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Fw: [minciu_sodas_en] Global Utopias video bridges

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  • Janet Feldman
    ... From: Andrius Kulikauskas To: ; ; ;
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2008
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Andrius Kulikauskas" <ms@...>
      To: <globalvillages@yahoogroups.com>; <minciu_sodas_EN@yahoogroups.com>;
      <learnhowtolearn@yahoogroups.com>; <mendenyo@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 4:40 PM
      Subject: [minciu_sodas_en] Global Utopias video bridges

      > Franz, Thank you for recommending our Minciu Sodas laboratory for the
      > Global Utopias project. I share my report on our work. Andrius
      > Kulikauskas, http://www.ms.lt, ms@..., +370 699 30003
      > ------------------------------------
      > Franz Nahrada speaks of global villages as centers of learning unbounded
      > by time or space. He champions video bridge technology as key for his
      > vision. We let his intuition guide us and our own enthusiasm for video
      > bridges steadily grows. We purchased two sets of video bridge equipment
      > and conducted thirteen experiments in what we might achieve with video
      > bridges. We learned that the flexibility of this technology allows us
      > to open up a utopic discourse, a fundamental and universal discourse, in
      > marginalized areas and cast-off a provincial mindset. We are excited to
      > report that our first steps in rural Lithuania have led us to take on
      > endeavors with truly global impact in Kenya, Mexico, rural Missouri and
      > inner-city Chicago.
      > When we proposed this series of video bridges, we did not foresee that
      > the city of Vilnius would take over the Atzalynas club's community
      > center and close it for renovation. The center has yet to open. This
      > forced us to be truly flexible and to reach out far and wide to find
      > partners. I opened up such contacts through my laboratory, Minciu
      > Sodas, for independent thinkers in Lithuania and around the world. The
      > video bridge activity allowed the Atzalynas club to stay vibrant even
      > without a physical base.
      > I first approached folk artist Algirdas Juskevicius in the small town of
      > Varena where he leads the Varena Tourism and Business Information
      > Center. The center has a meeting room with a projector. Algirdas gave
      > me information about his projector. I showed him how to use the center
      > for a video bridge using Skype. I called up Eric Britton of Paris,
      > France. Eric is a visionary for the future of transportation in large
      > cities. He spoke about his values and also gave us some tips on video
      > bridging, such as caring about the lighting. That was on July 4, 2007.
      > On July 10, 2007 we organized a video bridge with 14 people at the
      > center. Five of us drove up from Vilnius and the rest were local. Our
      > topic was Algirdas's question, How can I find for myself and others an
      > activity that integrates creative work and making a living? We first
      > visited an exposition of Algirdas's lifelong work as a folk sculptor.
      > We then engaged Joy Tang in Taiwan by video bridge. Joy was working as
      > vice president of marketing at Accton. She gave us a tour of their
      > facility. We spoke about the value of a creative culture and a global
      > story as opposed to creative works themselves. The video bridge opened
      > up a contact for work by Minciu Sodas to perhaps work with or for
      > Acction to develop an email device, Includer http://www.includer.org for
      > emerging markets. We also spoke with Samwel Kongere by audeo bridge
      > with him in Mbita Point, Kenya. Later in 2008 our Minciu Sodas team
      > helped save Samwel's life when he was suffering an allergic reaction
      > that covered his throat with sores so that he could not eat for more
      > than a week. We also engaged Sasha Mrkailo in Serbia who spoke about
      > his work as a craftsman and our online assistant. This video bridge was
      > reported in the local newspaper Merkio krastas.
      > On July 17, 2007 we held a video bridge for Mudis Salkauskas with his
      > five friends on the question, What is information? We did this from his
      > home in the village of Riese. We had an audio bridge with a
      > distinguished panel of speakers on the subject, including microbiology
      > graduate student Asif Daya in Florida, physicist Geoff Chesshire in New
      > Mexico, and chemical engineer Tom Wayburn in Texas. We also had a video
      > bridge with Sasha Mrkailo of Serbia. We received a paper on the subject
      > from semiotician Ronald Stamper. We were able to make deep progress in
      > the subject but the main obstacle was I was unable to encourage Mudis to
      > take up this opportunity and explore deeper his own ideas, how the
      > various approaches fit with his own?
