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Sarai Newsletter 02

Dear Friends 

In April, an interdisciplinary workshop around the body and air was 
held at Sarai. A two member Sarai team participated in the 
Collaboration and Ownership in the Digital Economy (CODE) Conference, 
held at Cambridge, UK. Reports on the conference and the workshop 
follow, along with the schedule for the month of May. 

Conference Report 

Collaboration and Ownership in the Digital Economy 

The CODE conference took place at Queen's College in Cambridge from 
the 4th to the 6th of April, 2001, and the people speaking in it 
ranged from Richard Stallman (founder of the Free Software 
Foundation), Bruce Perens (author of the Debian Social Contract), Tim 
Hubbard (of the Human Genome Project) to Marilyn Strathern 
(anthropologist), Rishabh Aiyer Ghosh (Economist), Geert Lovink
(Media Theorist) and Drazen Pantic (founder of OpenNet) amongst 

The aim of the conference was to look at the intricacies of creative 
and inventive developmental models of Free (as in freedom) and Open 
source software, and their implications in terms of economy, property 
law, knowledge and other forms of cultural production. The most 
significant part of the conference was its attempt to track down the 
premises of copyright laws and to figure out ways in which to contest 
the present mad expansion of copyright regimes into the digital 

The ideas of the Public Database, the free movement of information in 
the digital domain and a more open and democratic content development 
ethos are areas that need focussed engagement and creative 

Jeebesh Bagchi was invited from Sarai to attend the conference, and he 
and Supreet Sethi also made a presentation on Sarai to the 

Webcast of audio recordings of the conference proceedings available at 

The Oxygen Project 

An interdisciplinary workshop on the Oxygen project was held at Sarai 
from April 14 - 20, 2001. Oxygen plans to become an immersive 
multimedia experience involving interactive installations utilising 
experimental interfaces, video, sound, contemporary performance art 
and Indian Classical dance forms. 

This project is a collaborative, cross-cultural and processual work 
founded on intersections of different media practices, performance 
traditions, and cultural backgrounds. It premises itself on an active 
participatory relationship with spectators and is designed to
provoke reflection on the intangible but universal bodily function of 
breathing, and to give rise to an acute sensory awareness in players 
and participants of what it means to breathe and live in our times. 

It explores themes of urgent environmental concern like the quality of 
the air we breathe, and the intimate politics of breathing space and 
suffocation. It works with experiences of emancipation and illness, 
motion and stillness, metaphors for body and spirit, to create a 
physical and mental space in which the unseen fabric of air between 
people comes alive to become an active agent of understanding, feeling 
and movement. 

Monica Narula (Raqs Media Collective/Sarai), a video artist and 
photographer based in New Delhi, Sarah Neville (Heliograph 
Productions), a dancer and media choreographer based in Adelaide, and 
Mari Velonaki, (mvstudio) a media and installation artist
based in Sydney, are working on the project along with Umashankar, 
soundscape designer, and Mrinmoyee Majumdar, Odissi dancer. 

More information on the project is available on the Sarai site at  


Schedule for May, 2001 

The Cybermohalla Project 

The Cybermohalla project was initiated at Sarai with a month long 
workshop in collaboration with the Children's Education Department of 
Ankur: Society for Alternatives in Education. Ankur is involved with 
'right to education campaign', campaign for rights of the child, 
campaign against child labour, the feminist movement and campaign for 
housing rights. 

The Cybermohalla project is designed to collaborate with a non-elite 
urban population to explore and expand new media tools and media  
strategies, so as to engender a broader production base for 
technologically mediated communication. The idea is to interact with 
those traditionally left out of contemporary media culture, engage 
with the existing dynamism and innovation available in the non-elite
domains and try out a specific model of expansion that will be 
decentralised and capable of easy replication. 

Ten children, around fifteen - eighteen years old, are provided basic 
training in computers, audio recording, photography and text and image 
processing softwares to generate creative and innovative content for 
web and other media like posters, cartoon strip, audio tape, CD-R and 
photographs.  The whole project is run on a GNU - Linux free software  
platform. The workshop will be on at the
Sarai Public Access area  all through May, after which the centre of 
activity will shift to the Basti Vikas Kendra at J.P. Colony. Turkman 
Gate, New Delhi. 


On 29th May, 2001, Amitava Kumar will give a presentation titled A 
reverie in the American Centre Library. The talk is based on the 
preface from his next book, and tries to link two markers: Library 
Call Number PK321 (under which, A. K. Ramanujam wrote, " the East has 
found a niche in the West") and PL480 (or the law of the US Congress 
which legislated the transfer of grain from US to countries like India 
and Pakistan). The linkages between these markers provide Amitava 
Kumar an opportunity to make some general comments, or assume a 
stance, vis-a-vis what we might call the circulation of goods and 
services in global culture. 

The talk will be held at 4:30 pm, in the Seminar Room, of the Centre 
for the Study of Developing Societies,  29 Rajpur Road, Delhi -

Thank you for the response to the Sarai reader list. It is developing 
into an active and exciting forum. 
Please go to the url 
http://mail.sarai.net/mailman/listinfo/reader-list or mail at 
monica@xxxxxxxxx to subscribe. 
The archive of the reader-list is available online. 

The Sarai Reader 01 is available online on our site, at 


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