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Tactical Media Lab @ Sarai
A short report from the Sarai Newsletter

On November 14 -16, 2002, Sarai hosted the South Asian Tactical Media Lab (TML), one of a chain of such events, that are taking place in different parts of the world (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cluj, New York, Delhi and Sydney) as a run-up to the fourth Next 5 Minutes Conference (N5M4) in Amsterdam in 2003.
Over the three days free software enthusiasts, programmers, graphic designers, filmmakers, artists, activists, members of NGOs, telecommunications experts, students and media practitioners from Mumbai, Dehradun, Kolkata, Dacca, Kathmandu, Tehran & Delhi shared ideas, experiences, problems and grievances, explored varied uses of tactical media, discussed strategies, designed posters and websites, disbanded opinions and formed new ones through panel discussions, presentations, installations, workshops and a film screening.
The TML started with a very well attended public conversation between Shuddhabrata Sengupta from Sarai and David Barsamian, founder and director of Alternative Radio, an independent, award-winning, weekly radio program produced in Boulder, Colorado. David Barsamiyan is well known in Delhi through the publications of his interviews with Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Eqbal Ahmed.
This was followed by discussions and presentations on different approaches to Tactical Media. Discussions on subsequest days focussed on language and localization issues in Free Software, freedom and programming culture, ICT and its ability to look beyond the development paradigm and on the need for collaboration of new media networks in Asia.
A print and web designing workshop conducted by Pradeep Saha, Managing Editor, Down to Earth, and Mrityunjoy Chatterjee, Sarai Media Lab, formed part of the TML and audio-visual and web installations were playing in the Sarai Interface Zone on all three days.
The event lent itself naturally to the crystallization of a loose coalition of tactical media enthusiasts in the Asian region. The participants from Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal and various parts of India, spoke of the need to carry the energies that they had discovered through their meetings into the future. Plans were made to set up a Tactical Media Asia discussion list hosted by Sarai, and everyone was in agreement on initiating a cluster of collaborative processes, like a free software desktop in the Urdu language as a concrete instance of collaboration between people at Sarai and the LinuxIran group.