      > We had another video bridge in Riese on July 21, 2007 in the home of
      > Alfredas Gabrijolavicius. His question was How to organize a system of
      > help? Sixteen people gathered at his homestead. We drew on paper
      > various community currencies that represented different things that we
      > might value and exchange, such as time or learning, and we practiced
      > awarding them to each other. Then we had an audio bridge conference
      > call with world experts on the subject including John Rogers in Wales.
      > We used a fast broadband connection (ordered just for the day) to have a
      > video bridge with Sasha Mrkailo in Serbia. We also had a video bridge
      > with Aldute in Alytus who is bound to her wheel chair and we discussed
      > how we could help her overcome problems she had with her neighbors.
      > Rytis Umbrasas, our member in Alytus, was able to help there. I spoke
      > with Alfredas that we made progress on his question and yet at the very
      > point when we were about to address it, he became impatient with the
      > technology. We spent eleven hours talking about the day and concluded
      > there was a need for a third person to mediate the pressures on the
      > learner who leads us with their question. I note that in 2008 our
      > Minciu Sodas team devised a community currency based on sharing cell
      > phone airtime that helped Kenyans get food, medicine and transport and
      > saved lives during the post-election turmoil.
      > On August 10, 2007 we held a video bridge in the Pavilnys public library
      > because the Atzalynas club was closed. We helped young poet Tomas
      > Taskauskas consider What is creative work? We had two guests from Italy
      > including Juan Carlos de Martin, coordinator of the European Union
      > thematic network COMMUNIA for the Public Domain (Indeed, Minciu Sodas
      > went on to become a founding member of COMMUNIA and host the third
      > workshop in Vilnius on March 31, 2008.) Eight other guests included
      > local musicians Algirdas Zokaitis and Alvydas Cepulis who shared their
      > songs. The library does not have an Internet connection so we had
      > brought a 3G modem which uses the mobile phone system. However, it
      > turned out that 3G was not available in this rural neighborhood of
      > Vilnius, but only GPRS, which was sufficient for audio but not video.
      > Even so, we made connection with John Rogers in Wales and with Miguel
      > Yasuyuki Hirota in Japan to get their thoughts on creativity. We added
      > a video component by having them send us pictures of what they thought
      > was creative. Much of our discussion was amongst the participants in
      > Pavilnys, but the inclusion of guests from Italy, Wales and Japan made
      > us realize that our ideas are deep and not provincial. This event also
      > kept the Atzalynas club going strong even without having our headquarters.
      > The next day, August 11, 2007, five of us traveled to the village of
      > Eiciunai where we met four adults and a mixed group of youths from the
      > inner city and the village. I asked the question which came out of my
      > reflections with Alfredas Gabrijolavicius, How to pray in twos or threes
      > so that we might appropriately hold one to account for oneself? and is
      > that important in creating a culture? Benoit Couture of Alberta, Canada
      > assisted me because of his keen interest in God. We managed an audio
      > connection with him and he was delighted to hear the songs of faith sung
      > by the youth. They also sang for Tom Wayburn in Texas who is of a
      > scientific, atheistic background. And we managed a video connection
      > with Alfredas Gabrijolavicius and his three friends in Riese, with Rytis
      > Umbrasas and his two friends in Moletai, with Aldute in Alytus, all of
      > whom enjoyed the songs. My discussion with Benoit and with the
      > participants in Eiciunai helped me get a sense of how praying in twos
      > and threes might help us tune into the "person-in-general" who can live
      > through us, which is how I think of Jesus Christ's role that he offers
      > us. Eiciunai is the village of Zenonas Anusauskas who provided
      > excellent technical leadership for the video bridges, has developed
      > video streaming and archiving at www.kaimotv.lt and has brought these
      > technologies to Lithuania's parliament, Vilnius's city hall and the ELTA
      > news agency. We are envisaging Eiciunai as the new headquarters of
      > Minciu Sodas and as a center for alternative technology.
