Nodecast is a project of authorial content production of Portal Sem Porteiras. Through the experimentation of the use of audio recording and editing tools we created 6 episodes of a podcast dedicated to dialogue with women in the territory during the pandemic. We called out to the women with questions and they answered us in audio. We gathered these answers and turned it into a program, Nodecast, in which the theme of the question launched is connected to a technology theme
The audios we received were so deep and delicate that for us it was something very sacred. For the women, to be able to listen to their answers being played as part of the cast, tied together with the experience of others, was powerful and encouraging. Initially we wanted this podcast to be something heard only by women, as the circles were also designed to be. Then we realized that a content created was very different than the lived experience of the circles. We have no control over who listens! And since we couldn't really make these podcasts an alternative for our safe spaces, we should take advantage of this potential to make them a space to expand our voices and bring to the public our reflections on issues of the territory. So, after the first 3 episodes of delicate and personal audio exchanges we inaugurated a second stage. There would be 3 other episodes with a new format, designed to address our passion for the idea of the community network as a virtual territory.
In a milder phase of the pandemic we were able to interview some women, all of whom had not participated in the circle in the previous year. We asked some questions related to the occupation of the neighborhood and wanted to know how they felt about the space. The answers were real treasures that we received. Those were again tied together with reflections on technology. This has been very important to us, to listen to other women beyond our nearest circle and to expand our network of relationships. Aware of what we represent and how we present ourselves within the territory, we are constantly working to build bridges between the Portal sem Porteiras and the community.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been going through a process of searching for independence of buying so many products. So, I started researching to learn how to make my own soap. It worked. Then, I started making my own laundry soap. It worked again. I got excited to make my own sourdough bread starter, which I always thought was too complicated and that I could never do it. But then... I did it! It may seem silly because these are all small things, but they actually have great impact on self-esteem.”
Her voice fades off, beat keep playing and enters Narrator 1 (Marcela):
“Coming straight from the Mantiqueira Mountains on the second full moon of Autumn, this is the Nodes thatBond on quaratine! Last semester we were side by side creating new ways to be in the world, and since this year we can’t be phisically together once again, let us then take comfort out of the stories told by within our group.”
Woman 2 (Keity) enters saying:
“So, Nodes that Bond asks me what have I been doing to protect myself. I am Keity, I am turning 35 years old in a few days, and I’m here doing quaratine as well. Has it been already fourty days since I’ve been homewith my kids and all that? Well, what I’ve been doing to protect myself... I wake up every morning and makea green juice or a juice with oranges and yams for me and the boys”
Woman 3 (Ju):
“Yam juice. Everyday... I add all kinds of things, yam, beetroots, pineapple, passionfruit, berries... I make itin the morning and I drink it throughout the day with my son.”
Woman 2 (Keity):
“We have been drinking a lot of lime juice, both our lime trees are filled. I have also been hydrating my skin and hair with loads of avocado, eating loads of avocado.... Limes and avocados, avocados and limes...”
A playful song enters. Woman 4 (Ligia):
“I’m feeling good, being close to nature like this makes us calm. Being here in this neighborhood, in this place where we are... brings a lot of calm. Breathing well, walking around through the mountains, a bit of meditation, playing songs, creating a lot by myself with my instruments.”
Woman 5 (Lia):
“My greatest gift has been going for walks. I wake up really early and go for a walk – the other day I even ran for a bit. And this early morning movement has a refreshing effect on me. It makes me more concentraded, strong. When I come home, things are more fluid, my family at home can feel that I am more in sync. The women are in the core, at least in my home I notice that I have a central role in the family, and ifI am not strong in my foundations, if I am not firm in what I feel, need, or think, all things at home get out ofpace. So, I need to be firm and strong, flowing, breathing, and well. So, all the rest becomes easier...”
Woman 3 (Ju):
“Everyday when I wake up the first thing I do is to thank the sun. I take my first rays of sun, and I thank it, our great grandfather.”
Woman 6 (Alê):
“I firstly do the Sun Salutation with my 6 and 11 year-old kids. This is something we already did before the pandemic times. Besides that, I also do my daily Yoga practice. But now, these practices suddenly have a different taste and feel. They are stronger. They taste like self care... I bring awareness to vibrations of love, of healing, golden and violet colors for the entire planet... I vibrate for a new, renewed planet.”
Woman 7 (Soraya):
“Well, when I wake up, I usually enjoy doing some breathing exercises that strengthen my lungs. Some are from Yoga, some are from theater and singing. The best moment of my day is this one: the meditation. It is wonderful to practice pleasures that your conquer little by little. Then, I bathe in clay. Clay is wonderful for detoxifying. Using clay is taking inflammation out of life! (laughs). And I am in touch with my several friends, aho! I am also in touch with healing, reading tarot cards in a long distance way – not online, but through other connections. If I don’t know the person they will send me a photograph. Me and the one who’sconsulting with me, we connect through the astral plane.”
Woman 8 (Regina):
“To me, the challenge of protecting myself from my own unbalacing thoughts, is greater than protecting myself from external things: disease, news. These thoughts can take me to an uncomfortable state of fear andanxiety. So what I’ve been doing is enjoying my own company. Bringing myself to my own body, what I cantake to sensing and breathing.”
Woman 9 (Maiza):
“Now I only go to the town center wearing a mask, with my hand sanitizer in the pocket. Usually when I go with my partner we take turns and only one of us leaves the car. I haven’t been alowing the kids to leave the house. Aside from that, I have been trying to keep a healthy mind, filtrating the constant news and information, contacting and talking to people a lot, especially when questioning myself where will our lives go...”
Woman 10 (Jaque):
“On friday night I got sick. From friday on I was sick for over ten days – I had a fever, feeling some symptoms... I thought it might be coronavirus, but we can’t know, there’s no testing – there wasn’t and until now there still isn’t. Since then, I stayed home with my family – my daughter and my partner – and feeling very lost. In the first few days I couldn’t do anything... after about fourteen days I became more active at home again. We were always trying to renew things, creating and recreating... after I got more active again I liked it, because I felt I was feeling more living in the present. I feel more active. There are days when the sadness comes, there are so many news... the political situation is horrible, or president is a jackass, there aredays when things are horrible, the energy gets really low... there are great days, bad days, lazy days, active days... this also has to do with my menstrual cycles, I know that. I try to enjoy the fertile times when I feel more active for creating... I have been doing artistic crafts, as well as bindge watching series, watching movies, wasting time online... I have no expectations yet on when this quaratine will end, we can’t know, right?”
Woman 11 (Satu):
“Being around people makes us feel protected... If I’m surrounded by people who I love and trust, I feel protected. So, in these times when we see less of the ones we love, it affects our sensation of being unprotected... It feels like a cloud of danger over our heads. And we miss people, right? Missing people perhaps makes us more vulnerable? How to find strengh in the feeling of missing someone? How can we find our power not only despite missing people, but in this feeling of missing them? What protects me is my daily life. Right here, right now. Now I am home, I am okay. I don’t know where or how I’ll be tomorrow, me or my loved ones. But I will conect with here and now, which is all I have. Nobody ever had the “tomorrow”... but perhaps the virus draws more attetion to that feeling, which can cause a lot of anguish in us, mere mortals...”
Woman 12 (Marcela):
“I try to take care of my time, so it won’t swallow me whole. Allow my body and my feelings to be, create a scheduele with the kids, avoid diving into the texting world, which can be so negative... at the same time that being productive and a role model is always imposed on us – which is a big capitslistic trap – so many distractions on social network, so much media all around take away our own time, and we are convinced thatwe need to be productive with our time, but they also rob us of our time. It’s like a constant feeling of disastisfaction, which is the greatest trap. To me, if you need healing and processing, all you need to do is sleep some more (laughs)! If you need care, you own body can take care of itself. If you fast for a little whileand sleep some more, give your body time and space, you will heal.”
Narrator 1 (Marcela):
“But how do the digital technologies of communication and information influence our self care? Our beloveddigital tutor Tânia brings us a bit of her perspective on Fake News during Corona times. When the moon passes by the Scorpio constellation, it is time to, once again, go through everything we have learned... on theinternet.”
“Coronavirus has changed all of our relationships with people, online and even with ourselves. It demands from us a big change in our behaviour to prevent sickness... And how can we prevent from so much out there? How can we prevent from the viruses as well as from the information on the virus itself? In a pandemic moment such as this one, there’s so much of this dynamics: “someone who told someone else who told me”... and social media is constantly in our hands, right? We go to sleep and we wake up and the thing isright here with us. How can we prevent and “desinfect away” misinformation? How do we prepare ourselvesto not follow any random recipe against coronavirus? “Eating a cup of red beans every day is medicine against coronavirus”... who studied that scientifically, how is that a fact? Still, it can be an information that is sent away in phones! Someone receives information from sombedoy they trust, and send it to someone else. That is so common among human beings, because we are willing to protect those who are near us. Also,when we learn something new, we feel like telling more people...
So what are fake news? Basically, they are misinformation. They are basically lies, and a lot of people believe them. People are once again believing that the earth is flat, and that vaccination is bad for us. A lot of fake news are actually someone’s opinions, which arrive on our medias as actual facts. How do we find out what is fake? You must look for reliable resources, always search for the same information in more places. Search for the news on Duck Duck Go!
So, should I open every link I receive? Should I share every link I receive? Should I share news if I didn’t even read the entire website? Where did the news come from? And it’s not enough that the news came from acertain study... we should search for studies from reliable institutions. Pay attention to the news you receive, and pay attetion to the news you share. That piece of information can also be harmful for you in two more ways: it can cause you paranoia and anguish – and that why we need to develop a filter in our minds to understand how to actually be careful and safe. Also, fake news can also open space for internet crimes, sincethey are usually about something that triggers fear or anxiety. For instance, you receive a message from someone saying they are from the local health care system, and that they are collecting the phone number of everyone in the neighborhood so it is easier to contact everyone, so they will send a pass code to you and so on... that could be someone trying to kidnap your whats app account, for instance. What are they doing with you account? Probably not sending happy birthday to your friends...
Narrator 2 (Luísa):
The dream of a connected world, where we share horizontally our experiences and feel less lonely evolved tosomething we couldn’t have seen coming. Every time you like something, every time you use your credit card, everytime you use ythe phone’s GPS, a digital trail is left behind you. This trail is a result of your online activities, and it is unique. This trail generates a constant flow of information, which is made only for you, and seen only by you. It is your world, custom-made. Try and notice the Youtube suggestions for you. Are they diverse? Do they present a broad range of points of view? Usually not. They follow a certain line ofworld-view, changing only its packaging. This happens because your digital trail creates a very well built profile of you, it is what keeps you comfortable while navigating in the network. Not only does it offer you the exact kind of products you want, but it also shows you a social reality that operates according to your beliefs, and ir even presents news and opinions that are actually very convenient. That is dangerous. It generates a one-sided view of our reality. The algorithms are so powerful they can actually change your real life behaviour, inducing your choices towards someone else’s profit. If we really think about it, it is a real loss in your free-will. Whoever owns our informations, can meticulously manipulate our custom-made universe. And we don’t actually know who owns that information – we don’t read the tiny letters in the apps policy with which we agree when installing the app. We end up accepting that our data is shared with others removing the apps responsability, for instance...
The flat earth believers that Tânia mentioned is a growing group of people, and the documentary “The earth is flat” approaches this subject very well. On the documentary, we see a large and diverse sample of people defending the idea that earth is flat, and that all images published by Nasa which show the earth as round would be a conspiracy. The scientists tend to get irritated and ridicule the flat earth believers, and in fact it is quite unbelievable that people would think that. What happens is: these people are building they’re world view based on opinions, not facts. Several people, all together, in one-sided world view groups. If you have alarge community of people telling you that the earth is flat, perhaps it will sound more believable. What if your Youtube channel shows you thousands of videos with people defending this idea, and doing experiments to prove it? Even if the experiments are not truthful and scientific, all this information does not sound so fake anymore when everything inside your custom-made world echoes that.
In fact, how did we all establish our own truths and beliefs, if not refering to things that were taught to us as facts? This is why the scientific method and methods for news and data checking are vital to our health as a community. They work as a pact that we all made together, and that we need to keep. It is a collective responsability.
The flat earth believers from the documentary let us know that they are constantly being called crazy, and that they have lost friends and family for entering this rabbit hole of beliefs. When we confront them from high heels, the reaction usually reminds us of a battle, where sides attack one another. When things get to that point, facts and opinions no longer differ between each other, and nobody wins.
Does this sound like a family lunch in 2018 Brazil? Yes, and that is no accident. Who here doesn’t have a beloved family member that voted on someone you despise? Is this person a complete idiot? Is it that simple? What made this person vote in such a way? In the US Elections in 2016, Cambridge Analytica bought the information inside apps like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Whats app and so on. They did that so they could get extremely detailed profiles on American voters. If you were an American citizen, they could tell whats scares you, what calls your attetion, and what would make you change your mind. Global politics is built on war strategies – and dividing to conquer is one of them. Taking care of your data, checkingfacts, paying attention to your clicks and shares are big tasks to all of us in today’s world. With a new wolrd, come new responsibilities.
A song plays. Tânia speaks:
During these coronavirus times, we have to keep our eyes opened, be aware, be present in our bodies, moments, our lives. The same should happen with our data, our digital life. Be present. Don’t be clicking on your phone while talking to someone, don’t click on whatever shows up on your whats app... How can we live our lives with one action after the other, instead of doing five things at the same time? Living five lives all at once is very tiring and you end up not living any of them fully. Thats it, guys. Kisses, love you all!
A song plays:
“To be present and aware,
Of myself and my body.
Equilibrium takes care of us,
And the care is made from nodes that bond.
I’m dressed up in talismans.
It all belongs to the invisible plain,
The women from my family protect me.
