Radio Feeds, Satellite Feeds, Network Feeds: Subjectivity Across the Straits of Gibraltar

Publication Type:

Conference Paper

Authors:

Nicholas A. Knouf

Source:

DIY Citizenship, Toronto, Canada (2010)

URL:

http://diycitizenship.com/

Full Text:

This paper engages with the practices surrounding the two fadaiat encounters that took place simultaneously in Spain and Morocco in the summers of 2004 and 2005 (see http://fadaiat.net/ ). The fadaiat project focused on the question of immigration to Europe, specifically from northern Africa, and the “Fortress Europe” responses by European Union governments. Participants in fadaiat included academic scholars, free software developers, artists, and activists, forming a meta-network that created bridges across disparate communities and practices. In particular, the participation of the Spanish collective hackitectura was key; they describe themselves as a “posse of architects, hackers and social activists experimenting in the merging territories of recombining spatial cyborgs composed by physical spaces, ICT networks and bodies”. hackitectura led the development of both a temporary civil, non-commercial wireless link across the straits of Gibraltar between Tarifa, Spain and 15
Tangier, Morocco, as well as an entirely free software audio/video streaming system, that enabled participants on both sides to come together independently of the restrictions normally placed on such movement by immigration laws.

The importance of free software for fadaiat extends beyond its purely instrumental use as an agent for disrupting state control. Indeed, the imagery of computation and free software—networks, links, patches, nodes, penguins—pervades the documentation of the project. Rave parties simulcast across the straits are as important as the discussions and software produced. I suggest that this can be understood as developing new forms of subjectivity, in the sense given by Felix Guattari, and therefore link the fadaiat project to earlier pirate radio practices, especially Radio Alice in Bologna, Italy, in which Guattari was involved.

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