In our project DREAMMACHINE we aim to encourage youth to use their cell phones as a tool to put their community on a digital map. Through this map they can ‘visit’ other places virtually, learn about each other’s communities, thus creating a bridge between different places in the world. The way in which the communities are placed on the map, however, is not the usual. Not only do they map ‘real’ stories, they also map their dreams, what they want to be in life or how they want the world to look like.
We ask youngsters to ‘map’ their dreams with their cell phones. They use mobile videos and photos, drawings and text to produce dreams, edit them using open source software and upload them onto a collaborative platform and digital map. The project is in its initial phase and still getting shape. After Amsterdam we will continue the mapping in Colombia and Brazil in April 2012.
Dreaming plays a fundamental role in this project. We encourage youth to think about what they want, what their dreams are, independent of existing rules, limits and boundaries. Stimulating youth to dream disconnects them from the ‘real world’ and allows them to transcend their own boundaries, stimulating creativity and unexpected outcomes. By putting these dreams on the map, one can enter this virtual world of dreams from anywhere in the world. Through pinpointing dreams onto a map we can get an overview of different dreams at different locations in the world. What do dreams say about a people?
The DREAMMACHINE is part of a bigger project involving the mapping of stories we have recently started in Amsterdam called Wegwijs in de Virtuele Buurt (Navigating in the Virtual Neighborhood). In this project youngsters tell stories about their own neighborhoods that are not told by the ‘mainstream’ media, creating a digital neighborhood of their ‘own’ stories. Not only do we stimulate the decentralized production of information, we also want youth to realize that they have interesting stories to tell and that are worth telling, particularly youth that feels they aren’t heard.
The main goals are providing and encouraging the use of low tech tools by youth of different (and all kinds of) communities to make their voice (and dreams) heard, improving the youth’s interaction with the local community/neighbors, creative use of technology (camera, script, editing, photography, graphic design, etc.), encouraging to dream, the shift from consumption of news to production of news, and interaction with youth in other communities (principally through these stories).