Build up of mutually empowered critical mass of prosumers ?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson
Date: Sat, May 17, 2008 at 1:52 PM
Subject: Build up of mutually empowered critical mass of prosumers ?
To: hc_ecology – at –, sustainable_solidarity – at –

I felt like writing some additional ideas , in relation to potential developments and projects I see around me , and question myself as to where to converge ” physically ” while being able to live, and facilitate the … ” Build up of mutually empowered critical mass of prosumers ? ” – while not disconnecting ourselves from the city / not fully living in autharcy – but being open to a globalised world , with a capacity for higher levels of mutual empowerment and collaborative creativity.

and how to facilitate the networking and collaboration of organizations , cooperatives , academic institutions , students , … any individual towards such intentions ?

When the picture is so synthetic and complex , where to start ?

a follow up on a previous thread and response which you will find below


I also notice another trend – the urban redevelopment trend around knowledge and creation centers.

this is my main reason for now visiting Helsinki , as there is a urban re-development plan , shifting a declined industrial neighborhood into a art/design/high tech – living , research and development , management , lifelong learning space.


also see another project in the united states :

if you have a good internet connection , you might want to view this very easy to read and informative 10 Mb pdf file :

if not , some more google entries related to

Remaking Cities Institute – Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture

One of the aims of mine and of many people I end up meeting , along these last years , is to connect further our intentional networks , with a variety of individuals from different backgrounds sharing it , activists , academic institutions, students , organizations , businesses , governmental organizations , representatives , etc

share practices , experiment , increase our credibility through joint projects , increase support and access to a variety of resources , …

There are a number of very interesting initiatives , in many OECD countries – for example here a japanese practice sharing platform :

Although sometimes it feels simple yet complex , and I doubt strongly that the verbal language tool , even when extended by information technologies , and emails like this one , can be effective enough – i feel more and more that what is needed is new forms of language , some kinds of dynamic mapping into which we can add , position , extract , compare , correct , …

beyond wiki s , yet including them , extracting available data from the internet , from our environments , and be able to visualize them through some post symbolic visual language.

I am also not surprised to see that many a case , as with the Arabiaranta Helsinki redevelopment project , the central synthetic and creative environment , the convergence space for trans-disciplinarity , are choses to be art universities , or more precisely , art and technology development oriented environments ,

dreaming and designing futures and the relations between all elements , including dreams about new esthetical forms of lifestyle …

Or am I wrong ? I am perhaps too young to have experienced it , but it seemed that in the end of the 60 ies , the social movements erupted from the humanistic faculties ?

Is this still te case ? I traveled all over europe in the last years , met a lot of students of politics and sociology , and often they would end up being the activist side of the movement , but often in an approach that is ” fighting ” and not necessarily with new visions.

It feels that Design and Technology Development / Research ” clusters ” are becoming ” fashion and being developed , not necessarily through grassroot movements , but because of the needs and evolution of businesses ( and consumerism ? ) into products that require such solutions.

Which perhaps sounds a bit contradictory to a prosumer spirit ?

Business seems to have been successfull in absorbing the individualist needs of the 68 generation into … consumerism ? ( I paste below some references to a BBC series of documentaries ” The century of the self ” ) ,

but will it take further control over current psychological , and potential structural developments ?

Or are we able to create the prototypes that can better deal with complexity and offer alternative modes of organization and lifestyle then the current dominant competitive , consumerist , scarcity creating , individualist models ?

A dilemna I feel is that the resources are still on the side of a capitalistic mode of production and managment.

Organizing ourselves , and connecting between each other , cooperatives , that can facilitate the mutual empowerment of individuals while creating some of the resources they need to live , eventually selling to a broader market , or even creating its own markets ( and own alternative – intentional ? – currencies ? more complex barter systems involving information technologies ? to trade between partners / cooperatives that share common intentions ? )

Can we inspire the creation of a critical mass ?

Where do we start to converge a critical mass ?

With food cooperatives ? With learning practices and school environments ?

I know that its in every different field that we can be active , and spread such socio-cultural memes ,

yet for some of us , it does not feed us yet –

The p2p foundation ( and other platforms and movements ), the convergence of various examples and ideas under the wiki , blog , ning , mailing lists

is where we seem to be now.

