Fora do Eixo

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= an affiliation of ‘cultural producers’ (promoters, managers, labels etc.) who use the internet to connect and organise, work together and try to make a sustainable independent music and performing arts sector. [1]

URL = http://foradoeixo.org.br


Description

1.

"Circuito Fora do Eixo (Out of the Axis Circuit) is a network created in the end of 2005 by cultural producers from the north, south and west regions of Brazil. It started with the collaboration between producers from Cuiaba (Mato Grosso), Rio Branco (Acre), Uberlandia (Minas Gerais) and Londrina (Paraná), aiming at stimulating the circulation of musical projects, production technology exchange and the trade of products.

The network grew and the market relations became even more favorable for small music related initiatives. Introduced by the ever-growing access to information, the musical industry's new challenges, laid fertile ground for small initiatives to grow, especially those that had collaborative structures.

Initiatives like the Cubo Card from Cuiaba - a system of complementary currency revolving around cultural services - , or the grand number of music festivals produced by the members of the network have shown that it is possible to produce in a sustainable scale, emphasizing the direct contact between producers from all brazilian states, through a network of information and under the logic that together we can achieve more.

Nowadays, Circuito Fora do Eixo is present on 25 out of the 27 states of Brazil. All brazilian regions are integrated in this network, making it's action visible nationwide.

From this structure certain initiatives have come up, such as the Grito Rock América do Sul - an independently organized event from Circuito Fora do Eixo that happened in 74 different cities (out of which 4 where in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay) - and the Fora do Eixo Festival, that happened in São Paulo in 2010.

Finally, the Fora do Eixo Portal - the network's website - managed to gather all these producers in a social network, open to public, where all the information from Circuito Fora do Eixo can be found and downloaded, allowing a greater amount of information a social technology to be traded." (Eyebeam.com)


2.

"How do music festivals in Brazil cooperate – using their own currency for greater independence from outside economic structures, exchanging equipments and musical projects? What can we learn from their experiences? Circuito Fora do Eixo (Out of the Axis Circuit) is a network created in the end of 2005 by cultural producers from the north, south and west regions of Brazil. It started with the collaboration between producers from Cuiaba (Mato Grosso), Rio Branco (Acre), Uberlandia (Minas Gerais) and Londrina (Paraná), aiming at stimulating the circulation of musical projects, production technology exchange and the trade of products.

The network grew and the market relations became even more favorable for small music related initiatives. Introduced by the ever-growing access to information, the musical industry’s new challenges, laid fertile ground for small initiatives to grow, especially those that had collaborative structures.

Initiatives like the Cubo Card from Cuiaba – a system of complementary currency revolving around cultural services – , or the grand number of music festivals produced by the members of the network have shown that it is possible to produce in a sustainable scale, emphasizing the direct contact between producers from all brazilian states, through a network of information and under the logic that together we can achieve more." (http://www.all2gethernow.de/diy-or-do-it-together-pt-1kunstlerkollektive-und-netzwerke/)


3. Self-description:

"Circuito Fora do Eixo (Out of the Axis Circuit) is a network created in the end of 2005 by cultural producers from the north, south and west regions of Brazil. It started with the collaboration between producers from Cuiaba (Mato Grosso), Rio Branco (Acre), Uberlandia (Minas Gerais) and Londrina (Paraná), aiming at stimulating the circulation of musical projects, production technology exchange and the trade of products.

The netwrok grew and the market relations became even more favorable for small music related initiatives. Introduced by the ever-growing access to information, the musical industry's new challenges, laid fertile ground for small initiatives to grow, especially those that had collaborative structures.

Initiatives like the Cubo Card from Cuiaba - a system of complementary currency revolving around cultural services - , or the grand number of music festivals produced by the members of the network have shown that it is possible to produce in a sustainable scale, emphasizing the direct contact between producers from all brazilian states, through a network of information and under the logic that together we can achieve more.

Nowadays, Circuito Fora do Eixo is present on 25 out of the 27 states of Brazil. All brazilian regions are integrated in this network, making it's action visible nationwide.

From this structure certain initiatives have come up, such as the Grito Rock América do Sul - an independently organized event from Circuito Fora do Eixo that happened in 74 different cities (out of which 4 where in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay) - and the Fora do Eixo Festival, that happened in São Paulo in 2010.

Finally, the Fora do Eixo Portal - the network's website - managed to gather all these producers in a social network, open to public, where all the information from Circuito Fora do Eixo can be found and downloaded, allowing a greater amount of information a social technology to be traded."

Status Update 2011

Andrew Dubber:

"Joining live music venues, artists and festivals as well as labels and studios around the country, the collectives have developed a separate economy from that of the mainstream music industry… to the point where they now actually have their own currency. Really.

They’ve just released their end of year figures on their blog (it’s in Portuguese, but I ran it through Google Translate for you).

In a nutshell, Fora do Eixo have generated £35m of investment in independent music and the arts in Brazil through the activities of networked collectives. Their work incorporated 170 festivals, 13,500 artists, 5,000 concerts, 150 tours, as well as education, free software initiatives, environmental work, book and magazine publishing and much more besides."


Business Model

See: Fora do Eixo - Business Model

Aspects of the FdO business model are:

Discussion:

Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al:

"The trade offs and informal exchanges between groups and artists have always been productive forces guiding the independent music scene in Brazil. It is common for friends or partners to volunteer at events and other projects, and that force of solidarity work for years spun sector economy, still deeply marked by informality and lack of resources in kind. The system CFE Card main goal is to minimize the negative effects of fluctuations in the cash flow, by developing a cultural market based on services exchanges. The model is a replacement for the traditional scheme of "camaraderie" that happened when the exchanges were informal and unsystematic. The system depends on the credibility and quality of the services exchanged within the network, and the fact that all individuals involved are committed with the network. Because of this, a monitoring process of the network becomes very important. Where the management council must be constantly preoccupied with capacitating all collectives, as well as stimulating its users to exchange and use network as much as possible. Besides creating a network of services exchange, it creates a network of trust. Where trusting in each participant becomes the main stimulation to exchanges happen." (http://www.scribd.com/doc/59754560/The-Brazilian-System-for-the-Solidarity-Culture-Fora-Do-Eixo-Card)


