>About

The « 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.

For 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

It 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.
We 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:
> Improve 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
> Facilitate 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..
In 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
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