Scripting a presentations for the unMonastery at Next

We design together a TED-style presentation of the unMonastery to be televised (learn more). This is a wiki: don’t be afraid to edit it.

  • Duration: 12-15 minutes
  • Language: strictly Italian
  • Wide screen: yes.

The challenge is to imagine a format that can convey the unMonastery’s magic and urgency. Representativeness is a low priority: no need to show everything, focus on the media-friendly, “pop” stuff. We would like:

  1. to show people, the unMonastery in all its glorious diversity
  2. to show action: artefacts and interaction
  3. to show Matera and its beauty, an important part of unMonastery Matera's visual identity.
  4. to latch onto the Edgeryders narrative – 10 people in Matera, 2000 more all over the Internets
  5. to make use of Nico's spectacular footage
  6. to tell a tightly woven story that makes sense to someone who has never heard of the unMonastery, nor of Edgeryders.

Suggested by Riccardo: @Alberto as narrator-MC sewing together the different pieces.

Fallback position: a presentation by Alberto with slides.


Start from this post. The narrative is: we borrow and redeploy key ideas from monasticism towards social innovation, societal resilience, individual freedom and equality. We illustrate the concept (which has shown to have some traction) and move on to show it in vivo as embodied in unMonastery Matera. End with another saint, Augustine (sermon 80):

Mala tempora, laboriosa tempora, hoc dicunt homines. Bene uiuamus, et bona sunt tempora. Nos sumus tempora: quales sumus, talia sunt tempora.

The times are bad, the times are troubled, this men say. Let us live well, and times will be good. We are the times: the way we are is the way the times turn out.


I (Alberto) propose the format of a collective presentation, as suggested by Riccardo. This requires the physical presence of about 4 unMonasterians on stage, + Alberto. The format is lively, but very difficult as there needs to be tight adherence to a script. Italian language also a difficulty, though short sentences can be memorized phonetically.

Update: Alberto’s slides are now done, the text is written and timed. They are shared in the unMonastery => Communication shared Google Drive.

  1. Alberto: 7 minutes (11 slides) scripted presentation with slides about the concept
  2. one minute video by @NicoBis (see in the comments below). unMonasterians use the last 10 seconds of the video to come on stage.
  3. 5 unMonasterians: about 1 minute each, with little stories, projects, artifacts. Example:
    • "I am @La_Gaia, and I come from London.  I have been involved in the development of unMonastery since its conception at the Living on the Edge conference in 2012, fundamentally I am responsible for shaping the measurements and evaluation of the project. I bring my experience of network analysis, ensuring that we don’t measure out what matters, unlike the empty numbers most projects gauge their success upon. This approach to evaluation is focused on enhancing the embedded and emergent process the unMonastery is focused on catalysing in Matera - using as a key marker the relationships that grow from the social impact of the model. My role extends to advising the ongoing development, ensuring meaningful conflict resolution and contributing new recipes to the evolving cookbook of the unMonastery."
    • "I am @Marc, and I come from Burgundy in France. Together with schools in Matera, we are building a prototype for a totally open source solar tracker in both its software and hardware – a device that allows solar panels to follow the course of the sun, like a sunflower, increasing their output by 40%. The cost of energy consumption for an average family is € 1,150 a year, this device aims to remove that cost completely over a 6 year at most period.  Solar trackers already exist, but they are closed, proprietary and quite expensive. We wish to build one that anyone can make or improve with an Arduino board, scavenged electric motors and cheap sensors, for a tenth of its current price. The project aims to be a first step towards towards real sustainable energy consumption."
    • "I am @Bembo Davies, and I come from Norway. I am the keeper of the Book of Errors. unMonasterians inherit from hacker culture a great attention for documentation; we wish to document our mistakes, of which we make many, so that our brethren unMonasterians in the next 200 years can better avoid them, and troubleshoot them when they can't be avoided."
    • “I am @RitaO, I come from Matera, I’m the interface with the local community and I am an unMonasterian too. I got involved into unMonastery one year ago, when there was the first open meeting here  to introduce the main frame of the project and start a cooperation process with citizens about their vision of the town. I work on facilitating relationships with people and associations from Matera in order to develop the projects of the unMonasterians: on the other side, I would like to create a stable hub at unMonastery’s place with the main goal to create a local network of active groups embedded into a huge European network of creatives and innovators. As an unMonasterian, I’ve got a project based on designing goods for the unMon Community through a participatory process which aims to put together unMonasterians and local artisans, in order to create a stronger visual identity for the unMonastery itself, based on its own clear philosophy, and enable objects to speak for it”.
    • "I am @Kei Kreutler, and I come from New York. At unMonastery, I've established a node of Open Tech School in collaboration with Materani. The School currently holds free workshops on coding, physical computing, interactive games, web and mobile app design, and video production, with workshops evolving according to participants' interests. While offering a wide variety of skills, the project aims to teach individuals how to teach others - working toward the School's longevity beyond the unMonastery residency period. Open Tech School Matera leverages a global network within a local community - connecting to an initiative to make learning technical skills easy, fun and inherently social."
    • others?
  4. Alberto: 40 concluding seconds  of inspiration (1 slide)
  5. we exit, if possible, by stepping symbolically down into the audience.

