The Samaras Project

Samaras Street Team

For Immediate Release:

BIZARRO STREET TEAM PROMOTES ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIES IN SF FINANCIAL DISTRICT

San Francisco, October 2. 2006 – Artists working under the name The Anti-Advertising Agency will descend upon San Francisco’s financial district on Wednesday Oct. 4th from 12-1pm. The group will hand out over 5000 promotional postcards – but with a twist. The postcards promote alternatives to capitalism; the everyday exchanges that don’t fit in a profit-based model.

Borrowing from methods used by Microsoft, Sony, and various media and technology companies, the Anti-Advertising Agency has organized a street team. Volunteers will hit the streets in matching shirts and customized messenger bags armed with talking points and hundreds of postcards. The postcards hi-light “simple ideas like sharing amongst friends and neighbors” explained Dara Greenwald, “to complex processes such as cooperatives and worker-owned and operated businesses.” The group hopes to “make a spectacle of themselves,” causing laughter and head scratching while reminding white-collar workers in the downtown area that the United States’ economy is not exclusively capitalist, but a diverse mix including recycling, sharing, open source technologies, co- operatives, and more.

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The Postcards

Each postcard featured an image and short statement on the front and a brief description on the back that leads people to more information.

Open Culture

We Live It - Birthday Cake

We Live It - postcard image side

The copyright to the song Happy Birthday is currently owned by Time-Warner Corporation. (The original creators of the song passed away long ago.) Every time it is sung in public, Time-Warner could demand royalties. Have you ever wanted to challenge copyright laws and practices that allow huge corporations to cash in on our common and shared culture?

The idea of Open Culture is to encourage the sharing of human knowledge and creativity, rather than keeping it in private hands. Open Culture was inspired by the Free and Open Source Software movement, a computer-based development model that encourages multiple people to collaboratively develop software in the belief that this open process will produce better software. The notion of the Free/Open Source process has spread beyond computers and now includes yoga poses, graphics, and food recipes.

The Bay Area has influenced the blossoming of the Open Culture movement. It is the home of www.archive.org. The Prelinger Archives, and www.creativecommons.org. Open Source software development has been practiced in the Bay Area since its inception.

Gleaning

We Found It!

We Found It - postcard image side

Ever feel like there is an abundance of goods just going to waste in our society? 1st mentioned in the Old Testament, gleaning originally meant collecting leftover crops from fields. Today it has come to mean collecting things that others have thrown away. You can see this practiced everyday throughout the Bay Area; from cardboard recyclers, to bartering on craigslist.org, to that great furniture find sitting out on the sidewalk, to those who feed the hungry by collecting surplus food from restaurants and groceries.

Find out more through these great working examples: Food Not Bombs and freecycle.org

Local Currencies

We Mint It!

We Mint It! - postcard image side

Ever wanted to make your own money? Local currencies can let you do it. They help explain what money really is, a placeholder that eases the exchange of goods and services. Because local currency is traded in a small geographic area, any time it is used it supports local businesses and builds local wealth.

Ithaca, NY has an extremely popular and active local currency called the Ithaca Hour.

In order to find out more about the Hour and local currencies in general, visit www.ithacahours.com

Worker Owned Cooperatives

We Own It!

We Own It - postcard image side

Ever felt like your boss was making arbitrary top-down decisions? In a worker owned business, the employees collectively own the company and make democratic decisions about all aspects of the enterprise, including wages and other benefits. In these workplaces, there are no bosses making decisions about your life without your input.

In the Bay Area there are many working examples, including the Red Vic Movie House, Rainbow Grocery, AK Press, and the Lusty Lady.

You can find out more about worker cooperatives through the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives

Community Networks

We Share It!

We Share It! - postcard image side

Ever rely on friends or family in times of need?

Without our friends, neighbors, and/or families it would be hard to get along in this world. From sharing a cup of sugar to checking in on a sick neighbor, we are constantly exchanging goods and services without expectation for material reward.

Although it goes unmeasured, each day more wealth may be shared through these community networks than is traded on the stock market floor.

Samaras Project Posters

Josh MacPhee made two Samaras Project posters in pdf form downloadable for free. They are based on our Samaras Project Postcards (also downloadable for free). Print them out and hang them up in your town!

Worker Owned Coops Poster

Worker Owned Coops Poster by Josh MacPhee

Gleaning Poster by Josh MacPhee

Gleaning Poster by Josh MacPhee

Samaras Project Website

SamarasProject.net is an ongoing collection of research on alternative economies collected by Dara Greenwald, Josh MacPhee, and Steve Lambert.

Free Downloads

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One Comment

  1. John Steinsvold
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    An Alternative to Capitalism (which we need here in the USA)

    Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: “There is no alternative”. She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still prevails.

    I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: “Home of the Brave?” which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

    http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

    John Steinsvold

    Perhaps in time the so-called dark ages will be thought of as including our own. –Georg C. Lichtenberg

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  • Project Brief

    The Samaras Project was a series of postcards promoting worker owned co-operatives, gleaning, gift economies, open culture, and alternative currencies. The postcards were distributed by a coordinated "Street Team" in the Financial District of San Francisco.

    The Samaras Project is a creative exploration of the many alternative economic systems and forms of exchange that exist side by side with capitalism. While capitalism's goal is the accumulation of profits, these other economies aim toward sustainability and fulfilling human needs.

  • Collaborators

  • Press and Exhibitions

    • 2007 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
    • The Audacity of Desperation at PS122 in New York
    • The Audacity of Desperation at Sea and Space Gallery in LA, CA