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Title / Name of the Project: Estúdio Livre

Type of project: Community-Projekt?

Description of the project:

What is your project about, who are the people involved and adressed.

Estúdio Livre is a digital community that gathers in a collaborative environment. This environment is composed of a wiki-based website and some file-sharing and streaming services, which emerged from the combined perception of people with the most varied backgrounds about the need for research into – and deeper knowledge of – the use and development of free (as in freedom) media. Based on the perspective that one of the biggest innovations of the digital world is to be found in the new means of production of which free software is the best example, we created a collaborative community that focus on exchanging knowledge about multimedia production. The methodology proposed tries to break the barriers between producer and consumer, fostering a collective intelligence, as well as changes in aesthetic, economic and social paradigms in our contemporary "spectacle" society.

All the tools in the environment are constructed based on free software, open knowledge and technological appropriation. The stimulus for interaction comes from workshops, media labs, free archives, user manuals, forums, personal blogs, research groups, discussions taking place in a mailing list and other differentiated tools for collaboration. Our focus is the proccess of constructing such a community, and not the products generated by it.


URL of the project: http://estudiolivre.org



Project details

Objectives:

What is the objective of your project? What is the common goal, topic, interest, etc. of the community?

The main objective of Estúdio Livre is active research, supporting and encouraging the production and circulation of free cultural goods, In other words, we want to host and distribute works which can be freely distributed, remixed and retransmitted, with the necessary legal constraints and without any kind of restriction on access. Both virtually and in person, Estúdio Livre's activities and participation take place with freedom in mind. Proposals are made and these are added or other activities removed, depending on the profile of the group executing each activity.

Estúdio Livre's activities are focused on supporting a close relationship between the development and usage cycles of free software media to facilitate the production of other types of media. We encourage sharing and collaboration in this production proccess. Above all, it is an environment which draws on volunteers from amongst the community and from those who share interests in the sovereignty of its principles and autonomy of its proposals. On the other hand, it encourages the participation of its more active members in consultancy and implementation of projects which can beneffit from this methodology, using the documentation and artifacts off the portal as tools. Estúdio Livre also accepts voluntary donations and partnerships with institutions, governments and companies which use its accumulated knowledge, or which would like to encourage specific productions within the community (documentation of a specific software, compilation of documentation, customization or multimedia production), as long as the objectives of this partnership are coherent with those of Estúdio Livre and the donor or partner in question does not stand for anything which goes against the activism carried out by the community which maintains the project.

The aim is to create a scenario for participatory cultural and technological production, which can generate less alienated reflections than purely entertainment-driven consumption. Achieving greater awareness of the social role of everyone involved, who come to see themselves as part of an independent, open and collective process. We call this aim Estúdio Livre Phase Two, which sets out to produce something capable of causing the impact that the film “City of God” had on the history of Brazilian cinema, but with the differential of using free software and the process of methodological sharing, following in the steps of the film “Elephants Dream” which was the world's first open source film and met with critical acclaim.


Language and Context:


In which cultural and geographic context is the project rooted?

Brasil is a huge country with a rich cultural history. Throughout it's history our people have suffered and celebrated this suffering. Cultural manifestations range from Carnaval, Soccer and Funk from the favelas; to the religious resistance of candomblé and it's incredible universe of
rituals and archetypes, and the rituals of a tribal indian society that strugles to survive.

According to the historian Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, it was the slavery mentality of the casa grande e senzala (big house and slave quarters) that roots Brazilian's modus vivendi. Based on a type of political, economic and social organization artificially maintained by an external force, the Brazilian state brought more continuity than rupture with the model instated by the European colonizer.

It is in this sense that cultural, economic and social traces, molded by four hundred years of slavery, structuring itself as a repressive and controlling political-administrative machine, that Brazilian power always benefited an elite, establishing that certain attitudes of the rural patriarchy soon would be common to all the classes as an ideal conducting norm.

By forcing the urbanization of millions of workers and effectively shutting down the knowledge of our rural and indigenous population and its biodiversity, the richness of our heterogeneous cultural life against the rational systems of organization of work and life does slowly a complete depersonalization of the Brazilian people. It causes a serious lack of understanding of its role. A monoculture (agrarian, cultural etc) was stablished everywhere in the country, and this hegemony can be testified, for example, by the Portuguese language, adopted freely in all of the brasilian regions.