What to mention?

All unMonastery projects are super-interesting. I think people would especially appreciate:

  • the Book of Errors
  • the Open Source Solar tracker
  • the open data program, with the Open Energy Monitor in particular
  • the mesh network
  • Open Tech School
  • the short food distribution chain project
  • the interface with the local community

Please put a list of unMonasterians willing and able to do this here:

  1. Ben
  2.  ...

Ok what’s the story? The promise manifested in the unMonastery?

Last year at Ouishare I asked if Sharing is so great then why are so many sharers struggling? I presented the unMonastery as part of a necessary infrastructure to support more innovation, collaboration and sharing without the exploitation that so often underpins it. I think in order for this presentation to be smashing we need to identify what question is currently in the air, and how the unMonastery offers a response.

Any ideas?

sorry, I’ll write in Italian

Ciao a tutti! Io posso aiutarvi certamente nella costruzione dello spazio. Potrei caricare domani qualcosa delle immagini che abbiamo, ora sento Valerio e vedo come è messo per montare una piccola clip, ha lui le immagini e io tornerò a Roma martedì sera. Considerate che quello che sto facendo a Matera è un lavoro di squadra, che fino ad ora ha significato solo spese per noi, per cui se potessimo prevedere anche un minimo rimborso potremmo fare una cosa veramente figa, usando anche le immagini del drone. 
Dobbiamo chiarire che taglio dare al pezzo, se scrivete quello che pensate di fare e acquisiamo il via libera degli unMonks per tutte le immagini, io lavoro sulle indicazioni che mi date e sono convinto che venga fuori un pezzo con un forte impatto visivo e molto affascinante. Fermo restando che la mia intenzione di seguire tutto il percorso di unMon resta inalterata e che, anche se il racconto inevitabilmente sarà orientato in base allo sviluppo degli eventi, credo che ne verrà fuori un documentario di un fascino unico: il mix di Matera, UnMonastery ed Edgeryders è la cosa più interessante che ho incontrato nel corso del mio breve cammino. 
Un abbraccio

I’m in!

Running on low bandwidth but will try to contribute this week!

Would be great to have [kei kreutler], [elfpavlik] and [marc] involved in this!

little nice shot

UnRisveglio from Nico Bis on Vimeo.

Tell me if you like this short video, I’ll prepare something like this for all the opening day if you want…

I love it

thank you


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Oh :slight_smile:

[NicoBis], many thanks for this. While the footage is really professional and well done, IMHO this particular snippet does not convey the idea we are trying to focus on here: hacker-monks/nuns working with a local community on relevant problems. At least not to me. What do others have to say?

Nico, we don’t get paid for this, but I am theoretically available to pay you a little money (100?) of my own in return for one powerful minute on the concept above.

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Beautiful but says nothing about service to the community…

…which as I understand it is at the core of the project. I think this is the kind of thing people just waiting to flame the initiative on false grounds would love to get their hands on. My two cents.



You can maybe bring Materans (who speak Italian and much more beautiful anyhow) on stage instead of unMonks, to share their accounts (positive, we hope) of the impact of the work the unMon does in their cty, and play a video of the unMonks (even the cute one, as it is balanced with the community feedback).

If you bring unMonasterians on stage, the video may be of Materans, telling how they see the project. In any case, kind of a mirroring.

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Thanks for the idea [katalin] but this needs to be scripted. [Bembo Davies] can tell you about how hard theater drives you: timing needs to be perfect to the second. All it takes is for someone to go "Er… ehm… " a couple of times for the whole impact to be lost. Scripted means: people write down what they are going to say on the wiki beforehand; they time themselves saying it to make sure we don’t go over the limit; then they memorize the words. I work with a virtual stopwatch permanently on my screen. :slight_smile:

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(unMonks are beautiful too)

unMonks are beautiful, no need to get upset :slight_smile:

any version can be scripted

If we ask Materans to participate, they need to write a script, and like any unMonasterian, would need help to prepare for this. I see no difference.  Sometimes it makes sense to show rather than explain. unMon is about the community that hosts it (and unMon Matera is also about developing the prototype for this kind of community, but you all agreed that need not be presented). Anyhow. Just and idea.