But how to connect a critical mass ? … as to empower ourselves with the resources needed ,
without having to be dependent on a capitalistic mode of organization and production ?


” The Century of the Self ”

part 1 )

part 2 )

part 3 )

part 4 )

About ” The Century of the Self ” :

extract from

To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

some more videos on my blog

On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 1:01 PM, Dante-Gabryell Monson wrote:

Hi Marco , Michel , Sam , ( cc : Alicia , Marilyn , Steve , Synnove , Andrius , Josef , Franz , Jeff )

yes , I guess that the people that are fully interested in investing themselves in a shift of lifestyle patterns in such kind of approach – pro-suming ( ? ) – form some kind of sub-culture –

The eco-village movement ( such as ) might be one such kind of sub culture , although too often I realize they tend to reject information technologies and try to move to some more collectivist structures , going back to the past , trying to escape complexity and live a simple life ,

although there are also some examples of emerging networks , such as

and also emerging , existing , communities such as one I know about ( but did not visit up to now ) in the netherlands ,

they also organize a festival ( in dutch – Michel might understand : )

and where an acquaintance of mine met at a ecotopia camp ,
“alicia falvey” , has been ( and still is ? ) very involved in – I also remember she mentionned some other projects in Ireland ? –

I also paste below for Michel an extract in dutch extracted from :

De wijk EVA-Lanxmeer

De Culemborgse wijk EVA-Lanxmeer is een stadswijk, die is gebouwd op basis van gedachtengoed over integrale sociaal-ecologische stedenbouw en permacultuur. In dit gedachtengoed staat de kwaliteit van de leefomgeving centraal, waarvoor de bewoners en bedrijven die er wonen en werken zelf medeverantwoordelijkheid dragen. De inrichting van leefomgeving wordt gekenmerkt door ecologisch bouwen, organische vormgeving en architectuur, afvalwaterzuivering in de wijk, centrale parkeerplaatsen, landschapsarchitectuur, samenhang tussen privé tuin, gezamenlijke tuin en openbaar groen, behoud van cultuurhistorische elementen, ontwikkeling van natuur, biodiversiteit en biologische landbouw.

Recurrent Transition Point

Recurrent Transition Point – Faith in Manifesting the Co Creative Impulse :

I am again at this recurrent transition point ,

where I need to remind myself what I am doing ,

decide if I invest my time in ” working for money ” while doing jobs that do not have meaning for me ,

or going on finding what I am passionate about and finding ways of putting the pieces of the puzzle together ,
connecting people and converging people around common intentions.

Every time , my conclusion is that I should go on doing what I am passionate about ,
and continue trying to reach out to people with which I can do things and co create together ,

and eventually , at some point , there might be further mutual empowerment emerging ,
and raising my quality of life out of the nothingness of being in between or out of shared space in other peoples realities ,
roofless , or spending much of my time between roofs and the friends that support them , hitch hiking to bridge them ,
and attending conferences all over.

Being tired of being constantly on the road , I decided to try a local convergence approach , moving less on scales of hundreds or thousands of kilometers.

I keep faith , and remind myself what I am doing ,
and what concepts I can manifest to express the rhizome synthesis consciousness.

festivalist node ?

It would be really interesting to have some kind of ” life center ” ,
a complete alternative to ” job centers ” ,

as the main aim of a ” life center ” , compared to a ” job center ” ,
is not to find people that match demand that can be paid for ,

but the main aim would be to allow people to find what they are interested in ,
and how they can mutually empower each other in further learning and developing what they feel has meaning to learn more and develop.

I remember already seeing a ” volunteering ” center.

How can we best use information technologies to help people share their questions ,
and develop solutions together , empowering each other with learning and shared activities towards their intention and potential projects.

I m not sure if there is such a ” virtual center ” … ?

Although there are many points on the internet that do connect people according to their interests.

