A parliament is an assembly or gathering of people, ideas, and representatives. It is a space that is designed to facilitate the discussion between the participants, with the aim of reaching a decision.
This space, can be virtual, that is online, or created by some other communication medium (telephone, or post for instance), but is always better where possible to be physical. The best interface between the participants and the collective is face to face.
As an initial experiment in this area we are looking to connect a local autonomous space in North London – the BlackStock Green House, to other spaces and debates, particularly surrounding issues of democracy and connectivity in North Africa and the Middle East.
The Parliament of Things, is better if it is represented in physical space in some form or other, but this does not necessarily mean a “parliament” in the traditional sense, rather it may mean a network of smaller spaces, temporary spaces, public or intimate spaces, that are combined somehow into a single cohesive decision making sense through the medium of the network.
The medium of the network is deliberately vague here. Yes, an obvious way to conceive of such a network of spaces is to use technology, the internet, video conferencing, projection, and software platforms to connect these spaces, but this is not the only way, and indeed high-tech real-time conferencing rarely works well, and is for the present a technology that would exclude rather than include the vast majority of communities in the developed and the developing world. Better, is that we consider, other modes of connectivity, using story telling, recordings, asynchronous communication, SMS, and other low-tech solutions.