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Vivir Libre en Marcos Paz, entrevista 2011-09-14

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I'm a regular, so I'll allow myself... Bernardo, I'll allow myself to introduce our friend Patrick. He'll fill us in on his details. Patrick is from Houston, from the United States, and he's spending a few days with us. He's young, quite young, and he works as part of networks for libre software and machinery free of patents and royalties, that is, he tries to help alternative-oriented entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers in Latin America and in the United States by way of colleagues who have improvised workshops in which -- using innovation, imagination -- they craft machines that are simpler, not marketable, and yet very practical for someone who wants and who could put them into practice or make them, without paying royalties, This is also published on the Internet, A way to make it available to the most people possible, so that everyone can use this. To me, this seems truly extraordinary, this attitude, this generous attitude of putting at the service of anyone the tools needed for liberation, for emancipation, from the chains, especially the agriculture and food industry chains, from the chains of marketing, from the monopolistic chains that suffocate us. Well. Welcome to Marcos Paz, Patrick. He's another one of the people that we're honored to have in Marcos Paz. Later we'll share his website address. So then, we give you the word so that you can introduce yourself and tell us about what you're doing. Well, as Jorge said, my name is Patrick Gibbs and I'm 24 years of age. The year I was 17 I live in Reconquista, in northern Santa Fe province, via a cultural exchange program. So that's where my connection with Argentina comes from. Now I've graduated with a degree in the science of integrative ecosocial design from a new university that's based nowhere and everywhere, That is, Gaia University, and now there's a node in Chile that's the closest one to here. I'm here with the (currently named) Vivir Libre project [Live Free]. It's based on understanding that we have a certain sort of freedom in modifying the environment around us and also that freedom requires taking responsibility to use that power in a way that's collaborative with our entire environment: with other humans and with the rest of the ecosystem. So, the four freedoms of libre software or libre machinery are the freedom to use it, the freedom to study it, in other words, have access to the documentation, which is the source code if it's software, and the 3D design if it's machinery, The schematics of the machine. Exactly. the freedom to modify it, and the freedom to redistribute it as an exact copy, or redistribute it with my modifications. So this means you can adapt it to your needs without having to ask the author. Exactly. It's yours too. Exactly. It's understanding human knowledge as a common heritage a commons, shared. So I, suppose I invent a tractor today, I didn't appear out of nothing and invent it. I have the support of at least the rest of current human society and it's also understandable that I have the support of the entire universe, over the past 14,000,000,000 (14 billion) years. So to say that I did this all by myself and you have to pay me if you want to use it... Today we have other ways to exercise our creativity. How can someone access these creations, these ideas, these designs? Via a website? How do you collaborate? Yes. For now there's a website, its name is in English, Open Source Ecology, EcologĂ­a de Fuente Abierta, I call it Libre Ecology, if someone searches online for Global Village Construction Set they'll find the main website of this project. Global Village Construction set. Exactly. The idea of the global village is a united planet, a planet that is a single family. Yes, that's part of it. Something like that, no? Yes, and that it's something that anyone who wants to reproduce it in their own spot can do so. And it's a village that enables life in all parts of the world to continue. So, to give form to some of these proposals perhaps it would be good if you mention some of the machines, so that those who are watching us, those who are listening, can imagine what we're talking about. You mentioned the tractor, and there are other simpler machines. Exactly. There are some that they've already prototyped. The tractor, the microtractor, (that you walk behind), the rototiller, the 3D plastic printer, to make things like this, which took 30 minutes to print. It's a toy, but it's possible to print machine parts. A sawmill -- which hasn't been prototyped yet. The brick press, to make bricks from the dirt wherever you are. Make adobe, no? Barro endeudacido. Exactly. And the ideas behind the set, the patterns, are: That it be modular, so, for example, I can put the motor in the tractor, and when I want to use the microtractor or the brick press I take the motor out and put it in another machine. So, modular. Low-cost. Easy to service. I can do it at my farm. And easy to build in a local workshop, with machines from the set itself, that are part of the set. At some point we'll make a welding rig, a CNC torch table with a plasma cutter. And it seems to me that here in Argentina with all the farms, with people who know how to use their tractor, and also in places such as the National Technological University, the techinal high schools, and perhaps CONICET [the National Counsel for Scientific and Technical Investigations]. It seems a place where... Argentina could focus a bit of attention on developing this set, collaborating in the development. ... and thus... receive something here, something useful, and also collaborate with the world, and, in a certain way, give a gift to the rest of the world. If they develop it here, then they have the knowledge here, and if someone elsewhere wants another machine, they could come and ask, Could y'all design this new machine for me? So, it's a matter of developing your reputation by demostrating your abilities. Since you began with this project, like there are libre software conferences, are there conferences or gatherings about the global village project? Do many people gather to advance or share in your initiative? It currently isn't at the same scale as libre software, and yes, there are gatherings. Right now the focal point, the core, is a farm in Missouri, in the middle of the United States of America. That's where they gather. I think the largest gathering so far had about 50 people. It's growing in a decentralized way. I was in New York 2 months ago with a group that's setting up in New York to develop the set there. So new nodes are forming, people in lots of places, who are participating in the development. The idea is that, in New York for example, a friend says she wants to open a tractor factory, a factory where all these machines for those who don't want to build them themselves can buy them, at somewhere around a tenth of the cost of a tractor that's currently on the market. and of a similary quality. I would like to comment that it seems to me that what Patrick comes to present is part of concerns of many sensible, clearminded people in the face of the planetary crisis, the energy crisis que se ????abulican????avasallen???? the environmental collapses, the catastrophic failures of nuclear energy. All this puts a bunch of sensitive people in a state of special alert. and