Actually, it’s a great idea

[katalin], I thought this through: I now think you are right of course, and I was wrong.


There is a coordination problem. I can script myself no problem (though it’s hard work). I can lean on Ben to script unMonasterians, as the rules of my “benevolent dictatorship” on this matter have been laid out and I trust you guys. But I can’t script citizens that come out of the woodwork. So I can’t guarantee to Riccardo smooth execution – too many variables.


Unless, of course, you take the lead for finding, say, two people from Matera and scripting them to a 40 seconds stint each. Are you prepared to take this responsibility?

I explain, but in italian…sorry

Carissimi, evidentemente questa clip non racconta nulla di UnMon, è solo un esempio (simpatico) per farvi vedere la qualità delle riprese e del tipo di montaggio che potremmo fare per presentare il progetto. Abbiamo molte immagini dei gruppi di lavoro, della gente che era alla cerimonia di apertura, un sacco di materiale che potremmo utilizzare in base a quello che vogliamo esprimere. Fermo restando che la scaletta ipotizzata da Alberto mi sembra eccellente, le immagini valgono comunque più di molte parole.

Ho caricato questa piccola clip perchè Mariabyck mi aveva espressamente chiesto qualcosa del risveglio ed Alberto mi chiedeva un minutino per valutare la qualità delle riprese. Non pensavo di utilizzare questo nei 10 minuti per Next, e quando mi permettevo di chiedere un rimborso pensavo ad un ipotetico budget messo a disposizione da repubblica…

Alberto, so che sarai in italia domani sera, se vuoi chiamami anche sul tardi così valutiamo meglio come procedere, io sono a disposizione per aiutare UnMonastery e per qualsiasi evenienza potete contare su di me. Ciao!

Seems that all the important stuff has been said.

I’d agree that the little clip is an oddity and easily dangerous in isolation.

The nature of documentary is that it isn’t scripted, but that it captures events in their context.  The structural problem that the unMo faces is that people’s reflections on the positive value of the project probably won’t start to amass until well after we have gone…  Tricky, but it’s the inevitable cycle of field work.

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3 days

Alberto, I am not in Matera, but give me 3 days -  I need to discuss this with the rest of the unMonasterians. I have some ideas of who maybe really good, but I need to ask if these people are interested, plus, maybe others have turned up in the meanwhile who would be great. I am happy to contribute to the script but have no experience in this and need backup. I also cannot write it in Italian, so I need translation. I will try to drum up a team, and then I can take the responsibility. I will get back to you soon! Katalin

This discussion has sparked larger issues but…

I’d very much like to say a few words about the Open Tech School at this event, communicating both its weekly meetings and its larger frame as developing an infrastructure for social learning – something that I think, like the unMonastery, wants to be replicated. I see NEXT as a platform to enhance a particular kind of visibility and credibility for the OTS that may not directly help on the ground but will strengthen its broader network.

As I work over the next week to recruit workshop partners and collaborators, the possibility of presenting with someone else from the community on a particular workshop or initiative – while still remaining within its allotted time – seems most favorable to me. As the presentations take shape, I think we should put attention on one, clear narrative for the unMonastery if possible, for the sake of effective communication alone. Perhaps a rubric of ideas for each presentation to draw from and circle around? Whatever the group thinks is best.


Sure @Kei. @katalin already convinced me that involving the community is a good idea.

Please everyone that wants to put themselves forward to do this,

  1. add yourselves to the wiki, indicating who is going to be on stage, and whether you are going to need a slide to go with your self-presentation (recommended) 
  2. prepare a scripted 50 seconds in Italian.

We’ll have from 4 to 6 of these. I am starting to write my own part tomorrow.

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New deadline: Sunday night

Dear friends, the wiki has been dormant – no action at all since March 26th. I will be preparing my presentation on Saturday and Sunday. By Sunday night at the latest, who wants to be on stage please let me know:

  • what they want to say, in under 1 minute in Italian
  • if they need a (one!) slide as a backdrop to what they say.

We have, as you know, five slots, even six is OK. I am traveling next week, so I can’t really take care of this after Monday: this means that, if you are not ready by Sunday night, we’ll have to move on with people who are.

Do you like?

This is the one-minute video that I edit with Valerio, tryng to following Alberto’s suggestions.

It’s a private video, to see it you have to write a password: undocumentary

I think that is good to start the presentation, to stimulate curiosity and interest about UnMon.