The Fora do Eixo National Fund

Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al:

"To monitor and manage the financial transactions of the Fora do Eixo Circuit, and pursue actions that reduce local differences through investment strategies, the network created a National Fund. The objective of the Fund is to foster the development and structuring of the Fora do Eixo collectives, and pursue sustainability in the network. By building a national fund, the Fund seeks to meet the demands of projects carried out by the Circuit, and address special needs of individuals and collectives in the network.The methodology of the Fund, as well as in other actions of Fora do Eixo, is based on transversality and collective decision making. For this, two councils were structured, the Management Council and the Executive Council. The Management Council consists of all member of the sustainability management front , and one of each other management fronts. Thus, all decisions should be discussed by this Council and executed by the Executive Council.

The Fund’s revenues consists of official currency and complementary currency and comes from several sources: revenue from public and private contests, contribution from the collectives, donations, sponsorships, institutional projects, services exchanges and other Government funds. The collectives’ contribution is made with services rendered to the network, financial resources. Funds raised by Institutional projects are 100% converted to the National Fund. CFE’ s collectives and the management fronts can claim access for the National Fund’s resources. The collectives can access the Fund through loans, participation in contests,agreements, direct funding and services. Information on ways to access, terms, notices, sample forms, worksheets, results and meetings minutes are always available in the internet’s social network of the CFE. The management fronts may plead annual percentage of the National Fund, with the purpose to implement or develop institutional projects, approved by the Management Council. Another means of the collectives raising money is rendering services to institutional projects. Selection of which collective for rendering service evaluates criteria such as being in line with the Charter of Principles and Rules of Procedure of the CFE and financial and operational capacity." (http://www.scribd.com/doc/59754560/The-Brazilian-System-for-the-Solidarity-Culture-Fora-Do-Eixo-Card)

Source: * Paper: Fora do Eixo Card: The Brazilian System for the Solidarity Culture. By Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al. [2]


The role of tours and festivals in strengthening collectives

Shannon Garland:

"Musical production, circulation, and promotion, first through festivals, then through tours, in fact, has played the primary role in founding FdE collectives, suturing them together, and expanding and maintaining the network in material, symbolic, and financial terms. Many festivals arose explicitly as a Fora do Eixo initiative to bring music to a particular city and create a node there, or were otherwise associated with Abrafin, the Brazilian Independent Festival Association, an entity that was established alongside Fora do Eixo in 2005, and whose co-presidency was once shared by Pablo Capie. In 2010, Fora do Eixo inaugurated the [band management] Agency, with a roster of eighteen bands, which were sent on tour in an effort to create a more continuous and even flow of band circulation. This similarly helped consolidate Fora do Eixo nodes in the country. “A lot of collectives came into the network upon receiving a tour,” described FdE music agent Felipe Altenfelder; “Many cities sought us out interested in that, andwewere able to keep the group stimulated andworking afterward.”

These tours helped forge the network of collectives that would then allowfor more bands to tour the country “Monday-to-Monday,” thus opening the possibility of making a living as a band by working in the form of a tour. FdE often helped pay for the tours, in order to convince the bands that touring in Brazil was both possible and a good idea. Again, this was also vital to the strengthening of the collectives and the network itself, in that “it was [tours] that sewed together the network that was forming,” owing to the intercollective coordination the tours demanded, which also helped promote the tours. “We were succeeding in creating a wave of promotion in succession, because [when] a band was playing in S˜ao Carlos the city of Riber˜ao was already picking up our coverage on our blog, and using it to promote its own, and the system began to show itself as much more efficient” (Altenfelder). The founding of new collectives and the incorporation of more producers into the Fora do Eixo network was thus established through the music and social encounters that festivals and tours offered.

While FdE emphasizes “horizontality” in its structuring, both as a network and within each individual collective, it is also organized into national, state, and regional networks such that actions taken at each respective geographical level are coordinated and carried out by relevant collectives.

Moreover, certain members act as leaders within FdE subareas and for the network as a whole, while some individual collectives command more power within the network, if only by stint of their elevated capacity to produce events and “articulate” other parts of the network. In this sense, the most powerful collective is the national headquarters, the Casa Fora do Eixo Sao Paulo, which was established in 2011 when the entire team from Espac¸o Cubo, along with “base” members from other FdE collectives, moved to the city. They set up in a large house that includes shared rooms where around twenty members live and additional bed space for touring bands and other FdE collective members, who frequently visit the house to participate in “immersion” workshops on how to better organize their own collective coffer and local card currency, as well as to generally “exchange experiences.”

Sao Paulo, as Felipe Altenfelder aptly described, serves as an “amplifier” for Brazil; moving to S˜ao Paulo to forge partnerships with established music institutions and musicians would better allow the network to “challenge the cultural imaginary” of Brazil as a whole. FdE was able, in part, to establish alliances with artists who have already attained a high amount of national recognition and success by offering them more visibility via the FdE networked structure. Felipe described “negotiation with Sao Paulo” thusly: “You [artists] wanna play in Amap´a,14 you wanna play wherever, it’s with us. We are here in Sao Paulo bringing all of Brazil to you.” The Fora do Eixo Sao Paulo house now produces the Tuesday night Cedo e Sentado event at Studio SP, a music venue long recognized as a space for the live performances of Brazilian bands, and which is situated in one of Sao Paulo’s primary nightlife and live music districts. In the past year, and especially in the first several months of 2012, Fora do Eixo has also both helped organize and appeared as the “media team” at a series of public protest events in Sao Paulo and around the country."

Source: Article: “The Space, the Gear, and Two Big Cans of Beer”. Shannon Garland. Journal of Popular Music Studies, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 509–531

The Accusations of Self-Exploitation by Musicians

Shannon Garland:

"Fora do Eixo might set up a festival in whichmost bands are not paid; instead,money is spread across the festival and the network as a whole, to provide free entry to audiences and to cover local transportation and food costs the festival and for other network events. While a band may not initially earn money, it can use the festival as a platform to connect with potential fans, both face to face through performance, and through Fora do Eixo’s online promotion of the festival. The band, moreover, may receive card in lieu of currency, which it can use in exchange for other Fora do Eixo services.

Macaco Bong drummer Ynai˜a Benthroldo, who participated in Espac¸o Cubo, explained this type of (what FdE calls) “self-exploitation” during the band’s early negotiation with festival producers, for whom Macaco Bong worked in exchange for performance space and the spreading of “social technologies”11 from Cubo:

- If you bring me to play, I’ll produce the stage for us, I’ll work at the festival. And we got to know bands seeing shows, we didn’t charge a fee, the guy [producer] would pay my travel, hospitality, and food and for some festivals we paid our travel . . . . [W]e’d pay to travel to play and to work at the guy’s festival . . . and stay there a week constructing with the collective, creating a nucleus of production in the music studio of the group, we’d exchange with the bands, we’d have meetings, we’d take all of what we were doing in Cuiab´a to that city.

The labor of Macaco Bong, in particular, has paid off in the long run—they nowcirculate freely throughout the network and also book regular paid gigs with more traditional institutions. Yet, critics deride such methods as outright exploitation of musicians for the network’s fiscal profit. “They exploit bands,” said one musician in S˜ao Paulo. “Don’t ask [anyone] to play for free man. Because they get money from the government. And it’s not just a little, either” (Musician 2).

This type of musical production, circulation, and promotion, first through festivals, then through tours, in fact, has played the primary role in founding FdE collectives, suturing them together, and expanding and maintaining the network in material, symbolic, and financial terms."

Source: Article: “The Space, the Gear, and Two Big Cans of Beer”. Shannon Garland. Journal of Popular Music Studies, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 509–531

Governance

See: Fora do Eixo - Governance

Source: * Paper: Fora do Eixo Card: The Brazilian System for the Solidarity Culture. By Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al. [3]

Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al:

"The CFE is organized in theme axes and management fronts.Theme axes are:

1) Circulation: circulation of artists and cultural agents of different expression contemplated in CFE, seeking the strengthening, expansion and dissemination of the network. Some of the themes that guide the Axis are the Artist Agency, tours, and itinerant routes.

2) Sustainability: research, implementation, management and generation of data on the mechanisms for sustainability of CFE, in its global perspective. Some of the themes guiding the Axis are complementary currencies, the CFE Fund - Collective Fund,Bylaws and Charter of Principles, Solidarity Economy, Creative Economy, Knowledge Economy.

3) Communication: brings together the chain of independent cultural production,connecting through collaborative works nationwide with a specific primary objective: to generate new agents of free media. The intention is to promote the formation of opinion by agents of independent culture and maintain a stimulated debate. Some of the theme axis are Social Networking, Media and Content Production.

4) Distribution: product development and production/distribution centers, to build a supportive network of national cultural products. Some of the guiding theme Axis a redistribution logistics, distribution points, marketing and logistics of products.Managing Fronts develop actions in favor of the alternative national cultural scene. These fronts are adapted to the local reality by the organizations and develop the structuring of projects and groups, involving the arrangement of local cultural production. The fronts should address the needs of the setting and its supply chain, designing projects and integrating staff from all collaborators. They give tone to political action, economic,educational, social and environmental, musical, audiovisual, communication, environment and other cross-cutting areas of the entity.


The fronts manage the production and the strategic actions of the network as well as assume the lead role in organizing all activities on CFE.

1) CFE Communication: group that works all the communication inside CFE and support other organizations by developing local networks of independent media. CFE Communication manage CFE’s Social Network, Radio, TV, Writing, Press, Design and institutional projects’ media, and also incorporate in each organzation the same methodology of work for the development of local actions, connected to the cultural scene.

2) CFE Events: group in charge of producing network events such as CFE Festival, Grito Rock Festival, Regional Meetings, Congress, Debate, Show Nights, MovieWeek and so on. This front stimulates the production activities in the CFE organizations to ensure the circulation, production, generation, distribution and marketing platforms. At each CFE organization there is at least one major event that meets the demand of this managing front in support of the local cultural scene. These actions are the main platforms for launching new products and projects in the cultural market.

3) CFE Cinema Club: group in charge of the audio-visual actions inside CFE Organizations, leveraging the alternative cultural audio-visual scene. The Cinema Club encourages audio-visual nucleus of each CFE Organization and works collaboratively in the actions of the segment. The Cinema Club appears in 2009 during the Second CFE Congress.

4) CFE Theater: group dedicated to the performing arts scene. CFE Theater, as well as the Cinema Club, promote the expansion of CFE to other expressions, agglutinating agents from all CFE Organizations and encouraging the creation of performing arts groups in them. CFE Theater emerges in 2010, being the latest front on CFE.

5) CFE Music: group that brings together music agents such as bands, musicians and supporters in general focused on the development of the national music scene. CFEMusic extends to all CFE Organizations in order to mobilize key individuals toexpand the local music networks.

6) CFE Environmental: group dedicated to actions related to environmental awareness. CFE environmental appeared in 2010 during CFE Regional meeting, that happened during the CFE Festival 2010 held in São Paulo, as a result of a bigger need of more actions for the environmental area. The ideia of the front is to work projects that aimto reduce, reuse and recycle materials having a major focus in sustainability. The front develops integrated actions of the network and enhances the creation of similar centers at each CFE Organization.

7) CFE Institutional: responsible for designing and developing management strategies along CFE Organizations, increasing the link between their own managing fronts and external partners. The front should work to maintain the balance of group dynamics from the needs that each group demands in relation to its strategic partners. It also works the relationship with the Points of Culture of the Federal Government in the pursuit of expanding its network and exchange technologies.

8) CFE Card: responsible for the actions of sustainability within the network, this front manages and organizes actions such as mapping, diagnostics, research, work and commercial plans, projects, Fund, complementary currencies and flow between the various fronts related to decisions about projects and activities. The front is divided in different nuclei: Survey and Mapping, Projects, Business, Fund, and APL (Local Productive Arrangements - extension of the actions in CFE Organizations).