Our instincts guide us,
Something like a rage,
I am myself the fire of protection.
The danger in danger
Is to not let love in,
A bubble where nothing penetrates.
Our instincts guide us,
Something like a rage,
I am myself the fire of protection.
On the journey side by side with women,
I protect myself when I’m connected
Being all that I am.
On the journey side by side with women,
On the journey side by side with women,
I protect myself when I’m connected
Being all that I am.
On the journey side by side with women,
Narrator 2 (Luísa):
You have just heard the Nodes that Bond theme song, composed by the group in one of our project meetings,and now beautifully arranged and recorded by Lia Aroeira and Ligia Kamada.
Narrator 1 (Marcela):
We will keep on recording our conversations and sharing with you all. For our next meeting, we would like to hear from you: “Who did I touch that I shouldn’t have? Exception cases during isolation times.” Send us an audio! If you want to send an anonymous story, you can send us in writting and another women can record it. We’ll be waiting for your story until the New Moon...
“Who did I touch and shouldn’t have? Well, I am a Doula, and I went to São Francisco Xavier (the town nextto ours) to assist on a childbirth. I already knew that this would happen in the middle of this pandemics scenario, social distancing times, trying to imagine how this would happen. How to do this work as a Doula, which has a lot to do with our bodies, and there’s a lot of touching, there’s a lot of actual physical support. What protocols to follow, right? Anyway... I went there, with my humble little face mask, the oils, the resources we have as Doulas. And the birth happened, I had a lot of physical contact with the mother, massaging, physical support, keeping the hands clean at all times, spending the entire time wearing my mask... but, yeah, I did touch the mother, loads. With the godesses surrounding us, guidind the situation, there wasn’t much else I could do but to be there, supporting that mother during childbirth.
It turned out that the mother had to be transfered to the hospital, and I stayed at their home by myself and slept on the couch. The couple went to the hospital, and they have another son, a small child, who had gone to the neighboorh’s house. When it was sun rise, the little boy enters his home, hoping to find his mom, dad and new little brother were there. And the little boy came in, sat down in the couch, crawled into my lap and gave me hugs and kisses (laughs)! I had no mask on, I was waking up there and this loving little kid just woke me up with hugs and kisses... I didn’t even have a choice, he was on my lap! It is crazy to think that we might have the virus, and that other people might have it, and that such contact could be contagious to other people...
”A violin song plays, woman 2 (Cacá) starts to speak:
“Yes, I gave a ride. I gave a ride to two different people during these past 60 days of isolation. One of them was an old lady who works in a place in SP50 (the main road, outside of the neighborhood), who needs public transportation, and the public transportation is operating in a much smaller scheduele. The other day, Iwas returning home and I saw her from my car, going up our road in the neighborhood, under such a strong and hot sun, and I was taken by this anguish and a lot of doubts: should I offer her a ride? And so, I asked her.
Obviously, she accepted it. And we get apprehensive, right? Especially with other people’s safety. I’m not sure if I have the virus or something, right? Who can guarantee anything?
Woman 3 (Paulinha):
“Nobody really knows what we can and can’t do... I was at the girls’ home, and taking all the measures to keep a distance, right? I was on the porch, and they were inside, I wasn’t touching anything, all of that. And then Ava (the dog) was right on the street and cut her paw. It was bleeding, and she was crying... at that exact moment, the three of us ran to help her, and suddenly we were so close, and I yelled ‘Oh my gosh, we are too close!!’, and we had touched each other... There are moments when we completely forget that there even is a pandemic, that coronavirus exists, we forget this whole thing... and I wonder what are the things that make us forget, right?”
Woman 4 (Lia):
“Once I was touched. I was hiking with a friend, on our way to solve a water harvesting structure, and I accidentally cut my finger. And this friend of mine helped me closing the wound, stopping the bleeding, she hugged me and kissed my forehead. I was still a bit dizzy from the pain, and turned to her and was like ‘hey, you kissed me! Why would you do that?’ (laughs) and she just said ‘Ah, now its done. Oh gosh, what am I gonna do?’ It was stronger than her – she saw me there, bleeding, with a wound... and she acted on solidarity.”
Woman 3 (Paulinha):
“Also, the other day, when I was really, really sad, and crying, and I thought I was alone, there was nobody in the street and it was very early morning...”
Woman 4 (Lia):
“And I saw her walking down the street, I could see from a distance that she was crying.”
Woman 3 (Paulinha):“
But then, a friend of mine arrived, and saw me crying loads.”
Woman 4 (Lia):
“Last year I went through a similar situation, when I was crying in the middle of the street. And when we cryon the street its because we are really really sad, right?”
Woman 3 (Paulinha):
“She saw me like that, and her imediate impulse was to touch me!”
Woman 4 (Lia)
“I got closer to her and I didn’t even think, I completely forgot about pandemics and all that, and just grabbed her and gave her the biggest hug. And it was funny, we both said the same thing...”
Woman 3 (Paulinha):
“No, you can’t touch me!”
Woman 4 (Lia)
“But it was bigger than me, it was something I didn’t really think, I just did it, I could see she was going through a painful moment, and I identified with that”
Woman 3 (Paulinha):
“In these times when we are trying to protect one another, and things happen without us expecting them, and suddenly they take us away from coronavirus and social distancing, and bring us closer... and suddenly the awareness of being in this moment comes back again.”
Woman 4 (Lia):
“In any other moment I hadn’t given in to touching other people... except in these situations of embracing someone. And that is good – to know that we have this solidarity, bigger than ourselves. Even during pandemic times, it is good to know that this feeling exists in a bigger place.
”A song plays, Narrator 1 (Marcela) enters:
“The information we have so far suggests that the main transmission route for Covid-19 are the respiratory droplets. The respiratory droplets are generated when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. Whoever stands near that person, for about a meter or less away, is exposed to infected respiratory droplets. The hard part is to know who is infected, since many times, we may not present any symptoms at all. Also, these droplets can remain on things, on surfaces in general. And if you touch that surface and then touch any mucous membranes in your body without sanitizing your hands, you might catch the virus.
This is all very new. Everyday, we have more news that make us wonder if we are taking the correct measures according to our context, which can be very diverse: from the risks of contagion to the kinds of possible interactions...
And Nodes that Bond, always commited to the self care of the extensions of our bodies-machines, wants to know: what about the viruses from our digital devices, what do we know about them? And how can we protect ourselves?
”A song plays, Tânia (the projects tutor) enters:
“Virus, Virus, Coronavirus... who here is afraid of viruses? The same way coronavirus can impact our society, a computer virus can do the same to the computer’s life. But the computer’s life can also affect your life... (laughs). Who here never had something very important to do right when the computer suddenly stopped working? ‘Oh, that’s a virus, girl’ - you might hear. How can we tell if a computer has a virus or not?
The computer is a machine that basically executes commands. These commands are something that someonewrites down. The fact that you can open Facebook on a computer comes from someone saying: ‘you click here, type this, you will then see this screen, with these images...’. The computer virus is a command through which someone can say ‘Hey, you know all these computer files right there? Send them all to this address here, to me, and without the computer’s owner knowing, ok?’. The computer can’t tell if this command came from you or from someone eles without your permission. The message arrived to it from some digital corner and told it to execute that command.”
Narrator 1 (Marcela):
“It is important to remember that who gives the commands to the computer are people. Which means, someone who speaks the language of machines can tell my computer to do something with which I do not agree and that can put me, my data and my machine in danger. But how is that, Tânia? Through which digitaldoors can such conversations happen?”
“Emails, links, files that you download can be a way. You open someone’s e-mail, download the file, and turns out it was just a text file, and it seems like its blanck, its nothing... it could be executing actions in yourcomputer. It could also come through a USB that downloads a virus automatically when the USB is plugged into the computer. What the virus will do depends entirely on what are the commands that the person typed in, what they wanted exactly... how can we undersand what’s inside the mind of someone who creates a virus?
The same way the flu works, this virus can propagate itself in a contagious manner, which could be through the USB, links that you open, attachments in messages, webpages that contain a virus... so we should alwaysbe very much aware about what websites we navigate around... or we receive a link that says “This is a super app that you can download for free right now, usually it is payed for, but hey in this link it is for free, cause we cracked the software!’ People are still not so much aware of how internet works... what is a cracked software? It’s when someone changes the license of the software somehow, the person manages to put a false license... but sometimes the cracked software could have its very code changed, changes in what kinds of things the software will execute in the computer. At the end of the day, the computer only executes commands that someone gave it.
If someone downloads Photoshop, they go and use the Photoshop software... if it was cracked, it could be something like someone who cracked Photoshop and put a command into it for the computer to share the images that are being manipulated in that machine’s photoshop. So the person who cracked it and sent it around as “Free Photoshop download link” is able to see all the images that are opened and manipulated in computers of those who downladed it... I don’t know why people do that, and the computer doesn’t know if it was you who told it to do something or a virus. The same way I can circulate in places where I can get infected with something contagious, I can also circulate in online spaces where the computer can get infected. If you go and watch a movie with online streaming, and you click “play” a thousand times and nothing happens, or a thousand new windows open... suddenly, the computer is acting strange...”
Narrator 1 (Marcela):“Wow, this whole thing really makes us feel insecure... Makes me a bit nervous! Is there a way out of all this?”
“Should I install an anti-virus software? Do anti-virus software work? Personally, I’m not a big fan of anti-viruses because they are softwares made by companies that can screen and see everything the is inside your computer, and can send to other companies information that they could say is “suspicious”... And I don’t want my information going around without me knowing about it! (laughs) And so I use the Linux System, where there are a lot less viruses... What about Windows System, should you use anti-virus? Well, It might eventually remove something, but the ideal thing to do is format the computer, and if you use the “Windows Defender”, it does the same job an antivirus does.”
Narrator 1 (Marcela):
“I would like to insert a comment here to mention Linux. Linux is an Operational system just like Windows, Android, Mac... but the big difference is that Linux is free and open-source. What does that mean? It means that its code is available for anyone to use it, study it, modify it and distribute it freely. It is opened and for free. Which means that it does not create a dependancy and power like Softwares that have owners. They also have a very friendly interface, just like any other Operational System. And because there are so many people using Linux, there is a massive online community always willing to help solving the doubts and issues that might come up in the internet forums – from the simplest commands to complicated problems.”
“A lot of times the people who develop computer viruses are trying to reach the highest amount of people possible. Not aiming at one specific target, but aiming everywhere, all around. And when doing that, if the vast majority of computers in the world are Windows and I’m aiming at everything all around, it is easier for the person to “infect” a Windows computer simply because there are more people using it. In Linux’s case, besides the fact that there are less people using it, there’s also the fact that the way Linux deals with the commands and executions inside the computer is different. But that does not mean that there are no viruses for Linux!
An effective way of not getting infected is to go to an island (laughs)! All by yourself! [fun music playing]
At the end of the day, being connected is to assume some risks... but being connected is also assuming that you can protect others! When you are connected with someone, you are willing to share things with them, sharing insecurities, knowledge and also risk of infection (laughs)! Is it worth it being shut inside an hermetically sealed glass box in order to be safe? Yes, no? I don’t know...
I hope you don’t catch corona or any other virus, but if you catch it, we’ll fix it! That’s life, right? Kisses, miss all of you guys!”
Narrator 1 (Marcela):
“This was another episode of the Nodes that Bond podcast. A channel that me and Bagope [Luísa] chose to keep on meeting you guys to discuss some of the big themes on our daily life thay may seem for far away from us: the digital self care.
It is hard to replace our loving and rich meetings, but we hope to somehow still be opening windows to the ways in which we exist in the online world, and warming your hearts during this cold pandemic. For our next meeting, we would like to know from you: What have you been dreaming with during this pandemic? Also, expanding our dialogs, we will have a new series within this podcast: “Girl, get it off your chest!” - with the mic opened for you to say whatever you want to.
We begin editing this podcast the moment the new moon begins to grow. That’s the due date for you to send your contributions.
“To share dreams.... What kind of world do we visit when our eyes are closed? Yesterday I dreamt of tigers. They were wondering around the street, I could see them through the window of my mother’s house. They were chilling by the sidewalk. First, I saw a female lion. Then, I saw a tiger. I felt complete fear and helplessness before the strenght and sovereignty of those animals so close to me. Fascination and fright in the same proportion. They would enter my home... I tried to close all doors with my keyes, but that was in vain. In three pulses they would slam the doors opened. They were not exactly agressive, but absolutely powerful. They did not fear me, and came really close. There was not exactly an attack... but I felt it was just a matter of time before that happened... until their hunger came. Then, I woke up.”
Woman 1 (Sylvia Baptista):
“I would begin this by asking all of you to imagine a very sunny day, in an opened and wide kind ofplace, a bright day. Later, when the sun goes down, the night comes, and there are no electric lights nearby. And suddenly we can see the sky completely filled with stars. When thinking about dreams, I like to bring this image, because all those stars were already there, but we could not see them, it was a sunny day... The daylight outshines the light of those stars. It is something like that, what happens with dreams. Our consciousness is like this bright, sunny day, filled with light. We are always with those lights on, which does not allow us to see the light of the stars that are right there. But when we go to sleep, we turn off those lights of awareness and enter another state – we dive into the unconscious mind. And out uncouncious mind is this great mistery, which gives us this gift every single night – our dreams.”
Woman 2 (Carol Coelho):
“During the night I always feel very cold. My feet get very cold... and I dreamt I was going to buy ablanket. When I arrived at the store, there were police officers there. But I didn’t find that strange, clearly I had the feeling that it was the middle of the covid pandemics and I should not be on the street, that I had to buy my blanket and run away from there. When I entered the store, I found my grandma’s sister [laughs], Auntie Ivone. She came to me and she hugged me, kissed me all over my face, squeezed my cheeks, and said “Carol, I missed you so much, you look so beautiful!”, and she would not stop kissing me... and that made me so embarassed, I kept thinking “My God, she doesn’tknow about social distancing! She doesn’t know we shouldn’t be kissing people, hugging people... how am I gonna tell her?” And she wouldn’t stop kissing me all over, and I just wanted to run away from there, I didn’t know what to do and felt completely helpless...”
