In the “new concepts” section we spotlight new forms of social issues’ management and new models of ethical entrepreneurship. Topics such as moral banks and sustainability, healthy nutrition, barter economy, traditional farming techniques, and many more are presented and analyzed with a hope to propose trends that might substitute conventional ways of social organization and subsistence; that have already begun to take on, transforming the way we live and manage our everyday life. All these endeavors are the epicenter and the basic guideline of metamatic:taf; this means they are very close to our interests and our values as stated in our profile.
Born out of our passion for fashion and our love for spirituality and metaphysics, TEOSOPHY is the first spiritual fashion brand. TEOSOPHY is a contemporary fashion label, whose styles and aesthetics are inspired from various spiritual schools, beliefs, traditions or philosophies, and then get “translated” into edgy, “spiritual” collections for both men and women.
TEOSOPHY's mission is to make fashion a “vehicle” for people to turn inwards (or upwards!) and explore their spiritual needs, and we aspire to become the world’s expert in spiritual fashion, spreading our philosophy on a global scale.
The National Young Farmers’ Coalition is a network comprised by groups of young farmers who focus on sustainable growth in the US; it is a private initiative that attempts to create a network of information and support for the young people who try to do agricultural work in various areas around the country. Besides this web site, another participant in the same network is Greenhorns which we present elsewhere.
In the web site visitors can read about the organization’s goals and find information about several sponsored programs with similar aims. There is a special section with news, press releases and exhibitions by the foundation as well as a section with links to organizations that help young farmers, classified by state. The most interesting section though is the blog which hosts articles by tens of the network’s members laying out their experiences from their newfound activity as well as the problems they face while trying to adjust to their new role.
Wwoof is an international network promoting the participation of volunteers in organic farms. It was created in 1971 in the UK and its initial name was “Working weekends on organic farms”, hence the origin of the acronym. Its founder was working as a secretary in London and was looking for a way to provide the city’s people with outlets in the country and in the meanwhile to promote the movement of organic farming; this is how the idea was born and it was first implemented with the hosting of four people in a bio-farm in Sussex but with time volunteers started participating for periods of time longer than a weekend and some of them ended up staying in the farms for years. The model’s development brings it very close to the model of volunteer vacation since the interested land-owners offer food and shelter to volunteers working in their fields.
The web site is basically a directory of various actions of this kind that are happening in 99 countries all over the world. Every local institution has its own web site which functions autonomously and has a different visual presentation; this means that there is no set rule about how each organization operates. In the local web sites, interested visitors can find varied pertinent information such as the procedures needed for visas etc. as well as information about each country’s particular characteristics.
The term ‘transition network” is used to describe communities that try to support a more environment-friendly way of life with their main focus the minimization of carbon emissions and the development of a stable economic environment. Founder of this ideal was Bill Mollison with his 1988 book “Permaculture: A designer’s value”; although the basic goals are the same, each participating community is free to choose the way it will reach them and in some cases even alternative currencies have been issued.
In contrast to other similarly-goaled actions that, because of their amateurish status have a rather limited online presence, the particular web site contains an impressive volume of information. There is a news section where several items are been added even in the course of a single day, a monthly newsletter, blogs that are been updated by members of the network, a directory with all the communities that collaborate all over the world, educational material for those who want to adopt the movement’s principles and a big library with resources, texts, audio-visual material, research papers, studies and everything else pertinent to sustainable growth.
Food Project is an American network trying to educate children in land cultivation and at the same time to inform them about principles like ecological agriculture, sustainable growth, respect for the environment and so on. The children participate in cultivating the land and in gathering produce, attend creative workshops, collaborate with organizations that fight undernourishment and help in distributing the produce to local communities. The educational programs last for six weeks, they are organized every summer and they are open to children aged 14 to 17 years; the network itself was created in 2001 and each year more than 100 children are educated in its programs while thousands of volunteers participate at the cultivation and the maintenance of the fields.
In the web site, interested parties can find information about the organization’s goals and activities, express their will to participate or simply donate to The Food Project. The produce grown in the organization’s farms are available for sale in open-air markets so as to support the local communities but on the web site visitors can find books about agriculture, many of which are freely available for downloading and a newsletter with the organization’s news.
