Radical Networks Conference 2018: Prof. Chris Csíkszentmihályi and Jude Mukundane organized a workshop.

Radical Networks is a conference that celebrates the free and open Internet, with hands-on workshops, speakers, and a gallery exhibiting artworks centered around radio and networking technology. It fosters critical discussion on contemporary issues that include surveillance, the spread of misinformation, ownership of personal data, and the increasing opacity of “The Cloud”.

Radical Networks is also an arts festival that considers networking technology as an artistic medium, featuring works that run the gamut from ethical hacks to creative experiments to live performances.

This event brings together artists, activists, community organizers, journalists, technologists, educators, and the public, to exchange ideas and look under the hood of what makes the Internet work. Radical Networks is in its fourth year and is the first festival and conference of its kind in the United States. This year we are expanding the event to Berlin, Germany from October 19-21, 2018.

Workshop with Jude Mukundane

RootIO: Community Radio as a Service

Technologists tend to make the mistake of viewing advances as teleological. The trajectories of technologies are in fact far from linear, and (to paraphrase Gibson) not evenly distributed. RootIO is a networked system for most of the world, where FM radio is a vital, affordable, and central means of communication. Taking the success of community radio in places like Brazil, Mexico, and Cote d’Ivoire, and adding contemporary communications technology to bolster it, RootIO dramatically decreases the operational and capital expenses of a station. This in turns makes running a radio station easier for smaller, more remote, or less wealthy communities. RootIO stations have been run in Uganda, and are being launched in Cabo Verde, remote Irish islands, and the Danube Delta in Romania.

This workshop introduces participants to the RootIO platform, and takes them through the steps of creating a station. Please note that FM is highly regulated in most countries, so we cannot guarantee that any participant could immediately go out and create a station. However, regulators have embraced RootIO as a highly transparent and bottom-up form of communication: Romania granted the first two licenses in the history of the country to RootIO stations, and Uganda is in the process of issuing ten new licenses for RootIO stations.

Starting with an Android phone (which becomes the core of the station), through antenna hacking (from commonly available agricultural parts), to volunteerism and programming, the workshop will address all aspects of the socio-technical system. We will also describe aspects of the free/open project where contributions would be welcome, but this is not an exploitative workshop.