9) CFE Distro: front responsible for the distribution of CFE’s products through: the CFE store (on and offline), CFE stands (on events), Compacto. Rec (virtual distribution project) and any other distribution process. CFE Distro fosters the development of distribution points in all CFE Organizations.

10) CFE Tecnoart (TECA): responsible for audio, sound, stage, AMPs, luthiery, testing,recording, lighting, digital technology, computing and any other related demands within the network. TECA also encourages the structuring of related nuclei at each CFE Organization. The front is split between: Content Sharing, Live (stage, sound and light), Studios (recording test) and open platforms.

11) CFE Agency: responsible for the circulation of artists, creation of tour routes,catalog, announcements, scheduling shows, business proposals, marketing and any demand concerning the organization of artistic career on the network. The front also enhances the creation of agency in each CFE Organization.

12) CFE Offices: front dedicated to fostering and structuring permanent offices aimed at working CFE’s market and political action. Currently, Sao Paulo Office’s main focus is interacting with the cultural market in order to expand the alternatives for the sustainability of the network. The Brasilia Office has public policy as the main tool to be exploited. This front seeks to consolidate all integrated actions and CFE Organization guided by the expansion of cultural market and public policy.


All fronts elect coordinators have a better organization and dedication to the responsibilities of the CFE Groups. All members of the network must work on at least one front. Each front has its own email group administered by a representative of the Regional Reference Organization and the respective coordinators. The coordinators are in charge of reporting the front’s activities to the whole network, every two weeks." (http://www.scribd.com/doc/59754560/The-Brazilian-System-for-the-Solidarity-Culture-Fora-Do-Eixo-Card)


Fora do Eixo's adaptation to network forms

Shannon Garland:


1.

'Fora do Eixo now consists of about one hundred collectives and is present in almost every state. While the network often enters into “partnerships” with other institutions and social entities, the collectives that formally adopt Fora do Eixo’s bylaws and Statement of Principles comprise its nucleus. While these collectives, called FdE “nodes” or “points” (pontos), develop their own local initiatives, they are also held to Fora do Eixo programs, such as creating their own card system and working to build new partnerships or nodes within the region (“Regimento”). Individual nodes also produce network-wide cultural events, such as the Fora do Eixo Nights local music events, and participate in network-wide media diffusion tactics.

The latter involves the use of specific Twitter hashtags and liking, sharing, and commenting on FdE-related actions on Facebook, and is sometimes coordinated and carried out during specific time frames to keep the stories prominent in social media news feeds. Members also coordinate through email lists divided by geography or project, and work collectively on projects through online tools such as Google Docs. All of these actions serve to cohere the network as an entity, and the social media tactics in particular help generate what FdE members might call “meme” force, in terms of mediated recognition, a reference to the concept of “memes,” images or words that quickly become popular through their reproduction on the Internet (Tsotsis).

The particular logics and structures of Internet platforms and digital production are paramount to the process of Fora do Eixo’s network formation, maintenance, strategies, and overall structure, and even manifest in Fora do Eixo’s unique linguistic code. A shift in strategy for a particular action is described as “hitting F5” (refresh); “challenging the cultural imaginary” is achieved “memetically”; and ideas and goals are referenced via hashtags, originally developed on Twitter, but used even outside of the platform. Those who disagree with FdE’s ideology of technology-mediated collaboration are often dismissed as “analog,” in other words, unable to shift their mode of cultural production and political action into accord with the new participatory realities of the twenty-first century.

Fora do Eixo also seeks to embrace the characteristics of Internetbased production and circulation—that is, reproducibility—in practical terms: by extending sharing and multiplication into the ambits of physical band circulation and remuneration. Working in network formation, members say, generates a “multiplier effect” where “one plus one equals three,” because the redistribution of resources forms a structure through which more resources can be found and enjoyed by more people."


2.

"Fora do Eixo has deeply understood the significance of visibility in the new media environment. I think that it would be fair to say that all actions Fora do Eixo initiates or in which it partakes are considered as strategies for increasing network visibility; in fact, Fora do Eixo attempts to track the circulation of “Fora do Eixo” on the Internet as well as the types of discourse surrounding it to better strategize its actions. But Fora do Eixo also understands the importance of co-present interaction both for the reproduction of visibility as well as for the strengthening of the network.

The network’s presence in S˜ao Paulo, partnerships with musicians who gained visibility outside of the network, and appearance at protest events are deployed as a means through which Fora do Eixo, in circulating images, hashtags, and information, can associate itself with other visible phenomena circulating on the Internet. Likewise, Fora do Eixo–produced events are heavily and strategically promoted in social networks. This is possible because Fora do Eixo members use their personal social media accounts to disseminate network events and information, tagging the institutional pages of Fora do Eixo16—which include the network as a whole, individual Fora do Eixo collectives, and FdE projects—in the hopes that the swirl of aggregated information will capture attention. In fact, it is extremely rare to see Fora do Eixo members use Facebook and Twitter to post information unrelated to the network; rather, their “social activity” online is inseparable from their role and work in performing the network. That is to say, acts of posting, tagging, and hash tagging events with Fora do Eixo signifiers are a type what Lee and LiPuma call a performative, “a creative type of indexical icon: a self-reflexive use of reference that, in creating a representation of an ongoing act, also enacts it” (195). Co-present FdE events such as tours or band performances marked and disseminated online with Fora do Eixo signifiers imaginatively enact Fora do Eixo as a network.

Fora do Eixo thus collapses the difference between the social and the institutional, owing to the systematic way in which FdE members appropriate social media, the ostensible purpose of which is to affirm and construct sociability—the ludic, post-work, and post-bureaucratic manner in which individuals connect with each other, which music has been particularly good at providing (Ochoa).

...

