Hi Edgeryders!

Hi Edgeryders,

I’m Laura, French/Swiss person currently living in London UK.

On my way to the Borderland (www.theborderland.se) I met Hugi who’s talked to me about this network. I’ve dreamed of something similar for a while now, so I’m happy to see it actually exists and I can jump in it / join the conversation!

I’m a Creative Technologist, which can more or less mean anything, but in my case refers to:

  • for 5 years I’ve been working for my company Incidence (www.incidence.io), conceptualizing and building tangible interactive installations for events, both commercial and art related. As such I’ve been the glue between highly specialised partners and employees (engineers, carpenters, metalworkers, etc) and my clients, and have had the pleasure to jump between prototyping, designing, managing, producing, writing contracts and other fun (??!) practical and legal shenanigans.
  • From September I’m about to start working for a large company as a mix of software engineer and UX designer, analysing their users’ needs, coding functional prototypes and shipping finished (code) components to production.

I’m more or less interested in any subject as soon as I start researching into it / discussing it with passionate people, but here are a few of the things I’ve been putting more focus on as of late:

  • Communities and community building (I am currently travelling through Europe visiting some communities and talking with individuals who have built or participated in some), and will start a (mini) experiment in community building by starting an open collective in a shared house in London when I return this Autumn (if I can find the right house to rent - the housing crisis in London doesn’t help for these kind of experiments!).
    I’m particularly interested in questions such as how to build communities, how to make them sustainable (not just ecologically), how (and if) they can integrate current capitalistic models to strive, how they can be a model or a drive for change, how they can connect together.
  • Art installations: building on my past experience as an Installation Designer I am starting a new interactive light project. We’re at the very beginning now (research and prototyping) but once we’ve passed this phase I will be looking into funding and exhibition opportunities. This is new to me as I usually rely on commercial funding rather than public art grants, so in the future I’d be interested to connect with people who have some experience around this, if any here.
  • Making tech understandable by everyone. Unless being a techy or someone really passionate about these subjects, most people consider tech as a complex and magical thing that they observe from afar, considering that they do not have the time or capacity to learn about it. I believe this is an extremely big problem because this means that they continue to use services that are detrimental to themselves or society instead of switching or demanding services that truly benefit them on the long term, and leave to tech companies and governments the power to take decisions that will affect them for years to come.
    Therefore I think that we need to create detailed, easy and compelling sources of information for non-techies. We must create mental models of the techs that affect our societies so that people understand them and make informed decisions with regards to those. We must make those in formats that are highly sharable to reach those who are currently less interested in these subjects and thus make discussions about the future of tech more of a public debate.
    On a personal level I have started to write a series of articles explaining in simple terms which technical features of specific tech tools are required to respect important values such as privacy, freedom of speech and decentralisation. (See first article of the series to come here: https://medium.com/@lauraPoni/stop-leaking-your-private-data-use-signal-not-facebook-messenger-b37eee960aa)
    These articles should help to clarify complex subjects for non specialised people, however they are not particularly spreadable to a mass public (they still require quite a lot of time to read and therefore some initial interest). But I am thinking of using them as bases for creating other medium that would use some of the information in these articles as a basis.
    Although this is currently a personal project, I would be keen to hear from people who might be interested to contribute via feedback, writing other articles, or maybe taking the project further with creating other medium or finding funding for it (or any other thing this might make you think about!)
  • Feminism/gender equality: In the past years I have read and discussed quite a lot around these subjects, and would love to continue this discussion/work on projects around these themes. Especially would like to follow the latest discussions on the subject, as I’ve been mostly reading about historical feminism (which is still extremely relevant, but would like to start looking at the latest most subtle discussions now)

… sorry for the long intro; would love to hear your thoughts!

Also please do let me know if I can help with anything :slight_smile:

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HEllo @Lauraponi, welcome and happy to meet you. My name is Alberto, Italian relocated to Brussels. There is quite some overlap between your (main) interests and some of the stuff that has been going on here over the past six years.

  • On communities, @johncoate has the most experience, by a long shot. Some of us, myself included, are currently sharing a house-cum-workspace in Brussels, The Reef, and considering expansion. You are welcome to visit us, of course.
  • Art installations are close to many people’s hearts. @noemi, @bob, @alex_levene and @natalia_skoczylas are the core of a group doing work on cultural policies: others, like me, find themselves on the art lover side.
  • Understandable tech is the province of @matthias, master writer of instructables and hacker extraordinaire. He cares for autonomy, and helps us all to be a little more autonomous (though we are nowhere near to full autonomy). Some oif his work is here.
  • Gender equality is more practiced than theorized in Edgeryders, I would say. @anique.yael has probably the most thorough academic training on feminism.

Thank you for your offer to help, we always can use extra hands on the various decks. What would you like to do?

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Hi Laura. Delighted to see you here. I looked at your website. Impressive projects. And I read your Medium article about privacy. I already had Signal installed but I confess I have not used it much. I also confess I use Facebook, but never on my phone and generally for pretty innocuous things. Well, I do get sucked into various political discussions, but I do so aware that there are those out there who will use whatever incriminating thing they cam come up with for their purposes. I think I’m pretty careful. But your advice is excellent and clearly conveyed.

