Español . English

A memorable (working) party tribute to the commons

03.06.2015 by Mariana Salgado

Photos by Julio Albarrán (cc)

Report about the table 3 of the #ReclaimtheCommons Hackcamp: original lenguage: Spanish («Una fiesta -de trabajo- inolvidable en tributo al procomún»)

How can we achieve a festive yet at the same time engaged working spirit? I don’t know, but the ZEMOS98 organisers managed to achieve it. They organised a Festival around the subject of the commons, which turned out to be an unforgettable (working) celebration. I took part in the Hackcamp, which was the «hands on» section of the Festival, where 70 people divided into groups in order to discuss different subjects.

I was assigned a work-group in which we reflected on what an audiovisual archive means for the commons. The participants of our workshop table represented very different archives, some with small collections and others with huge ones. All of us sat down to work together: Syrian Archive, Open Images, EUScreenXL, Kairós Project, Hamaca Online; Adtlantida TV, Makusi TV, Experimental TV, European Cultural Foundation, and Doc Next Media Collection. Some of the archives are quite close to the idea of commons archive while others are less so, which was why discussing a utopian archive was relevant for all of us. It was a way of understanding the limits and opportunities each one of us has with the collection and with work practices.

We did many things during those three days. One of the most interesting exercises was defining the guidelines of an audiovisual archive for the commons. We wrote 20 Commandments that summarize our vision.

20 Commandments

  1. We will use open code (compatible with FSF) and open media formats.
  2. We will provide open API.
  3. We will develop a front-end based on open web standards
  4. We will provide the possibility of downloading, manipulating and mixing.
  5. We will face the early stages of development with an open approach. We’ll test and develop prototypes with the community.
  6. We will design a semantic logic.
  7. We will aim for a simple and sensitive design, with fewer mouse clicks.
  8. We will facilitate uploading contents, including partial contents.
  9. We will use folksonomy, personal searching.
  10. We will take into account that beauty and functionality are not contradictory.
  11. We will offer diversity in contents, including institutional, communitarian and individual.
  12. We will have open regulations for maintenance and management (flexibility for a transparent model).
  13. We will build an archive for civil society, working together with public institutions in order to moderate it.
  14. We will have open curating for public good.
  15. We will facilitate reuse processes.
  16. We will only compile reusable materials.
  17. We will try to use our influence to favour open laws which reduce the time span of copyright.
  18. It will be a multilingual archive collecting media, not only video (video, audio, texts, podcasts, etc). It will be written in clear and simple language.
  19. We will embrace diversity including cats, naked people, minorities and news.

We also spent time thinking about the name of the archive, the tools it could have and how the public announcement for funding could be designed. Commons Sense Bazaar, an archive mediating inclusiveness is the name two of our teammates gave it. The work of the group that conceived this announcement and the name can be seen here.

We devoted the last day of the HackCamp to sketching prototypes of the tools this archive could have. One of them served to add subtitles or notes to the videos and the other one to create Video Posters. In this last one, you must click on the word «Prototype 1» or «Prototype 2» to see the prototypes. Personally, I would like to have had more time to develop these tools. Regretting not having more time is not bad, as it’s a sign of interest and of empathy with your working team.

In the designing field many of us work with methodologies related to utopias, as in the case of the design fictions, the speculative design or the critical design. Thinking of utopia in the case of an archive for the commons is a valid method to achieve possible alternatives. Some of these methods suggest a criticism and other fictitious scenarios for the future, but what’s most interesting is what is produced during the building process of these visions. The process of thinking and defining a vision together through commandments, tools, the title and the public announcement was rich in discussions and the exchange of ideas among the participants. Great!

And I think we all made a commitment in this process to reach a common agreement. Some of the talks will linger with me when I come to take decisions in my daily work with the archive. I’m grateful to my teammates from the working table for those intense days in Seville, the vision of the commons archive and above all for the open dialogue that allowed us to learn about the practices of the archives where they work, and also to the lovely people behind that work.

Thank you to ZEMOS98 for inviting us and gathering us together! It was a pleasure to meet you, and here’s to our next gathering!

make a comment


  • Please, stay on topic, be respectful with you and the others, take care about spelling and grammar. Comments can be moderated because of SPAM reasons, but we reserve the right to not publish any violent or offensive content.