Megafone.net and BlindWiki: Communities + Mobile Phones = Collaborative Webcasts


Since 2004, megafone.net has been inviting groups of people marginalized within society to express their experiences and opinions. Using mobile phones they create audio recordings, videos, text and images that are immediately published on the Web. Participants transform these devices into digital megaphones, amplifying the voices of individuals and groups who are often overlooked or misrepresented in the mainstream media.

During September and October, the new BlindWiki project that was developed with the support of Spanish Academy in Rome from November 2014 to June 2015, is being launched in Sydney. Volunteers who are blind and partially sighted are invited to share their own experience on the difficulties and facilities they find in their day-to-day lives. The project holds not only information on barriers and accommodations, but will also be a repository for storytelling posts, designed to build a more nuanced location-specific overview of the cityscape, as experienced by people who are blind and visually impaired.

Mapping experiences and opinions in order to get a collaborative creation of a public sensorial and locative cartography of the unseen, the project aims to become an international network where people with visual impairments have the opportunity to share, analyze, discuss and compare the accessibility situation of their home towns. Rome and Sydney are the first cities where the project is deployed.

Join creator of the Blindwiki project, artist Antoni Abad, in conversation with Gerard Goggin, Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Antoni Abad

Spanish artist, Antoni Abad holds an Art History degree from the University of Barcelona (1979) and a MFA European Media Master from the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, 1997). After working with sculpture, photography and expanded video, he focused on the Internet, which is the raw material of his practice today.

Since 2004 he has devoted his activity to undertaking the megafone.net online communication projects based on publications from smartphones done by various groups at risk of exclusion in Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Canada and the Algerian Sahara.

His work has been presented at the following art biennials: Venice, Italy 1999; Iberoamericana de Lima, Peru 1999 ; Seville, Spain 2004 and 2008; Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil 2009; Curitiba and Museo de Arte de Sao Paulo, Brazil 2013. He has been awarded the Visual Arts National Prize from the Government of Catalonia and the Golden Nica Digital Communities of the Prix Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria 2006.

BlindWiki in Sydney is the result of collaboration between Instituto Cervantes in Sydney, the Spanish Embassy and the Programme for the Internationalisation of Spanish Culture under the Mobility grants awarded by Acción Cultural Española AC/E.It is supported by the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy, and the Department of Media and Communications

BlindWiki is an associated event of Art & About 2015.