Cascade: Sovereign Cultural Communication
Stories create value: a Self Sovereign Cultural Transmission network created by the Community of Ambae
Cascade Network is a Web VR knowledge sharing system underpinned by blockchain designed with communities towards the creation of sovereign cultural and communication networks.
Each network is designed by the community itself to facilitate a digital portal that strengthens vital intangible culture and value exchange. The first prototype is being developed to support the sovereignty of holding of culture and stories by the people of Ambae, Vanuatu.
The island of Ambae in Vanuatu, home to 11,000 people is currently being evacuated due to a volcanic eruption.
Maurice Tarihimba, a young man who returned to Ambae after being evacuated in 2017, had the idea to document the evacuation process and Ambae cultural heritage before the landscape of the island is changed forever. The people’s Paramount Chief, Benuel Garae, the President of the Ambae Island Council of Chiefs, endorsed Maurice's idea and has invited Further Arts to support the community in documenting the stories of Ambae on their own terms as they face permanent evacuation.
Ongoing cultural transmission is a vital concern for displaced groups. It strengthens resilience and identity. Using Web VR on phones enables the use of 360 video, binaural audio recording, and photogrammetry to document stories, wisdom and the land itself with techniques underpinned by a blockchain system that supports traditional robust forms of value exchange working across distance.
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Port Vila, Vanuatu
What makes our solution innovative:
Cascade Network’s innovation is the digital encoding of unique cultural heritage through an expansive and immersive interface, underpinned by a decentralised consensus technology architected on IPFS. This will create a powerful distributed permanent digital ledger that is accessible across heterogeneous systems. The Cascade Network system allows the value that a story creates to be inscribed in an object. The object can be embedded with the coding of its own digital provenance allowing the community to design hybrid forms of cultural exchange evolving from traditional practices. The Ambae community will design its own network to share place-based intangible cultural heritage.
How technology is integral to our solution:
The Cascade Network puts cutting edge Immersive Communication techniques to the task of communicating embodied knowledge and puts technological innovation in service of indigenous sovereignty.
The design of this system allows for immersive stories to be shared and value to be attached to cultural products in ways that are defined and determined locally. We have developed bespoke prototype technology built on open source RSA Public/Private key encryption, utilising digital signatures and hash functions to establish and leverage digital provenance. We want to develop this technology through best open source practice to enable further features to support flows of knowledge.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
October workshops with the community at Dung Verei Festival will collaborate towards design and who will own and drive ongoing development of the Ambae CascadeNetwork. The community defines the cultural components to be recorded and captured, who owns them and who has access to them.
A media team - headed by Vanuatu media practitioners - will record people in Ambae to create an experiential archive for the Vanuatu Cultural Centre of recordings including 360 video and photogrammetry.
Production of the web viewer and a working prototype of the CascadeNetwork capture process will be released June 2019 supported by core APIs.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
This solution for self-sovereign cultural transmissions will grow in East Timor, PNG and Indonesia and can scale across coastal communities of Oceania and into other marginalised communities - especially those engaged in processes related to decolonisation and disaster-preparedness.
CascadeNetwork communicates the value of the software and a broad potentially global user base across different disciplines. Software and hardware developers actively extend the open source platform towards new features.
Within 3-5 years other communities utilise the CascadeNetwork software to serve their needs. Educational programmes leverage the CascadeNetwork to bring immersive and decentralised technology solutions to broadest possible audience.
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
Further Arts assures community direction from inception and the creation of a Cultural network that is relevant and accessible. Applied Mechanism Design brings an optimisation of value to all participants in the ecosystem and a strategy for maximum reach and retention. The toolkit allows for additional functionality to support a community’s specific needs with diverse network solutions. Value flows are community designed: e.g, the elders can authorise a new digital recording of a story.
Collaborative sound-streaming innovations with the Australasian Chapter of Ecoacoustics, have tested that there is clear uptake for our proposed solutions.
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:
Newspaper articles featuring the Ambae evacuation report approximately 11,000 inhabitants of Ambae are relocating to different islands. Further Arts began interviewing and documenting stories of Ambae in 2017. The working prototypes focusing on recording processes, shared archive and provenance support cultural resilience with the few hundred exposed to it. Now attention is focused on collaboration with the Ambae community at Vanuatu’s Torba Day October 2018 towards directing the development of the first instance of Cascade Network to support a robust cultural archive tailored to the connectivity problems on the islands as an accessible system for the whole Ambae community.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
Within 12 months the Cascade Network can reach the population of Ambae (11,000). Work on storing community footage via a server opening up access to the community through content and platform development is underway at Further Arts through the TRR Community Telecommunications Grant.
As the solution scales across the coastal communities of Oceania, we are looking at reaching 500,000. Our value chain partner, Field Ready, is already innovating on supply chains in the Pacific with locally manufactured water filtration and in hydroponic horticulture. Through Vanuatu NDMO we will link to the Vanuatu WASH Cluster and the Vanuatu Food Security Cluster.
How our solution team is organized:Other (Please explain below)
Explaining our organization:
Auspiced by Further Arts, registering as Social Enterprise
How many people work on our solution team:9
How many years we have been working on our solution:3-4 years
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
Further Arts leads the community pilot in Vanuatu with decades of experience working with Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office, specifically with the WASH, Shelter, Gender/Protection and Food-Security Clusters.
chroma.space and The Planet Spins drive the partnerships and bring expertise with progressive technology and media archive: from sound recording to Mixed Reality.
Field Ready Ltd (Australia) brings value-chain innovation.
The Australasian Chapter of Ecoacoustics developed the provenance prototype. The UK technology development will be developed through Vega's leadership of The Hive Lab in the UK with Swarm Dynamics. The technology will be tested through Furtherfield Gallery London.
Our revenue model:
We are a network of affiliated organisations, technologists, and creatives working on a community-owned initiative conceived as not-for-profit. The technological development revenue model will evolve guided by advisors from Peer to Peer and Open Knowledge domains, Phoebe Tickell (Loomio) and Stuart Wilson (Zoyd) creating a thorough plan of running an ethical ICO for the specific technological development requirements of Cascade Network.
The Cascade Network production phase will create a working prototype supported by core APIs establishing an actively engaged user community with a product roadmap and backlog. Immersive hardware demonstrators are available to deliver the experience with testing in UK and Vanuatu.
Why we are applying to Solve:
The Solve programme shares aims of developing civic technologies for connecting and empowering people in coastal communities on the front lines of the climate crisis.
We have an ambitious best-practice vision for how to meet the invitation for Further Arts to document the Ambae community's stories. There is real time pressure as the evacuation is in full progress. We need support towards recording the stories on Ambae in high quality immersive forms (360, Photogrammetry) whilst working with progressive technology towards robust secure digital system of storage that makes clear the ownership and rights are for the people of Ambae.
The key barriers for our solution:
To meet this challenge through best digital practices we need profile to attract attention to the issue. Further Arts holds a thorough understanding of the particular mobile connectivity issues affecting the islands.
The sensitive bridging work that this project has attracted is remarkable: the plans for Torba Day and community collaborative work is well underway and there is clear local enthusiasm and need. The team has spent months volunteering time to this project. To take it to the next level and bridge the local knowledge of infrastructure, culture, politics and processes with robust technological development requires financial support.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers: