities that exist around the lot of us in all our different places and experiences.

>>> Read the FAQs for Submiting AMC Sessions here for questions about session formats more. Please send comments, and questions to our AMPtalk page or to libtechamc@gmail.com.

>>> Submit your Call for Proposals to our Google form here.

Deadline for submissions is March 1st, 2014.

Please share and reblog widely!〜♡

Ω////////////////////////////////////Ω
Ω////////////////////////////////////Ω
Ω////////////////////////////////////Ω
Ω////BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE////Ω

Follow the Liberation Technologies track at their official tumblr here or their facebook page here.

INTRODUCING!!!!! FOR THE

THE ALLIED MEDIA CONFERENCE 2014

LIBERATION TECHNOLOGY FOR WORLD-BUILDING & SURVIVAL IN THE POST-APOCALYPSE

METROPOLARITY & WEIRDO CRYSTAL WALKER PORTAL JUMPER AFFILIATES HAVE ASSEMBLED TO CRAFT A PROGRAMING TRACK FOR THIS YEAR’S ALLIED MEDIA CONFERENCE, “A COLLABORATIVE LABORATORY OF MEDIA-BASED ORGANIZING STRATEGIES FOR TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD, HELD EVERY SUMMER IN DETROIT.” IF YOU READ THIS AND GET EXCITED IN THE LEAST, CONSIDER SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL TO OUR TRACK. EVEN IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT LOOKS OR FEELS OR SOUNDS LIKE, HOLLER AT US. WE WANT TO BUILD W/YOU.

The post-apocalypse is here and real, where ancient and varied modes of survival and technology have been erased in the name of Empire and Progress. What do we do when access to memory/the past is standardized? This track explores how people at the margins can remix, rewire, and revive emancipatory technologies such as storytelling, world-building, magic, sci-fi and speculation to envision and conjure narratives of power and joy. Through engagement with tools like portals and time-travel, we will develop strategies to manifest new/ancient narratives into reality. We will envision a world that has happened, is happening, and will happen. We hope that travelers will walk away with the courage to embody the power of fiction and visioning in healing personal and historical trauma and disenfranchisement. We want to create and share multifaceted inclusive networks that emerge our bodies from isolation and oppressive paradigms to keep our souls alive.

The Liberation Tech track seeks cyborgs, griots, world-makers, hackers, healers, dreammakers, extraterrestrials, time-travelers, mystics and non-specifics to help create a journey into sci-fi, magic, and speculation. We seek workshops and skill shares that challenge our ideas of reality, time, language, science, and technology. Appropriate themes and activities include: Afro-futurism, healing practices, abilities (paranormal, dis- or otherwise), storytelling, meme-making, world-building, fan-fiction, magical real[ness], DIY sci-fi, intersectionality, collective memory, speculative cities, exploding binaries, redefining science/technology, mythology,∞

(CONSIDER THIS IS A CALL FOR PROPOSALS TEASER & STAY AWAKE FOR OUR NEXT MESSAGE)

HOLLER AT US HERE OR DIRECT TO THE #LIBTECH SQUAD AT LIBTECHAMC@GMAIL.COM