[ISEA2011] Paper: Ricardo Lobo – Electrical, Political, Social and Cultural Resistance


Audiência Zero is a Portuguese cultural association that coordinates three digital labs around the country, namely, in Matosinhos, Coimbra  and Lisboa. These labs are autonomous structures that promote educational and creative initiatives, especially in the fields of digital art and multimedia. Each of these labs supports a community of artists and creators that are in charge of all the local activity. Through the national initiatives that it manages, which bring together members from all over the country, Audiência Zero is fostering a national network of creators, resources and knowledge.

All over the world similar projects exist, and go under the name of hackerspaces, hacklabs, medialabs, makerspaces, etc… In this paper no effort is made to propose a model that fits all these distinct realities; that is not to say there are no common features, there are. Our intention is rather to focus on a case study in an effort to identify the extent to which such projects agree or disagree with the mainstream political, social and cultural values shared by democratic and pluralistic societies with market economies.

The paper presents the concept behind the az labs network, explaining the ongoing process, it’s objectives, values and challenges faced. Our contention is that these labs can be viewed as centers of political, social and cultural resistance, even when not in a conscious and outright way, being based, as they are, on an open community where resources such as time, space, knowledge, contacts and tools are shared as common goods. The paper ends with the analyses of the relationship between the resources used in these labs, mostly digital technologies, with the proposed function of resistance.                                                                                                      Matosinhos:  labcd.org, Coimbra:  xdatelier.org, Lisboa:  altlab.org

  • Ricardo Lobo, Portugal. With an educational background on political science and philosophy Ricardo Lobo is currently a Master’s student in Digital Art and Technology at the University of Minho.. Ricardo is a founding member of the cultural association Audiência Zero of which is the current director. As part of this organization he is responsible for the ongoing program of workshops and courses in the field of digital arts and creative tecnhologies; the national network of hack/medialabs present in Matosinhos, Coimbra  and Lisbon; and the Digital Lab project for the Guimarães 2012 – European Capital of Culture (guimaraes2012.pt). His current research focus on the cultural and political impacts of medialabs and hackerspaces.

Full text (PDF) p. 1578-1585