I guess this could also be the new forms of learning ” nodes ” …

some kind of ” information convergence nodes towards festivalist lifestyles ”

I guess this should replace our current modes of operation in universities and schools ,
and also be used for mutually empowered and challenging life long learning.

weak ties are more powerful than strong ties

Granovetter (1973) argued that within a social network, weak ties are more powerful than strong ties. He explained that this was because information was far more likely to be “diffused” through weaker ties. He concluded that weak ties are “indispensable to individuals’ opportunities and to their incorporation into communities while strong ties breed local cohesion.”

Granovetter’s doctoral thesis demonstrated that most people landed jobs thanks to their weak ties and not their strong ones. It was the people that they did not know well, the ones with whom they did not have shared histories and did not see on a regular basis who were of most help. This is because people with strong ties generally share the same pieces of information and resources. Therefore they are of less help to one another.

Event : Sustainable Hospitality Exchange , Amsterdam , 27-29 June

last weekend of June in Amsterdam (27-29 June)

” SHE also wishes to connect the praxis of
hospitality exchange to a wider framework of cultural exchange,
gift-economy, trust-metrics, sustainable traveling and living a joyful
life ”

more below …

also see the bewelcome collective , same place , same time ,

but on a longer period  :

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kasper Souren
Date: Sat, Apr 26, 2008 at 5:17 PM
Subject: Fwd: SHE wants you as a facilitator!

You heard about the SHE-conference? SHE stands for Sustainable
Hospitality Exchange and is a conference that organised during the
last weekend of June in Amsterdam (27-29 June). It is based in a local
former squat that can host a hundred people and more. The goals of SHE
is to increase exchange of knowledge on the different hospex-networks
around the world & foster debate and change.

SHE wants to be an open-space conference on topics related to
hospitality exchange. SHE wishes to enable face-to-face debates and
workshops on how these networks are run, on best-practices, on
volunteer-work, on empowerment, on community building and all other
related topics. In addition, SHE also wishes to connect the praxis of
hospitality exchange to a wider framework of cultural exchange,
gift-economy, trust-metrics, sustainable traveling and living a joyful
life because above everything SHE wishes to create the debate: what do
we mean with sustainable hospitality exchange?

In the end though, SHE is how you envision her. Look her in the eyes
and think what you could do with SHE! Imagine a space with
enthousiastic people who are very eager to hear about the history of
Hospitality Club, Couchsurfing & Bewelcome, as well as Servas and
other networks of hosp-exchange. Imagine an open podium, space for
art-installations & great food, a self-managed bar and lots of nice
people that want to live & learn by sharing.

SHE is curious to know if you are interested. SHE is really looking
forward to hear from people such as you to start thinking what you
would like to do with her. Would you for example like to facilitate a
workshop on any of the topics related to SHE? Or do you have any other
groovy ideas that SHE might benefit from? Of course you do!

Workshops that SHE is already envisioning are for example: experiences
on volunteer work, how to build up a local hospitality exchange
community, sustainable traveling and hitchhiking, trust, hospitality
exchange and money system, free software and coding, salsa, cultural
western-centrism, history of any given network, et cetera.

The space for SHE is already organised. It has lots of room for
plenary sessions & workshops. There are tables, chairs, a bar, a
dj-set and a podium as well. But SHE also already exists in
wiki-space. So why don’t you start getting into SHE? You can check her
out for more information. You can also edit the pages and give your
input straight away:

For now SHE is being facilitated by a small but committed group of
people who would love to hear from you. Please write SHE-assistants
Kasper (kasper.souren – at – or Robin (robokow – at – with
your ideas and forward this e-mail to good people.

Hope to hear from you soon!


Re: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

sometimes things can be stirred up a bit 😉

but yes , i know that it goes through project development – defining a project ( that can be understood ) ,

gathering people around it.

and then working projects can be inter connected between each other.

we can choose what project and field to focus on according to what feels more of a priority and/or passion

in my case for the moment one of the fields of learning and development is : reflexivity systems and design

but i can also invest myself in other fields of focus , such as washing dishes – when it has meaning / when it is part of a symbiosis and synnergy

although i feel that today what we need is not more projects , what we need is a lifestyle and a intention that follows a greater vision