predisposes them to work on technological innovation and on survival. So, these networks work for survival. I think it takes effort to imagine just what it is that Patrick proposes, because when he speaks of a tractor, o a washing machine, or a water pump, he's not painting the same picture that we're used to in the marketing chains. In other words, they've managed to imagine a different tractor yet one that performs the jobs of a tractor, but has 4 motors, one in each wheel, and a central motor which is actually a box that can be removed and with the same motor from the tractor, produce electricity for one's house, for example. So then, this blows your mind because it's beyond the matrix that we're used to. But really, we talk about machinery, and we're thinking about one kind of machinery which is what the market imposes on us. He's talking about machinery and he's thinking about different ways of dealing with the realm of human work I think this is important. And further, he's referring to a situation in which we, the consumer, the producer, understand what's inside the machine we use. I, today, wash my clothes in a washing machine and I don't know how it works. When it breaks, I have to call someone to repair it. This creates what psychologists and scholars have called a state of alienation. I depend on machines that I don't know how to fix, because I have no idea how they work. In this case they're machines that I can make, that I can fix, and that I can modify too. Exactly. This, I think, is a Copernican shift in the relation between humans, and especially producers, and their things. This also seems very important to me from a philosophical perspective, as much as from a perspective of production, and I thought it necessary to emphasize this. Exactly. Patrick, I have a question: You're breaking away from a very strong market logic. Indeed. The issue of patenting is also very tough in a country that lives on that. Have they put rocks in [blocked] the path to what you want to create? So far, no. Sure there are issues to work on, such as, at the Internacional Conference on Libre Software which took place in the National Library in Buenos Aires last Thursday and Friday, there was a session about licensing libre software. The College of Philosophy and Literature in the University of Buenos Aires is writing library management software and they want to liberate it, they want to publish it with a libre license, and the University hasn't done that before, and there's no libre software license written for Argentina law. So that's a step that's underway. It's not a rock, so much, just... Un obstaculo ??????????? Yes, another task to perform to give form a this... in a way that can function with the State in its current form. I think that if this project hasn't been attacked, it's because it hasn't reached a scale that can disrupt the market of machinery and technology. To the extent that few people use these alternative technologies, the techno-political regime isn't disputed, because the political has become technological these days, and it's really a huge dictatorship, and this is unravelling it, but, of course, on a small scale, which isn't dangerous, yet. when you talked about the project that's underway in Argentina, Connecting Equality. Tell us about that. I'd like to step out for a moment, because I have to be on a radio show. I leave you with Bernardo. Here, en the International Conference on Libre Software, Richard Stallman came, he's the man who founded the libre software movement in 1983. He talked to us for a few minutes about the program Connecting with Evil, which is his name for Connecting Equality, and he explained why he calls it Connecting with Evil. Because, if we look at the three functions of malware, that is, software that has bad intentions, to spy on me, to limit what I can do on my own computer, and... what was the last one... It's okay, no big deal. These are the things that define malware, such as a virus, and Windows has all three built in. Therefore Windows is malware. GNU/Linux, on the other hand, is a libre operating system that doesn't have those functions. The computers that they're distributing via Connecting Equality have Windows as the default operating system. Why is Windows a unwelcome pest in a school? What's a school for? A school is a place to share knowledge and to learn. If I take a Windows app to school, and I share it, and the students ask me, How does it work? We want to learn! We want to modify it to see how it works. And I tell them, uh, well, you know what, it's Windows, so I can't tell you. It's a secret! You're using it, but you can't know how it works. That has no place in a school. The vision of Richard Stallman is that there would be only libre software in the world, and, at the very least, that seems very intelligent in schools usaring????????? only things that I can focus my curiosity on and learn from, the same as a washing machine or a tractor, the limit of knowledge is my ability to focus, not a rule imposed upon me. I'll ask you one last question Patrick. Thank you. ???? You're about to go to Buenos Aires to meet with some groups. Precisely that: Which groups have you met with so far? Who's shown interest in this so very interesting project that you've come to explain to us? So far, in Argentina, I met with Rafaela Libre, a libre software group in Rafaela, Santa Fe, with the Rural Reflection Group, with the 2nd International Libre Software Conference, with a place called Velatropa, which is in the University City, it's a squat, an ecovillage, next to the College of Natural and Exact Sciences. We had a two-day permaculture gathering there. We were on a radio show yesterday. Lo Nuestro Nuestro with Gabriel Cigna. I'm open... I want to talk with someone from CONICET [National Counsel for Scientific and Technical Investigation], from the UTN [National Technological University], the technical high schools, and whomever else, perhaps with someone from a reclaimed factory, someone who already works with machinery. And I also want to share that the concept of living free this Global village Construction Set is a focus right now, and living free also has to do with everything else. My freedom also lies in my relation with everything around me, so knowledge of plants and animals, and how to work with them, and of the soil, how to make compost, and of other humans, how to lead a group, and understand myself. All of these are aspects of living free, from my point of view. When do you leave Argentina? On November 4. November 4th I leave, from Buenos Aires. Patrick, thank you very much. This will be posted on the website along with you contact info. And hopefully all these dreams come to be, that you can dialogue with people, and that they understand this very interesting project that has to do with the global village and everything you've presented. There we go. Well, what a pleasure, and I hope to hear news of the first libre tractor in Argentina within a few months?... One year? What can we do? Hopefully! Bernardo, you take responsibility. You imagine me on the tractor? Thank you very much.

Video Details

Duration: 22 minutes and 29 seconds
Year: 2011
Country: Argentina
Language: Spanish (Spain)
Producer: Bernardo Elffman
Views: 121
Posted by: curious on Sep 19, 2011

Proyecto Vivir Libre con Patrick Gibbs en Marcos Paz, Buenos Aires, Argentina, entrevistado por Jorge Rulli y Bernardo Elffman.

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