Woman 3 (Ana):
“I had an interesting dream about two weeks ago. I was very concerned that the City Hall’s projects would be cancelled and I woulnd’t have any source of income, and I was already planning some kind of Plan B for my life. That was a sunday. I would wait just one more week to see if the City Hall would call me about the projects, and I was waiting on that. And then, on sunday, I told my sonabout this plan B. Right on monday, I had this very interesting dream. I dreamt I was at the City Hall, going to check if they would call me or not. I was at the patio, and I saw this room, and there was someone eles sitting on my chair, working. I was a bit hurt, knowing that someone replaced me... I felt that, but didn’t say anything. I took another look at the person and it was Beth, from Beira do Riacho [a restaurant in the neighborhood]. I left there a bit sad, but also accepting the situation. On monday 8 am, I got a call from the City Hall asking me to go there and sign the contract, I would go back to the project. So, I tought that was a very interesting dream, almost anomen...”
Woman 4 (Luisa Luna):
“The sea has been very present in my dreams... so, so much. All kinds of dreams – the last one was so scary, there was a giant squeed that wanted to steal Davi [her baby], but I don’t remember details... the dream I would like to tell is about a house. I have dreamt about this house before, it is always changing bit by bit. Before, when I dreamt about it, I could not live in this house, it belonged to somebody else, or was rented, a bit to do with our dramas in this neighborhood [laughs]. But, is was almost becoming my house, I was going to live in it. But this last time, to get to the house, you had to take a boat, and navigate in this beautiful and enormous sea. The house wasalso huge, beautiful.
But, when I got there, my intention was not to occupy the whole house – I was just going to occupy one bedroom. A small, tiny bedroom by the living room on the first floor. And I remember thinking to myself “Nah, this is good, I can live just here, here I can do everything Ineed, have my little kitchen, my bedroom, my home... this is good, I don’t need all that space...”. But then, I suddenly realized that the walls in this bedroom were made of glass, and so it seemed like I was by myself... but these walls did not face the sea. They faced a huge street market [laughs], where there was loads and loads of people passing by and seeing me through the walls... and I thought “Wow, but what is the meaning of all this??”... And in the dream, the solution was simply to put some curtains up...”
Woman 5 (Fernanda):“
I dreamt that I was here, in the neighbourhood, and there were some kids going around without much supervision and they were close to accessing some weapons, some dangerous things, and those kids ended up running away. And I went after them, and when I was on my way I ran into this woman who had a magic mirror, something like that. When I looked at my reflexion, I saw myself extremely different from what I appeared to be. I had morbid obesity, and I had a huge lump on my neck, wich was a tumor. And I remember I asked to speak to this woman, who was some kind of a doctor, and I said: ‘Do whatever you need, please take this out’. And she said: ‘this is not quite how this works’.”
Woman 6 (Gabi Delias):
“I’m going to tell about a flashback I had this week about an experience – it was a dream, but I call it an experience, because it was so intense. It happened when I was in the ICU, a very difficult time in my life. It lasted a week, everyday the same dream: a research kind of environment, an older woman who looked like Mariana Muniz [brazilian actress] and the other researchers were younger,and they all did experiments with women, and they did a fertilization work: they would cross-over genes of female women with Jatobá trees [a species of beautiful and large brazilian trees]. It was socrazy. And I was submitted to this experiment. In the dream, I was in this research place, lying in bed, completly still, and they would take blood samples and inject things on me a lot of times throughout the day. And this place was by a lake, and it was Axel’s house [Axel is a member of our community in the neighborhood]! Crazy, right? And I would ask – ‘what are you doing to me?’ Because I’m not a young woman anymore, I am almost 50 years old! And they would tell me that I was a powerful matriarc, a great genitor, and that they were investing in me... And that was the crazy experiment of those people, who were beings filled with light, and they were creating a being that was half human being and half Jatobá tree.... And that was the dream.”
Woman 7 (Adelita):
“I dreamt about a female buffalo. I was walking down the street with Amora, my daughter. It was anempty street, made out of rocks. It was very early morning, and the fear was in the air: somehow, allthese things we are going through were present in this dream. And so a gate to a house opened up, and a mighty female buffalo came out of there. She sat in the middle of street, much like a queen, asif nothing else was happening. Then, a woman dressed in red came out of the house, long hair, and went towards the female buffalo. And the buffalo would keep pulling the ears of the woman, as if it was telling her secrets. I realized the female buffalo and the woman were sisters. And on the other side of the street, me and Amora would just watch the scene, and we couldn’t believe it! Afterwards,we left.”
Woman 8 (Jade):
“We were in the back of the first house we lived in this neighborhood. In this case, the upstairs neighboor. I went to the back, and I remember seeing a dog and thinking “hm, I don’t know this dog”. When I was coming back, I was walking and the floor was all muddy. And then I looked at the gate and there started to pop up lots and lots of dogs, and I was like “fuck, I’m done, I’m going to die”. I was already thanking life and saying goodbye, and one of the dogs was already coming towards me. He bit my leg and I was like “Hey, cutsie, get out of here”... and then the others came as well, and that was my fear. When they came, the one that was biting me put me up on his back and then started rolling over the backs of each dog. They were forming a spiral shape, and while they did that, they would roll me over each of their backs, and the first dog that I was on was the center of the spiral.... And I would roll over each of their backs, and it was so soft andtender... [laughs] and when the spiral was over – it was a looot of dogs – I was home!”
Narrator - Marcela
“Welcome to our dreams. In this podcast we have two special guests. They are both psychologists, and are here to tell us a bit about the dreams within their lines of study. Sylvia Baptista is a Jungian psychotherapist, and she is also the mother of Paula and Luísa – the one on the Nodes that Bond team. And Juliane do Prado is a psychotherapist that works for the public health system here in our town, Monteiro Lobato, where she follows the line of Psychoanalisis-oriented brief psychoterapy.”
Juliane do Prado (Psychoanalisis-oriented brief psychoterapist)
“Freud says that dreams are made of uncounsicous desires, meaningful memories of the daily life, memories of the past, feelings that we might have during the night... but, the most interesting part for him, is to use this material, which is like a patchwork quilt, to understand what was repressed. The job of the psychotherapy would be to broaden our consicnousness so that people can make more assertive choices, or else we keep repeating uncouncious dinamycs.”
Sylvia Baptista (Jungian psychoterapist)
“We understand dreams as something very enigmatic. They are filled with symbols – the word “symbol” means something that unites different meanings, it is opposed to the word “diábolo” which has to do with separation. So, the symbols bring in this idea of uniting two meanings, and Jung used to say that they are the best way to describe something that you can’t quite explain. So, the symbol is infinite – it always has another face of what it represents to show us. And so, dreams are filled with symbols, and we are constantly trying to understand, to give it some kind of a shape. And the one that does that is our minds, which separates things. I actually have here a quote from Jung: “The dream is the small and hidden door in the most intimate place of the psyche. All awareness of the self is isolated, knows isolated things, as it separates, understands and onlysees that which can be referred to this self. The awareness of the self consists on limitations, even if it reaches the most far away constelations. All that is counciousness, separates. But in dreams, we enter the most deep, general, truthful and eternal of a person, who is still in the dusk of the night, only beginning, when they were the whole, and the whole was them. When the self would identify with the simplest nature. That is why it doen’t come as a surprise that in all ancient cultures, the most impressive dreams were considered a message from the Gods.”
Woman 9 (Ana Paula):
“I hardly ever have dreams, it’s rare for me. But, curiously, last week, for two nights, I had really bad dreams. On the first night I dreamt I was in the balcony of an apartment, lying on the hammock,and I saw someone falling off the building right in front of mine. It was a suicide. On the second night, I don’t remember much, I just remember my wrists opening up, and a lot of blood pouring out of them... and then I woke up.
And this made me think that we live in a privileged town, a lot of farms, opened spaces, houses... but in big cities, where people live in buildings, a lot of people live by themselves - how are these people doing in this moment of isolation? I know that technology helps, you can binge watch series... but that’s not everything, right?”
Juliane do Prado
“When we talk about subjectivity, what do we mean by that? It is all those things that I am made of as a person. All the things that go on within me. All my features, sensory capacities, emotional, affective, imaginary and rational capacities. They are all built in exchanges, we call it dialectics, as it is a two way street between myself and my surroundings – society, culture, politics... and this two way exchanges are mediated by communication. The dialectics is mediated by communication. Andhere we can discuss the technologis of information exchanges and dialectics. We might remember of the Greek myth of Prometheus, God of Fire. He got into a fight with Zeus, because of Zeus’ omnipotence, and he left the Fire as a human’s responsability. So that he could guarantee the knowledge to humanity – the power over matter and the technical knowledge. And this relationship between technology and the study of the techniques, is really connected to the development of humanity.
The “power” over natural resources, the wars, energy production, industrial revolution, capitalism...with all this impact of technological development, a certain strangeness comes up – in work relationships, in the means of production, in social relationships... and of men and women with themselves. Today, I see in my clinic a significant increase in depression, anxiety syndromes, panic syndrome, increase in suicides... So it all has a great impact in people’s mental health, and there is also the alienation people are in... and we can’t tell the impact of all this for the next generations, who are already born with a cellphone in their hands, and have so much ease to use those tools for communication and have those connections as a means of identity construction for themselves. And we shouldn’t really reflect on that with moral judgments like “is this good, is this bad...?” It is an odd and uncertain situation, which we will try to manage just like other processes of crisis and transformation. We will be at least a bit able to manage that, find resources and tools to deal with the matters that come up from all this. But what I find interesting is for us to have the leading role inall this, in society, culture, politics.... And reflect on where we are, and which society do we want to have, what kind of health do we want to have, understand the importance of the connection betweenpeople and the connection with ourselves, with what is sacred. I don’t believe we can replace the human connection with the digital connection.”
Narrator – Marcela
“Night breaks, the light comes up within my unconsciousness. Tonight, the dreams are the big stars.May the symbols come and tell me stories. I wake up and I’m connected. My machine that still dreams in algorithims and whispers through my gaze the forged nature of the deep self. Who is playing God behind the algorithims and competing with me, side by side, for the domains of my unconsciousness? Tânia, tell us a bit about the artificial intelligence behind our favorite contents?”
Our tutor, Tânia
“The other day I asked to borrow my friend’s phone to listen to a song. He denied [laughs] and said ‘No, Tânia, you will ruin my algorithims!’. - Ruin what?! Your algorithims? What is that? Well, basically, algorithim, in computer science, is a recipe to execute something. This something could be resolving a math problem, or showing on the screen the picture of a cat, or to show the best recommendation for a video. Algorithims work like a recipe for baking a bread. There are the ingredientes, the instructions, the time needed for baking... and if it all works, you have a bread by the end of it. Youtube’s algorithim, for instance.
Say you just watched a video by Perota Chingo [an argentinian band], what will be the next video the website will show you? Will it be Cazuza, Elba Ramalho, Chitãozinho e Xororó [a broad range ofbrazilian artists]? If you are only listening to songs by latin american women, it is very unlikely to come up a video by a north american man. Youtube ends up following a sequence of similarity among the videos, to encourage you to stay longer and longer and longer in their platform. The platform’s interest is that you don’t leave it. There is a whole marketing area called “attention marketing”, in which the platforms develop algorithms to get and keep our attention.In the case of youtube, that would mean playing an endless cyle of videos most similar to each another, always towards a more exteme side of the theme of the videos.
If you start watching videos about politics, on consevative politics, for instance, the platform will show you more and more extreme videos on conservative youtube channels. Human beings have a tendency to go deeper and deeper into issues, and the algorithims are filled with psychology knowledge within them, it is not simply math, numbers... there are human behaviour analysis. Why does Netflix always goes straight to the next episode, instead of asking if you actually want to see the next episode? It is simply consuming you in the attention marketing logic, getting you to stay in that platform, consuming their contents, without leaving the infinite looping. When we talk about music – a lot of people like Spotify. Spotify has, in a way, good recommendations foryou because it captures the type of sound waves of the music you listen to, and the next recommendation won’t necessarily be from the same band or gender. The platform manages to find songs that has a sound, a rythim, a beat, something that relates to the song before... and you stay there, in an infinite looping of similar songs. And what is the issue when we receive a lot of content that is similar to one another, and having some kind of tendecy towards something? You basically stay trapped inside a bubble. It’s like being inside a catholic church and wanting to listen about atheism. You will only listen to one version, have acess to one kind of content, and will not be able to compare the different types of content – they will not appear to you.
The algorithims create bubbles and bubbles that narrow down more and more information that circulates and appears to you. Futhermore, the fact that the algorithim is made to addict us and keep us connected shows us the algorithim could also be doing something for someone’s interest on something. If the owner of the platform has some kind of a political view, and they want a specific content to spread among specific users... Lets say – me, Tânia, I have a profile as an online user. I have my taste in music, my political views... sometimes even my way to dress and style they could trace. Which is all different from Lu, for instance, who has a different profile. Each one of us listens to things differently, we have different views and arguments. And sometimes something fits better my profile than hers. So, if for some reason I am reading some news on a website, and this website is able to see what kind of profile I have, the recomendation for the next news I might read could be much more assertive, and I will keep on navigating through that website, and if the website can study a bitdeeper my profile, and they have a political view they want to spread, not only could that website indicate me content that is connected to my ideology, but also connected with the message thewebsite wants to spread. Who creates those algorithims and why are they made to be this way?
