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Disquiet Junto Project 0271: Prison Sky

Mark the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil's detention.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 13, 2017. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0271: Prison Sky
Mark the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil’s detention.

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with Bassel Khartabil. This coming Wednesday, March 15, 2017, will mark the fifth anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel’s March 15, 2012, detention in Syria. It’s been more than a year since anyone has heard from him. Three times in the past the Disquiet Junto has done projects to raise consciousness about his predicament. We did the first one in January 2014, creating a soundscape to go with Bassel’s CGI reproduction of the ancient city of Palmyra:

disquiet.com/2014/01/23/disquiet0108-freebassel/

We did a second one, “Placid Cell,” in March 2015, marking the third anniversary of his incarceration:

disquiet.com/2015/03/12/disquiet0167-freebassel/

And in November 2015 we created audiobook chapters from a book, Cost of Freedom: A Collective Inquiry, written in Bassel’s honor:

disquiet.com/2015/11/12/disquiet0202-costoffreedom/

Read more at http://freebassel.org/.

Step 2: On January 31, 2014, Bassel wrote to his friend Jon Phillips from the Damascus Central Jail in response to Phillips’ suggestion that people might make a record album inspired by his ongoing incarceration. Bassel replied in part:

The Noura mentioned in the letter is Bassel’s wife. See the full letter and information about actions to mark the fifth anniversary at:

http://freebassel.org/campaign/events/freebasselday/2017/03/09/freebassel5years/

Step 3: Take that section of a “square sky” to heart, about being able “to see the blue sky for six hours each day.”

Step 4: Create a short piece of music in response to that image, that scenario, that mix of hope amid hopelessness.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0271″ (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/prison-sky-disquiet-junto-project-0271/6877

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, March 13, 2017. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

Length: The length of the finished piece is up to you. Three to five minutes feels about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0271″ in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: Please set your track for download and with a license that allows for attributed reworking (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution). That’s in accordance with the “share alike” aspect of the first stage of this project.

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information, as well as the identity of the source track that yours accompanies:

More on this 271st weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Prison Sky: Mark the 5th anniversary of open-source software engineer Bassel Khartabil’s detention” — at:

http://disquiet.com/0271/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

llllllll.co/t/prison-sky-disquiet-junto-project-0271/6877

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is a detail that Bassel Khartabil wrote to Jon Phillips on January 31, 2014, from the Damascus Central Jail. More on Bassell’s detention at freebassel.org. Major thanks to Christopher Adams, Niki Korth, Jon Phillips, and Barry Threw. See the full letter and information about actions to mark the fifth anniversary at:

http://freebassel.org/campaign/events/freebasselday/2017/03/09/freebassel5years/

By Marc Weidenbaum

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