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May 11, 2007



Empowering Individuals to Tell their Stories

The front page of the website zexe.net presents numerous faces along with a button with the phrase, 'Communities use mobile phones to webcast.' This links to seven different pages, each of them representing a social group, a location, and a date. For example, 'gypsies in Leon, 2005,' 'prostitutes in Madrid, 2005,' and 'Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica, 2006.' Created by Spanish artist Antoni Abad under the motto 'a project of cellular audiovisual communication to collectives without an active presence in the relevant mass-media,' this work was initiated in 2004 when he asked 17 taxi drivers in Mexico City to spend two months using mobile phones with integrated cameras to 'turn themselves into chroniclers of their own reality.'

Each of them now features in the website, via recorded messages (images described by key words) that they have uploaded in real time to the Internet during that period, as well as the comments posted by users that saw these broadcasts. A similar output is devised for the other segments of the project, of which a new installment has started this month in Sao Paulo. This time, young motorbike couriers--who play a significant role in the city's economy yet aren't socially acknowledged for their activity--are the ones documenting the experiences that make up their quotidian occupations. As Abadi puts it, the 'canal*MOTOBOY proposes a digital public space, where senders and receivers interact within telematic networks,' a tactic to collectively raise the profile of marginalized collectives in the present, unequal society. - Miguel Amado, Rhizome News.

Posted by jo at May 11, 2007 04:00 PM