at Shilong Road Station
Guerilla Open Access Manifesto 🇺🇸🇨🇳🇫🇷🇪🇸🇮🇹🇯🇵🇰🇷🐽. H
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for
themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries
in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of
private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the
sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought
valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure
their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But
even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future.
Everything up until now will have been lost.
That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their
colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them?
Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to
children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.
"I agree," many say, "but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they
make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal —
there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s
already being done: we can fight back.
Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been
given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world
is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for
yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords
with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.
Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been
sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by
the publishers and sharing them with your friends.
(at Lianhua Road Station)
The art project calls for the Chinese government to return his ID and allow him to leave the country.
Ai Weiwei hasn’t been able to leave China since the authorities confiscated his passport in 2011 and placed him under 24-hour surveillance. Despite his pleas for its return, the 56-year-old artist remains stuck in China and has been forced to miss several international shows, including Berlin gallery Martin-Gropius-Bau’s retrospective Evidence, his largest exhibition to date.
Thankfully, some people still have his back. A new art project called Ai Can’t Be Here is campaigning for the return of his passport under the slogan “if #AiCantBeHere 爱 (Chinese for ‘love’) can’t be here”. The Chinese character for love is also pronounced ‘ai’, hence the double meaning.