Un-Convention Caracas

The Caracas crew in the barrio - Andrew Dubber

The Caracas crew in the barrio - Andrew Dubber

I used to go to BeyondTV International Film Festival in Wales.

The film festival was hosted annually by Undercurrents from 2000-2008. Sadly it has been put on hold since 2008.

One year they showed a really weird festival, I think it was in Amsterdam.

The video diary Andrew Dubber has kept of Un-Convention in Caracas reminds me of that weird festival, maybe it was Un-Convention, on the other hand it could be Andrew Dubber seeking out the weird.

The purpose of BeyondTV, was to encourage people to go out with a video camera and document the world around them.

Andrew Dubber is an academic, author, public speaker, blogger, music reviewer, radio and music industry consultant, whisky writer, podcaster, record collector, DJ, broadcaster and record producer. He is Reader in Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University, an advisor to Bandcamp and Planzai, manages half a dozen blogs, and is the founder of New Music Strategies – a pan-European music think tank and strategy group.

His book Music in the Digital Age is a must read! And you can read it on-line for free!

Un-Convention is a series of music events aimed specifically at the grass roots of the industry, the goal of Un-Convention is to bring together like minded individuals to discuss the future of independent music.

What follows is a seven-day video diary. The commentary is by Andrew Dubber, not me.

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Un-Convention Caracas highlights: day 1

I’ve started going through the hundreds of video clips that I took in Venezuela last week, and have started editing them down to a manageable size for general consumption. Here’s the first video from our first day in Caracas.

I’m also going to (eventually) upload all of the unedited videos so you can get Jez’s full narrative of events, and I’ll post that on the Dubber and Jez blog, where we keep a record of all our international adventures — but this is a bit more manageable.

This video is a 3-minute edited highlights package from day one, in which we went to a barrio in El Valle, met some rappers, did some interviews, appeared in a music video, listened to music in the street, danced, watched motorcycle tricks (some of us even got involved), and stayed up past our bedtimes. The usual, in other words.

Un-Convention Caracas highlights: day 2

Adventures in Venezuela continued… in which we go up a mountain in an unsafe vehicle, hang out in unsafe places, have accidents, and present a danger to ourselves and others, all in the name of grassroots and independent music.

Un-Convention Caracas highlights: day 3

In which we share an unusual breakfast, Jez and Ruth present at a bi-lingual press conference, Alex explains Cameraboy Will’s patented two-step ‘Vengabus then text’ dating technique, and we witness the strict discipline of the Tiuna el Fuerte hip hop school.

Un-Convention Caracas highlights: day 4

The start of Un-Convention itself. I get to do a bit of an introduction, Jez has something in his throat, there is music and dancing (of varying levels of skill and complexity), we get to see a model of what Tiuna el Fuerte will eventually look like… and I get to be on the telly.

Un-Convention Caracas highlights: day 5

Time for Jez and I to take a turn on a panel – this time about Digital Archives. We also shared the session with Buddy & Christian, the brothers from Symbiz, whom we quickly got to know and like. Our panel was flooded in, so we had to keep talking for an extra hour; Symbiz cut a track and made a video in an afternoon, after which they hosted a workshop – then came back to our hotel room for a beer and to record an ambient experimental piece using our freakish bathroom taps.

The full Symbiz workshop is online here: [Part 1] [Part 2]

Un-Convention Caracas highlights: day 6

In which Jez loses control of the lower half of his body, I use all my Spanish, Symbiz reveal their Machiavellian plans, a community newspaper quizzes us on political philosophy for over an hour, we get invited to a Caribbean island paradise, and then we dance.

Un-Convention Caracas highlights: day 7

Our last day at Un-Convention – and it’s spent in Petare, known as the most dangerous barrio in Venezuela. We went there to pay tribute to a murdered political activist from the neighbourhood, watch basketball, listen to a performance by Symbiz, visit the place of work and the home of a community worker (with an incredible view) – and then it was back to Tiuna el Fuerte for the grande finale.

Symbiz were back on the stage and put on a killer of a last show, and then we were invited up to the stage to celebrate Un-Convention. What a fantastic way to finish.

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