SoilPunk workshop

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Note to nodes(s)

Dear nodes,

We are thrilled that you will be hosting an iteration of our script! For our workshop script we recommend 2 people (facilitatators) per node to take the responsibility for preparing the workshop.

We tried to anticipate different contexts and conditions. There are 2 versions of the script, the 1st version is for the scenario that all participant are at the same physical location. The 2nd versions is for a hybrid scenario, thus some participants share the same physical location and some join online.

There may be gaps in our script. We therefore would like to ask you to read the script carefully and imagine hosting this workshop in your location, perhaps run a trial.

Introduction

In this workshop we will imagine and try out ways to radically reduce the energy use associated with accessing networked content. The workshop incorporates two experimental approaches simultaneously: one that is focused on reducing file sizes of online content, and creating small local networks for storytelling. And secondly: exploring the strategies from DIY biotechnology where bacteria found in local iron-rich soil are harnessed to generate and store energy. SoilPunk: muddy speculations on desirable techno futures.

To be added to this text:

  • Two collectives joining forces. Hackers and Designers and Hackiteckts shared interest to rethink ways of working together across the internet that are attentive and critical of the problematics, wastefulness, inaccessibility, inequitability but also inevitability of the internet at the same time.. self-reflexive
  • Making tangible abstract concepts around technology / technical infrastructure / connectivity
  • Rethinking narratives around 'so-called' innovation
  • Technical / communication infrastructure // how to negotiate problematic history of connectivity
  • The Solarpunk approach / manifest
  • Neither tech-optimist nor tech-pessimist // leaning into complexities and brokeness of the now while working towards desirable, equitable futures
  • anti-solutionist approach
  • other vocabularies

Schedule / setup

In Amsterdam we will be hosting our workshop on Monday 18 July 2022 10.00-18.00 CET
You are free to choose a moment that suits best your node's schedules. You could for instance also split the workshop into 2 or 3 parts.

We are available for questions on Zulip for participants and/or facilitators if they need help or just want to check in with us. We can also schedule a call on BBB somewhere throughout the week if facilitators think that is useful. Please let us know a week ahead of time.

Shared activity: We propose to read the following text [...] and meet on this Etherpad with all nodes on Tuesday 9.00-10.00AM CET = 4.00-5.00 PM KST = 7.00-8.00 PM NZST to discuss the text together. We will prepare some questions and prompts that will be released to activate and create a dramaturgy for the discussion in the pad. We will also have a BBB open just in case but most of the discussion will happen in writing on the pad.

Workshop script

In the following we propose two different versions of the scripts, which take into consideration other conditions for hosting the workshop.

We furthermore propose one shared moment when the different scripts and nodes come together for a collective reading / discussion of a text. We hope this way participants across the different nodes feel connected while they are following a different scripts and timelines

Version 1: (in-person workshops)

Note to the facilitator

Most of the workshop will take place on one day, but could consider splitting it up over several days. In any case, we recommend to do this workshop early in the week so that there is enough time for the batteries to charge.

As everyone will be busy coordinating their workshops and participants, we will prepare all the Wifi modules for you ahead of time and send them to you. But please go through the steps of uploading a small website to the Wifi modules ahead of time.

We will send 4-5 modules per node, which means participants can work in groups. But there is an element we cannot prepare for you. Workshop facilitators will need to install something on their computers to be able to upload content onto the modules. Optimally you have 2 computers prepped before the workshop. Please follow the steps in following slide show: Soilpunk technical setup and reach out to H&D (Heerko, Loes, Anja, Pernilla) on Zulip in case you run into issues or have any questions.

What you need

We will send you a box that contains 4-5 sets (depending on amount of participants) of the following items:

  • For the Wifi Modules
    • ESP modules
    • USB cables
    • Mini solar panel
    • Battery holder (solar management module)
  • For the Soil batteries
    • anything to add from Hackitects for the mud batteries?
  • For the optional / parallel activity 'Joule Thieves'
    • Breadboards mini
    • Copper thread
    • Battery holder 1x AA leads
    • LED red
    • NPN Transistor 2N3904
    • 1K resistor
    • Ferrite ring 9mm inner
    • Crocodile clips set of 10


What you should get

  • ! We cannot ship the battery. We therefore ask you to order them yourselves, one per set. These are the specs: LG 18650 Li-ion Batterij. We ordered them here but perhaps check within your local area.
  • 1 computer per participant to program the mini websites
  • 1-2 computers that are configured to upload content onto the modules (follow steps in GIT repo)
  • apps to reduce file size
  • internet connection
  • card board
  • coloured pens, wax pencils, markers
  • coloured paper, scissors and glue
  • tie wraps
  • hot glue, tape
  • some other craft materials to beautify the module packaging

Optional: parallel activity 'Joule Thieves'

This device lets you light up an LED on 0.5V or so (instead of 2V) so could potentially help light LED with weaker mud battery.


Preparation for participants of Version 1


Example of the Amsterdam schedule Monday 18 July.


9.30 Coffee & tea

Collective check-in to prepare participants for the workshop and check-in with everyones access needs, expectations. I.e. this workshop will require to go outside, its is maybe good to talk about what is the area is like, the neighbourhood, what are participants able to do? what are the expectations, are there any concerns and how can the group accommodate for the individual needs of the participants?


10.00 - 11.00 Introduction presentation and sourcing of a collective vocabulary around a lighter internet

The introduction talks will be pre-recorded and distributed amongst the nodes. We invite the nodes to watch them together with participants.

  • 15 min Hackitects -- pre-recorded version will a bit shorter
  • 15 min H&D -- pre-recorded version will a bit shorter
  • 30 min Exercise to be facilitated by each nodes:

The purpose of the following exercise is to get a collective sense of what the knowledge and interest are of the group you are working with in relation to the topic of SoilPunk. We do not expect prior knowledge or answers/solutions to problems but depart from and work with the imagination and fascinations of the respective groups.