This inequality was historically triggered by the lack of actions and strategies that could influence the decisions related to access and use of resources capable of altering these structures, as much as propose new ones. Illegality in habitation and communication mediums are a result of this lack of compromise with these basic rights. Allied to the economic inequality and political negligence, a bureaucracy reinforces the process that triggers non-legal actions, creating many informal markets even more powerfuls.

Our dilemma it is not, and it never was, scarcity, but the mode of production and distribution of abundance, that means, the inequality - expressed as an economic inequality in the access and use of natural resources, goods and services; the symbolic inequality in the production of knowledge, identity and common values. It is this, and not poverty per se, our biggest challenge.

(some of the context text is remixed from the mimoSa project)

Project History:

What was the project's origin, when and how did it start? How did it develop up to the present day?

The people who will later start the estudio livre project have been gattering toghether in a series of events since 2003 (http://www.estudiolivre.org/Rebobinando+a+Fita). But they first came together under this name in a mailing list on december of 2004 and made its first workshop in the 2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/002400.shtml). From then on, we started discussing how it would be possible to share our knowledge of use of free software for multimedia production. During the last 3 years we built a website and worked on translating and creating original documentation that could help with this goal. With a partnership with the Ministry of Culture's Digital Culture project we managed to get funding for scholarships that invested in content creation, not only documentation but multimedia artifacts and software as well. This partnership also helped us mature the methodology for meetings were we would teach others how to use computers and free software to express their culture, and why they should do so. Trough this partnership we were also abble to install a server in the fiber-optics backbone of the Brazilian Research Network, were our portal and services are now hosted. And with a partnership with the Projeto Software Livre Paraná, we managed to have our own mails and mailing lists server under the estudiolivre.org domain.

Since then Estúdio Livre grew as an international community and some of the original content we created in portuguese is even being translated to other languages. Our archive grows everyday and is an interesting source of alternative audio, graphics and video production.

People:

What is the core team carrying the project? How many (groups of) individuals are currently involved as members or users? How would you charaterize the people participating in the project? Is access to the project open or restricted?

Nowadays we have around 15 people responsible for the development, maintenance and administration of the site, discussion lists, request verification and organisation of the information. This group, that we call the hacklab, is made up mainly of more experienced users, programmers, system administrators, musicians, videomakers and producers who have been using free software for some time.

In the mainling list we have 220 subcribers and in the website we have 4342 users registered who focus on the use of licenses which allow the sharing and re-use of codes as a huge trump card for the sustainability of a more interdisciplinary community, which combines art and science. Stimulating this model of production encourages a space in which science can operate more innovatively and art can become more involved in improving its techniques.

As for scientists, in this environment they find an enormous incentive for creativity and breaking down the distances between scientific technique and the artist, bringing the awareness that producing a code or designing an interface or machine can be a technique loaded with communicative intention and as playful as making brush strokes on a canvas or strumming a guitar. A much less technocentric vision of scientific work is stimulated, bringing back the figure of the inventor and adding poetry to the mix.

Access to all of the Estúdio Livre processes is completely free. However, to interact in the virtual environment, it is necessary to register some personal details on the site. By doing this, the user declares that s/he is aware of the conditions of the site's Terms of Use http://estudiolivre.org/politicadeuso, thereby taking exclusive, irrevocable and irreversible responsibility for the information provided, as well as for any complaints from third parties about the material contributed, with Estúdio Livre being exempt from any obligation related to the exhibition and distribution of the works, and guaranteeing that no remuneration will be due for the material which is licensed, exhibited and distributed by it.

Lessons learned:

What has worked / what has not worked in the process of realisation of your project?

We learned and still are learning how to network, in abstract and concrete basis. We did had crisis through this years, but somehow we managed to overcome. What worked was the strenght of the will of the community envolved and the partnerships. What did not work was our lack of defining some structural goals since the beginning. That's what we are trying to do in the moment.


Technical Information


Technological basis:

What is the technological basis of your project (infrastructure, operating system environment, connectivity / telecommunication, etc.)?