      > September 9, 2007, we pursued sculptor Algirdas Zokaitis's question, How
      > can Lithuanian artists without money show their work in other
      > countries? This was an outing for the Atzalynas club and friends in
      > Pavilnys (seventeen people) to go the the Europos Parkas sculpture
      > garden near the geographical center of Europe. The day in the park
      > ended with a discussion with Dennis Kimambo of Nakuru, Kenya who we met
      > through the Act ALIVE discussion group for HIV/AIDS and the arts.
      > Dennis makes a living as a professional theater actor and director, but
      > he is also active in community theater by which he acts along with
      > audiences in prisons and elsewhere on subjects such as HIV/AIDS and
      > violence. The latter activity is what allows him to travel to other
      > countries. We tried out our newly purchased projector (rather than
      > borrow or rent equipment from others). We managed only an audio
      > connection yet we were able to see various websites and we were
      > encouraged by Dennis to think that we might travel one day to Africa.
      > We thanked Dennis by sending him ten USB flash drives for his fellow
      > Kenyans who frequent Internet cafes. In January 2008, when the Kenyan
      > post-election turmoil started, our relationship with Dennis led to the
      > Pyramid of Peace http://www.pyramidofpeace.net In Nakuru his theatre
      > REPACTED brought together people from the different tribes to meetings
      > commit to peace. This kept Nakuru calm so it was possible for us to
      > send money to Dennis, which he distributed as cellphone airtime, which
      > isolated people could barter for food, medicine and transport. Public
      > Radio International did a report on our work together
      > http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/15386 Amazingly, on March 28, 2008 we
      > hosted our first visitors from Africa, ten drummers and acrobats from
      > the Nafsi Afrika Acrobats who performed on Lithuania's television, in
      > Eiciunai, and in Uzupis, a neighborhood not far from Pavilnys.
      > September 19, 2007 we traveled to the town of Sirvintos where teacher
      > and parent Danute Luksiene asked, Is the school system's fostering of
      > students in accord with family values? Three people in Sirvintos were
      > joined by three visitors from Vilnius had audio connections with another
      > team in Vilnius (led by Sarunas Bagdonas from Lithuania's Parent's
      > Association) and with Franz Nahrada in Austria. Discussion with student
      > Jurgita Lalyte of Sirvintos led to the question, What can motivate
      > students to learn? We tried to use the wireless Internet (Zebra) using
      > prepaid cards but the connection was too slow for video. But this was
      > a success from the organizational point of view as we had two strong
      > teams that could have a meaningful dialogue at either location and
      > across locations. Zenonas Anusauskas made his film of the video bridge
      > in Sirvintos available through http://www.kaimotv.lt
      > I then received a stipend for a two month journey which brought me to
      > Mexico and the United States of America. Our team in Lithuania was
      > strong enough to conduct some video bridges with me as I traveled. My
      > travels brought me to a retreat in Oaxaca, the poorest state in Mexico,
      > where the government had violently put down the residents who had taken
      > over sections of the city of Oaxaca. On November 10, 2007, Rosario
      > Serrato, the head librarian of Oaxaca's main library, asked, What
      > expectations do the youth have? and what do they want for the future?
      > Even as a government official she was willing to open up this dialogue
      > to include people such as Mark Beam who are sympathetic to the
      > protestors and who want to create new spaces in the city for
      > co-working. Together they discussed the possibility of holding events
      > at the library. We organized the video bridge with the work center for
      > the disabled in Zirmunai, a neighborhood of Vilnius. The interaction
      > included songs by the Lithuanian youth which reached into the shyness of
      > the Mexican youth who were using the Internet in the room where the
      > video bridge took place. Technically, the video bridge went well on
      > both sides, and socially the discussion led afterwards to an hour long
      > consideration of possibilities by Rosario Serrato and Mark Beam.
