« Common Memory project » involves several groups that have
been working together during almost two years. The aim of this cooperation was
to adress the development of reflections, methodologies and open tools about the
memories of the social forums and the dynamics, networks, actors, groups and social
movements they involve.
The project is based on a networked cooperation
to achieve some experimentation, development and reflection to improve the production,
registering, capitalisation, openess and inclusiveness on the participation of
all to the shaping of the living memories. Those are based on dynamics of sharing
the data merged from public spaces, and the information and knowledge raised by
current social movements and the processes of social forums. Furthermore the Common
Memory Project (CMP) has evolved around the recovery and access to the information
and data raised before, during and after the European social forum held in Paris
in 2003. But also around the following ESFs, in London 2004 and Athens 2006. The
recovering of data relates to various camp fields: audio archives recording about
more than 200 hours of activities, written reports on ESF plenaries and workshops,
datamining concerning the organizations characteristics registered during the
ESFs (from Firenze 2002 to Athens 2006), videos and photographic archives, networks
analysis and also a large identification and indexation of web and online articles
or printed matters. All the « materials/data » that have
been recovered, used, systematized, organized and spread during this project are
related to the social forums and to the contemporary social movements related
with social and political transformation as they are being developed by « grass
roots » social movements, anti-capitalists movements, some parts of
the international civil society related to counter globalisation issues.
all those reasons, the CMP deals with multidisciplinary issues: documentation,
information architectures, collective knowledge processes, methodologies of collecting
and recovering data, visualisations of data and knowledge, linguistics, communication
and media analysis etc. This multidisciplinary perspective is sustained by the
several professional and activist backgrounds of the persons and organisations
taking part on it. Activist research groups, academical research laboratories
, centrers of documentation for social movements, networks, informal groups, foundations,
civil society organizations. The majority of which are based in different European
locations such as France, Italy, Catalonia, Belgium, Greece and England.
About the Barcelona Visualisation Group
is an informal group created to address the purposes of the Visualisations part
related to the CMP. You can have a look to the biopic of each member and to the acknowledgements and credits adressed to the
groups and persons that have helped the team.
The Bcn visualisation group
has been asked though Euromovements
and RedActiva to develop some research and
programming in order to adapt or create tools that would help in the visualisation
of the data generated by the several groups composing the CMP. The methodology
adopted for the development of this part was synthesized through this first text:
"We shall understand visualizations as methodologies
to help in the presentation, organization and investigation of contents, understood
as data, information and knowledge. There isn't a central definition of visualizations,
there is a multiplicity of experiments around it. In some fields, as communication
guerilla, artivism, netart, webart, it can be define as a set of subversive aesthetics
and design. It could be also define as semantic analysis in the field of network
or of linguistic analyse.
Visualizations shall be understood as
a vaste domain that hasn't been enough explored until now by grass roots social
movements and civil society. Basically, because it requires a high time dedication
for results that generally don't fit inside urgent actions schemes,
which do generally orient the collective actions of the social movements. In the
other hand, and related to the specific case of the European Social Forum, we
do know the recurrent difficulties for the forum as a process to work with groups
merging from mediactivism, cyberactivism, hackers, software developers and artivists...
We won't analyse here the several reasons for this situation. But it is possible
that they have something to deal with the complexity to conciliate the political
and the technical spheres inside a same process aiming towards social transformation.
would like the visualization project to be an open process that tries,
inside its limited scales, to establish links, interaction and debate with groups
and collectives working in the domain of maps and social transformation,
and that do share a common belief in free software, and in free informational
arquitectures of insurgency. We do list here below the several ways in which working
on visuals can result beneficial and we do list below some concrete proposals
for the next steps.
We can understand visuals as a way to:
the aesthetic of some contents (info/data): per e.j develop a visual interface's
for a database, or work on the usability design of a web site
the organization of large amounts of data: can be done through generating synthetics
maps/cartographies (thematic, geographic, statistic, maps of clusters etc.) or
by developing several presentation of the same content (meaning to give the user
the possibility to accede a content through the choice between several presentations)
Make investigation/activist research: helping in analyse networks composition,
how information is related, RSS phenomena's, develop thesaurus of keywords..
order to clarify the differences between visuals, maps and cartographies, we do
propose those short definitions:
We do understand visuals as manners
to present textual, literate, numeric information through shapes and forms that
do take care of aesthetic features as volumes, colours, photographies, images
in movement, and so on.
We do understand maps as a way to present
huge amounts of data/information through some selected thematic axels, and problematics
highlight, that do give a specific illumination, orientation to those information.
We differentiate maps from cartographies, in the sense, that a map is developed
from a group or individual perspective, but it refers to a domain/camp/dynamics
that isn't feed by the group or community that is mapping it. In the other sense,
cartography would be the result of intimates process, intimate geographies,
communities relationships, per e.j a group group mapping its territory, relations,
etc. Of course those are arbitrary definitions subjected to huge discussions,
we just submit them as a way to clarify the presentation of the project. If you
desire to get a clearest idea about the whole methodological processes of research
and development of those tecnopolitical tools please have a look to the several
reports that have been developed in order to address the methodological challenges
of this project".