čtvrtek 10. února 2011

Internet 2, or when knowledge’s warrant strikes Monterrey`s universities

By Jonathan Gutiérrez
Member of the editorial committee of Deliberacion, head of the Art and Culture section.

I was writing an article for an important newspaper in the city. Obviously, it would never appear on any section. Why? The idiosyncrasy of the business man in Monterrey doesn`t want to see himself in a mirror (progress never looks backwards; remember Walter Benjamin’s interpretation about Angelus Novus). Even on a postindustrial city the need of innovation has its own contradictions. My question was at the beginning of the article: Who stole the culture in the City of Monterrey? The question is false in a certain way. It is impossible to steal culture because we, by any definition, are all culture (maybe we are not clever but we still are). The next question was ‘well, who is hiding it’?
Monterrey has been one of the cities in Mexico most interested on this topic but it is only a manner of interest. There are no actions that can reach the entire society. Knowledge in the universities is a social club cocktail. Outside the universities we only find a few papers interested in the topic: you can see a maximum of two pages dedicated to it. The rest is hegemony of the Narco-culture. So, where is the relation between these two paragraphs and the warrant of knowledge by the new era of Internet. Technology gives us the opportunity to express our ideas outside the box (Universities of Monterrey).
Let’s get back to the title of our friendly dialogue. Internet 2 had the purpose not only to be faster, but to spread a big amount of ideas around the world. In summary, it was meant to improve humanity’s relationship with knowledge. Of course, we see trash videos all the time (by the way, I love some of them too), but there are more things on the Net. If you want to see what am I talking about, open your browser and help me with this exercise.
Write down on YouTube any of this options: Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Universidad de Monterrey, Universidad Regiomontana and CONARTE. CONARTE is not a university but it is supposed to spread culture around the city. You can correct me but you only see promotional videos, a soccer hymn (Tigres), a bikini contest or a big famous clown presenting Carmen Junco as president of CONARTE. My mistake…it is not a clown. The man is Rodrigo Medina, governor of Nuevo León.
There are only few efforts by people outside the universities that have videos of the kind we want to talk about. One little exception (maybe) is the channel of “Feria Internacional del Libro de Monterrey”. I say “little” because they use cell phone video quality in some interviews. If you see our Channel (Deliberacion), it has more content than any other institution in the city. Sad but true. I would like to be one of the many. The point is that people miss conferences or art presentations. YouTube is only one alternative to give the change to have memory. Do you want good examples of this use of technology out of the city?
You can see on YouTube the channel of the European Graduated School (EGS). What kind of videos? Zizek and Jean Baudrillard. These are just two examples of the many others you can find. What to learn more? Yale University has its own channel where they put courses. The channel is “Yalecourses”. Want some examples in Spanish? The UNAM has a channel dedicated to sciences and also an excellent webpage called “Descarga Cultura UNAM”. You can download conferences or tales like “El rayo Macoy”, the story of a Mexican box fighter and listen to it in the cell phone while you are driving. Do you want critic information about Mexican context? Try “ProyectoEcos”, an excellent effort of communication.
I don’t doubt that Universities of Monterrey has knowledge inside or in some parts of their WebPages. But they are not helpful to society if they hide it or make it hard to access. Let’s make the diffusion easier with a better access just like the last examples we saw in this article. I don’t want to see a remark of Leela - a character of Matt Groening’s Futurama - come true: “Please! Everyone knows 20th century colleges were basically expensive daycare centers”. And still, I think we haven’t left the 20th century.
I really don’t know the real causes of this behavior in Monterrey. I asked some question in that article that would never live for a while in the city: Why that knowledge is not public on the Web? It is because people of Monterrey think that they can’t make money with culture? Or it is just the fear that people would start thinking about their condition? I know that the city is big and everything seems far away. But in the big city of Internet, everything is close if you start spreading the knowledge.
Foto: wikipedia.org.

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