      > On November 30, 2007, Jeff Buderer of One Village Foundation and I
      > visited Marcin Jakubowski and his partner Brittany on their "Factor e
      > Farm" in Missouri. Marcin is a practitioner of "open source farming"
      > and is a great inspiration to Franz Nahrada, who gave birth to our video
      > bridge efforts. We wished to link up with Franz and understand how we
      > might align our visions and coordinate our efforts. Marcin and Brittany
      > live happily and apply enormous innovation, but do not have most of the
      > basic comforts of the modern world. The "last mile" of their Internet
      > connection was several hundred feet of wire across their field that
      > unfortunately got chewed up by rodents and stopped working just before
      > we came. We therefore traveled to the house of their friend, an organic
      > baker. We managed to see Franz, but he couldn't see us, because we
      > couldn't use our web camera. Yet the conversation was very helpful in
      > encouraging us to consider how we might work together. Marcin has
      > selected sixteen fundamental technologies which are building blocks for
      > an open source farm and might even be combined as an open source
      > tractor. With Franz's encouragement we considered how we might support
      > each other's online venues.
      > My travels then brought me to my friends John and Julie Harland in
      > Carlsbad, California. On December 5, 2008, I asked the question, How
      > can one create songs? We set up a video bridge with Irena Buinickaite
      > and six others in her office Vilnius including sculptor and songwriter
      > Algirdas Zokaitis. Algirdas and John played some of their music. I
      > tried to create a song based on empathy for my friend David Ellison-Bey
      > on the South Side of Chicago whose car was towed by the city which kept
      > bullying him to pay his traffic tickets. I vocalized my feelings and
      > then tried to find words to sing along. I myself was happy with the
      > song that resulted. They could see us (not too well) but we could not
      > see them.
      > On December 8, 2007, I was at David's home in Chicago and we discussed
      > with Gryte Miseviciene and four others in the town of Skaidiskes her
      > question, How to stay connected with children and grandchildren in the
      > 21st century? David Ellison-Bey gave very straightforward and touching
      > advice how to give children simple rules for behavior to hold them
      > accountable to, such as "if you open it, close it", "if you break it,
      > fix it", "if you can't fix it, tell somebody". Such rules are much more
      > helpful then any kind of abstract teachings. David is a
      > Moorish-American and it was quite surprising to learn that Gryte's
      > son-in-law is a Moor and thus so is her grandchild in France. She was
      > very happy with what she learned. The video bridge succeeded
      > technically as we could see each other quite well.
      > That was twelve video bridges, but I organized a thirteenth from Chicago
      > which shows our ability to teach others this skill. David is quite
      > frequently depressed and he needs help from others, but also technical
      > help with his computer and Internet connection. On December 10, 2007,
      > I invited Anita Gousman to visit him and perhaps help him. I showed her
      > how we do video bridges using Skype. We conversed with Tong Zhu and his
      > family in Saskatchewan. (Tong is originally from China.) His son Paul
      > showed us the pictures he draws. We were able to see each other quite
      > well. Tong is an epidemiologist and so we also spoke about how the
      > Minciu Sodas laboratory might help with a flu pandemic. This video
      > bridge was an encouragement for Anita that perhaps she might be able to
      > communicate with this technology and that helping David might open up a
      > new world for them both.
      > These video bridges that we have done with Atzalynas and Minciu Sodas
      > have confirmed Franz Nahrada's good intuition. We have found that
      > video bridges stimulate local discussion. They show that our ideas can
      > be relevant across time and space. Thus they help people locally
      > appreciate each other's good ideas and shake away any sense of
      > provinciality. For Lithuanians, this is evident in linking up with the
      > "more developed" world, but also it has proven healthy to realize there
      > is so much gain from the "less developed" world, especially a real life
      > concern for helping others. These events have helped us build a team in
      > Lithuania that can perform as technicians, organizers and mentors. We
      > applied our skills by hosting a workshop in Vilnius for the European
      > Union network COMMUNIA which included a video bridge with Sasha Mrkailo
      > in Serbia, a live video feed of the event, an online chat channel, an
      > online social networking site, and wireless Internet access for all
      > participants. Our work has been lauded by the press and television.
      > But perhaps the most encouraging sign is that online discussion in
      > Lithuanian has risen from one group with one letter per day to four
      > groups with a total of seven letters per day.
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/minciu_sodas_LT/
      > Video bridges have helped as events to bring us together and appreciate
      > the significance of our global friends and share in that friendship.
      > Such a friendship is at the heart of any utopia and is much valued in
      > the developing world.
      > ------------------------------------
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