Individual FdE members breach this division between the social and the institutional by militantly promoting the network as their own personal interest, which is at the same time their institutional interest, in that they are the network, and the existence of the network itself provides their material subsistence. As such, their promotion of a music event is always already imbricated with the promotion of the network, and the aspect of the personal, private, and interior is removed. As a result, there appears to be no aesthetic decision at play behind promotion, and the artistic curation cannot be trusted by non-network observers—hence, the common charge by FdE critics that the bands it helps circulate are not worth listening to."


3.

"Individuals usually execute this sharing with self-interest that is not monetary or institutional, but rather based on the fostering of social intimacy.18 This contrasts deeply with the way in which Fora do Eixo appropriates and “hacks” these same technologies. In February 2012, for example, Fora do Eixo managed to elevate the hashtag #GritoRock, the name of its multicity music and arts festival, to the top trending position on Twitter, by coordinating hundreds of tweets with the tag all day. This type of effort to capture more visibility for the network not only emphasizes the overall event and Fora do Eixo’s role in it rather than the individual musical acts, but also turns the intimate domain of music sharing into a structured form of labor. In other words, Fora do Eixo uses what would appear to be a democratic and a-systematic media tool (and its a-systematicity confers its social emphasis) to systematize aesthetic production and circulation, generating value that “should be” based on public approval without needing a public other than the network itself.

This is also true for the way in which Fora do Eixo structures the circulation of bands. Because FdE itself seeks to benefit from the visibility engendered by this circulation, its institutional interest lies in keeping circulation within the network, or bringing outside events into the network rubric. This limitation on circulation is actually institutionalized in the use of the card currency. While alternative currencies strengthen social ties and encourage solidarity among members, “making resources that might be privately owned or controlled available to all” (North 225), they also “tend to reproduce themselves, not diversify” (North 227). Getting paid by a currency you can only use in the network implies reinvesting in the network for any return, which also consolidates and performatively (re-)legitimates the network. It is through this kind of logic that critics see Fora do Eixo gaining much more than the bands it promotes. By many accounts, card has been incredibly effective in helping build experience in music production despite scarce resources (Capil´e), and has also helped shape aesthetic values within Fora do Eixo (Benthroldo). But like FdE’s social media tactics, the very strength of card in systematizing what was once based on a loose structure of friendships and favors is also its biggest weakness, as Fora do Eixo itself described: “the model is a replacement for the traditional scheme of ‘camaraderie’ that happened when the exchanges were informal and unsystematic” (Poljokan et al. 12). This organizational mechanism for circulation is precisely what counters the indie ethos."

Source: Article: “The Space, the Gear, and Two Big Cans of Beer”. Shannon Garland. Journal of Popular Music Studies, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 509–531

Discussion

Shannon Garland:

"Bands performing at Fora do Eixo events, however, may forfeit payment in legal tender in exchange for the opportunity for circulation and public presentation, or for card, the currency Fora do Eixo created to systematize and make exchangeable the labor of participants. This labor and remuneration ideology has been criticized by other actors involved in independent music, who are also vying for recognition and financial sustainability in a market in which few musicians manage to make a living. Critics view Fora do Eixo as both unconcerned with and lacking the aesthetic criteria on which they feel musical promotion should be based and from which cultural and economic value should arise, and view the network’s ideology of exchange of services, rather than strict remuneration, as both self-serving and detrimental to the building of an alternative “middle market” in Brazil, one in which a band’s labor would be supported by a large, paying audience.

Fora do Eixo has also been increasingly criticized for its mode of political involvement and social activism (Passa Palavra); the network now conceives of itself as a “social movement of cultures” that can challenge dominant models of society by “hacking” into extant institutions. Reconfiguring models for cultural production in the multiple artistic languages with which FdE works falls into this overall goal. While this activism and this vision factor into opposition, they are too broad to treat here.Moreover, the most enduring and stable criticisms, familiar even to those who only minimally follow debates and understand Fora do Eixo structuring,2 revolve around the network’s modes of music circulation and the artistic quality of the bands circulating through it. This criticism has arisen periodically over the last several years,3 but became especially salient in the final months of 2011, when it manifested as a series of public articulations in the form of Twitter exchanges, blog posts, Facebook debates, and more.

A YouTube parody produced in December 2011 captured much of this critical view(Hitler). The video is based on the globally popular practice of placing comic subtitles on a scene from theWorldWar II movie Downfall, originally in German, which features Hitler breaking down during a meeting with his generals toward the war’s close (Heffernan; Wortham). Subtitled in Portuguese, the clip parodies Fora do Eixo’s practices in general, and in particular, the response of Pablo Capil´e to a question posed on the final day of the 2011 FdE national conference. Asked why Fora do Eixo had such a weak presence in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, Capil´e replied that Pernambuco was “the personification of rancor,” and that Pernambucan musicians got stuck navel-gazing following the explosion of the state’s innovative, genre-mixing manguebeat artists, such as Chico Science (Pq as coisas), who gained great national and even international attention during the 1990s (Crook). In Capil´e’s view, Pernambucan artists were unable to adapt to the new cultural logic of networked sharing inaugurated by the Internet, the logic at Fora do Eixo’s core, and as such, the network had “removed its bases from” and “entered into diplomatic crisis with the state of Pernambuco” (Pq as coisas). Fora do Eixo broadcast Capil´e’s commentary through its “post-TV” online streaming project, but quickly removed the video after it generated widespread backlash, the parody included.

In the video, Hitler represents Pablo Capil´e, and the presence of the German army on the European map, which the generals are discussing, represents the presence of Fora do Eixo collectives in Brazil. The scene opens with a Nazi general turned FdE member showing Hitler-Capil´e the map with pins representing where, he says, “the kids are already down with playing for free.” “What’s even better,” he continues, “is that they are willing to play without roadies, without a producer, without a sound technician. And at the end of it, all we pay with fake money that is worthless in the real world.” After Hitler-Capil´e finds out that Fora do Eixo has “not been able to accomplish jack shit” in Pernambuco, he calmly sends all those “who think bands need structure and payment” out of the room.With just a few generals left, he flies into a rage, screaming, “[I]f a guy wants to appear, then he has to put up with whatever kind of shit, no questions. People are in rock to be fucked over . . . ” When a “general” lightly protests that “they have bills to pay,” Hitler-Capil´e retorts, “Everyone knows that musicians who want to pay bills have to play ax´e4 . . . everyone wants to travel with a producer, sound tech and they still want the festival to pay their travel costs? At this rate, future generations are going to think that you can live off music. These people want to buy strings and drumsticks every show! That is for gringo musicians! . . . [I]f they want to get paid to play, let them write a project for the incentive law. As if I am the local government to pay for shows!” By the end of the scene, Hitler-Capil´e is spent and frustrated that he has “done so much shit to raise money for festivals” and “make bands circulate” all for these “conceited” and “rancorous” Pernambucans who do not buy into FdE structure and ideology. “They are ingrates,” he laments. “We provide the space, the sound gear, and two big cans of beer . . . it’s fucked up.”

This video highlights the most typical criticisms of Fora do Eixo by those who do not favor it: network members’ bent to occupy space around Brazil and become a principal force in independent music production; their prickly reactions to criticism; their use of public funds (incentive laws) to finance festivals and other actions; the poor technical support they provide to musicians; and the incentive to play for free—for “fake money,” that is, card; or in exchange for as little as “two big cans of beer.” In more indirect terms, the video touches on the question of how to build a sustainable market for music that has not been mass within the radically altered technological environment inwhich the symbolic value that arises from the high circulation of mediated representations of musicians and their music correlates weakly to the economic value musicians can reap.

Both Fora do Eixo and its critics in Brazilian independent rock/pop share the desire to establish a measure of stability in structures of musical production and circulation across the country. And Fora do Eixo has by and large achieved this, building production teams and performance spaces in dozens of small cities with hitherto scant activity. But Fora do Eixo’s means of doing so, including its tactics to attain media visibility and its modes of finance, undermine the historical ideology and ethos of independent music production and circulation, one in which a structure of circulation is (or should be) constructed through informal networks of social associations, themselves created dialogically through individual interest in shared musical exchanges and experiences. The manner in which Fora do Eixo appropriates social media platforms to try to gain visibility and its systematization of band circulation subverts this ethos, in that FdE’s very organization ultimately prioritizes the network’s own structure of circulation over the aesthetic objects to be distributed or the recognition of musicians. This inverts the relation between aesthetic value and the modes of musical circulation upon which the ideology and practice of DIY rock music have been built. The backlash it has generated, moreover, reveals the way in which historical orientations toward the circulation of aesthetic objects inform current readings of “proper” and “improper” uses of new media."

Source: Article: “The Space, the Gear, and Two Big Cans of Beer”. Shannon Garland. Journal of Popular Music Studies, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 509–531


Political critique regarding FDO's engagement with the PT State

Shannon Garland:

"Eixo’s financial support derives from many sources, including box office sales, the performance fees earned by Fora do Eixo-associated bands, services rendered for private companies (such as PR campaigns for company-sponsored, Fora do Eixo-associated festivals), and even money sent bymembers’ families, the significant attempts (and successes) to capture resources through such government-associated programs provide fodder for critics who deride the creation of a “state indie” (indie estatal) financial structure (Ney).

Since independent music so often defines itself against the mass, Fora do Eixo’s redistribution of government (and other) funds would seem ideal for supporting artists and creating structures to generate visibilitywhile protecting them from the viciousness of the market. But much of the Fora do Eixo criticism centers around these rhetorical and financial linkages to the former administration and its still-vocal leaders. The opposition fears that a change in political winds could easily undermine the entire project, and as such that the independent industry should grow through a private sector chain of production, a sensible position considering both the historical instability of Brazil’s cultural policies and institutions (Rubim), as well as the infamous amount of corruption and clientalism within the government, a problem that has plagued even the last two administrations (Prada; “Brazil’s Lula”). The widespread suspicion that any favor with government, especially in financial terms, must be gained insidiously; Fora do Eixo’s expertise in writing proposals for incentive law funds, which, in turn, favor FdE projects owing to the high overlap between ideologies; the network’s meetings with officials involved in cultural policy; and, of course, its ideologies of financial redistribution, all contribute to the view that FdE cares less about stimulating and strengthening cultural production than it does about its own subsistence and political clout.

I argue, however, that equally important is the systematic way in which Fora do Eixo structures and finances its “platform” for circulation, in that it appears to be creating a structure for the circulation of bands in which having an audience, and thus cultural value, does not matter.

Ironically, while nearly all of Fora do Eixo’s ideology is based on the ideal of democratic participation that the Internet appears to offer, the tactics it uses to achieve visibility within the competitive online environment, in addition to the structures it created for physical circulation, generate a type of self-contained institutionalism that runs counter to both the aesthetic base of indie and to FdE’s own goals for democratic access and production within the cultural industries."


Source: Article: “The Space, the Gear, and Two Big Cans of Beer”. Shannon Garland. Journal of Popular Music Studies, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 509–531


Why FdE is not a P2P organisation

Fde never was a P2P organitation. It is a centralized and top down organitation as described in Carta Capital Magazine [4]. It is also known for its male chauvinism: 17 women - ex dwellers of Fora do Eixo houses wrote a text about it [5]. Fde is also based on copyright. Their bands are copyrighted ones. Their festivals, too. In fact, the free music movements of Brazil, such as Música Pra Baixar, fought with fde several years ago. FDE, simply, uses copyright, has no alternative path, and does not use free networks and tools: just facebook.

Some of their musicians denounced that they where cheated, not paid..... Macaco Bong, founder of Fde, was specially hard on this topic [6].

Their supposed social coins are almost a fiction. Almost nobody uses them. Fde was born leaving a huge list of debts in hotels and restaurant, using that recognized coin [7].

They have received public money, for activities they didn't perform. Favela de Moinho´s affair is one of the cases [8].

May be the most problematic aspect it is power plan, they are working with the old political parties and centralized politics. You will find many cases here [9]." They are increasingly being expulsed from different activist places, such as from Parque Augusta, a new urban commons occupation, Existe Amor in SP, by Paulinho Fluxus [10].. They closed their "house" in Porto Alegre and in SP as well. Their new brand, Mídia Ninja is a top down, broadcast media organisation (see the graphic that proves that Midia NInja is not a hub - just a broadcast media stream [11])."

Interview

Andrew Dubber conducted a Skype interview recently with Felipe Altenfelder, who is the primary organiser of the Fora do Eixo network:


"When this all started was a very special time in Brazilian politics. I’m thinking of the Ministry of Culture, particularly, and having someone like Gilberto Gil. How important was it? What impact did that have?

In truth? Things like Fora do Eixo – they are almost a consequence of the cultural politics developed by Gil. You know?

There are lots of networks that started here at the same time. Not just us. You have the Points of Culture, you have the independent film & cinema networks, where people who are working with free media… all these networks came in the last eight years because of the whole context of cultural politics that Gil was working on.


So… what did he do? What was it that he did that made things so different?

There’s basically a concept that he called anthropological “do-in” – like acupuncture, the Chinese medicine, you know? Where you stimulate important points… to try get a connection – to connect all the other points.

So he started to move away from the centre, all of the thinking about culture. Not just the money, but all of the cultural production. So there were lots of programmes that were implanted that tried to send money and people to talk and workshops to lots of cities all over Brazil and that had never happened before.


And he was also very interested in open source, yeah?

Yeah – he went a lot in this direction. Like, when he was there, the whole ministry website platform was connected with Creative Commons licence – and they were great advocates – they had affirmative policies on this, and not just about the software, but about the whole open source concept, you know? How cultural organisations could use technologies and how this would help them to get connected.


Was it just him, or were there other people in government thinking like this?

No, actually he had a nice team on his Ministry. When (President) Lula named Gil, everyone was surprised. Nobody had any idea that he would do that.

He was not affiliated to PT, which is Lula’s party – the Partido dos Trabalhadores – but he gets in and has lots of autonomy to do whatever he believed in. But he was the guy of the president. So he was named personally by Lula. It was a Lula idea.

So he had autonomy to do what he wants in this way. It was not a ministry that would be able to receive pressure of other sectors of government the way that Ana de Hollanda (current culture minister) does now.


And was there always a Cultural Ministry before Gil? Or was it a new thing invented for him?

Yeah, yeah – there was, but it was another government before Lula, so the cultural politics was much more looking for the industry demands – the industrial movie companies, they were there getting all the money and there was no politics to popular culture, to independent music, to free media in the internet.

All of this started when Gil came into the Ministry. I mean, there were good things to cinema, good things to big shows – but there was not this concept of working with people in everyday work in Brazil.


How quickly did that grow? The things that came about because Gil…

No, no, no… this is the important point. It was not that they start “because”. But he created a context – a favourable context – where society could learn how to organise. This was the great point, you know? It’s not that he “gave” us… He teaches how to ask him, you know?

So it takes time. It takes years.

We… Fora do Eixo – we have five years. The Points of Culture programme has five years, or maybe four. This sort of time. But in the 90s, we started this intention, so it was a large period of twenty years, and then five, six years.


Is it sustainable in a different political context?

We believe much more than yes. This year we had an opportunity to go to lots of countries in Central America, in South America – and we believe yes.

Of course we will need people working in that and you need the public politics to set a structure and a platform to make it possible. It doesn’t depend just on people. You need to work a lot on that and you need part of that work to be inside the political infrastructure to guarantee that things go to be transformative. That is the public politics. But we realised that without this – we can’t be… if you have a change of government, there is a risk. With a change of government, everything goes down.

So in these days, we ensured that if we have a big change in government, at this moment, it doesn’t matter anymore. We are here and we can’t go back." (http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=89)


History

For the prehistory and historical context, start here:

* Paper: Fora do Eixo Card: The Brazilian System for the Solidarity Culture. By Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al. [12]

The Espaco Cubo Forerunner

Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al:

"In 2002, middle class college students and artists create the Espaço Cubo, whose purpose was to structure the musical scene in Cuiabá, city where the collective was located.To achieve that, the youngsters decide to gather all their money to invest in an office/home,and to build a rehearsal studio for artists that had copyright songs. This studio – Cubo Mágico – has to face a challenge at this point. On one side, they couldn’t and didn’t want to charge as much as the other studios in town, because they wanted to stimulate the artists toimprove their music. On the other side, they had bills to pay together with the sustainability of the whole work force, guaranteeing financial sustainability to a venture in a market that demanded new alternatives. From that problem, rises the solution that would lately become the complementary currencies system of the network, the Fora do Eixo Card. While other studios would charge R$50 per hour, Cubo would charge R$15, being that the remaining R$35 were written down in as ervice sheet, and not charged in common currencies (R$), but in Cubo Cards (Ccs), based on hour of service provided. Knowing that the bands would need a stage to perform their music in order to show it’s work to the public, Cubo created Cubo Events to make it possible for bands to get know andconnect to their public. The card system was very useful to make those events happening: at the end of the month,there were 2 bands that had rehearsed 10 hours each, accounting for a total of 350CCs.

Espaço Cubo produced an event, and charged each band. The debt was paid with service:each band played for 100Ccs and each band player would work when not playing at the bar,as a photographer, as a rodie, as a technician amongst other tasks. This allowed the entrance of money to make Cubo’s activities financially viable. The next step was promotion and distribution, as Cubo Comunicação and Cubo Discos. These managing fronts worked marketing and communication strategies for artists and events, as well as distribution of the products. With the help of this system, the music scene in Cuiabá was evolved from the local cluster achieved by the work of Espaço Cubo , and with the bands understanding that the system was based on exchanges,establishing trust as the main driver of the system.The bands soon realized that if they worked on this system they could have credit and exchange it for Cubo’s service. And so the artists began to exchange service with Espaço Cubo’s service, as well as other services from the whole network formed in Cuiabá.