At the end of the day, it is all related to power and money. Power brings money, money brings power... it doensn’t matter what comes first, what matters is that your attention is in that game, and it is being consumed. And it is being consumed in such high levels that we stay online, on average, about 8 hours a day in Brazil. And this constant attention alters the way you organism desires and searches for information. And those algorithims will work on that: which content will you receive, and in what moment will you receive it? And what will this content tell you? And it is up to us: do we really want to receive this amount of content simply being handed out to us so easily? Back at home my family says ‘If the alms are to high, the saints get suspicious.’ If you only watch on TV allthe time the news that São Paulo has robbery, robbery, robbery, and you don’t live in São Paulo, but next week you have to go there... what will you be afraid of? Running into a shark or being robbed?[laughs]
So there you go... the media usually is able to create the narratives. The difference between the television media and the internet media is that the television media has a reduced profile on theusers. They might go as far as knowing the house of the cities that are on in specific hours... they don’t know who is in front of the TV. Not like the computer or the cellphone. They know whose phone this is. They have a much more refined profile on who is looking at that screen and what message they want to give them. So, are we able to get rid of those algorithims that create those bubbles around us? Of course we can. There is a tool just like Google Chrome, for instance, called Thor. Thor does not save the information of the searches made during navigation... this way, each consult that you make on the internet, is like a whole new person is searching. There are some books and documentaries on this theme, about how we are existing inside those bubbles, and how this interferes on our lives, our daily lives.
Among them there is one by Frank Castle [an anonymous writer she saw online] in which he talks about the economics of attention. If we are rowing on this boat or if we are beingtaken by the waves... there is also an interview with a brazilian author called Pollyana Ferrari, who is a specialiston digital communication from PUC-SP [a brazilian university]. She wrote a book called “How to leave the bubble” - and the book is about the dissemination of fake news in social networks and how it affects our beliefs. There is also a documentary called “The great hack”, from Netflix. The documentary shows how people’s facebook profiles were used to the spreading of political campaings – both in the UK and USA’s Trump 2016 campaign. This documentary shows how they sent content to those who were indecisve. There is another document on the economics of attention and how it is connected to consumption productivity. How is the high amounts of time being connected affects our consumption habits. And there is another documentary called “Freenet”, this one you can find in free spaces, such as Libreflix – an opened version of Netflix, its a brazilian project. On Libreflix, you can find the Freenet documentary, which discusses how much freedom we really have online, not only to access content, but also to express ourselves, and who governs the internet, who is accessing all the information behind the screen, and how does that work...? [voice fades into music]
Woman 10 (Lia):
“These days all I have been dreaming about are crowds. Streets and avenues filled with people, people who I had forgotten about showing up, people I never really knew that much, people I’ve never met, they all show up [laughs]. But simply everyone mixed up, a lot of things happening all the time, so crazy. Just as it really is when you go to a concert or something, things get all mixed up,people going around, we speak loudly, we don’t quite understand what people are saying, someone arrives, someone passes by... and this is what my dreams look like lately.”
Woman 11 (Ana):
“I had a dream the other day. With this whole thing with not opening the Charity Bazaar [which sheorganizes and runs twice a year with clothes and toys from everyone in the neighborhood], it wouldbe around this time of year, and people keep asking me “Ana, how about the Bazaar, how about it?”- and I don’t know if we will have it this year. For some people I organize some things, people pass by asking for pants, or shirts for working outside, and then I go and search for them if something comes up. And so the other day I dreamt I was there, separating all these clothes, to loads of different people. And it was funny, Amelinha and Ney [people from the neighborhood] had asked me that same week to keep pants and shirts that came up for them. And in the dream, I was separating clothes for people to go to work. And I dreamt about it, because I was thinking about it – about not opening the bazar this year, having people asking me, what I was going to do...”
Woman 12 (Angélica):
“Everyday I wake up saying that I dreamt about something. But few of those stay kept in my memory. I dream a lot about Pandavas [our local school], because I was there for so long, a lot of my dreams happen there. But one dream I had recently was such a good one. I dreamt about a childhood friend with whom I don’t have much contact anymore, but she is still very dear to me. So, I dreamt of her, we were in a tree house, and I was trying to go down, and I got stuck on the stairs. And she started laughing so hard, and she would laugh, and I would laugh... and when I wokeup I realized that the laughs were exactly, exactly the same as our childhoods, from when we laughed so much and played so much, you know? And it was such a good dream, I woke up so happy...”
Narrator - Marcela
“It so good to us, Angelica, to know about this laugh that lives within you, who, not by chance, takes care and understands our children [Angelica is the local kindergarden teacher]. Ana, thank you for taking care of these wonderful exchanges. We are patiently waiting for you Bazaar... outside. All the dreams descibed in this podcast are from women who live in Monteiro Lobato. We are very grateful to each one for sharing them. Nodes that Bond is a project of the Portal sem Porteiras Association that brings reflections about connectivity among women.Thank you for listening to our dreams.”
“Welcome to another Nodes that Bond podcast. This is a trilogy in which we will tell you about the community internet network here in the neighborhood, the Portal sem Porteiras (Gateless gateway) or PSP.
In this first episode we'll talk about the occupation of space, whether physical or virtual, because despite being a very recent invention, the Internet follows the old structuring forms of capitalism, in which everything has a price and an owner, and to move around, we need permission.
To begin with, let's listen to the voices of women here in the Souzas neighborhood, interviewed by Simone Cavassi. They kindly donated a little of their time so that we can better understand the transformations of the territory from the point of view of those who lived and live here.
Woman 1 (Ana):
"To grow up in this neighborhood, to me, was wonderful. I could play on the streets, with my friends... so much that I grew up, had my kids, and decided to live here, only so they could also enjoy all this.
Simone, interviewer, asks:
"What was your favorite place when you were a kid?"
Woman 2 (Ana Serrinha):
"In the country, with my mother. Helping my mother to work, plant beans, plant corn".
"Were you playing?"
Woman 2 (Ana Serrinha):
"No, my mother wouldn't let usplay, it was all time on the hoe working."
Woman 3 (Cida):
"Well, I grew up in this neighborhood until I was twelve. I played a lot, a lot of kids, my cousins, climbed trees, fell from guava trees, enjoyed a lot. Then at twelve I had to leave unfortunately to São José [the nearest big city] to work. My mother had her life, and I did not want to interfere and so I left home. I went to work in a family house and came back only after I was already 18. Then I was already a teenager, mature, old and all, right?"
Woman 4 (Katia):
"Growing up in this neighborhood was incredible for me, it was a wonderful experience. I'm the daughter of a huge family, I'm an adopted daughter, I've had many siblings, twenty brothers and sisters. Growing up in a wonderful place like this, where you can play, there's not a worry about schedules, or problems that today would make me not let my kids play like I used to. But it was very good, to play and grow up here".
Woman 2 (Ana Serrinha):
"I like to take care of my plants! My little plants, cabbage... my backyard!"
Woman 5 (Mukta):
"My favorite place here in the neighborhood is my land, in my house. The house isn't ready yet, so it's not ideal, but the land is incredible. It's near the square, you can see the square from here, but it's high, facing the mountain, and there's toucans and little birds, the sunset is beautiful and there's sun all day long... It's not such a big piece of land, but it's our size".
Woman 1 (Ana):
"I lived in several places, more into the woods, without energy, which was very precarious, off the road with difficult access ... Then, when I got married, I moved to my house, near the soccer field, on the corner that goes up there to Aconchego Inn, I lived there for nine years, and then moved to the house that is where the Luisas live today, and lived there for another seven years. So only there, on that street, I lived sixteen years".
Woman 4 (Katia):
"My favorite place when I was a kid was a little waterfall there is in Pandavas. Who lives here in the region knows what Pandavas is [the neighborhood school situated in a beautiful forest area]. It was such a nice place! I liked to steal carambola from my neighbor, to ride horses [laughs]...”
“While we were doing this podcast, we started to question ourselves about the enclosure of the common fields, and how this happened (and still happens) in Brazil. For this reflection, it is impossible not to remember the indigenous peoples who occupied thisterritory before the arrival of the Portuguese, who in turn violently imposed the practice of dividing and sharing the land, putting up fences and walls, and listing their owners. Land divided first into hereditary captaincies and then into merchandise.
So we decided to call a friend who has been with the indigenous people for a long time and who, learning from this conviviality, accepted to help us translate this other conception of territory that has a lot to teach us. It is Marina Villarinho who talks to you now.
“Indigenous people for a long time and who, learning from this conviviality, accepted to help us translate this other conception of territory that has a lot to teach us. It is Marina Villarinho who talks to you now. Marina Villarinho “Indigenous peoples, or rather, native peoples, hundreds of years, ago lived on a huge land, without fences or gates, walking all over the place, without the slightest idea that there could be property on the land. For the indigenous people, what bound them to that land was the care that they and their ancestors, for many and many generations, dedicated to the places they frequented;
It happened that one day these people were surprised by a people who had a very different understanding of how to live and care for a place. They had long been accustomed to walls and fences that determined that a piece of land was someone's possession.
And if it was 500 years ago that this meeting took place, these two points of view still exist today. To better explain these two points of view, I wanted to try an exercise of fabulation here:
I ask you to imagine one of those science fiction movies where the Earth is invaded by a race of aliens. Well, in this film these aliens pass as humans todominate the earth precisely because the resources of their planet of origin have already been exhausted.
Imagine that this dominated planet, or the new world, became known by the invaders by the name of: Brazil. It's obvious then who the aliens are in this story; I don't think we need spoilers. But the indigenous peoples, those who inhabited this planet, they were many... And among them, some were allies, others were enemies, each one with their language, their customs and beliefs, or their way of living. And without even imagining that there could be such a different way to live on earth, the indigenous peoples for a long time experienced ways of living that were quite nomadic, stopping here and there, where the relationships flourished, or where the places mixed with their experiences.
In this film of ours, when the invasion happened, the aliens were crazy about gold and precious stones. But coming here they found much more! They found a plentiful and abundant land, sheltered by the indigenous people who were here. No wonder, the aliens called this invasion a discovery, and without authorization, they began to take these resources as their own. They often destroyed what they found to, among other things, plant sugar cane to feed those who remained in their old world of origin.
Now... imagine you that this story is based on real facts. The indigenous people and their lands were invaded by an alien race disguised as white humans -who forever became known as Europeans. Worse! At this point in the film, andwith a certain wrapping in our stomachsm we realize that the European aliens won: they came to stay, imposing on everyone, human and non-human, their way of life, which is also a way of killing.
Back to our film, the Europeans who arrived in spaceships disguised as caravels, became fenced in the fields that were previously accessed by everyone here. Besides, they started to call whatever was inside their fence, their property. Clever, the European aliens, knew how to blend in: they married the some of theindigenous people and also enslaved them, passing on this predatory form of life.
Suddenly, we even ask ourselves: are we them?
The invaders called their heirs Brazilians, who in turn continued to invent, since 1500, new fences. Fences are sometimes made of barbed wire, sometimes drawn on a document. Those that sometimes we spend our whole lives trying to buy...
But what ways of being in the world were those so different from the European aliens? Forms that we Brazilians know today as the only and correct way to be in the world? Being part of this way of seeing the world, it seems as if these other forms of living on earth have been abandoned... But did the indigenous people really give up their point of view? Did they really allow this story to end likethis? They did not! That's what they taught me and what I came here to tell you...
[an indigenous music begins to play]
I think it's time to leave this film based on real facts aside, and turn to look at our region. And I leave a question: who before the invasion inhabited the space we live in today, the valley of Paraíba?
If Sítio do Picapau Amarelo [a farm in our town about which one of the most famous children’s books writers in Brazil wrote about in his stories. His name was Monteiro Lobato, and ourtown is named after him] takes advantage of the official history, in our researches we found records about some of those who already lived here, the Puri people. Records that we will now share with you.”
"Melissa Ferreira Ramos in her work ‘Re-existence and Indigenous resurgente: Diaspora and Transformations of the Puri People’ tell us:
‘The Puris have occupied part of the Southeast of Brazil, in the region that goes from the Paraíba Valley that passes through Rio de Janeiro and SãoPaulo, to the area of Rio Pomba, in the Southeast of Minas Gerais.
In the colonization process, sesmarias were created to be sold all over Brazil, making their supposed "owners" open paths in the forests, kill, enslave or negotiate in unjust ways with the Indians who inhabited those lands and made an effort to populate those places. Indigenous lands were diminishing and villages were increasing. The siege around the Indigenous people grew until they were trapped. Contact with the Puris became inevitable, generating many conflicts, deaths and resistance. For the Europeans, the Indigenous people invaded their farms. For the Indigenous people, it was the Luso-Brazilians who invaded their hunting grounds.
The way of life of the villages was still very different from that of the indigenous people. The Puris had difficulty in accepting this new life... many were dying from diseases and epidemics that they caught through contact with the settlers, others refused to live in this confinement.
The Brazilian government even created a Puri Village in Queluz, district of Lorena [in the state of São Paulo], in 1801.
The Puris were not easily convinced to go to the village, but they were being killed and were targets of constant wars, and on top of that, there was now the difficulty to find food from deforestation, caused by colonial politics. In Queluz, they persisted in maintaining their cultural practices and constantly went back to the forests, since according to their culture, they were nomads and did not agree to settle in a single place.
Those villages were considered extinct by the heirs of the invaders during the 19th century, on the grounds that there were no more Indigenous people there, only caboclos or Indigenous people mixed and already civilized, disregarding those who were refugees, hidden or silenced by society...”
[the music you listen here is not from the Puris, but from the Guaranis. It was recorded from a choral of children, the Guaranis Mbyá and Nhandeva, who live in the territories we now call São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro].
