Brilliant Proposal for the Gathering of the EdgeRyder Forces
Living on the Edge \#5 - Athens, late September 2015
For our milestone fifth LOTE unMonastery Athens offers to host and promote a dynamic event in which form equals content and seeks to represent in practice everything we stand for.
As our perennial central plank, the theme proposed is Social Cohesion - Survival Strategies. This year we carry the ER operating premise one step further: ‘them that builds the infrastructure calls the shots.’ LOTE#5 will take place in a temporary hexayurt village calling upon open source expertise to meet all our needs.
In 2012 EdgeRyders was inaugurated by the opening Living On the Edge conference in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe, cradled by the Social Cohesion Research and Early Warning Division. At that first conference we explored our collective future through the lens of collapse and sustained austerity - despite the relative stability since then in Northern Europe, potential and real crisis remains in our midst.
In the spirit of staying with the trouble, LOTE5 will see a return to our early roots in order to examine what we have achieved since then, with a step closer to the edge, with the time that has past since our early visions we have experimented and prototyped; unMonastery, Makerfox, hexayurts, new organisational forms and we propose that now is the time for a meaningful road test of that infrastructure under conditions that require it’s creation, with an open invitation to new collaborators to join us in structuring a useful constellation of resources in the LOTE5 Survival Village.
Since the beginning of this year over 27,000 migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in Greece, the majority of whom are fleeing from the war in Syria. With the fallout of escalating global conflict beating at the shores of Europe, above and beyond potential economic collapse Greece has become a flashpoint and meeting place for humanitarian confrontation between principles and reality-.
Despite such dire implications and the depiction of Greece in mainstream international media as something approaching a failed state, experience on the ground and at the edge indicates otherwise; Athens houses an immense network of organisations and initiatives that are focused on improving the social good and building a resilient commons.
As part of unMonastery’s work in Athens we have begun to connect, work with and begin to support some of these long standing and emergent networks. Between the hackerspace SatNogs project, the Spithari eco settlement, Senait’s Kitchen, SciFy’s technology for all initiatives and the recent Adhocracy exhibition there exists an enormous capacity to configure new forms of distributed infrastructure and support for a rapidly changing situation.
The (distributed) Architecture
As the starting point of LOTE5 we propose the deployment of all our existing infrastructure projects, this will serve as a point of initiation for invitations to both Greek based and international initiatives focused on distributed infrastructure.
Hexayurts are the brainchild of long standing community member Vinay Gupta, which will act as a core space for activities, with even a small cluster of 20 or so guaranteed to be highly visible for both photo opps and surveillance satellites. These will be constructed and inaugurated by the participants as they arrive, with each yurt housing both us and our deepest concerns.
If possible the conference can also operate as a testing ground for Makerfox, an alternate economic exchange unit, which will form the foundation for all collaboration on site. Following last year’s LOTE#4 triumph of an on-site co-operative kitchen, unMonastery Athens successful pop-up kitchen led by Senait will be recruited to coordinate food supplies: ‘Them that does the chopping, eats the dinner.’
Once we have established reasonable conditions for meaningful dialogue, the stage will be set for a series of questions about organisational form, governance and future endeavour. We propose a loving polemic between representatives of a selection of parallel communities that have trudged along this path before us. The goal for the unMonastery is to then choose and refine the most promising model to suit an ever more complex organisational challenge.
- weekend of Sept 25.
We have opened discussions with ADDMA (Athens Mayor’s Office), the British Council, the Goethe Institute and other potential institutional actors and collaborators
- revisit radical roots of ER
- acquire practical skills (how to build a survival camp)
- develop rituals to fill the temporary structures with life
- discussion on distributed organisations, ownership, etc
- tactile, tangible work epitomises the spirit of efforts
- a visible Edgeryders is a viable Edgeryders