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ASCII (Amsterdam Subversive Code for Information Interchange)

by Sunday, Jul. 15, 2001 at 9:00 PM

ASCII are an international bunch of iconoclasts, geeks, tech terrorists, squatters, eco-warriors, anarchists etc. who have joined forces. Due to the highly refined chaos of its (dis)organization, the collective has an open structure that relies on the input of its volunteers.

ASCII (Amsterdam Subversive Code for Information Interchange)

What is ASCII?

(Or: Is ASCII really the best thing since sliced silicon?)

ASCII is located in the basement of the Fort van Sjakoo, an international bookshop. We provide free computer facilities and Internet access. Don't expect state-of-the art hardware and yuppie chique. ASCII is a non-commercial organization run by volunteers and the equipment we use has either been salvaged or donated. As far as we know, it is the first squatted "cybercafe" in the world. Anyone can come in, check their mail and have a cup of coffee.

Thanks to the mighty powers of our computer mechanics, we now have 7 machines up and running. One of our aims is to demonstrate the fact that 'outmoded' ware is often perfectly suitable for surfing the net, though computer stores and manufacturers would have you believe otherwise.

The computers are not only re-assembled for our own use, it is our intent to put them together and donate them to a variety of non-profit groups.

Another of our aims is to promote the use and spreading of freeware like Linux. We don't really need to tell you why, do we? Squatters and political activists without Internet facilities can use our incredible expertise ;-) and space. Many activists are still only just starting to grasp the importance of the Internet as a medium, meeting place and information source. We don't claim the Internet is more important than other media or that in order to have a successful campaign it is necessary to rely on net mechanisms.

Radio, for instance, is unsurpassed when it comes to spreading a message to even the remotest areas of the planet. However, none of the "conventional" media influence our perception of reality like the Internet does. That is, the boundaries of participation and observation/non-participation are clearly defined when it comes to reading the paper, watching TV etc. The Internet, on the other hand, has a far-reaching interactivity; it is a soapbox, library, publishing tool and meeting place at the same time. Where else could one find detailed and extensive information on, for instance, genetic modification, join a newsgroup, put a site up, find like-minded people to organize a global campaign, spread news about local actions within minutes of their taking place - and all of that just a click away?

Chances are that people who are looking for information on campaigning, activism, NGO's or just good old subversion will focus on the Internet as a starting point. This definitely applies to youngsters, at least in Western society, who take the existence of the Internet for granted and are accustomed to spending time sitting at their computer desks.

It is imperative that activists seeking to voice their ideas and revive their structures succeed in attracting new generations to their cause. What better way to attain this then to use the preferred medium of those potential supporters/activists, i.e. the Internet?

We feel the Internet should be accessible to anyone and that censorship sucks. Infringement on free speech, surfers' privacy and over-commercialization of the net are mayor problems already. At this rate the net will soon be one huge billboard where multinational companies provide the world with good, clean family fun. Not if we can help it! We hope the subversive elements of the world will continue to infiltrate the net.

Who are ASCII?

(Or: Is ASCII really a Linus Thorvalds money laundering cover?)

ASCII are an international bunch of iconoclasts, geeks, tech terrorists, squatters, eco-warriors, anarchists etc. who have joined forces. Due to the highly refined chaos of its (dis)organization, the collective has an open structure that relies on the input of its volunteers.

Some of the ASCII-crew, and some guests:

Needless to say, ASCII is an independent, self-sufficient initiative. Though we do occasionally receive donations, thank you very much!

Where is ASCII?

(Or: See for yourself)


LOCATION: Jodenbreestraat 24, we are the neighbours of Fort van Sjakoo

Daily 14:00 - 19:00 Hrs.

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