Joined: 14 Nov 2003
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|The Fortress Experiment
By Maurice Ali, Philosopher
For many people new to our organization, they may wonder what exactly we do here. All the companies and organizations that comprise this venue are an experiment called "The Fortress Experiment." The Fortress Experiment was born from a philosophy toward the mass media I had when I was a student in university in the early 1980's. The philosophy was a fear or concern of the future world of a totally wired in culture to mass media. The concern was that a totally wired society or totally immersed by the media society, may lose the free exchange of opinion in the media to those who control it. It is vitally important that the ordinary person have some form of access to this mass media for free thought to occur and ultimately self determination for all.
As everyone can see at the time of this writing, all areas of the mass media are in flux. The digital age has rearranged the media landscape and nobody knows for sure what that landscape will ultimately look like in the end. So it is our goal at Fortress, to act as a "think tank" for new and innovative ideas on how to redevelop these areas of the mass media. We are part advocacy group for access to the mass media, an experimental think tank for new ideas, and finally a conglomerate of corporations ready to go head to head in an industry that exists in the bottom line of profitability.
We fight this "war" of ideas and lines of communication on the same field of battle that the biggest media giants operate in. Look at our structure and you will see a mirror of almost every major media giant, in minuscule form.
Personally, I just want to "babysit" this reinventing of the mass media and ensure there is access to all so that ideas and opinions are free to circulate for the betterment of our culture. This, at my late stage in life, has become my life's work born in my early twenties and hopefully continuing into my old age. I can live with this epitaph.
The others who populate this place can find expression of their talents in all areas of the mass media. We give them a higher sense of self-worth by empowering them to fulfil their natural talents whether it be in the arts or areas of communication like news gathering. What we do here is an example of why freedom of expression and thought make our culture a happier and better culture better able to survive in a changing world.
We have been at it for almost six years now with two offices here in Toronto, Canada and London, England. We have about 45 people we can count on to help us in our projects and five regular staff/volunteers. We also have a board of directors comprising five individuals at the present time. In the space remaining I will take you on a little tour of our offices:
This is where I spend most of my life. Our office here in the bowels of our studio. This computer in the photo runs our websites and graphics. Across the room is our video editor and racks for equipment. By hook or by crook, that desk will be replaced with one with more depth.....
The audio suite and here is what it looks like now:
The studio is usually full of equipment but looks like this in use:
The video editing suite is as before and we are still using CRTs because of the more consistent color.
Finally here is the reception area:
What you don't see are the storage rooms and bathroom and a panoramic view of the office - but you get the idea. We currently use about 1300 square feet and I can expand this a bit if needed.
We run a small newspaper called The Fortress, we also have a small record label with ten albums produced to date. We are also a small book publisher and a small television production company. Our accomplishments can be found on our second page at fortressoffreedom.com. Doing all this is time intensive and expensive. I created Fortress to survive in the harshest of circumstances and it has allowed us to continue for all these years. We are in this for the long haul, but we are surviving and carrying on. The experiment continues and there is no guarantee of success or continence. But we try and our intentions are honorable. Time will tell.....