Goodbye Kokkinopolis …

…Why go back?

sign and road to the schoolhouse
the sign points to a holy well…

There was no work done in achieving a manual for the school house, the promotion of the village stalled completely. I like to think I’m tenacious, resourceful… and the place is totally awe inspiring and special in its own right. While I’m being candid, I must admit Katalin Hausel the main project coordinator of the test lab in the schoolhouse was on my wavelength when discussing how leading with technology is not a good community engagement strategy, and using a pretotyping methodology would be a good way to work out what the right ‘it’ is, what technology could be of use. Katalin called her attitude a ‘Pre-tech’ approach, and turned an invisible digital Mazizone into a cosy room with a sofa and labels on the walls to place an anecdote under. It was an alluring prospect to help out again, as last time I had came to conclusions about the project in general. There was a need to publish information – in a book or other tactile format.

What was the work plan this time?

Again supporting the tech and enjoying giving tai chi sessions on the side of the mountain. I wasn’t there to be ‘tech support’, but assisting the publishing process – a technical artworker of sorts. Katalin had motivated a gang of helpers to translate and collate conversations and anecdotes, I  ended up building a test WordPress website which we later transposed online. There was a real issue with using the Mazizone to attend to first:

After a few emails, a workaround was found, but no answers yet as to why this happens. I think its something to do with the web server name resolution tainting the cache of the web browser, as the workaround involves using the direct URL and port number for the dashboard to present itself – strangely the other pages and applications would work fine if using a direct address. As it turned out Katalin lost all faith in the  flickering ‘zone, so I created a completely fresh set up for the purpose of creating the shared notes for translation and website creation.

Multiple Mazizones and a problem solved – how to mark up micro SD cards for a particular purpose.

Besides dramas being played out (hysterical projection?) within the group, there was a period of time where work was being done; I don’t think my arrival prompted a change, but things did indeed change. The noise of drama became much louder than the signal of work, and things became fragmented and stilted again for a few days.


some mountain tea and a saucer
Not even mountain tea helped.

What’s worth mentioning?

This was the end of the test lab in Kokkinopolis as I understood it, with some outcomes needing to happen that I had discussed with the project Unmonks, Katalin and Bembo. Bembo enlisted my aid to assist with his proposed video project, but drama and time caught up with any outcome. The House manual I had reflected on, but rushed out in the last few days of the schoolhouse stay  to create a folding, slot-together booklet from a simply laid out PDF created in Libre Office Draw. Design time and revisions were minimal, we had not much time to review font use even. Have a look at the finished item.

The ‘Mazizone room’ became a scrap book at my suggestion, and adeptly put together by Katalin. The last night in the village visiting a local taverna proved to be most interesting and quite emotional – the translator related the work being done before leaving prompted an interested group of ladies to see the scrapbook, with additions being inserted the next day. Definitely a positive outcome. The scrap book brought out the collective anecdotal knowledge of villagers and had space to be filled with more. Always on, no batteries required, not in danger of sharing too much with complete ownership of their information – truly offline.

one euro for 4 large peaches? oh yes please.

The WordPress site was built on the Mazizone in acknowledgement of what villagers wanted to broadcast and what was remain hidden: this was an interesting talking point at various points in the stay. At the time of writing the site is nowhere to be seen although the structure is in place, seems to be an issue with DNS.

Any conclusions from the visits?

There were issues systemically and politically problematic within the unMonk group, and this is not a place to relate them. In terms of community engagement, appropriate technology could be brought to bear when there is a sufficient interest; attempt to hypnotise or glamourise people with perceived notions of usefulness fail without a real understanding of what is being provided. Finding out what is needed should be a primary activity.

close up of fly on keyboard
Seems my camera phone could do some amazing shots.
sun coming up over Olympus
My favourite and magical aspect of the area was watching the sun come up over the mountain side after tai chi practice.