Abstract: Complete interview about technoshamanism conducted by Beatriz Garcia, publisher of the spanish Laudano Magazine, with Fabiane M. Borges, Carsten Agger, Ariane Stolfi and Raisa Inocêncio, participants of the technoshamanism network. English translation by Carsten Agger, Ariane Stolfi, Isabella Aurora and Iaci Kupalua.
From October 23 to 29, an international seminar about technoshamanism and the concept of “Digital Land” or “free digital territories” was held in the autonomous ecological project Terra Terra near Reino, Benevento, Italy. The event was organized by Vincenzo Tozzi and announced on the Bricolabs Mailing List. The seminar was held in the form of a “Pajelança Quilombólica Digital”, as it’s called in Brazilian Portuguese, a “digital shamanism” brainstorming on the possibilities of using free digital territories to connect free real-world territories.
Vincenzo Tozzi is the founder of the Baobáxia project which is run by the Brazilian network Rede Mocambos, and the main point of departure was the future of Baobáxia – sustainability, development, paths for the future.
Arriving in Napoli, I had the pleasure of meeting Hellekin and Natacha Roussel from Brussels who had received the call through the Bricolabs list. Vince had arranged that we could stay in the Mensa Occupata, a community-run squat in central Napoli that was occupied in 2012 and is the home of a hackerspace, a communal kitchen and a martial arts gym, the “Palestra Populare Vincenzo Leone”, where I was pleased to see that my own favourite capoeira is among the activities.
The actual seminar took place in much more rural settings outside Reino, in the country known locally as “terra delle streghe” or “land of the witches”. With respect to our desire to work with free territories and the inherent project of recuperating and learning from ancestral traditions, the area is interesting in the sense that the land is currently inhabited by the last generation of farmers to cultivate the land with traditional methods supported by an oral tradition which har mostly been lost in the most recent decades. During the seminar, we had the opportunity to meet up with people from the local cooperative Lentamente, which is working to preserve and recuperate the traditional ways of growing crops and keeping animals without machines (hence the name “lentamente”, slowly) as well as trying to preserve as much as possible of the existing oral traditions.
During the seminar, we accommodated to the spirit of the territory and the settings by dividing the day into two parts: In the morning, we would go outside and work on the land until lunchtime, which would be around three o’clock.
After lunch, hopefully properly wake and inspired by the fresh air and the beauty of the countryside, we would start looking at the technical side of things, delve into the code, discuss protocols and standards and explore possible pathways to the future. After dinner, we would dedicate the evenings to more general discussions as well as to relaxing, often still covering important ground.
Among other things, during the days we built some stairs and raised beds on a hillside leading up to the main buildings and picked olives for about twenty liters of oil.
As for the technical side of the encounter, we discussed the structure of the code, the backend repositories and the offline synchronization process with newcomers to the project, reviewed various proposals for the technical future of the project and installed two new mucuas. In the process, we identified some bugs and fixed a couple of them.
An important aspect of the concept of “free digital territories” is that we are looking for and using new metaphors for software development. Middle-class or otherwise well-off people who are used to have the means to employ servants or hire e.g. a lawyer whenever they need one may find it easy to conceive of a computer as a “server” whose life is dedicated to serving its “clients”. For armies of office workers, having a computer pre-equipped with a “desktop” absolutely makes sense. But in the technoshamanism and quilombolic networks we’re not concerned with perpetuating the values and structures of capitalist society. We wish to provide software for free territories, and thus our metaphors are not based on the notion of clients and servers, but of digital land: A mucúa or node of the Baobáxia system is not a “server”, it’s digital land for the free networks to grow and share their culture.
Another important result was that the current offline synchronization and storage using git and git-annex can be generalized to other applications. Baobáxia currently uses a data format whose backend representation and synchronization is fixed by convention, but we could build other applications using the same protocol, a protocol for “eventually connected federated networks“. Other examples of applications that could use this technology for offline or eventually connected communications is wikis, blogs and calendars. One proposal is therefore to create an RFC for this communication, basically documenting and generalizing Baobáxia’s current protocol. The protocol, which at present includes the offline propagation of requests for material not present on a local node of the system, could also be generalized to allow arbitrary messages and commands, e.g. requesting the performance of a service known to be running in another community, to be stored offline and performed when the connection actually happens. This RFC (or RFCs) should be supplemented by proof-of-concept applications which should not be very difficult to write.
This blog post is a quick summary of my personal impressions, and I think there are many more stories to be told about the threads we tried to connect those days in Benevento. All in all, the encounter was fruitful and I was happy to meet new people and use these days to concentrate of the future of Baobáxia and related projects for free digital territories.
El tecnochamanismo crea puentes entre la tecnología y las tribus ancestrales para recuperar ideas de un futuro mejor perdidas en el pasado.
Imaginad a más de un centenar de ‘no indios’ en las reservas indígenas, entre ellos biólogos, programadores de software libre, activistas y hacktivistas, queer, performativos, artistas… trabajando codo con codo con las aldeas indígenas en una red que, poco a poco, llegará incluso a los Andes, a cada aldea, a cada pequeña comunidad. No hay nada colonizador, nada vertical en ello: Es un intercambio de conocimientos con los pueblos ancestrales.
Los hackers y activistas llevan la tecnología a las aldeas, les ayudan a gestionar sus recursos, realizan festivales que benefician la economía local, debaten sobre permacultura y economía sostenible, instalan radios, Internet, realizan vídeos; en tanto los nativos intercambian parte de sus conocimientos más ancestrales sobre plantas medicinales y esa sabiduría profunda de las gentes no encadenadas al ‘sistema’, a pesar del sistema que quiere acabar con ellos. Y entonces se generan verdaderas sinergias, rituales donde la tecnología se convierte en aliada de la naturaleza y una herramienta que vincula la lucha de los hackers con la de los indios.
Pero, ¿qué tiene en común el movimiento del software libre con las luchas de pueblos indígenas cuya supervivencia se ve amenazada?
Conversation around technoshamanism in the center of Digital Living Research Commons in the Department of Information Studies & Digital Design at the University of Aarhus.
We talked about the traditions of festivals before the festivals of technoshamanism, such as Brazilian tactical media, Digitofagy, Submidialogy, MSST (Satellitless Movement), etc. We presented the Baobáxia and the indigenous / quilombola struggles in the city and the countryside. The aesthetic manifestations of encounters of technoshamanism as well as ideas about free or postcolonial thoughts, ancestorfuturism and new Subjective territories.
Organized by Martin Brynskov and Elyzabeth Joy Holford (directors of the departament and hacklab) and colaborators as Kata Börönte, Winnie Soon and Kristoffer Thyrrestrup and students of the departament. Connection and introduction of Carsten Agger, with the participation of Fabiane M. Borges, Raisa Inocêncio e Ariane Stolfi.
“The venue was really beautiful and well-equipped, its staff was helpful
and people in the audience were friendly and interested. Everything went
completely smoothly and according to plan, and the final ritual was
wonderful with its combination of Arab flute, drumming, noise and visual
performance. All in all a wonderful event.” (Carsten Agger)
“I think it was really instructive and incredibly cool to be with people who have so much knowledge and passion about the subjects they are dealing with. Communication seems to be the focal point, and there was a great willingness to let people express their minds.” (Sebastian Tranekær)
“The meeting was very diverse, the afternoon with speeches and discussion of some topics linked to the network of technoshamanism, such as self-organization, decolonization of thought, then we discussed technology and future cyborg and at the end we talked about noise and feminism. Ritual open with the participation of other people and was very curious to see the engagement, – it was a rite of rock!! ” (Raisa Inocêncio)”
It was so nice to see Aarhus again, this dome of vision is really special place, thank you to all of you!! We did just one day of meeting and we could not listen everybody, but I am sure it is just the beginning!!! I agree with Raisa, it was a rite of rock-noise. (Fabiane M. Borges)
Amalia Fonfara: (Greenland 1985) Artist and shamanic practitioner based in Trondheim. Since 2010, Amalia Fonfara has lived in Norway. She holds a bachelor of fine art (2013) and an international master of fine art (2015), from Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Fonfara has studied different esoteric practices, including spiritism, shamanism and contemplative healing practices. She is currently doing a one year study prg. at Scandinavian Center of Shamanic Studies in Sweden. In her artistic practice the perception of reality, imagination and spirituality are closely connected and intertwined. Will present the Invisible Drum project at this event. www.amaliafonfara.com
Ariane Stolfi: Architect, composer, programmer and musician, transits between languages. Doctorate candidate on Sonology (ECA-USP), researching interactive interfaces on web technologies, has made installations and performances such “Hexagrama essa é pra tocar” and “Cromocinética”. Joined festivals such Submidialogias, #DisExperimental, Virada Cultural and Dissonantes, mantains finetanks.com experimental netlabel and collabotates with Sonora feminist collective.
