Project Description

Oraculismo is an ongoing project willing to raise some critical issues related to information access and social dynamics, as well as pointing at analogies between magic and technologic learning. It brings a critical perspective about the ubiquity of internet access via wireless networks in urban contexts. Oraculismo intends to create wireless installations that are freely replicable, in order to create local experiences that can either be understood as environments for gaming, learning or information access. One of its methods is going further in the idea of de-mithifying technology, by attempting to create new myths that include the ideas of dynamic, social and collective exchange of information.

The public face of Oraculismo will consist of open wireless (wi-fi, 802.11x) networks that behave as shamanic totems or oracles, by interacting with visitors and offering negotiated information. These totems will be able to interact with people through different online tools, such as a chatterbot that, depending on the dialog, may point to a local network URL that can be accessed only once. Secrets, keywords, incremental stages for gaining access are elements to play with. Oraculismo will run on free software and will hopefully adopt alternatives for autonomous power supply.

Oraculismo needs little to start being developed. There are already plenty of alternatives offering free and open source software to manage wireless hotspots, as well as great examples of projects that offer free information in burn stations or similar artifacts. Doing the same with wireless networks is a step further in that direction, but on the other hand the negotiation is there to remind us that there are some kinds of learning in which it is not just a matter of just clicking and downloading bits.

Production Timeline and Project Budget

Developing oraculismo will be mostly a matter of dedicating time to put together technologies and information that are already available on the net, compiling them and creating a software and information package, as well as a hardware description, that can then be replicated anywhere. The idea is to put up prototypes of Oraculismo hidden in different parts of São Paulo. For that, we will need some money for equipment (almost useless detailing that more than one month in advance, for there is always a newer or cheaper piece of hardware).

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Felipe Fonseca is a brazilian independent researcher working in the fields of technological appropriation, free culture and multimedia production. He has been an advisor for the brazilian Pontos de Cultura project, that has created hundreds of multimedia centers based on free and open source technology. Felipe is a member of the consulting board of the distributed organization DesCentro and one of the founders of the brazilian MetaReciclagem network. He is also a member of Bricolabs, an international network trying to put together people interested in critical appropriation of open* (hardware, software, knowledge, spectrum). He has been invited to speak in international conferences such as Transmediale, Wizards of OS, Next 5 Minutes, File, iSummit and others.

Work Samples