“Aline Rochedo, descendant of the Puri, in the book ‘Boacé Uchô–The history is on the earth’, tells us her version. According to her, the history of the Puri people is a history that is being built. In her words, Aline says:
"We are listening to the elders of our family and recognizing ourselves, walking the path of our ancestors".
Among the various stories that Aline collected, we chose that of Ms. Carminha, a Puri woman: "My great grandmother, was caught and taken to a farm down there, in the area of ‘Fumaça’, where she was raped. My grandfather was born white, light-eyed and the son of an "Indian". He was born in the middle of the bamboozal, he did not speak the language of white people. The Puri didnot accept to be enslaved and the whites came and took possession of what was of my ancestors’. The white people arrived and took over. The Puris from ‘Fumaça’ went to the lower mountains and other places in the region. At that time many ‘Indians’ were enslaved. Nobody talked much about this story. And this is very sad. Even in schools, they don't talk about it...”
To fight this sadness that Dona Carminha feels, Aline decided to put on paper some of the teachings that she learned from her elders. Among these learnings, Aline explains that, for the Puri people, the territory means a place of belonging, of memory, of history. A place where social relations take place, and what I consider most important: where collective bonds of solidarity are generated.”
Woman 4 (Katia):
"Yes, I lived somewhere else, I got married very early. And I went to live in the city, and what I missed most there was the people. People’s big tongues! Watching us pass by, taking care of my life! Because it is a people who gossips about our lives, but it is also a people who are very supportive, it is a people who are opened to help at any time. It's what I've missed the most, the human warmth, which there is nowhere else".
Woman 3 (Cida):
"The place I liked the most when I was a child was where today is the court, formerly it was a soccer field. There was a ravine where it used to be filled with people sitting and watching the game... there were people from São Benedito, Monteiro, Souzas [different neighborhoods from our town], it wasvery nice, there were people selling ice cream, there was so much going on".
How many houses have you lived in this neighborhood, which was the coolest one and do you own the house you live in today?
Woman 2 (Ana Serrinha):
"No, I don't own it, I pay rent, and I have a shack but it's too old and everything is broken and I have no conditions to improve it. And the place I liked the most was João Dias’ [a rented house of a person named João]"
Woman 6 (Sirleide):
"The kermesses, the parties we had on the street, where everyone had fun, all this is needed here for the community, because the people here are well connected to the place. So there should be something to distract them, like the street parties, which was very good. I watched a lot, I participated, there's the Festival da Mandioca [The Cassava Party]... there's a lot of things that are needed".
"You can see that these stories reveal an issue. The occupations of space vary with time and with places that before could and now can no longer be visited. Let's talk about what is sad and obvious: the accesses haven't stopped being interdicted. Behind these memories, the enclosure perseveres. Children no longer play in waterfalls because there are few of those who keep their gates open. Who enters and leaves depend on the permission of those who have possession of the land.
The same happens in the digital space, in the cyber space, in the internet. You don't pay for each site you enter for example, but you pay a toll so that the data you are exchanging can pass through someone's land. Or someone's cable. Or someone's satellite...
And this internet that we talk so much about and that is so present in our lives, what do we know about its history? We called Tânia, our ‘digital potato’ to tell us about how the internet was born".
"How was the internet born? I was here researching on the internet how the internet was born, that's funny, right? It's like asking a child, 'hey, how were you born?’. The most modern, the one we're used to, the 'www' ,was an invention from the 90s. Yet, it all comes from much earlier. It comes from the 60's. What is this word 'internet'? Net is not from cable TV and Inter does not come from the soccer team [joke referencingto a television company called NET and soccer team called INTER] -it comes from "InterNetworking". ‘Networking’ means 'make connection' in English, and ‘Inter’ is about exchange. In the 60’s there were already computers and they were used for research and so on. And this knowledge was only inside the computer. Suppose you took a picture on your cell phone and your cell phone is not connected to the internet –you won’t be able to get the picture to be anywhere else. For the photo to come out of your cell phone it has to connect to something, be it a wifi, be it a data plan from the operator... And at that time, on the separate computers, to pass anything that was created in one computer to another, they had to use something extra. At that time that something was a very big disk to record. Not like the music discs but... similar!"
“Nowadays, it is really hard to imagine the usefulness of a computer without internet and it seems that its grace is exactly there, but the computer was really more of a machine like other machines, which optimize our daily tasks, and by optimizing it, they end up giving space to new demands that were previously unimaginable. Among this old possibilities of using the computer we can highlight: the ability for it to be programmed to solve huge equations, and, of course, transform a lot of paper into a disk, a diskette, a dial...”
"Paul Baran, in the 60's, began to devise ways to build a network that could connect computers, where the information that was in one could be sent to another and vice versa, and we could reproduce the same information in more than one computer, and still do it remotely, that is, from a distance. When you open Facebook, you are not on the Facebook computer, you are not going on their machine itself. From your cell phone or your computer you can get these informations that are on computers far away. Yes, Facebook is inside a computer. Just like Google, Instagram, TikTok, anything else we use on our phone. In the end, much of what we consume is in another computer".
"So... the cloud doesn't exist! The cloud symbol appeared in the first place because, at the beginning of telephony and computer connections, it was complicated to explain and design the network that connected everything... then, they would design clouds. But.... the cloud doesn’t actually exist. All information depends on physical structures to exist. The Internet is incredible, but it's not magic, and it needs a physical infrastructure not only to be stored and saved, but also to travel, in small packages, through those huge fiber optic cables under the ocean".
"Anyway, in the 60's, the research team wanted to be able to exchange all that information... In a physics laboratory in the UK,they researched how to transfer the data from one side to the other -which is called in computer language as a 'package transfer'. We might picture the internet as if it were a big post office. In it, each computer would be a residence, with its own address, which we call 'IP address'. This connection can make these ‘package exchanges’ happen between one computer and another. In other words, in the end, our photo, music, meme, or whatever we consume, in the language of the computer is called 'data' -different from the six-sided dice [joke referencing to the portuguese word, here both dice and data are the same word, ‘dado’] -and this data is sent through the networks in this package transfer".
"When we talk about data we're talking about 0 and 1, that is, all the photos, all the texts, all the music, all the programs that run on your computer are, in the background, in essence, 0 and 1. Imagine a TV, that looking closely you can see a lot of little squares, very tiny, it's as if eachsquare was 0 or 1. The set of these 0 and 1 in a certain combination, looked from afar, forms an image.
Let's remember that was a temporary setting, but it reminds us pf the binary world view of the creators of computers. In macro or microcosms, the basis of life of computer and files is the same...”
At that same time in the 1960s, other projects were being developed elsewhere simultaneously, and all those knowledge centers were formulating new ideas and wanted to share them. So they were developing their own intranets..."
"Speaking of intranet, did you know that PSP is also an intranet? But here, we like to call it a ‘local network’. In other words, if you're connected to one of the wifi points on PSP, you can access our server, a computer, which is located inside the headquarters of the Portal sem Porteiras, filled with information, music, movies, which you can access without having to pay for Claro or Vivo [Brazilian cell phone companies].”
"In France there was theCyclades, in the USA there was the Merit Network, and in the UK, Donald Davies was studying transfers of the packages at the NPL. In 69, in the United States, a project started by ARPA came along. ARPA had a connection with these other networks outside the United States and wanted to do this knowledge exchange. And not only this exchange of knowledge with these other external networks, but also internally. ARPA wanted to have its own network. If any university center, any knowledge center was destroyed, that information would be lost. If they built a network where the information could be shared among the computers that were connected to that network, it would be less of a problem if a university was attacked, if a military center was attacked, because theinformation would be distributed on the other computers of the network. But if the United States had only its own way of transferring packets, it would not be able to connect with those other networks that were happening in other laboratories and knowledge centers around the world. So they accepted and adopted that idea of transferring data as proposed by Mr. Davies' physics lab, they came to an agreement and decided to use a protocol. If each computer spoke its language, they would not be able to communicate. Then, there would be no Internet, they would not be able to exchange information. It's like us, humans, for example. Me speaking Portuguese, here now. Another person speaking Spanish. Another person speaking Mandarin. Another person speaking English.All together, we won’t understand each other very well. We may understand each other through a sign, an agreement... but this has to be established, there has to be some kind of protocol. Something like putting your hand near your mouth is a sign of hunger. Regardless of the language, it is agreed that this symbol means hunger.
In the case of the computer, these protocols were defined, which made it possible to do this exchange of information between one computer and another. And then in 74, besides accepting the transfer of packages, they also entered into an agreement on how to define the computer's name, direction, and address. In the same way that the post office needs a zip code to be able to send a correspondence to a residence, each computer has itsidentification on the network, the IP address.
So in 74, these two big agreements were signed -the IP address and the DNS. Today, for example, when we access a Google search, we don't have to write down the IP address. If you type 'Google.com', your computer can already find this information on the network. And this is what we call a domain. Facebook.com' is another domain. If you search the internet now for the Facebook IP address, a numerical sequence will appear. If you type this number in your browser, the Facebook page will appear. That is, your computer and cell phone can access a web page through these two types of address, either through the name or through the IP address".
"In short, what makes the existence of the Internet possible are the protocols, that is, an agreement to use a common language between computers, IP, a number so that each computer can receive and send information, and DNS, another protocol that makes it possible to transform those numbers -which is how the computer thinks and communicates -into unique names intelligible to humans, not machines".
"In the 1980’s, this network, this infrastructure that had a boom in the United States, ended up being used primarily by universities and government institutions. Some private institutions had access to it, but it was not opened to civilians, to anyone who wanted to have their virtual store... ordinary people did not have access to the internet. In 1995, the NSF project, which was this network of universities, ended and opened the gateway for commercial use. In other words, 95 was when the boom of the internet started. Before, in 1990, Berners-Lee invented the ‘WWW’, which facilitated access to addresses -‘World Wide Web’, that is what ‘WWW’ means, and it would be a unique name to be used worldwide. So, at that time, it was defined that one page would have the same name anywhere in the whole world. It was also at this time that the links were created. That blue line that if you click, it takes you to another page.
The link brought an easier way of navigating between pages, to find a page worldwide. The opening for commercial use brought a boom to the internet. Besides, in the 90's, they managed to make a list of what was on the internet. Imagine, until then, one didn't know what was on the internet, there wasn’t a Google or something. Google works exactly like this. If your room is a mess, you still have some idea where things are. So you have a mental index of where to find something, no matter how chaotic it is, you need a comb, go there and find it.
In the case of the internet, there wasn’t a person in that position. Only who created a webpage knew where it was. And at that time, the tools that listed the contents that were available on the internet started to appear, and Google for example was born in 1998. So, it is still very young. Google ended up gaining so many users because they created a new way to make this listing. When you have an index of a book, for example, usually the chapters are ordered by pages there. Chapter one, chapter two... there is a linear order, and this sequence follows the sequence of the pages. In the case of the Internet, we do not have a page number. So to decide that one page should appear before the other? Then Google came up with ‘relevance’ That is, every web page that appears in the results has some relevance, there are reasons for it to appear first.”
“Hey, but wait a minute! That is where the danger really lies. Ok, so Google did a favor in organizing information from around the world, which you can put in a search engine and receive a lot of answers, organized by relevance. But... relevance for whom?
Despite the algorithmic efforts to make us human beings easily understandable by machines, the human cultural multiplicity is much greater than what machines can embrace, and if relevance is important, to leave in the hands of an artificial intelligence to decide what matters to us, is to reduce us to a cultural uniqueness and hierarchy as effective and destructive as were the European colonization. And for artificial intelligence, it is even easier to understand us when we become more and more equal.”
"At Google, the first links are probably sponsored -the webpage paid Google to appearat the top. And the following ones come up because they use criteria within their websites that ends up making them listed at the beginning of the search. If you want to, you can search on the internet how to make your page appear first in Google results.In a way this impacts the businesses, because people will not look at the end of the search page for information, there are few people who do this. And I even recommend doing it, because you can access much more content than the first one that is being offered. If you limit yourself to only the first content that is being offered, you have a restriction of information you can get.
In the 90's a certain occupation of this cyberspace also happened. That territory was beginning to open up to the people who were not in the governmental sphere. At that time, there were few websites, and there weren't any apps, there wasn't a cell phone that connected to the internet. That was only in 1996, and back then, there were no packages of whats app for free, it was all very expensive and slow... It was in 2001 e-mails on cell phones started existing, and only by 2008 that actually popularized and people started being more connected through their phones than through computers.
Anyway... in the mid 90's, the content that was on the internet was produced by people. The web pages, or a virtual gallery, was created by someone who had an interest in something. Nowadays, that logic has already been reversed. Whoever is surfing the internet ended up becoming only a consumer of content. All right, we upload photos, texts, videos of Youtube, music on SoundClod, there is content production. But any content you put on these platforms does not belong to you. It belongs to the platform. If Facebook decides to disappear from the earth, all your photos will disappear along with it! If you don't have a copy somewhere... even for Youtube, all this content that people produce and put on Youtube is Youtube's copyright in the end. If Youtube ended today, all the content on it ends as well. In other words, we left the role of creators of a Cyber space to become Cyber space consumers. The internet ended up becoming a great shopping mall where people enter, walk around, look to the sides, take a selfie... and go on. Different from before, where people had to create that space to circulate in. But, I guess the subject on the occupation of this space is a conversation for another time..."
"While we celebrate the possibility of more andmore people moving through this virtual space, having more access to information, getting to know more people, it is also like dancing carnival on a guarded street, taking drugs with predictable effects, and wearing costumes chosen by other people. It's as if all movements were induced and then monitored, but we still celebrate something.
The Internet is a two-way street, which allows us some freedom and some imprisonment. This is all because the infrastructure is commanded by corporations, those who own the roads, in search of profit. But that doesn't mean that we can't use it in other ways, taking advantage of technological advances in another way, not using unnecessary advances, turning outdated routers into a luxury that is only ours. And it's because we believe that the Internet has wasted its potential to serve the great monster of capital that the Portal without Porteiras exists.
