PAD.MA and The Patriot Library

Art Social Practice
Bryana Robinson

CAMP (pg. 122)

Pad.ma, an acronym for Public Access Digital Media Archive, is a web based sharing platform for a myriad of visual footage. Pad.ma, co-initiated my the Mumbai-based art space CAMP and other social and political advocacy groups gathered together to create a database in which video footage can be shared, transcribed, edited, and distributed by the larger internet audience.

WHY/HOW: Pad.ma seeks to experiment with how video is shared on the internet, in today's age where open sourced information can be widely distributed. As a large archive of information, the general public has almost unlimited access to its large archive of video clips, movies and more. Most of the sites archive includes historically valuable images and video of topics relevant to the Middle East, Northern African issues that are not normally available.

The video footage and images included interviews, media criticisms, and videos on political topics. It also includes social topics such as: Queering Bollywood, Practices in Contemporary Art and Architecture, The World of Afgan Films and 10 Years Ago: Bombay in the Time of 9/11 and Gujarat. Users the site are then able to open up a film, clip, etc. And edit, view or share with a interface that looks similar to video-editing software.

The Patriot Library
2001 -

The Patriot Library is a website decicated to the public's ability to access “potentially dangerous information” censored by the Federal Government on October 26th, 2001...right after 9/11 called the Patriot Act.

Founded by the Thomas and Finishing School (based in Los Angeles) and Librarian Christy Thomas, The Patriot Library seeks to uncensor the information and allow a right of privacy to users who looked up this information.

The Patriot act allowed the Federal Government to censor books, periodicals, photographs, sound recordings, artifacts and other mediathought to have been researched by the terrorists of 9/11 such as: aviation training, chemistry, propaganda, tactical manuals, tourist information and weaponry-general topics.

Understanding the American Library Associations privacy standards, the Patriot Library doesn't not keep records of visitors personal information or use of materials.” As taken from the website:

In accordance with the philosophy and objectives of the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, Intellectual Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View, the Library is responsible for: making available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority; opposing and challenging all attempts to impose censorship on the Library; and reserving the constitutional right of freedom of expression. TPL is a non-circulating library to further protect your right to privacy. - The Patriot Library

The Patriot Library was installed in 2003 in Oakland's Lucky Tackle gallery and is still viewable on the


As I went to the site and clicked on research, and this alert popped up on my screen:

WARNING: Due to U.S. national security concerns, we are unable to tell you if your internet surfing habits, passwords and email content are being monitored by U.S. agents; please act appropriately. TPL is bound by the USA PATRIOT Act and must comply with law enforcement.

The Finishing school works with experts in different fields to help spread alternative approaches to activism: specifically environmental, social and political issues. As such in 2008 they also launched Little Pharma which “examined alternative medicine and lifestyles as a viable antidote to some of the drug industries pathologies.


  • Both groups use the internet to discuss the sharing of video footage, clips, movies and other media to the general internet public.

  • Pad.ma and the Patriot library both have a extensive archive of historically pertinent information.

  • Both partnered with outside advocacy groups and experts to help spread and collect information


  • Pad.ma speaks largely to a non-westernized demographic, and although anyone can view the information, the material posted talks about issues that are specific to the region it was founded in. it didn't seem as if they were bringing up information that was censored as much as archiving and making information that was politically, environmentally and culturally relevant

  • Such as Pad.ma, the Patriot Library speaks specifically to not only one historical point in American history, but also seeks to open up censorship of sensitive information to the public. The Patriot Library seeks to allow free speech and a right of privacy to those that access the information through their gallery installations, and also to give you that open to look up its references in the comfort of your own home through the web. (Although your own online habits may be monitored by the government).

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