You could use an Etherpad (create your own) or a large paper.

The goal of this exercise is to accumulate a collective vocabulary that sets a common ground and a direction for your respective workshops.

Suggestions for questions/prompts (feel free to adapt for your context):

Facilitators release one question at a time and set a timer of 7 minutes per question:

  • What do you associate with the term 'wasteful' 7 min
  • What do you associate with the term 'resourceful' 7 min
  • What do you associate with the term 'future' 7 min

Responses to these prompts can be questions, openings, contradictions, fictions, ... there is no right or wrong.

If there is time left, facilitators can invite participants to read some of the responses out loud and react to them.

11.00 Making mud batteries

12.00 - 13.00 Lunch

13.00 - 15.00 Making mud batteries

15.00 - 16.00 Going outside, picking a location, composing the story, sourcing materials/pictures/sounds... for the story, writing texts
16.00 - 17.00 Programming the mini websites and uploading them to the modules
// While some program the website others can spend time to 'dress up' the module packages // Making Joule Thieves for the batteries http://www.bigclive.com/joule.htm

17.00 - 18.00 Doing the ESP-signal walk

On another day 1 hr: Try out the battery (power LEDs)

Version 2: Hybrid script (for online and physical participation)

Note to facilitators: Prepare online break-out rooms

9.30 Collective check in
Check-in with everyone's needs, expectations, are there any concerns and how can the group accommodate for the individual needs of the participants? We will be working in smaller groups at some point during the workshop. We propose to form groups in a way that participants who are online and participants who are in physical space are matched. This will be important for some of the steps and task divisions.

10.00 - 11.15 Introduction presentation and sourcing of a collective vocabulary around a lighter internet
The introduction talks will be pre-recorded. We invite the nodes to watch them together with participants.

15-20 min Introduction presentation on pre-recorded video
20 min Collective reading of the script

30 min Exercise to be facilitated by the nodes:

The purpose of the following exercise is to get a collective sense of what the knowledge and interest are of the group you are working with in relation to the topic of SoilPunk. We do not expect prior knowledge or answers/solutions to problems but suggest to depart from, and work with the imagination and fascinations of the respective groups.
You could prepare an Etherpad for this exercise: https://etherpad.hackersanddesigners.nl/
The goal of this exercise is to gather a common pool of questions, that sets a direction for the workshop and can be stimulating for the group.
Suggestions for questions/prompts (feel free to adapt for your context): Facilitators release one question at a time and set a timer of 10 minutes per question

  • What do you associate with the term 'wasteful' 7 min
  • What do you associate with the term 'resourceful' 7 min
  • What do you associate with the term 'future' 7 min

Responses can be questions, openings, contradictions, fictions, ... there is no right or wrong.
Facilitators invite participants to read some of the responses and react to them.
Group forming / Faciliators suggest group constellations in the chat (our recommendation is to include online and offline participants in each group)


11.15-11.30 Break


11.30: Exercise 1: Shrink the web (in-person and online)

  • Use the least heavy website and try to find out what it does 'better' / discuss in your group and write down some insights as bullet points in your etherpad.
  • Write down 5 insights from the previous exercises. These insights are the ingredients for your story.
  • Each person takes the smallest of websites you found or the hosting server in closest proximity (discuss what is more important to you)
  • You choose a website... that you now continue working with to make it even smaller and local.. for that follow the steps
  • Each person picks an image from the website / or find one that you think represents the website
  • Send this (smaller) image to the next person in your group.
  • The person who received the image writes an image description and sends this text to the last person in the group
  • Make a BIT map image based on the image description.

Exercise 2: Mud batteries (in-person)

Git repository

{{#github:README.md|hackersanddesigners/Soilpunk_technical_setup}}

Resources

Old notes from here:

Online scavenger hunt

(I propose an adaption of the scavenger hunt idea into the web space.. no physical computing or programming necessary, just focus on the game/play aspect... and explore the subject of SoilPunk in the webspace, ... maybe there are clues related to carbon emission of websites... In smaller groups participants can design scavenger hunts only with screenshots and text/links, weaving together a story through hyperlinks and screenshots ... We can give timed exercises, prompts and criteria to help participants along to create their hunt... we could either use etherpad as central point or zulip.. etherpad disadvantage is that you cannot post images... in zulip participants could make streams and then post clues / images and texts there. Nice if participants form small groups .. the script could already define the different roles and steps to help along the collaboration... in hybrid space its nice to group online people with people in space,.. so that those who are not physically present dont feel left out) Example:


Version 3: Hybrid script (online only or hybrid workshops)

Local Wifi Zines powered by mud batteries

(This version does not have a scavenger hunt -- at least not in the literal sense -- but focuses on making local wifi zine networks (if possible for powered by mud batteries).. We should take into account a plan b for people who cannot make mud batteries because they may not be able to harvest mud... or could we/facilitators send them mud? Participants can then produce their personal content (based on a web research) related to 'SoilPunk' which they can publish on their small HTML sites... and maybe they can additionally also post their mini websites somewhere else on the web for a 'Show and Tell' at the end of the session... and to share with the rest of the nodes... it could be fun to have participants think about mechanisms to 'lure' people into connecting to their tiny networks and play with the idea of an 'InterNot.' We could furthermore propose different prompts for writing, editing, and harvesting content from the internet that connect different participants to each other and perhaps even other nodes. Like a chain, ... you find a picture and reduce the file size to 2kb, then send it as a pm to a random person from the overall list of the participants (of all nodes), with the request to write an id of that image and sends it back, you use that image description as a start for your story...


Initial notes

(delete before sharing) SoilPunk Pad