Image: Sharara, via Facebook
Star Wars. Desert camping. Talks on topics aligned with Leave No Trace and Self Reliance. A nod to the Davos World Economic Forum. Sharara, Arabic for “spark”, has it all…
Sharara desert camp-out festival @ the Star Wars site in the Tunisian Sahara (inaugural edition 1-3 April 2017) has a ShararaTech call for submissions that is open till 31 March 2016 on Water, Energy and Self-Reliance around the Mediterranean. Burners are welcome to participate.
This solution-based festival and geography anchored event (Sharara which stands for “Spark” in Arabic) was conceived by a lady entrepreneur who was selected by Davos WEF in 2002 as a Young Arab Leader for her role in creating the first venture capital fund in the Arab part of the Middle East. As a burner she, Amal Alayan could see long back, Sharara as an answer to a question raised by the Guardian recently with the title “What would it look like if Davos and Burning Man would have a baby?”. For a snap shot of Tatooine where Sharara will take place, check out this link. Leonardo Journal of MIT Press, Sharara publishing partner, plans to publish a special section on artworks participating in this event.
It’s an Art and Science festival. No word on if there will be DJs, or drinking, or any other kind of partying. They’re looking for art and tech talks.
Their publishing partner is the Leonardo International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Your art might get featured in MIT Press’s Leonardo Journal, which would be a nice gift to give your
friends patrons at Da Vinci’s Workshop. Well, it would be except that this event won’t actually happen until 2017.
Tune in to Tunis.
First, they get a Google guy going over there to launch a social media-fuelled series of revolutions, using technology developed at Burning Man. It all literally began with a spark and a burning man, when a Tunisian man set himself on fire to kick off the protests – which at their peak in Tunisia were generating 2200 tweets per day.
Next step? Time for an Arab “spark: a Burning Man-like story”. Something futuristic, the best of the West, at Star Wars no less. Followed up with a bunch of venture capital flowing into the startup sector.
They have some heavyweight counter-culture tech credit behind them, with promotion from the Buckminster Fuller Institute.
What would it look like if Burning Man and Davos had a baby? Maybe it’s Sha-ra-ra
Check out their inspiration.
ShararaTech Art & Science Mediterranean Festival (also known as Sharara Art, Science and Technology Mediterranean Festival) is an emergent desert camp-out festival that aims to travel on paths around the Mediterranean to celebrate creativity-for-change at the intersection of art, humanities, science and technology.
For the inaugural edition of ShararaTech, ShararaTech Challenge on Water, Energy and Self-Reliance is launched with a focus on decentralized water and energy solutions.
The festival aims to host desert installations of artistic intrigue and scientific novelty that can evoke holistic insights into new solutions and practices for mitigating difficulties of living around the Mediterranean. ShararaTech sees change rooted in reconnecting with nature, in communal self-reliance, in fostering socially and ecologically responsible entrepreneurship, and in the circularity of gifting and financial support for the creative process.
Whenever possible, ShararaTech aims to include installations that fuse art and technology with self-referential poetics, myths, symbols and universal ethos that defined the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean and its surroundings.
From the Sahara where Transmedia and Communications Technology arguably provided non-violent Arab Spring with the tools necessary to bring down hierarchical and centralized ways of organizing that did not work, ShararaTech will be launched. The aesthetics of these decentralizing tools remain essential to celebrate within such a creativity-for-change festival in order to maximize the potential of access to information, learning, corrective feedback loops, creative circularity and alternative modes of self-organizing.
While remaining open for the participation of many forms of creative expressions at the convergence of art, science and nature, ShararaTech will organize thematically on annual basis in liaison with its affiliates.
In “springing” out of the Tunisian Sahara in 2016 with artistic manifestations of water and energy decentralized generation, distribution and storage solutions, ShararaTech hopes to be part of triggering a constructive 3.0 Revolution with futuristic visionary ways of living and creating on and around the Mediterranean.
ShararaTech Challenge on Water, Energy and Self-Reliance is intended as a catalytic process for crowdsourcing content for the inaugural edition of ShararaTech Art & Science Mediterranean Festival. A Call for Submissions for this challenge includes incentives in the way of potential noteworthy publishing in Leonardo Journal of MIT Press. Furthermore, a first award of up to $50k will be split between two selected water and/or energy novel submissions: one with the best fit for the Tunisian Sahara and one for Gaza.
The Founding Partner of ShararaTech is Ibtikar Venture Partners LLC. The Publishing Partner of ShararaTech Art Festical is Leonardo International Society of the Arts, Sciences and Technology.
Who’s behind this? An MIT-backed startup fund with ties to big pharma, that front-runs deals for blue chip financial syndicates. At least, that’s what they say:
Ibtikar Venture Partners, LLC (“Ibtikar”) was co-founded in May 1999 by Amal Alayan and Omar Khudari as a Delaware limited liability company with a main base in Lexington, MA. Ibtikar leveraged its founding members’ links to MIT and Route 128 and their operating experience in the Middle East in pioneering venture capital investing in the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) and to syndicate its investments with blue chip businesses . Ibtikar made a number of early investments in Arab Internet start-ups when there were no more than 2M Internet users in MENA. In 2013 Ibtikar went through restructuring and a new member joined Ibtikar, Mohmmad Saffouri, a major shareholder of Al-Hikma, a leading MENA Pharmaceuticals company based out of Jordan. In 2013 Ibtikar sought, and on 25 September 2013 obtained, an approval from the Tunisian government on the organizing and the production of an international art, science and technology event in the Neck-of-the-Camel desert and in its adjacent George Lucas Star Wars Décor of Tatooine near Tozeur airport in the Tunisian Sahara. On 20 July 2015 the Tunisian newly elected government renewed this approval and confirmed its support.
Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Leonardo/ISAST) is a nonprofit organization that serves the global network of distinguished scholars, artists, scientists, researchers and thinkers through programs focused on interdisciplinary work, creative output and innovation. From its beginnings, Leonardo/ISAST has served as the virtual community for purposes of networking, resource-sharing, best practices, research and events in Art/Science/Technology.
Leonardo serves as critical content provider through their Publications Program — scholarly journals published by MIT Press (Leonardo and LMJ), the Leonardo Book Series (MIT Press), as well as the Leonardo family of websites and experimental projects on evolving digital platforms.http://www.leonardo.info
Just like Stanford has its non-profit Defense contractor SRI International, MIT has its non-profit Defense contractor the MITRE corp
. Wonder if they are involved in any of these projects? Maybe some of Reagan’s Star Wars
will be out there mixing it up with George Lucas’ Star Wars
– if they weren’t from the very beginning, anyway…
Ronald Reagan writing about Star Wars and Bohemian Grove. From Reagan: A Life in Letters by Kiron K Skinner
[Update 3/8/16 7:51am]
A Balanced Perspective has pointed us to the Dunes Electroniques festival, a rave that was recently held at the Star Wars site in Tunisia. More than 1000 security personnel were employed. Here is a great write-up of the event.
Yesterday, the President of Tunisia declared the country a war zone, after skirmishes with ISIS on the Libyan border:
“The majority of Tunisians are now in a state of war against barbarism,” he said from the capital, Tunis.
[Update 3/9/16 9:24am]
Amal Alayan, event organizer, says the President was incorrect in his statement that the majority of Tunisians are now in a state of war, and in fact the clashes are only in one town at the border area.
the closing line about the president of Tunisia making an announce that the whole country is declared “war zone ” is not true and hurt the people of Tunisia who r the only people in the region who made Arab Spring succeed. I am in Tunisia now and know for a fact that the war zone is in one town on the east south borders with Libya . I am going Friday as a woman on my own to the west south were out Star Wars site is and will be sending u a photo .. I ran ur article by the ministry of tourism earlier today and on your quote if their president , they said “he was not referring to the whole country”
I’m not sure who to believe: the President of Tunisia, the Minister of Tourism, or the event promoter. YMMV.
Although Ben Guerdane, where 53 people were killed in an ISIS attack on Monday, is next to Tataouine, the festival site is on the other side of the country at Mos Espa
Here is the current UK foreign travel advice for Tunisia. The PDF map is more detailed.
The US State Department issued an updated Travel Advisory on Feb 29 2016.
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of travel to Tunisia and recommends that U.S. citizens in Tunisia maintain a high level of vigilance following the February 19 U.S. airstrike targeting a Tunisian terrorist facilitator at a terrorist training camp in Libya near the Tunisian border. The Tunisian government has visibly augmented its security presence in recent months, but challenges persist. This travel alert expires on March 31, 2016.
U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution in Tunisia when frequenting public venues visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as: hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites, and restaurants. Two attacks in 2015 targeted tourists: the Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 18 and two beach hotels near Sousse on June 26. ISIL claimed responsibility for both attacks. U.S. citizens should also be alert in general to the possibility of kidnapping.
The general security advice for Tunisia
contains more details. Some highlights:
The Tunisian government officially designated the group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), a group with known anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiments, as a terrorist organization on August 27, 2013. The Tunisian government continues security force operations against AAS-T, ISIL, and al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). While security forces have successfully foiled a number of attack plots, the potential threat posed by violent extremists in the country remains real…
Certain cities and governorates in Tunisia have a fluid and unpredictable security environment and travel to these areas require additional scrutiny before U.S. Government personnel may travel to them. These include but are not limited to the geographical areas adjacent to the border with Algeria (Jendouba, Kef, Kasserine); the Libyan border (Ben Gardane and Medenine) and central Tunisia (Gafsa and Sidi Bou Zid).
Travel to the Algerian border region (Jendouba, Kef, Kasserine) is only allowed for U.S. Government personnel if deemed mission essential, and should be avoided by U.S. citizens given the periodic security incidents along the border regions, including the Mount Chaambi area where security operations continue against armed extremists.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Tunisia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. If you break local laws in Tunisia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Tunisia. Penalties include sentences of up to three years in prison. In February 2015, a Swedish man was sentenced to two years in prison, and in September 2015 a Tunisian man was sentenced to one year in prison for violating Tunisia’s law against consensual same-sex sexual relations. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Tunisia’s President extended the country’s State of Emergency
until Feb 21, 2016. It is not clear what the current state is.
It’s still a year until the event. Hopefully world peace will be achieved by then.