I ve been in this situation in the last 10 years at least
( got elected on the school board 10 years ago 😉 )
and in between ended up involved in youth politics , local , regional , national , and european representative politics ,

although always with a grassroots approach , or more exactly , especially the last 6 years , a mesh ( net ) roots approach
but then the problem is that , when there s no net , there is no action , there is no politics 😉


for the moment i relate most to nomadic artist ecologist and programmer hacker networks … that i m contributing to connect between each other
i prefer a non confrontational , creative alternative development approach , through festivalist lifestyles and paradigm building

but i guess i also need to think about a place to sleep – hmm , and living online is no fun – furthermore , my body does not accomodate that well on a server space rack

yet it is accessible – all the resources are there in over abundance ( at least here in western europe ) , and in a society where wealth is based on solution development , such approach could even be considered by venture capitalists …
but do we really need venture capitalists … i mean , we dont want anyone to take control over it , it would be paradoxical … as it is about people waking up and empowering each other – when we have enough individuals , we create a alternative system – a bit like a cooperative

and some of us ( sam , michel , … ) are bringing together opportunities for alternative economic models ( and measurment systems )

and in many ways , a lot of ” religious ” communities have already built various infrastructures , such as the anthroposophic movement : schools ( waldorf schools ) , bio farming , healthcare , etc

and there are also other networks that may not have done it in an as broad field , but that exist ; such as ecovillages –

and then offcourse there are networks such as hospitality networks :

my challenge is to bring all this together , within the realm and new possibilities offered by alternative communication channels offered by information technologies

and tend to share such views on

Michel Bauwens and co , Sam , Steve , Synnove , Sebastian , Kelly , Sara , Thomas etc all in their ways are bringing together or furthering some of the pieces of the puzzle.

So its about furthering existing resources with new opportunities , and empowering each other in specific projects , with a broad interconnected scope , eventually also using alternative currencies.


some fields – just to cite a few :

reflexivity practices , tools , and environments , face to face , online , and between the two

alternative learning for all ages ,

alternative lifestyles – interconnected between each other

alternative parallel currencies and financial systems



health care

elder care

child care




communication networks

production design

etc etc etc etc

and to start with its i,portant for us to connect , perhaps for some of us to have a space to live together , and work on these ,
without having constraints

and not only in isolated eco villages
but also in cities ,

USING EXISTING RESOURCES , with new solutions

and we can do it , but not each on our own

yet somehow it seems that we still need to find some strategies and have access to the existing networks and flows of information as to be better involved in PARTICIPATING WHILE SURVIVING

I have been participating to some extent ( much by learning how to reduce my needs on certain levels of Maslow s hierarchy of needs , learning a lot about myself on the path ) , and contributing often more input then some paid counter parts ( but that evolve in a power driven coercion structure , and not a peer to peer self organized festivalist paradigm )

The challenge includes developping the transparency and access we need to develop our approach ,
and eventually also develop the alternative measuring tools that are best suited to our approaches – as to be RECOGNIZED

and through recognition have access to more opportunities , etc etc etc

thats what I have been trying to do – but often ending up without any support because its simply TOO COMPLEX for many people to understand ,

or TOO DISTURBING for those that understand it but are too pre-occupied by securing their position within the ” society of the spectacle “

so only with people that are concious that they can still continue their activities in the spectacle while empowering the festivalist approach does it work.

but then again , ego s get in the way , and sometimes even aggressivity as many people active in the society of the spectacle feel frustrated not to live a festivalist life ,
or of having lived a life in the society of the spectacle that they are not ready to requestion as it brings up too many crystallizations ,

and in effect only few are really ready to surrender by LETTING CAN FLOW , AND EMPOWER IT TOGETHER , FOR ALL

… same story anyway :-p
… i guess its a few thousand years old :-p

On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 11:32 AM, Kadri wrote:
Hmm, looks like you have lot of energy, but nowhere to but it…..

Hope you will find a place and persons, other that virtual, before you end up in drama…..:-)

Keep strong !

On 29/02/2008, Dante-Gabryell Monson wrote: I know I m writing too much ,

and instead of writing I should be doing ( although writing is a form of doing too )

and to do it is best to do with others

so to get together with others

instead of spamming them and keeping them from doing


where are you brothers and sisters ?

ah , there you are , next to me , ok :-p