We’ll keep on trans-existing. I’ll see you on our next episode!"
"In this episode you heard the voices of Ana, Cida, Mukta, Sirleide, Katia and Ana Serrinha. Our interviewer was Simone Cavassi. Our guest was Marina Vilarinho and you also heard Catarine Del'Aquila's voice, telling us a little more about the Puri People. The teachings on technology are from Tânia Mara. The script, editing and narration is by Marcela Guerra and me, Luísa Bagope. See you next time!"
Welcome to one more episode of the Nodes that Bond podcast. This is the second episode of a trilogy that will tell the story of our neighborhood’s community network, the Portal sem Porteiras, ou PSP.
To tell the story of why we created this autonomous communications network, we must talk about the issues that brought us here. On the first episode, we made a parallel between the Mantiqueira Mountains territory, and the virtual territory, while discussing the occupation of lands, the pathways, and how a very recent creation called the Internet has been following the old recipe of Capitalism, where eveything has a price and an owner, who calls the shots on how things happen.
In this second episode, we will continue our conversations on the occupation of both physical and virtual spaces. But this time, we will turn our gaze to the social dynamics that build the territories. During the episode we will listen to women from our neighborhood, interviewed by Simone Cavassi.
One of my favourite places in the neighborhood is the central square. The square is where we have the parties, it’s where we meet people... whenever you’re passing by there, there’s always someone to chat with...
My favourite place is the central square. It’s where we meet our friends, coworkers. We sit and have some beer, the kids can play as much as they want, because we are close and watching...
People use the square to have some festivals, then we have the Balacobaco street fair, then that was over, and then we started the Mandioca street festival... and we gather in the square and have the parties there: birthdays, christmas, it all happens in the square.
What I miss are the street parties that we had in our streets, when everybody would gather and have fun...
A song plays, an the Narrator 2, Luísa, begins to speak
In the Souzas neighborhood, the square is the heart of conversations and exchanges. But it’s not only here that the square is an important place. As it is said, the public square is a symbol of democracy. The square is an opened space, where ideas circulate, and possibilities to speak your mind, express yourself, participate, cooperate, and also for conflicts. To be there, one must be opened to frequent conversations. It is a place where we can put to practice the principles of democracy.
To contribute in our conversation, we invited Anita Vaz, who lives in the neighrborhood and came to talk to us about the points of view from psychology and social work on the building of territories.
A sweet song plays, Anita Vaz’s voice enters
We are reflecting on ourselves in this territory, but not only reflecting, but also practicing, and so being involved in the way we relate to this territory: how we eat, how we obtain the food we eat, how we work, how we manage to get what we need in order to survive, to live and to create other possibilities for living, more collective, horizontal realtionships with other people and living beings who are seeking to live together in cities, neighborhoods...
The countries, or towns, are territories that get defined from historical disputes, colonial, imperialistic disputes, with the massacre of indigenous peoples... and these are borders that today are defined by law, a law that will determine the destiny of so many lives, borders that will forbid the circulation of so many bodies – but these were all built. Several peoples were there long before such borders even existed – and they had their territories.
We really can simply undo this idea that a territory is a map that someone will handle to you and that it is finished, or that we can’t transform something we dislike about the place where we live, because that is outside of ourselves. I believe that the idea of a territory is precisely something that envolves us and our relationships. We start to see that we actually make and build the places we live in, and we are made and built by them, and these places interfere in our life choices.
I came here searching for more quality of life, with more connection with nature, simplicity and quality for my kids, my family. I had always lived in São Paulo...
I was gone form here for a while, but it is obvious that the neighborhood is more well taken care of. There is a lot of new people, people I don’t recognize, a lot of people that had left and came back! I also noticed that the amount of houses in the neighborhood increased so much! So many people moved in here, so many people arriving... a lot of people coming from big cities! And, like everything in life, they bring a lot good things, and also not such great things come along... but, good and bad are relative, right? What isn’t good to me, might be good for someone else. Mutual respect.
I loved living in São Paulo, but when I had my baby, it just seemed só agressive, such an unfit place for a baby! I got nervous just seeing him breathing the air there. So we would spend a lot of time at the Água Branca Park [a very green park in the city of São Paulo], it was the only place where we felt good in the city. We couldn’t afford the big city rent anymore. And here, there was the Pandavas school [local alternative school in the neighborhood], our son was going to grow up and it was a good school for him. Here we found a safe, clean, accessible place, in the middle of nature, a good to live... it was a good choice, I’m glad we came here. Each day I like it here more and more.
I like to think that a territory is not only a physical space, but the relationships that exist in a certain space and time. When we think about territories, it is interesting to really see them as something relational. When we think about our territory, we are actually also thinking about ourselves, on how we affect and get affected in these relationships – in a certain place, between certain people – who are also from different places, who have different stories. How do these differences are sewed together and create a diverse territory? And, mostly: what are the possibilites that arise from this process? How can we take care of the collective health involved in having so many differences in only one territory – like a neighborhood, or a community?
A good thing that has been happening in the neighborhood over the last few years is that a lot of new people moved in here, people from different places... and I don’t see bad outcomes from this, I just see things that we can improve, but nothing negative.
In the old days, there used to be a lot of activities here, there was the Rodeo, the Horses Festival... these were events in our town that we liked. Nowadays, this culture is dying and people who are moving in here don’t like our culture, they want to change everything. I believe they should first arrive here, see the kind of things we enjoy. Those who don’t like our culture – fine, they don’t have to. But they also shouldn’t criticize our culture. We were born here, we grew up here, we are from the neighborhood. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be more people. The neighborhood is opened to everyone – it’s good that people move in, the neighborhood grows, there are new people... but the people who arrive need to show respect for our culture. I see a lot of things around here that are not okay – they want to take over, they criticize the things we do, anything that happens becomes gossip, people blowing the whistle.... This is a negative point to me.
A territory can have many shapes, but it always has borders, limits – which define it as a territory. We might play with this idea and see that borders differ from limits, as they might be more permeable, while a limit is more hermetic.
We may perceive our bodies, the body of any living being, as a territory. It has it’s borders, it has its own way of relating to other territories that pass by it. And if we perceive things this way, the dispute of territories is also happening with the body – cisgender women’s bodies, in our patriarchal society, are continuously in dispute. Women, transgender people, people who are not occupying the same place as the dominant white male bodies are, are continuously defending the territory that their very own bodies are.
For instance, why does a body that has breasts – be it female, male or non binary – why can’t this body be without a shirt on at the beach or at a waterfall – as a dominant male body can? So, bodies that express themselves as territories that don’t want to be attacked, for example, by sexual harassment or even the stares from others, are in a constant dispute, always resisting. This can serve as an example of the notion of the body as a territory that is related to other territories, and that wants to express itself in the most free and fair way as possible – right?
“If there was something in the neighborhood you could change, what would that be?”... I don’t think that this is specific from this neighborhood, but something that I was not familiar with and saw here was the domestic violence – that not only women suffer, but also children. Hitting children is something I thought didn’t even exist anymore... I don’t think this is specific from here, but it is something I would like to change. That people had more respect for children, that they wouldn’t be violent with them. Just like men can’t be violent with women, nobody can be violent with children.
If I could change something in the Souzas neighborhood... I would say less is more: people’s gossip! I don’t know if there’s a possible change, but... people seem to have an opinion about everything, a lot of prejudice... it feels like it is rooted here. Things change, things evolve, but the prejudice remains rooted to the ground. And people say some things are historical, no way, man! When something is not good, is not okay, we have the time to change it! You know? People say: oh, but we have our own ways, this is what we do... well, it is being done wrong, it’s as simple as that! It’s like a child: if you spoil them, there is no good time to put an end to it.
Narrator - Luísa
Every body is a space. Every body, without exception, has already lived at the primordial space of all life: the womb of a woman. The objectification of women's bodies is the certainty of bodies in tension in its relations with other body-spaces. Here, power relations play out. It is in the body that one suffers the punishment of repression, the consequences of poverty, the wear and tear of work. The body can be violated simply by existing. It is the body that must be covered, that must limit its ways, that must stay within the secluded homes or even simply die to cease to exist. It is in the body that one carries fear.
The body cannot be treated in a universal way. It has color, sexuality, gender and socioeconomic class, and all these factors are determinants in the relationships we establish. The body produces and is produced by the territory it inhabits.
Twenty years from now, I believe the neighborhood will be much better than it is now. So many new people arriving, bringing new ideas... so I think in twenty years things will be even better.
I imagine that, in twenty years, the neighborhood will be very quiet and empty, because of the pace at which things are evolving. Young people won’t be able to thrive living here, they will go somewhere bigger. There’s not much for a young person to do here, starting by the internet signal. I really think this makes a big difference, there should be internet antenas for everyone to be connected... even the television signal works poorly.
Oh, I hope the neighborhood gets better, it should have betther things, because right now we don’t really have the best structure.
Wow, I see so many people arriving, I believe that twenty years from now it will be a much bigger place, with a lot more houses, sewer system, tap water everywhere... I’m not sure if the arrival of so many new people is something that will only grow and grow. Perhaps it is a cyclic process... people might come and people might leave as well...
You know, I don’t even like to think about it, if right now it is frightening, imagine it in twenty years!
Narrator - Luísa
As Anita said, the notion of territory takes place in the relations between people, between media, between all beings. So, the internet, which is an infrastructure of relationships, of communication, can be thought of as territory. And as a territory, it has several types of (inter)relations.
Today we want to talk about the “body” of the internet. What is the physical, spatial structure necessary for the internet to function? And what power relations are implied in the internet’s body?
Our dear tutor, Tania, our digital potato, who is exploring not only the roads withing the cyberspace, but also the the roads of Uruguay, will tell us a little more about this story...
If you leave São Paulo and go to Monteiro Lobato, you must take a road. You might take one highway, then enter São José dos Campos, and then go up the mountain. Or you might take another highway, go all the way to Santo Antonio do Pinhal up the mountains, and then go to Monteiro. There are different possibilities of roads, but the idea is that you should always get to your final destination, right?
The internet also works like this. For a message to go from one place to the other, it has to follow roads... The whole thing happens so fast that, if the person you text is right next to you, in only a second your text shows up in their screen. How does that happen? Does the message jump from one phone to the other, like a flea, or like lice? [laughs] No, whats app doesn’t work like lice – it spreads easily, but not in quite such a jumpy way [laughs].
If we imagine the text we send from whats app as a package...
A song plays, the Narrator Marcela enters for a foot note
Package, in this case, is the data package. Do you remember that, in our last episode, we talked a bit about what data was? We said that, in a nutshell, they could be described as zeros and ones. Well, then – a package, a data package, are a sequence of the data. This sequence is trasmitted by a network. When we send out a piece of information, it is usually divided into several packages – this is how it gets to be sent and received. Then, at the other end of the line in the network, these pieces are put back together – the packages – gathering back the piece of information that was sent. This happens with a text, a hyperlink, a picture of a dog – it is all broken into smaller pieces and put back together again.
This package is meant to arrive at a certain destination. And which way will this package take to arrive at its destination?
If we are both using the same wifi, in the same house for instance, and texting each other through whats app, the text will leave your phone, get connected to the wifi router. This wifi router is probably connected to the internet of the company you pay to provide the internet in your home. The company will verify wether you payed the bills or not. If you did pay, your text will get out there, take a road to the internet company’s central, where it will be analysed – what kind of package is this?
It will be checked that it is a Whats App package. And where does the Whats App company reside? In the United States. It’s servers and computers are in the US – and in other places around the world – but not in Brazil. And so the internet company will send the package to one of these servers – which means this message will leave Brazil - arrive at the Whats app central, check who it must be sent to, look for the person – oh, it’s Marcela! So, the package will take to entire road back, to arrive at Marcela’s phone – who was right next to me all along. [laughs]
Narrator - Marcela
While this package is traveling back and forth, you must be imagining a flying package. And yes, we might imagine that, since the packages, somewhere between sending and receiving, use the spectrum, a property of the air to propagate, because the internet propagates via radio frequencies – but that’s not the only way it does so. What brings the internet’s stability and power are the fiber optic cables.
The fiber optic cables spread information via cables, which are deep under the ocean, a super infrastructure that works on a global level, making use of various concession policies. A company, to use the path, the cable, of another company, needs permission. If you have the opportunity, put in your search engine: map of fiber optics in the world and see this artificial skeleton of the earth - it is super shocking.
The speed at which data travels through the internet cables is far faster than a car in a highway. It’s so fast that the very moment you text someone who is next to you, they receive the message. It really gives us the impression that the text jumped from one phone to the other, but actually that text went through a whole other country. And we can’t be sure exactly what “pathways” our messages will take. But, cutting a long story short, the messages go round and round to long distances.
An interesting point of view is that, looking at the way we use infrastructure of the internet, and seeing the use of internet as a universal human right, these structures should be public assets, shouldn’t it? But that is not our reality. It’s the same as water. Without water there’s no life. But while living in any city, who can drink water without paying for it?
A place where I used to go when I was a kid, and it was so good, and now we can no longer go, is right behind the sports field. There was a swimming pool, all the kids would go, but the owner closed the doors for visitors.
It was both a farm and a hotel, well known around here, and the people from the neighborhood had free access to go there anytime. We would go swimming, we had school activities there... it was a place that I would go very, very often. Nowadays, we can’t even stand by their gate anymore.
Narrator - Marcela
One thing I had always heard was that the water had no owner, and that it was the land around the water that had ownership, and that if you entered the waters through the water itself, no one could complain that you were there. The Internet also has this characteristic of being a common good Narrator - from humanity. So the information that flows on it belongs to all of us. It so happens that the land, the cables, the infrastructure, are not ours, and this can indeed interrupt the flow of our water-communications and create dams, cause floods... the functioning of the internet today is super tied to the logic of capitalism.