My community experience breaks out into two basic sections: living communally, which I did from 1970-83, and doing online community, which I have done since 1986 when i pioneered the field of online community management. The two have not mixed as much as it does with some others - I don’t live in a group, but live with my wife on the coast of northern California. But that could change - one never knows! That Reef thing is mighty tempting…

It is my pleasure and my honor to be part of Edgeryders and I hope you stick with us and share your many insights and experiences.

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Hi @alberto, hi @johncoate, hi everyone else mentioned above!

@alberto, the Reef seems like a great experiment and i’d love to hear about your experience now that you’ve spent a year+ there! I’d also love to visit at some point!

What do I want to do? Ah, terrible question! I love to do very diverse things, and especially at any given time I usually like to have projects which each mobilise different skills rather than having all projects focusing on one specific set of them… which makes it hard to answer your question because it varies with time.

But to be a bit more practical, on a technical side I can code (front-end mainly, or not-too-complex full-stack), play with UX, and dream (and model) art installations (although it doesn’t seem Edgeryders are doing too much around this). I can also write commercial pitches and presentations when I know well the project at hand, but I do it more because it’s necessary than because I find it fun.

I love researching, writing about my findings, sharing / discussing knowledge and opinions, and teaching, and i’d love to do more of that in the future.
I also love anything that requires to take a complex mess of information and translate it too a simplified and / or clear output, be it in writing, diagrams, small sketches and drawings, etc.

Not sure if that answers your question?

@johncoate thanks!
On Signal/privacy, I too keep using various tools outside of Signal despite I’m very aware of their drawbacks in terms of privacy. Mainly because most of my contacts keep using them and converting them to a different tool requires a lot of energy. I often think of it as similar to being a vegetarian / vegan when it wasn’t yet so widely accepted as a logical/grounded decision that could actually make an impact. It’s quite an uncomfortable position to be in but I hope it might help changing things on the long term.
I also want to start using properly Matrix/Riot, as this seems like a very interesting tool - using it on my laptop seemed like there was quite a few features in Beta still though (for instance E2EE encryption!), and quite a complex UX for newcomers, which is why I didn’t include it in my article for now. But I need to do more thorough testing as it also has very interesting configurable features. How do you Edgeryders feel since you apparently use it day to day?

Including @hugi here as we started talking about this briefly.

On communities, I’ll dive into the Academy course for community management when I have time (btw I can’t seem to be able to scroll pages and click on videos when using my Android mobile)!
… also slowly making my way through the huuuge amount of content of this forum!

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It says (good) things about you, but it does not answer my question. You could write code for a weapon system as well as for a dating application; you could be researching solarpunk utopias or the market for financial derivatives. What’s your quest? What do you want to build? [quote=“Lauraponi, post:4, topic:8961”]
… also slowly making my way through the huuuge amount of content of this forum!
[/quote]
No need to read the whole backlog! It’s over 40,000 posts, and was never meant to be used that way anyway. No one has read the whole thing. You are doing it right already: the people that wrote the content are by and large still around, and you can engage with them (us) around what you are interested in. When the conversation calls for it, we sometimes refer back to older topics, which are all tidily archived and tagged away, and in the context of the present conversation the older text takes on new meanings :slight_smile:

@Alberto hm I guess that’s because most projects can be extremely boring or quite exciting depending on what you work on, with whom, etc.

But if I have to specify areas I’m particularly interested in, I’d say this crosses over with my main interests at the moment;

  • communities; id love to think / experiment with creating ecosystem communities, ie. designing a set of values, practical tools, practical processes and activities, type of people, spaces, interactions with the outside world, etc that together would work as a sustainable ecosystem. I’ve read what I could about the Reef but if you had some pointers about the learnings from the previous tangible community you built, would love to hear about it.
  • Art installations / user experience: I am passionate about human computer interactions and would love to so some more of that. For example when/if I have the time (ha!) I would like to try coding for AR gloves to create new types of interactions with the physical world.
  • tech and human beings: how does tech impacts people, habits, environment.
  • Security / privacy: would love to work on a project that gives back data ownership to users. Especially things around social networks and events creation / calendar. Also something that isn’t designed to be addictive. Not sure which shape that would take as anything that requires a social graph gets tricky when wanting to keep data ownership and privacy, and because the addictive component is one of the features that helps such network grow and keep being used, but I’d love to start tinkering around that.
  • Making tech understandable / teaching tech
  • Projects that touch to education / reforming education
  • Feminism / gender equality.
  • Policies / political parties / projects that look at political systems and potential alternatives.
  • Projects about tools or processes that foster collaborations between people.

… is that answering your question better or still not?

regarding the backlog: I was just thinking that you might be tired to repeat the same thing again and again to every new participant!

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hey @Lauraponi - Natalia here, one of the old-time community members. I’m Polish but a nomad for almost a decade, during which I changed both jobs and countries quite a lot. It seems like I am building a base now in Berlin, where you could surely come and scout for some answers - there are a couple of very old squats that survived all kind of turbulence, with surely interesting stories about communities that run it. The city is changing a lot, aggressively gentrified but also fiercely defended by activists.

There’s also an organization that I could introduce you to once your light project is close to being ready - Public Art Lab http://www.publicartlab-berlin.de/, Berlin-based art platform interested in new media and techy art projects. They really know how to raise significant funds and run pretty spectacularly big events. I work with them on a smaller project at the moment - a sort of school for cultural entrepreneurs.

Let me know if you’re passing by, we can have a coffee and chat about art, tech, edgeryders and communities :slight_smile: