Charlie Harvey

Barncamp: Combining tech, activism and shamanic laptop massage

The Barncamp rural tech gathering happened at the end of June. There aren’t too many events that can successfully combine serious activist orientated tech with raveoke in a barn. It might just be that the Barncamp is the only event to do so.

This year was a corker. laptops in the barn

There was a massive and diverse selection of workshops, including sessions on low-fi, open source appropriate tech (check the video), activist event calendaring, soil microbiology, accessible, open source campaigning tools for non-techs, wood stoves and electronics. And a wild food walk. Not to mention nor's shamanic laptop healing (which may not have been entirely serious, you decide).

There was a useful workshop on server optimization by the NoFlag crew, which led Steve Woods to speculate that Barncamp had burned the nerd gag — the nerd gag being Barncamp’s practice of trying to make sure that nobody gets left behind when technical material is being discussed. chopping

The field (well, barn) kitchen crew kept us all fed with delicious vegan nosh. And coffee. Broken coffee machines were replaced as a matter of utost priority. That shit is serious.

The bar had plenty of delicious Wilkins cider on tap. The beer almost ran out at one point. Again the bar folks quickly sourced some local brew. Again, that serious business.

I helped facilitate a conversation about using PGP email in organizations, in part out of self-interest. At New Internationalist we have been having conversations about encrypting everything by default. Which seems like a sensible idea given that we are working with groups like Amnesty, who GCHQ spy on illegally. I learned a lot. Particularly: PGP is hard, too hard maybe. And TextSecure is worth investigating more. Out of this session came a keysigning and an intro to PGP. And I discovered Mailvelope, a shit-hot browser extension that mmakes encrypting as easy as possible.

And there was entertainment aplenty. The very first workshop started the fun, combining raveoke and prancercise. Who knew that &lquo;raveoke and prancercise are intrinsically linked practice-based practices&rquo;? Not me that’s for sure. Some twisted indie films entertained us on Friday night. My personal favourite was made by a 12 year old on Yorkley Court Farm, a squatted community farm. This kid has a great future.

On Saturday we had very cool loop music, followed by the hilarity of Battledecks — where you get to present a random slideshow that you’ve never seen before ‐ followed by raveoke — which combines 90s rave music and Karaoke. jamming by the fire

As usual there was a beautiful fire and more stars than you may have thought possible. All in all 2015 was a cracking Barncamp.


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