[iDC] voting as an act of citizenship, perhaps? cont.

Vanalyne Green V.Green at leeds.ac.uk
Fri Jan 4 16:23:55 UTC 2008

Thanks, Janet, 

I especially appreciate the image of the toddler.  Points taken.  It may help to give some context to where I'm coming from.  I was very influenced by the work of Feel Tank Chicago, of which I was a member when I lived in the States (http://www.feeltankchicago.net/).  In particular, I'm moved by what I perceive as the roundabout ways people have of living with the fact that their governments don't listen to them, be it through not voting, through depression, cynicism, religion -- in my opinion one of the few socially sanctioned opportunities for people to be irrational and proud of it.  So to think about spoiled ballots, shopping as voting, etc., is a  route to a using a language, I hope, a language that might give people more opportunities to bring to consciousness what life would look like if they thought what they wanted could make a difference.  I don't have illusions about making a huge difference, but I live in this world and must respond to its crises, and the project is one of those ways.  

What you wrote about the earth doesn't scale is very lovely.  I agree.


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 09:25:06 +1030
From: "Janet Hawtin" <lucychili at gmail.com>
Subject: [iDC] Fwd:  voting as an act of citizenship, perhaps?
To: idc at mailman.thing.net
	<c9d7bc330801031455h5be3a607v7f606093b848f5d6 at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=WINDOWS-1252

On Jan 4, 2008 5:58 AM, Vanalyne Green <V.Green at leeds.ac.uk> wrote:

> Here are the formal questions we've given ourselves via focus groups, art works, performances, architecture:
> 1. How do citizens experience the process of voting in contemporary society?
> 2. What kind of issues ? from local to global ? would citizens like to vote on if they were given a chance to do so?
> 3. Are there ways of mediating the voting experience that could emphasise its quality as a live event?
> 4. Can new ways be invented to enable citizens to reflect and deliberate upon the intensity of their collective preferences?
> 5. How might people design their own voting methods which emphasise reflexive and imaginative dimensions of choice-making?
> 6. How can the consequences of voting be made more visible?
> I suppose what I'm posing is an open call to you:  are these the right questions to be asking?

Less circus and more meaningful just and aspirational policy developed
in consultation.
Grounded law based on public benefit and open free culture.
Open standards processes which are not just a corporate sumo match.
Real responsibility for mediation and custodianship of biodiversity,
global ecology, and society.

If government can hear only "as money would tell it" (Lessig) then the
public is aware that there is no real intent to match public service
and policy to social purposes except 5 minutes before an election.

Voting is more closely aligned with BB in terms of entertainment v
real contribution.
Subscribing to the idea that this represents real and responsible
democracy is more
of a pantomime with 'Wheres the wolf!' participation and encourges
people to hold
responsibility for cultural issues at an arms length.

Mail lists and facebook groups provide opportunities to collect
connection with ideas which are important to us. It is mediated. It is
also often pantomime. We have not found ways to make this mass machine
accountable for the impact of its actions. And by connection we have
not chosen to be associated with the impact of our actions.
TMI too much information. SEP someone elses problem.
The global mantra or ethic is something closer to 'does it scale?'
than How do we shape ourselves to ensure our world is healthy.

We wear our scale like a toddler in her mother's high heels.
We think it looks sophisticated but are not sure how to drive it.
We dont have the conceptual tools and processes to make choices
about our shoes/footprint or their impact which are responsible regarding our
own sustainability or the sustainability of other species in our care.

Some people are aiming to have people vote direct for policy.
Someone ran for the Senate in Au with that intent. But yes/no binary
participation will not make the ideas on offer any more just or

Voting machines in the USA are not reliable and it is doubtful that
more subtle machinery would provide less opportunities for
questionably 'mediated' results.

We have scaled by abstracting our understanding of our impact so that
we dont get too much information. The earth doesnt scale. It is a
subtle set of interrelated species and
conditions. We are starting to see the impacts despite our cleanly abstracted
data. Now what?

Perhaps a commitment to transparency and negotiated policies with holistic
sustainability as core values. How do we make something like that from
here in BB land?



Message: 2
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2008 18:28:49 -0600 (CST)
From: Patrick Lichty <voyd at voyd.com>
Subject: Re: [iDC] One Laptop Per Child - MIT/Negroponte Initiative
To: <idc at mailman.thing.net>
Message-ID: <20080104002849.87BEB54C3 at alexander.cnchost.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Hello, everyone.

I;ve been a bit quiet - long semester - took a break.  SOmeday I'd liek to 
get back to Scott Kildall's post.

Anyway, I tend to be a bit critical of the OLPC idea. IMO, it's the idea 
that computers are superior learning tools, when, having seen US technology 
& learning protocols, I'm a bit skeptical.  Although I could get behind the 
idea of getting information tools into the hands of children I would be 
leery of implementing a lot fo learning software for several reasons:

1: Technocratic Colonialism - Part of my graduate thesis research was on New 
Media in Africa, and they have very different social & distribution models 
than in the 1st World (only as a mnemonic).  WHat sort of impact will the 
programs and hardware have on the kids in terms of how it will be 
IMPLEMENTED.  I do not believe int he "Field of Dreams" approach here.

2: Social (re)Engineering - As mentioned in previous posts, OLPC seems 
primarily focused on the tech part of the solution, which is a US paradigm.  
Have any Sociologists been thrown at the subject of regionally or 
culturally-specific implementations of technology? 

3: What impact will the reuse have in the long run?  Given that a laptop 
usually has a 5 year cycle, maximum, what are the ramifications of the 
introduction of techno-waste into inreeasingly remote regions of the world?

4: Solid Learning models to accopmany the Laptops - I would not back the 
OLPC initiative without a good, solid learning agenda, although OLPC may 
feel that they already have one, and I'd be interested in learning more 
about it.  I just have not been able to find it.

I'd liek to state that my criticism is not a dismissal of the project; it's 
more akin to wary support, knowing quite well the face of techno-determinism 
and the assumption that access to information necessitates learning.  

As an educator, I would like to state flatly that the real solution to any 
learning crisis is human, not technological.  Computers may help, but as in 
Iraq (probably a bad parallel, but bear with me) the most effective 
solutions have not been technological - they have been human.

Basically, don't send a billion transistors to do the job of three billion 
nerve cells.  


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The research of the Institute for Distributed Creativity 
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End of iDC Digest, Vol 39, Issue 8

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