RuckusRoots is a nonprofit organization combining art with activism in an effort to teach young people an alternative way to express themselves and to support the movement of eco-activism. Through installations that combine art with activism and music, RuckusRoots encourages the development of ecological awareness to young people educating them in a way of life that promotes sustainability. According to the organization’s founders, creativity is underestimated in modern societies and it shouldn’t be since this is the medium through which innovation is accomplished; to reverse this tendency, RuckusRoots is using art as an educational tool.
In the web site we can see the organization’s collaborations with various cultural institutions as well as a section with the organization’s projects containing information and audio-visual material about each one of them; this material demonstrates the varied installations RuckusRoots creates like for example the “bike-bash” where bicycle owners participate in work groups to visually transform their bicycles. Visitors can also find information about how to participate in the organization’s actions or about how to donate to its cause.
Time banks are a model of social work according to which all jobs are equally important for a society: whether someone is a doctor, a lawyer or a plumber, their work has the same weight for the community in which they function. Based on this principle, one hour or work in the context of a particular community can be equate to an exchangeable unit and thus be used as a medium replacing money; this way members of said community can exchange goods and services without paying or receiving any money –they just use their personal labor and help increase voluntary offerings.
65hours is a web site aiming to create a network of work as an exchangeable commodity. After users create their profiles (this is done for free) they can register the skills they are interested in volunteering and after that, they can search for services offered as an exchange. This being an international network, it is obvious that more offers are for the rendering of services than for actual jobs that demand a physical presence; an exception to this will be places where the local network has several members as is the case with Great Britain, a country that pioneered this practice.
Is a city the sum of its citizens? And if so, do we, as citizens, have the power and will to fix our broken cities?
City of errors is a cross-media platform that addresses that very issue. By using the principles of online gaming, combined with the narrative of transmedia storytelling its aim is to engage users in an interactive experience where the ultimate goal is to learn how to be a better citizen. To be part that is, of the solutions rather than the problems of their city.
The main tool is City of Terrors a simple game with user-centered design. Like in any online game the aim is to gather points. But unlike most of its counterparts the action field and impact of City of Terrors are to be found in our very real world.
In short players are asked to make an online user profile, and then go offline, film an error of their city and their attempt to fix it and use our smartphone app to upload a one minute video of that attempt on an interactive online map of the city which will be hosted on our site. The game has been initiated with an online documentary series, called Life in a City Full of Errors. Through the series City of Errors defines the project's identity, builds a fan base, even recruits new team members.
The series is composed of 10 documentaries that tell everyday stories on the problems of our city from the inspiring perspective of extra- ordinary people who, unlike most of us, have chosen to deal with these problems. City of Errors uploads one episode per month and everyone can watch them for free.
City of Errors hopes to create an entertaining learning-by-doing toolkit that gives young people the space and incentive to get actively involved with their city's problems. A toolkit, ready to be used in any city simply by adjusting its content. And it starts with Athens, the real Sin City.
Let’s suppose you are living in a modern metropolis and you are interested in healthy life and nutrition; you would like to produce the food you consume yourselves but the scarcity of the space available means you cannot afford to have your own garden. One solution is the window farms and another is to use your rooftop. Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is such an initiative that began in the six hundred square meters rooftop of a building in the banks of New York’s East River.
In the farm’s web site, we can find information about it including pictures illustrating that these aren’t simply small vegetable beds but that the whole rooftop has been covered with soil thus recreating the environmental conditions of a regular farm. The farm is the fruit of the cooperation between the companies Broadway Stages and Goode Green and is supported by members of the local community while its products are available for sale.
In September 2009, Charity:Water founder Scott Harrison asked his birthday party guests, instead of spending money for gifts to donate twenty dollars to a charity cause. The $14,000 collected where used to build 6 wells in Uganda and this gave birth to the idea of an organization that would create the necessary infrastructure so sub-Saharan countries could have easy access to water.
In the three years it has been operating, the organization has collected more than ten million dollars from sixty thousand donors and using this money it has offered assistance to seven hundred thousand people in sixteen African nations. Visitors of the web site can learn more about the organization’s actions, become donors or buy products relevant to the organization’s cause; such products include rubber bracelets with the phrase “Charity:Water”, clothes with the word “water” and the organization’s logo printed on them, cell-phone cases, jewelry etc.