Carsten Agger: Software developer, activist and writer, active in social movements for free software and civil rights and against racism and colonial wars, for twenty years. Trained as a theoretical physicist he works as a free software developer, contributes to the Baobáxia project and co-organized the LibreOffice Conference 2015. He wrote a book about the Qur’an and is currently studying Norse religion and language for a comparative project. Served two years on the board of the hackerspace Open Space Aarhus and co-organized the II International Festival of Technoshamanism and technoshamanism events in Aarhus and Berlin. www.modspil.dk
Fabiane M. Borges holds a Post PhD in Visual Arts and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in São Paolo (Brazil) and works as a psychologist, artist and essayist; organizes events relative to art and technology and social movements; authored two books, Domínios do Demasiado (Hucitec/2010) and Breviário de Pornografia Esquizotrans (ExLibres 2010); coordinated two books with the media, art and technology network Submidialogia (Ideias Perigozas, 2010, and Peixe Morto, 2011). She is one of the organizers of the I and II International Festival of Technoshamanism – http://technoshamanism.wordpress.com/en Blog: https://catahistorias.wordpress.com/ – e-mail: ca t a d o re s@gm a il. c om
Raisa Inocêncio: Brazilian, born in 1989. She studied philosophy at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Visual Arts at Parque Lage School. Now studying at Toulouse University (France) in Erasmus Mundus Masters Europhilosophie. Research on the aesthetic-political practices of post-porn movement through performing actions and references such as artists Anne Sprinkle, Diana Torres, the collective Coyote, Ju Dorneles among others.
Rune Hjarnø Rasmussen:Graduated from the University of Copenhagen with an MA in History of Religions and Anthropology, which included two fieldwork periods in Brazil and two in Uganda. He has self-published a book on the role of traditional songs in Capoeira, and has collaborated on documentary film work on the role of religion in Ghana (2002). He worked for two years in humanitarian work removing land-mines in Angola and the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, and he has worked and published on anti-trafficking. He is currently finishing a PhD on ritual technologies in Afro-Brazilian religion.
Sebastian Tranekær Hansen: Born 1983, grew up in Greenland and has lived in Denmark since 1995. Autodidact musician, producer and DJ with a great interest in dance music and dance. Sebastian has been organizing and executing celebrations in Aarhus’ underground scene for some years, mostly in the genres of techno and drum’n’bass. Has primarily worked with people. Human development and communication are very central to his work with music and art.
Samuel Capps is a British artist whose work, among them the recent show ‘Relics from the De-Crypt’, work around themes similar to technoshamanism. He also runs the gallery Gossamer Fog in London. www.samuelcapps.com
Winnie Soon: Winnie Soon is an artist-researcher who resides in Hong Kong and Denmark.Her work approach spans the fields of artistic practice and software studies, examining the materiality of computational processes that underwrite our experiences and realities in digital culture. Winnie’s workhas been presented at festivals, conferences and museums throughout the Asia Pacific, Europe and America, including but not limited to Transmediale2015/2017, ISEA2015/2016, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Si Shang Art Museum, Pulse Art + Technology Festival, Hong Kong Microwave International Media Arts Festival, FutureEverything Art Exhibition. Currently, she is assistant professor at the Department of Digital Design and Information Studies in Aarhus University. More info: www.siusoon.net