    • Administration and Development:

At the moment the tools used for virtual interaction are located on the World Wide Web. The main ones are the public discussion list http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/estudiolivre and the collaborative portal http://estudiolivre.org which allow real-time editing of hypertexts as well as upload and download of documents with metadata.

The general public work list was the first virtual environment for interaction amongst the community. Up to now it has been hosted on the Riseup.net technical collective's server. Although we currently have emails and discussion lists https://listas.estudiolivre.org/ under the estudiolivre.org domain we chose to maintain our main list under the Riseup.net domain due to this connection being characterised as a “knot in the network”, in other words a project which uses resources from another and vice versa – there are people in the Estúdio Livre community who also collaborate with Riseup.net projects such as for example the translation of its web interface, which is originally in English, into Portuguese.

The Estúdio Livre website is programmed in free software and can be developed by any person with technical knowledge http://dev.estudiolivre.org of PHP, MySQL, Smarty and CSS. It is based on TikiWiki http://br.tikiwiki.org, a content management system (CMS) designed for communities and distributed under the LGPL license http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lgpl.html. People without programming knowledge can also contribute via bug reports http://bugs.estudiolivre.org.

The Estúdio Livre code is a Tiki module which consists of a group of new files, patches and SQL scripts, managed by Polvo http://estudiolivre.org/Polvo, a software written in Perl to carry out automatic publication on the web and locally on the developer's machine. This procedure is necessary to maintain the estudiolivre.org code separate from the TikiWiki code.

    • Desktop

In the main portal, different types of interaction options are available to users. They may either simply search for information or add to or correct incomplete content which they come across during their research. They may also make their own productions available through the Free Archive (Acervo Livre) http://acervo.estudiolivre.org or download productions by other members of the site. Depending on the license used by those files, users may also remix them and upload them again in a new version. This is only legally possible because the content made available on the portal uses permissive licenses, which facilitate the most diverse types of sharing.

Another resource implemented in the Free Archive are the live channels (using icecast)http://aovivo.estudiolivre.org which make possible audio and/or video streaming. Users can listen to and/or watch someone else's transmission or do their own, as long as they have the necessary tools installed on the computer that will generate the stream.

Solutions:

não precisa preencher, não é um software

Implementations:

não precisa preencher, não é um software

Users:

Who are its (potential) users and beneficiaries?

Portuguese speakers that want to learn more about multimedia production using free software. People that speak other languages and are interested in translating and creating this kind of documentation. Artists that want to share their works and achieve greater autonomy with the use of free software. Groups that want to stream their actions in realtime as audio or video feeds.

License:


One of the solutions proposed and encouraged by Estúdio Livre is support for collaborative production through the use of licenses for sharing. Just as the free software developer shares his or her code using licenses such as the GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html, the cultural producer, through licenses such as Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org, gives the public the prior right to redistribute his or her work, with or without charge, and therefore makes them a partner in the creative production. In this way, a relationship is established in which consumption and production are parts of the same cycle, in which the great profit is the knowledge acquired and the establishment of social networks. Sooner or later, these same social networks will become partners in initiatives for mutual sustainability, creating a chain of production flows which breaks down cultural and geopolitical barriers, making possible autonomous niches which are much more self-referential and aware of their directions and more capable of reflecting their socio-economic influences and the role of their production.

Statement of Reasons:

Why the submitted project deserves to win a prize in the "Digital Communities" category.

We are strugling to maintain ourselves as an independent community. We do have partners that help us, but it is far from enough to develop bones for our muscles and joints. We´re growing fast, and without structure, we can easilly fall apart. So that´s why we´re applying to this prize, to achieve more autonomy and have a breath to improve our sustainability.

Planned use of prize money:


We are foccusing on a imersion meeting of the hacklab team as we think that the face-to-face experience is fundamental for the integration of the community. Also we are planning to distribute scholarships for open research for the descentralization of systems like ours, we want to invest in a server network so we can be independent from the server donated by the Ministry. Our plan is to develope a distributed platform based on BitTorrent as a file sharing protocol so as to create a distributed system that will garantee that Estúdio Livre's platform services will be freely available to all, for ever.


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Last modification: 16/03/2007 at 19:54, by: alex