When it comes to the internet, this infrastructure, these cables, they used to be public. And they were privatized, at the same historical moments as several other public structures were also privatized. The telecommunication companies now own these structures and they create gates, making it necessary for our connection to the structure to be payed for, just like toll stations. If we look at the matter in in a technical point of view, these tolls are not really necessary. The way in which the internet was structured over the past decades, all the information we get from there, this web of international pathways through which our information passes and we don’t even know about – they are all unnecessary. The internet was taken over by all these companies and they created structures that are not necessary.
We could work towards an infrascrature made of several local, small strcutures. The local structure could then connect to each other – and only then we would build a large infrastructure, a large internet web. That’s how the internet actually started... and with time, it somehow got corrupted.
Narrator - Marcela
Meanwhile, there are many initiatives fighting for and creating a less centralized internet. As Tânia mentioned, it is not a matter of the technique, but of the choices of the paths to the development of these techniques. The new technologies are developed based on factors such as speed and profit, extractivist logics that ignore community wellbeing and monetize all exchanges.
Today we have several non-centralized initiatives. There are social networks, there is file storage, with the same functions as Whats App or Google Drive. Instead of storing the information in a proprietary center, they store it in a distributed way. One of the ways to decentralize the information is by storing it in the computers of those who use it. Then, these computers will update each other. Another application of decentralized internet is community networks, like PSP, which uses a mesh topology made out of a lot of nodes, but this will be discussed in the next episode...
Narrator - Luísa
In this episode you heard the voices of Ana, Cida, Mukta, Adelita, Sirleide, Katia and Ana Serrinha. Who interviewed them was Simone Cavassi. Our guest was Anita Vaz. You also heard Tânia Mara, tutoring us about how the internet works. The narration, script and editing were made by Marcela Guerra and me, Luísa Bagope. We’ll meet in our next episode.
Welcome to Nodecast, a podcast from the PSP network. In the last episodes we raised the discussion about territories and their occupations, bringing voices from the neighborhood and a tech layer, for you to know a little more about what makes up our ground and what are the stars that guide us to continue the work of the association. This is the story of PSP told by those who made or make it happen.
The history of this network began in 2015, in this same Mantiqueira mountains where we are, only further ahead in the Paraíba Valley for those going towards Rio de Janeiro. There, near Resende, is a village called Fumaça. And it was from there that the following call came:
The second narrator, Luísa, announces:
"The Cloud - Rural Station of Art and Technology invites you to the Fumaça- Fumaça Data Springs gathering. During 10 days in July, we will install a wifi mesh network and a GSM cellular point in a collective work format in the Village of Fumaça."
And so we went. Me, Hiure and Dorah.
To be close to the earth, to be close to the food that I can grow and eat, to be close to the animals, to be close to nature... and also to be close to technology – as an extra element inside this universe.
That was the general vibe: people, nature, shared care for food and cleaning through assorted roles described in a paper glued to the wall, and a lot, a lot of ideas in our minds...
Technology can be our ally, it cannot be something that is coming up against us. So, A Nuvem (The Cloud) proposes this perspective of human beings in the centre, being able to be associated with technology in a more harmonious way. Right now we are reflecting on the web, the internet, on what these equipments are... on demystifying all this. In reality, everything that seems big and complicated is actually simple, and it is being made by someone. And if one person can create these things, any other person can do it as well.
At the meeting in Fumaça, there were people who had already built a community internet network, people who wanted to do it, and people like me who didn't really understand what was going on. But everyone was engaged and willing to help in whatever possible to connect the village.
There, in the village, they don’t have a numerous population, so for telecommunications companies it is not lucrative to bring their technology here. For a company, the most important thing is profit, so it was not worth it for them.
It was carrying these good news and this information that we arrived here in the Souza neighborhood. We came thirsty for community life: after living very isolated for more than a year, it was good to be able to do things together. When we saw the precariousness of the internet services available in the neighborhood we started to tell about what we had seen there at the Nuvem meeting. Marie got to know the idea and liked it.
I remember Hiurê sharing all these ideas, and we got really excited, me and my husband, since we were really excited about autonomy in growing our food, permaculture, building our own ecological home... and then there was yet another form of living a more sustainable life! We could actually include digital communications within permaculture. That was what motivated us. We really enjoyed the idea of taking this matter into our hands.
The idea of autonomy that was already circulating in our closest conversations, and we were building the discourse and the core of our shared internet network. At the same time, other meetings were taking place and other processes of autonomy and the seeds of work such as what the CSA [Community that Supports Agriculture] is today, were being talked about in the same circles, in the same balconies.
I remember there were so many meetings over at our house, around the big dinner table, and Yuri would bring to the group the ideas of Sociocracy...
We went over to Ede’s land, he said it would be ok for us to simply put on the ground a stick with a router on top of it. Then we put another one of those at Brisa’s house, and also at Leo’s house.
So, in practice, our network starts here. Three routers installed in three houses over there in the Quaresmeiras hill, talking to each other and sharing an internet connection. The internet used to arrive by radio from the newly arrived Internexo [the internet company that operates in the neighborohood]. For a long time, the only way to connect was Claro's expensive and limited 3g service. This means that the first provider to serve the central areas of our neighborhood had finally arrived.
Before they had their first costumers they were already searching who would install it. And immediately I called them, and explained our ideas. And they said ‘no, we have absolutely no interest!’.
And so we hired a 1 MEGA internet deal over at our home in the Quaresmeiras Hill. The internet would get to our house, and then we shared it with those three other points, and get them to connect to each other and share this connection. There was a real need for technical knowledge to make this happen. That was when we decided to invite the community of the neighborhood to be a part of this challenge. We booked a meeting at the local school.
There were a lot of people at that first meeting. We presented the project, our association, the laws, our rights, all that.
I remember that at that meeting we got the feeling that some people felt inhibited to enter the school, people thought they had to be personally invited, and so we decided to move the meeting to the street – which was the neighborhood’s central square. And then it was that typical chaos we have on the square! And I am often thinking about collective organizations, and I saw that and thought, ‘Gosh, are we sharing this idea too soon?’ .
Marcela – Narrator
We really wanted more people to have internet, but we didn't want to be a provider working to offer connection like Internexo does - the idea was different.
A lot of people expected only this: to get an internet reception.
I remember debating the name the project would have. While it didn’t have a name, we called it “Souza’s Internet”. And we wanted to change that name, so it wouldn’t be confused with some kind of public service, and not a community, collective action, which is quite different than public actions. It has a lot more to do with people being envolved than with a right someone has.
Marcela – Narrator
The lack of internet was a collective problem, and we were proposing a collective way to solve it. And so, a couple of people who understood this point, started to integrate our group.
We arrived the neighborhood in 2007, there was absolutely no internet. And I found out about you guys [PSP] through Liam, my oldest son. He had heard some talking at the central square about a community internet for our neighborhood, and I found this a very interesting idea, and so I started going to the meetings. And it was cool, usually we don’t have much of a clue about what the internet really is, how it works... and I found out how it works, how absurd it is what they charge for internet connection. I always say that if radio groups had figured out a way to charge for the amount of time we listened to the radio, we would have payed a fortune to the radio. And that way I got more and more envolved in PSP, always seeking this community idea of an internet. Made by us, for us to use, paying fair prices...
At that point, people started saying that what we were doing was illegal. It became a big gossip in the neighborhood. People would say that if we started doing it, they were going to report it.
It was right around the time that Internexo was arriving at the neighborhood... and then someone started this gossip.
This made us start searching for different approaches. How could we do this in a legal way? We studied a lot the legislation about the internet in Brazil, which is still very crude. There aren’t really a lot of community internet groups in Brazil, you know?
Narrator – Marcela
At the time we started researching the theme, there was no legislation that addressed the particularities of a community network, that is, we would have to fit into the existing molds as if we were a small provider. We faced problems with Internexo. These were shared with Anatel [Brazil’s National Agency for Telecommunications], and they said we would have to take this to the Consumer’s Protection and Defense Programme [PROCON, in Portuguese]. We then understood that it would have to be done by ourselves, walking through the gaps so as not to sound illegal. The first logical step was to formalize the collective as an Association. At this time it is difficult to remember the order of the facts, because it really seems that everything happened at the same time.
Coolab is a community network lab. A collective of people who experiment, work with, use these technologies – computers, systems, related to the infrastructure to the connection between machines and also betweeen people, right? Coolab received funding from Mozilla in a project for increasing community networks around the globe. In this project, the plan was to implement community networks in different places... and while the team was discussing possibilities, they realized that PSP was highly suitable. And it was one of the communities that received this funding for initianing a structure. They knew that here there was already a project being drawn, there were people who were interested in it, there was a technician of the area who was interested in it, and it is situated in a neighborhood that operates as a community. So, why not have this territory as a place to test these ideas?
I was telling the guys to make the project here. We were already working on it, we already had a group, our network was called “Souzas Livre”.
"Free Souza Network" was the temporary name we used when we wanted to get rid of the so-called "Souza’s Internet", which later became Associação Portal sem Porteiras [Gatless Gateway Association]. As we showed that we were relatively organized, we received that support from Coolab and Mozilla, for our installation. So, PSP started with a bunch of Coolab routers, which until today we have not been able to return in value because we have not yet reached financial sustainability of our network. But don't worry, Coolab! That debt is not out of our sight.
I remember a meeting when we started debating about the tower (communications tower), that would be installed at Miragaia’s house, the meeting was at Marie’s house. We also did some work on Sociocracy, we tested some decision making strategies...
Narrator - Marcela
We decided to take a big step: install a tower on a mountain in our neighborhood that could see both São José [the big city nearest to us] and Souza at the same time. Then we could finally leave behind the hiring of Internexo and its headaches, and have a cheaper and more powerful connection from the big city. We found this place on Miragaia's land, and Miragaia agreed to install it.
I have a picture of me, in 2017, at the scrap heap, where I bought a tower, and we were going to connect to São José. ]
One day we were over at my place, not really knowing what would happen, and Miragaia stopped by there. We didn’t have much contact with Hiurê yet. And so a bunch of us got together and went up that mountain, with bamboos, all the equipment. We raised the tower, screwed all the parts together, did the whole thing.
Narrator – Marcela
An important parenthesis here. It was in the middle of this task of climbing the tower that that we met Marquinhos. He fell a little by chance and ended up meeting us and integrates the group until today.
So, I saw that the project seemed really cool, I really liked Hiurê. We met, he explained the whole idea to me.
I met those guys and they were talking about how they needed more people to help taking the equipment up the mountain. And I said: oh yeah, I’m definitely going! And I climbed the actual antenna, you know? I got almost to the highest part of it, and I was like “Wow, man, you can see everything from up here!” You could see the entire neighborhood and also São José [the big city nearest to us].
So, we raised this tower. From April until August, we were working up there, to make the whole thing work. Then, in August, we were able to connect with São José. And we made a 8 Megabyte link with the city, and we still have that, until these days.
Narrator – Marcela
This Tower endeavor happened in 2018. Right after that, something happened. In January 2019, Coolab invited me to a meeting, where they invited me to be a part of the group. Up until that point, the group was composed only by men. They needed at least one woman in the group, so they could enroll for a specific funding. Although I thought Coolab’s work was very important, I was pregnant and about to deliver my baby – and accepting this job meant, in a near future, having to travel with a new born. But I accepted the invitation.
In March 2019, I was on a plane with Hiurê and Amina, flying to Naiorobi, Kenya. Although I’m absolutely sure I never want to do something crazy like that, that trip was important for me to discover my role in all this. During the meetings of the international groups we were part of, gender issues were often raised, and that brought me thoughts about my own experience that I could not name until then. We came back, and I would take a new role: bring more women to community networks. That was when Lu came along. And this partnership was vital for the next steps in PSP.
When I met Marcela and Hiurê, and, therefore, PSP as an idea and a practice, the whole thing seemed very interesting. But at the same time... so confusing. And Hiurê would explain a lot of things, and I asked questions, and very patiently he would answer. But still, how could I find a place for all of that in my daily life? I also started talking to Marcela as well. And I realized that, although she is someone who gets her hands dirty, she had very similar questions. She also told me about APC, Association for the Progress of Communication. An international organization composed by some crazy people like us, who manage money from fundings and launch public notices to support great projects that deal with technology around the globe. She told me that there was an opened call at that very moment, and it had the goal to decrease technology’s gender abyss. We took a look at ourselves, at our territory, and realized that this abyss was very real here, where we live. That men were far more connected to the techniques, and that women felt miles away from those. That was when we started to plan on doing something about this.
2019’s first semester was in between travels, antennas and public notices. Everything was going well. But, since the network is made out of people, we are often exposed to conflict.
Then there was that whole thing with Miragaia, and we had to remove the antenna. It meant moving the entire structure, finding a new place...
We removed the antenna, and found a place with the lady from the Monteiro family, over at the other side [of the neighborhood]. We left the previous place and started walking through the mountains with a GPS trying to open up a trail that didn’t pass through anybody’s property. We wrote down some geographical spots, informed the group about them, and so we began the saga of moving all the stuff.
And so one day we went to put up the actual tower. Man, we were hiking up the mountain with so much stuff: the chainsaw, cement, sand... it was exhaustive, going up such a steep mountain! I remember going up with one 30 kilos cement bag. When we got there, we split in two teams – some people would prune some trees on the spot to open up some space; and another group took the trail through the top of the mountain to go and get the antenna over at Miragaia’s land. I remember the battery was extremely heavy, it had aproximately 100 kg. We built a bamboo structure with the battery in the middle of it so we could carry it over our shoulders. That was me and Marquinhos, and I remember being surprised that Marquinhos went to this mission wearing flip flops, and there were spots when the grass would go up to our shoulder, man!
Right after this whole saga of transporting pieces of the tower, we took the tower itself. That day there was a bunch of people, around 20 of us. After that we went a few more times and installed the equipment bit by bit. In the middle of the way, the mobilization faded away, because the optic fiber Internexo connection arrived at the neighborhood. So, it got much easier to keep PSP going, because it needed to keep going, through this opctic fiber signal that getting the signal through the antenna from São José.
After all, in order to focus our energy and expand the network’s structure throughout the neighborhood and increase the number os associates, we chose to keep on sharing the network connection we had gotten from Internexo. Until that moment, we would share the internet from my house. And although we are not competition - because we are not a service, but a community initiative – Internexo never took us very kindly. And people gossip that, when their signal is weak, PSP is to blame for, because our signal would somehow get in the way of theirs. That is not true. We use the frequencies that are allowed and do not cause interferences. We were then and still are now within our rights, because Anatel [the government communications institution] allows us to connect with up until 5,000 people, as long as we are registered in their portal. And we have been registered there for quite some time, we have always had concerns and attention to the legal aspects of PSP.
And so, we got to the middle of 2019, an important moment for the History of PSP here at our neighborhood.
Do you remember that we told earlier about a public notice from APC that was opened to subscriptions? And that Marcela and I took a chance and submitted a project for Souza’s neighborhood? We got approved. Wow, it was such a joy! And that joy spread throughout the second semester of 2019.
A very important part of the project was the Women’s Circle. There, we would sit in circles, got to know each other better, brought our doubts and questions, talked about our pains, our curiosities, and learned together. Tânia, our famous ‘digital potato’, taught us a lot of things, and she did it in such a delicate way, giving us room to feel like we were building something, and not experiencing some kind of lack – lack of knowledge, lack of courage – no. The idea was to demistify, do something new together. And by being together, gain strenght. In addition to that, five of those women became researchers for PSP, and they did something truly amazing. They went after other women in the neighborhood. Women they thought were interesting, who they wanted to document. And so, after a lot of coffee, cake, conversations, feelings and stories told, they created web pages. Web pages that showed these women in a map. The Map of the Souzas neighborhood women. Obviously the women in this map do not sum up all the amazing women in the neighborhood. They are all amazing women. But we made an effort to put there the most women that we could. And my gosh, what an effort did these researchers do! They had to write texts, make pictures, edit the images, tape and edit audio files, search for songs... and choose an unique way to portray each woman through the digital language. The union needed to create the women’s map was definitely unforgettable.
It was still 2019, and we had another amazing event. Coolab (remember it?) decided to have a second Coolab Camp. A meeting that happened here at Pandavas with people from all over the world who were connected to community networks. There really were people from all over: people from Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, people from different parts of Brazil. That was the first time I understood we were part of a global movement. It was amazing to feel a part of this. And to me, it brought a new perspective about what it meant to be a part of PSP – it meant that we were part of a collective movement, effort and idea, to change to outdated way in which things are still being done today.
That day when we had that party for presenting the Nodes that Bond project, was one of those special days of everybody in the central square. There were people serving food, Ana was there organizing everything, people eating the food...
Me, Vivi and my dad made the food, my dad was helping me. We decided to prepare rice, beans, farofa [typical dish made with manioc flour], a lot of salad, and polenta [a typical dish, like a corn puree], and there wouldn’t be any meat. But, closer to the day of the party, some people in the community donated boar meat. Since everybody is having a lot of issues with the boars, because they are eating all of their crops, people donated some of it’s meat for this lunch. It was a big success. [‘The boar’ here means the ‘Boar-Pig’ a man-made crossing between wild boar and large domestic pigs for meat production at the south of the country that has gotten out of control, destroys crops and has become a very serious environmental issue].
Computers were out in the street, the screens, the Hard Drives, all the devices... [laughs]. The entire PSP structure suddenly left the inside of their headquarters and got out to the open, like PSP was inside out. The server was there, and the community network was there, operating, for whoever wanted to take the mouse and navigate through it. And the big attraction of the local network that day was the Women’s map, which was developed by many hands, of many women in this neighborhood.
It was a moment for real celebration. We were truly satisfied with the work we had done. Those of us who were researchers dove into amazing stories.
It became such a positive memory. And this also sums up the Nodes that Bond project, right? Moments of celebration, of being together, of deep conversations, of a bunch of people navigating computers together [laughs].
And that was the last lunch we had at the central square before the pandemic.
In March of 2020, after the carnival, we were at the peak of people’s involvement, and a strong desire to grow as a group. Then, the pandemic arrived, changing all of our plans. Everything got crazy, a big weight fell over us.
The issue of technology had become urgent. With people isolated, they became much more dependent on technology, and how you use technology can save or destroy you. It all sounded very discouraging, and it still does, but the truth is that we slowly managed to calm down and focus on the question: what can we, as autonomously organized human beings, can do to help those around us?
We didn't know very well, and we didn't feel very organized, really. We had a network, but we did not yet have a space to house this network, to transform this into something tangible. And that was when we had great news. PSP would finally have its own headquarters. That red house over there, you know, right next to the central square? That’s it. We haven’t officialy opened it yet, because of the pandemic, obviously. But that place is the Portal sem Porteira’s Network new headquarters. And having an actual place to be changes everything.
I moved in to the neighborhood in april of 2020. I was already a teacher at the school, and I didn’t even have an internet connection to work with the kids, and a lot of them also didn’t have internet connection. And so I realized there was a need to map the kids that had some kind of equipment at home for online classes, who had internet reception, what were the conditions the group was in.
When I dove into this research, very quickly people started talking about PSP.
And so I went over there, told them my story – that I was a teacher at the local school, and that I was looking for partnerships to deal with the demands that were coming up with this whole twist that happened due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Very quickly we started searching for alternatives.
We were watching the big confusion that was going on about the online classes, and I was also without internet connection at home to keep up with the activities... and that was when I realized that it was necessary for me to really become a part of the association, and search with more people for solutions to problems that were very real to me. That was when we started the ‘Tech Mondays’. It was a movement to try and increase our network, to take the nodes to more distant places.
We went there to study, to qualify this online teaching process for the kids, for the school. That was when I started to understand better what the PSP internet really is, what is this Mesh Network. From the work we were doing during the Tech Mondays, we managed to raise some equipments, reuse and reycle some devices for the kids at the school, we managed to expand the network here at my house since I’m a teacher, we also managed to include a few students in the Network...
Narrator – Marcela
This emergency growth of the network demanded a lot of effort from everyone, but especially Hiurê and Marquinhos had a lot of work to do all around the neighborhood trying to solve the technical issues that constantly came up, until one day...
Hiurê texted me saying he was coming over, I got out of the house with my computer in my hands, when suddenly the police came in and said there was a report on a motorcycle without the license plate, something like that. And so I entered home, called my neighbor whose motorcycle was the issue. And the police entered my house, went up a small ravine at the back of the house, and up on the walls I had some baby plants in vases behind the roof [weed plants]. The policemen saw it, took me and my brother outside, said something, I immediately said it was all mine. And I was taken, and spent 7 months in prison.
With Marquinhos’ imprisonment, our whole network was disrupted. He had always been a strong part of the group, and together with Hiurê, handled the whole functioning of the network. And besides all that, he was also our friend.
We were sad, destabilized, wearing masks and with more people showing up to become associates, we started ellaborting new ways to organize our group.
We looked at each other, understood that we had a group with a wide range of different kinds of knowledge and desires, and loads of things to learn from each other.
Narrator - Marcela
One of the actions we took was the creation of Carla, a depersonalized secretary. The idea was to take away the idea of "Hiurê's internet", of demands that fell upon him socially, and pulverize these actions in a collective. We, as a group, knew well that to make the network happen we needed technical knowledge, but that was one of the many tasks that this network demanded. Marquinhos stayed in prison for 7 and a half months, 6 of which he was waiting for the trial.
The cell was ok, it was some kind of special cell, it wasn’t any person who could go in there, it was some kind of a cell for sports, something that they have over at the jail. And there were some cool guys there, we would chat for hours, and I told them all kinds of things I had learned – I told them that the optic fibers travelled across the oceans, that the internet travels the oceans, Hiurê told me that so many times. And they would say “No, the internet comes through satelites!”, and we argued, and they would say “Man, you’re so smart, so smart!”...
I would tell them about the printers we have, the work we do at PSP, I told them everything, and they were very interested. I would tell them that when I left I wanted to continue this work, at PSP I learned so many things. I tried to talk about the terminal and this kind of thing, I would get ansious trying to tell a lot of things, and they kept saying how smart I was. I told them that at some point Hiurê offered me to go on an exchange programme somewhere, how I had missed that opportunity and ended up there... The first time I got a salary it was an APC project!
On the 6th of November, 2020, still on the pandemic mood, we all gathered in front of PSP to welcome Marquinhos as he came home.
I left jail, and of course Marcela, Hiurê and everyone from our association, they were completely there for me the whole time. I got out and there was a Bamboo Tower project going on.
Narrator - Marcela
This project where Marquinhos already arrived working on, was the Bamboo tower prototype, another project that was supported by APC.
I got here and the project was halfway through, Hiurê told me to come to work the next day. I left jail one day, and the next I was already back working at PSP. I would get there by the afternoon, see how it was going, how the tower would work. Hiurê, Fabinho and I went on building each part, Lu was recording the whole thing. It was so cool to build it, and by the end of it, to place the last piece of the tower on the top, and installing the LibreRouter...
Narrator – Marcela
Because we are an association, we follow the rules from our own statute, which says that we need to elect a new board of directors every two years. Because we are in a pandemics, we left a ballot box in the headquarters, where the associates could come and vote. There was no surprise when the only team that was candidate: Bambu Bananeira [Bamboo-Banana Tree].
What do we need to keep going? What must be done for this whole project to keep happening? Be president? That was kind of thrown to me, actually [laughs]. “How about you for president?” - and I was like “Me? But...”. And I was like, okay, then, cool. And I think that my presence on the board speaks of this whole movement with women that arrived through Nodes that Bond. I think there’s something about being truly into the whole idea, about being committed to these processes. And I am here to contribute, come what may.
And that much is true: this board is quite different from the first one. It is entirely composed by women. Women from this territory. This much envolvment brings us a lot of joy. It shows that, the mission Marcela figured out she had way back there, when she was travelling around and realizing her role in the community networks universe, was being accomplished. Lia is one of those women. And she is the great enthusiast of a dream that has been growing. The PSP Radio.
I was with Lia during an online Radio course. It was very enriching, we learned a lot, we accessed a lot of free tools... and this Radio story was and still is being built. I think it’s fantastic that we have a physical place, where we have equipment, tools that contribute for us to document everything that is going on... it’s so great to turn immaterial cultural assets into something materialized, a document that we can access and isn’t lost, you know? Of course orality is also a valuable way to transmit knowledge...
Narrator – Marcela
The Radio is part of a project in which we are very interested as an association: researching ways to tell our stories, and the technologies that can be used to do so. Among us, we share a love for the idea of the local network, the intranet, or internal network, and all the possibilities within it.
I see the local network as an instrument for documenting and protecting the memory, with a strong connection to how we can act in the present moment to rescue the past and take care of the future. In the local network, the data, the information circulates between the nodes that belong to this network, the intranet, which is a virtual territory which only existir for those connected to it, for those who are a part of this great web.
Narrator – Marcela
The local network expresses, in many ways, the alternatives that exist in response to the fast advances in technology. Some people ask how fast the internet is, if they will be able to have inline meetings, but we have left this race aside a long time ago. The fastest, the best, the latest fashions, have very little to do with what we search. What we really want is to revisit our relationship with these technologies, learning together how to express our power through these tools – whether they are digital or not.
And so, instead of looking directly at what is out there, we start looking at our neighbors, and that brings us closer, keeps the relationships in the present moment. Instead of increasing our relationship with the screens, it has the potential to decrease those, for the cellphones and computers to simply be just another instrument in our daily lives, not the reason for our day to happen. That’s what we are talking about.
I want all this to keep moving forward, for people to come closer to the project, I want more people with us, in the association, not on the internet – I mean, what is the internet, really?
Narrator – Marcela
This podcast is the final episode of a series that you can find in the PSP website. There, you will also find our fiction work, a radio novella called “The secret of the mountain”. We continue searching for new ways to keep working and communicating, even during this pandemic, and ellaborating beyond it. We have been dreaming about the opening of the PSP headquarters, where, in the future, we will meet. Until then, we will tidy up the house and keep on connecting through electromagnetic waves in the air.
The PSP song enters:
“Clear the paths Open the gates And the windows I’m on my way
Sending electromagnetic Wave through the air
Clear the paths Open the gates And the windows I’m on my way
Sending electromagnetic Wave through the air
With 5.8 we connect the routers And 2.4 users to server Creating autonomy for us to communicate
Clear the paths Open the gates And the windows Let’s all connect”
Original lyrics in portuguese:
“Abram alas As porteiras As janelas Eu vou chegar
Enviando ondas Eletromagnéticas pelo ar
Abram alas As porteiras As janelas Eu vou chegar
Enviando ondas Eletromagnéticas pelo ar
Com 5.8 conecta roteador Com 2.4 usuário e servidor Levando autonomia pra gente comunicar
Abram alas As porteiras As janelas Conectar”
This was the Nodecast, a podcast produced by Marcela Guerra and me, Luísa Bagope. In this episode, you heard the voices of Marquinhos, Cacá, Catarine, Yuri, Hiurê, Lia, Tânia, Marie, Ana, Satu, Vanessa, and, of course, mine and Marcela’s, narrators of this podcast.
If you liked this Nodecast, listen to “The secret of the mountain”, PSP’s fiction podcast. Visit portalsemporteiras.github.io/nospornos . Until next time!