This system gave Espaço Cubo financial sustainability and opportunity for artists, since they could use the system to pay the artists that were playing and hire services from the whole network to make events that were used to pay the bills and reinvest in projects. With the development of the local music scene, there is the need to expand Cubo ’s service network, a task accomplished through the use of Festival Calango. The first partnership was with a restaurant that sponsored the festival, that in order to have it’s logo placed on the promotion of the event, would pay R$3000, but instead only paid R$1000 and the remaining was accepted at the restaurant, as 2000 Ccs, so now the artists could eat with that money. From that moment on, Espaço Cubo service network grew in a way that services from cultural (recording, press release, events) to basic pharmacy and meal, were contemplated." (http://www.scribd.com/doc/59754560/The-Brazilian-System-for-the-Solidarity-Culture-Fora-Do-Eixo-Card)


Circuito Fora do Eixo: 2005-2010

Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al:

"In the end of 2005, with the Cubo network consolidated locally, the connection between 4 different cultural producer collectives started Circuito Fora do Eixo in Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Acre and Paraná. The network aims at connecting the collectives to facilitate the trade between them and to optimize the work of each one locally. For that purpose three main areas of work were created: Circulation, Communication and Distribution Circulation is the exchange of artists between the groups, that is, each collective made it so their partner bands made it to the other city, where the collective host had compromised to host, feed, shelter, produce and promote an event in their city.Communication was structured internally, through a list of emails where each agent would get to know the others’ actions, and externally, with each FEC owing and feeding a blog to promote Circuito For a do Eixo. Distribution was the commercialization of all the products between the whole network.

Four Years Later

Amongst those 3 main pillars, the collective intelligence worked within the network recognizes that the system works, and the market reacts recognizing that the artists would get to show his work in many places. The identified gap was that the prices of the tickets to fly from one city to another to play in one show and go back to their hometowns. In order to fix that, the solution was to find other cultural producers in the way from one town to another so the bands could tour, by joining the network, hosting a show and enabling the band to drive their way.What happened, during this process, is that these new producers that joined the network brought specific demands, making the network expand from one type of music style, to other styles and then new arts like theater, audiovisual, literature and culture in its full aspects, all based on the principles of solidarity economy.With the expansion and breaking of the different arts language, the network identifies itself as a network of services and social technologies, where each of the collectives has free access to the whole structure, to improve its work locally and strengthening the whole network while doing it.

Inside this dynamic, we see that the economic system developed by Espaço Cubo, being recognized as an efficient interchange system by the intelligence of the network, is adopted by the network though creating a national economic exchange system.Some of the social technologies were acquired by agents that were only focused on the independent rock business, as the Card system, showing themselves efficient to all other areas of work. Another laboratory that was essential for the growth of the network is the Collective Fund, that is the collective administration of resources. Each collective has one bank account that all the money comes in and out, to deal with resources transparently seeking the good of the collective. With the growth of the network in the last 5 years – today, there are over 70 FECs that produce over 60 multi art festivals, over 50 music events per month, solidarity economy projects with community banks, solidarity economy project incubators, amongst others –there was the need to structure different fronts of work to handle all these projects and allow the network to continue growing. These fronts had local, state, regional and national levels of organization, forming the Circuito Fora do Eixo. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/59754560/The-Brazilian-System-for-the-Solidarity-Culture-Fora-Do-Eixo-Card)




Sources and references

  • BARRETTO, S. F. A., PIAZZALUNGA, R., MARTINS, D., PRADO, C. & TURINO, C. L. (2007) Digital Culture and Sharing: Theory and Practice of a Brazilian Cultural Public Policy. In: LAW, W. I. K. (ed.) Information Resources Management: Global Challenges. London: Idea Group. pp. 146-161.
  • Paper: Fora do Eixo Card: The Brazilian System for the Solidarity Culture. By Bruno Poljokan, Lenissa Lenza et al. [13]



External links

  • Extensive interview with Daniel Bruch Duarte:
  1. What is Fora do Eixo? , http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=61
  2. Where does the money come from? , http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=63
  3. Details on the Cubo Card, http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=65
  4. The Business Model, http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=77 and its sustainability, http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=71
  5. The Fora do Eixo brand, http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=73

Background on open source culture and politics in Brazil:

  1. Different Cultures and Open Source, http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=69
  2. Culture and Politics in the Digital Age, http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=67
  3. Why did it start in Brazil?, http://andrewdubber.com/brazil/?p=75


In Defense of Fora do Eixo, Portuguese-language links

Links:

  1. Juca Ferreira: http://jornalggn.com.br/blog/luisnassif/juca-ferreira-condena-linchamento-do-fora-do-eixo
  2. Ladislau Dowbor: http://outraspalavras.net/posts/redes-culturais-desafio-a-velha-industria-da-cultura/?
  3. Alberto Dines: http://www.observatoriodaimprensa.com.br/news/view/hipolito_da_costa_era_ninja
  4. Francisco Bosco: http://oglobo.globo.com/cultura/acusados-acusadores-9509047
  5. Luis Nassif: http://jornalggn.com.br/blog/luisnassif/a-desconstrucao-das-casas-fora-do-eixo
  6. Gisele Bieguelman: http://www.select.art.br/article/reportagens_e_artigos/fala-pablo-capile?page=unic
  7. Eliane Brum: http://foradoeixo.org.br/2013/08/23/herois-e-viloes-nao-cabem-na-reportagem-por-eliane-brum/
  8. Pedro Alexandre Sanches: http://br.noticias.yahoo.com/blogs/blog-ultrapop/vaia-os-m%C3%A9dicos-ninja-paz-174006147.html
  9. Miguel do Rosário: http://foradoeixo.org.br/2013/08/23/linchamento-a-marca-da-midia-por-miguel-do-rosario/
  10. Renato Rovai: http://revistaforum.com.br/blog/2013/08/apos-texto-da-carta-capital-contra-fde-discussoes-se-espalham-nas-redes-sociais/
  11. Video Manifesto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUYk1Tc0RHs
  12. MST + Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos: http://www.mndh.org.br/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3395&Itemid=56
  13. Outros links: http://mad.ly/77dff3

More Information

  1. Fora do Eixo Card
  2. Espaco Cubo