Chronicle of AnthillHacks ’19
“For me, AnthillHacks ’19 camp is a fantastic experience of community & nature. Along with my colleague Bhanu Prakash travelled from Bengaluru and we reached Devarayanadurga and Iruway farm after traveling 75 km. I have never been to Tumakuru district in the state of Karnataka in India. It’s a different kind of experience.”
The two weeks that I spent at AnthillHacks ’19 were filled with so many amazing experiences, attending several amazing sessions, enjoying the foods, meeting old friends and new was great. Had the chance to meet a lot of people from the Free and open-source software (FOSS) community. The diversity of the sessions was really impressive.
AnthillHacks has been held since 2015. It was for 9 days during the Summer of 2015. Then annually for 2–3 days. In 2019 it achieved 2 weeks!
Anthill is a metaphor for the world of structure and complexity that exists just beneath the surface of everything around us.
The idea of AnthillHacks is to encourage people to meet at smaller hills nearby and include it in the program (the place matters). And the idea of AnthillHacks is to be inclusive of City folks, of village folks, of women and non-binary, of educated and the low-literate to get to participate and be together.
Imagine groups of people from different domains living together for a period of time. The location itself brings about an intermingling of thought-systems that would not have interacted otherwise. This inspires collaborations giving birth to eye-opening new productions and curation of existing narratives and annotations of real world objects at the location.
AnthillHacks is a gathering of Artists, Hackers, Technology freaks, Scientists, Environmentalists, Culture Benders and other community stewards and their friends and family to come together, co-operate, build, break, hack together and party like the “Ants” and participant are from around the major cities in India, and other parts of the world.
“Winter is here and so is AnthillHacks, the second edition of the winter school atop Devarayanadurga from 07-20 Dec 2019.”
It was the perfect season to be around in Devarayanadurga. Our camp site at the beautiful terraces now named Anterras by our community.
Settling in & The unconference
The first thing I noticed was all the tents that’s been setup on a field and creating spaces. It looked so cool! We had a few interesting sessions.
Follow the sheep — traces: Dipti Desai
Dipti spoke about the Follow The Sheep’s project which involves following shepherds and their (mostly black) sheep.
From Buffalo herding to heritage and bio-diversity treks.
Designing Organic Badges: Siddava. Madhu and team
At IruWay there were workshops with crafts woman Siddava, Madhu at Crafter Space where some people weaving for the first time.
“Crafter Space is a Craft Cluster project and a small team of people completely involved in their work, weaving products from sustainable, locally sourced materials. The first Craft Centre is based in Devarayanadurga, executed by Mitan and Janastu, funded by Rotary Dist. 3190. Want to know more about Craft Centre watch this video”.
Every morning before a session begins, Prabir Chitrakar a traditional scroll from West Bengal sings the song associated with the story in the scroll. watch the video
Apps for Work: Oppression and Opportunity — Pradyumna
Pradyumna, who just finished his masters from IIIT — Bangalore in Digital Societies, spoke about Gig economies / Platform economies where software companies and algorithms are gaming peoples aspirations and dreams.
Walk thorough the challenges faced during the set-up of research culture, and also my journey from government schools in small villages to IITs. — Uma
Uma Mudengudi, Dean R and D, Professor at ECE, KLE Tech University, Hubbali, Karnataka spoke about her life stories and how she transformed all challenges that she had to face as a woman to dare to aspire, dream and achieve.
Workshop of visual storytelling using Maaya — Bhanu
While on the camp site, we all made a collective decision to start every day with a short summary narration by all participants about the previous day. Then used in the Maaya software to make an A/V presentation.
- Watch the summaries here.
Community Networks — Nico
An intense learning about Libre Routers and Libre Mesh Software, Installation, building and deploying.
Mobile radio van: a tour of the hills — Girish
Our Village Radio (“Namma Halli Radio”); And it is our radio (“namdu1radio”) is a platform to Express yourself. School students and volunteers help with designing, recording, editing the audio programmes.
“Girish, a media enthusiast, created Namma Halli Radio in Tumakuru district, to focus on primary education. The last few years Janastu has encouraged Girish to pursue his vision through various grant programs supported by Development Alternatives (DA), Rotary Dist 3190, Association for Progressive Communications (APC)”.
Camp fire and Music at the Flying Turtle Amphitheatre
Philosophy Musings with Mukunda Rao, Camp fire and Music at the Flying Turtle Amphitheatre by various artists including Raja and Moon from the Agnii team.
Organic Colors. Making and playing — Harshita
Interactive sessions on Making your own Natural colors and natural cleansers and shampoos that we can use to wash from our hair to cars which simply work and are eco-friendly.
Data privacy for non-technical audience
Ram who used to lead the Free Software Movement of Karnataka earlier and now works as full time DevOps lead a session on data privacy for non-technical audience with interesting insights to apps and alternatives for current social media and other things we do on the internet.
Bidar and orality — Shreyas
Shreyas Srivatsa from Deccan Living Labs is a researcher and practitioner with an enduring interest in the transdisciplinary approach, who spoke about Bidar and orality.
For the grand celebration of the full moon night
We had Shilpa and Aditya founders of the Urban Folk project, Shilpa lending her voice to sing Kannada folk songs.
Day 6–8 (CNX)
The journey of the third edition of Community Network Exchange (CNX) started on December 12, 2019, from Janastu base camp. There were many sessions and workshops throughout the day. Also don’t miss to watch video.
CNX session at IruWay Farm (parallel) — Test IruWay connectivity and the built up mesh.
“IruWay farm, or “iruve” means ants in Kannada. As “iruve” becomes IruWay, we take inspiration from ants, as creatures of cooperation, coordination and the collective. The farm is located on the foothills of Devarayandurga near Durgadahalli village in Tumakuru district”.
The first day started with discovering the treks of the base camp, where Janastu has installed two access points using Libremesh router one on the top of the hill and another in the village. The one installed at the top of the hill is connected with Raspberry Pi 3 which acts as a local server for the community radio station. The team of Janastu gave a demonstration of how they store the radio programmes on the Raspberry Pi and disseminate amongst community members.
CNX sessions continues at Protovillage
At the end of CNX Day 2, Janastu team and participants joined the CNX Day 3 at Protovillage where they demonstrated the community radio setup and initiated community radio activities.
AnthillHacks School Program
One of the most important parts of AnthillHacks is its school program where AnthillHacks conduct workshops free of cost for the local school kids.
Wind down - tear down 😪 cleanup 🧹 and goodbyes 🖐
In the morning, people started leaving. I truly had an amazing time at camp AnthillHacks and I will cherish those memories forever. Thanks for reading!
Acknowledgments: Team Janastu & Servelots, interns, volunteers, AnthillHacks participants and friends. To name a few.. TB Dinesh, Shalini A, Bhanu Prakash, Sanketh Kumar and Girish...