The Secret Bunker Powering Occupy Wall Street
November 17, 2011
Photo: Bryan Derballa/Wired.com.
Today Occupy Wall Street returns en force with a day of “global protest,” including a roving protest that will take objectors down into the subways, and eventually, across the Brooklyn Bridge. #OWS is staging increasingly complex, orchestrated demonstrations; meaning that police crackdowns and location-specific conflicts are happening with greater frequency, far afield from Zuccotti Park. Documenting and broadcasting these events (gripping livestream here) is arguably the most important aspect of Occupation, and today, Wired gives us a look into the secret media hub (somewhere near the Bowery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side), where a sophisticated team of videographers, programmers, and tech-expert volunteers bring #OWS online. Continue.
How many cameras can you count? An image from today’s #N17 protest, via.
What is an un-broadcast protestor arrest worth? Almost nothing. We are a population of short-attention-spanned youtubers, evidenced by the catalyzing effect of live-streaming amongst OWS supporters. Wired talks to the very first live-streaming protestor (who “hung a laptop around his neck to run the inaugural livestream on Sept. 17”), and now fantasizes about “a multimedia outfit, consisting of a wearable camera and a heads-up display, so he can see his own video feed, watch the chat stream coming from viewers around the world, and respond in real time.”
Today’s war rooms aren’t the oak-paneled kind of yore, as Wired shows us. Rather, they are transient collections of laptops, hotspot phones, and camera equipment. The reality of “online” conflict makes itself known on the city’s side, as well, with reports of 2AM conference calls between dozens of city mayors across the country, and repeated denial-of-service attacks on the connectivity of the OWS media hub.
Occupy Wall Street certainly isn’t the first grassroots movement to catalyze itself through the internet and net-based media outlets (that honor goes to Obama’s 2008 campaign, or maybe Dan Savage’s efforts against Rick Santorum?), but it is perhaps the most complex real-time effort to have done so, at least since the Arab Spring. The media team is designing and building a living infrastructure – urban planners, of a sort.
From where we’re sitting: protestors make their way down Fifth Avenue to join the Union Square meet up, 2:15pm. Photo (c) Ryan Quinlan.
A crack in the wall of the hub “gets bigger every day.”
All Photos: Bryan Derballa/Wired.com.