home Birmingham Tactical Media Lab

Tactical Media Lab

By Access to Recycled Technology
The Birmingham TML will start on the 25th November and will run until the 20th December. There will also be the possibility of extending the TML into January.
This TML will be open for all to use in a creative and constructive manner whenever we are present, which we aim to be six days a week, Monday ? Saturday 10:30 ? 6:30.
Issues to be Addressed
The Birmingham TML will operate under the banner "Grow Your Own Media Lab" and the overarching issue that will be addressed will be the accessibility of technology and networks.
During the TML we will develop and use a Lowtech Media Lab utilizing the Linux operating system in combination with commercially redundant computers that have been donated and recycled.
On Saturday 7th December we will host a 4 hour workshop that will be run by the London Genderchangers Collective ? "Computer Hardware ? Training by and for Women" ? this will be a female only event and will have the intention of breaking down barriers between women and computer hardware.
From the 10th-20th December we will be aiming to initiate a version of the Virtual Shelter project that is specific to Birmingham and the requirements of its refugee community. This will include an online FAQ written by and for local refugees, which it is hoped will feed into the Amsterdam FAQ. It will also offer a space and a voice for local refugees to express themselves and their stories.
(We have spoken to our friend who works with refugees in Birmingham and he likes the idea and thinks that there is a definite need for it here ? he is going to introduce us to one of the Leaders of the Slovakian Refugee Council in Birmingham and also to one of the Leaders of the Afghan Refugee Council in Birmingham to discuss our ideas further and hopefully implement some more concrete arrangements as to how and when all this will happen ? this meeting should take place within the next week.)
These various aspects of the TML will aim to address the TML?s overarching theme concerning the accessibility of technology and networks. They will do this by feeding into and shaping the initial development of a longer term collaborative online project with the New Media Initiative from Delhi, Sarai (http://www.sarai.net).
This project is likely to be called "Network:Firewall" and it will explore differences in use and accessibility between the networks that make up the capitalist system. From CCTV to ?the old boys club? to speculative capital to immigration controls to open source software Network:Firewall will create and illuminate the connections that keep us all in our place and some that may lead to a way out.

Background Data
A2RT are a lowtech arts group that was first envisioned in May 2001, appropriately enough on a bulletin board. However it was only at the beginning of 2002 that it began to take on a life of its own.
We recently participated in the Tech_2 Festival (http://tech2.southspace.org/) at the Folly Gallery in Lancaster, UK. (http://www.folly.co.uk) Through this event we developed various organisational and technical skills, while also making many valuable connections.
We aim to encourage individuals and businesses to donate unused computers to us so that they can be recycled and utilized in a constructive and creative manner by individuals and groups who are currently excluded from the ICT's revolution. In conjunction with recycling computers towards creative ends we aim to promote sustainability and renewable energy sources through arts projects that raise public and corporate awareness of these issues. In this manner we also intend to increase the accessibility of the visual and digital arts to individuals and companies who would not normally be exposed to the arts or the possibility of sponsoring the arts.
Ultimately we intend for our project to emulate and innovate upon the success and achievements of the Sheffield based Arts group Redundant Technology Initiative (RTI) and their Access Space media lab (http://www.lowtech.org). With this goal in mind we are currently working alongside RTI with the objective of setting up a similar Access Space in Birmingham within the next 12-18 months. Through the establishment of such a space we would also aim to develop in a more permanent manner the work begun during the TML with individuals and groups, such as refugees, who are currently excluded from the ICT?s revolution.

A2RT People
Steve Crozier
Freelance web designer, presently involved in developing online education with Aston University. Has organised events with the Metapod Expo (http://www.metapod.com) and is part of the Protova.com development team. Is interested in developing links between programmers and artists to help create exciting and innovative uses of lowtech. Also runs STUFFIT ? Culture Jam Sandwiches for Active Consumption (http://www.stuffit.org/)
Si Griffiths
Writer and academic interested in relations between philosophies of embodiment and cyberculture, including their practical, real world implications. Also interested in exploring alternate, decentred models of composing and distributing literature via lowtech and the internet. Alongside academic studies has been involved with the following projects:
? Spaghetti FunKtion (http://www.spagfunk.co.uk) - Literary Editor and contributor for online webzine focusing on underground arts/media/music/politics in Birmingham.
? Flesh - Member of Editiorial Team and contributor for Metapod Expo publication.

Joseph James
Trained and worked as an Interior Designer involved with art direction, styling, exhibition design and consultancy work. On site architect & site manager for community development project in Brazil. Interested in sustainability issues and sustainable community developments. Also interested in creating sculpture and kinetic art from redundant technology.
Kevin Adams
1981-1990 Professional musician
81-86 performed & wrote with Dexys Midnight Runners
1990-1992 Ran Video production company
1993-1995 Wolverhampton Uni, Degree Multimedia Communication
1995-1996 Worked at Broadnet (now Delta Institute) Since sub contracted for a number of companies
? Coded the first BBC science web site which debuted at the BBC science show NEC. Sub contracted for company called Media Lab. ? Involved with Kerb for a couple of years until they moved to Brighton.
? Won Yell award for the best commercial web site. (http://www.mathmos.co.uk) Wrote the online shopping cart
? Other companies include Furry Dog, Shrewsbury, Stargate-UK, Bridgnorth. Used Linux since 1996. Currently use as sole operating system for internet access, office apps etc. Fall back on windows for some music & video applications but hope to eventually be able to cease use ALTOGETHER in favour of open source applications.
Aidan Harris
I'm currently working as a Web Sales Executive. My main interest though, is the grassroots use of the internet by organisations and individuals for community and personal empowerment. Projects I have been involved with in the past are -
? Spaghetti FunKtion (http://www.spagfunk.co.uk) - Editor and founder of online webzine publishing work by Birmingham based individuals who wouldn't otherwise have an outlet in the mainstream media.
? Metapod.expo (http://www.metapod.com) - PR and research. ? Birmingham Squared - Working with young people on website project about their lives and experiences in Birmingham. ? Vivid ? Teaching HTML course from January 1998 to August 1999.
? CitriCity (http://www.tdriver.demon.co.uk/ozone/) - online PR, web design, flyer design and DJ for local soundsystem.
? Dialogue Educational Media careers CD ROM project - working with teenagers in local schools facilitating design of careers advice CD ROM.
? Aardvark Centre - Setting up and running co-operative vegetarian cafe, bookshop and community centre.