Right to Know (Book)

Right to Know (Book)

Right to Know – India’s internet avant-garde

During post-production of my first feature documentary, Ocean in a Drop, I began writing, drawing on my journals and the numerous interviews I’d undertaken, what has turned out to be a my first book, Right to Know – India’s internet avantgarde.

Right to Know describes, in part, how Ocean in a Drop came about, then goes on to describe the more nuanced observations on the impact the internet is having on rural and tribal communities in India. It provides a more indepth and personal view of the many stories shared with us, so many more than the film could tell.

The book closes with a series of photographs taken by up-coming photo journalist Mubeen Siddiqui. Mubeen accompanied our crew on every shoot eventually turning his hand to videography.

Designer and then intern at the Digital Empowerment Foundation, Cathy Chen, created a unique layout for the book which, if you’re lucky to find a print version, was printed on hand made elephant dung paper. A PDF/eBook version can be freely downloaded and shared.

Forwards were kindly written by Anriette Esterhuysen (Director of global policy and strategy, Association for Progressive Communications) and Mishi Choudhary (Legal Director, Software Freedom Law Centre).

Right to Know is published by the Digital Empowerment Foundation and the Australia India Institute. It was launched in Delhi on 16 December 2017 by the Australian High Commission in collaboration with the the Australia India Institute and the Digital Empowerment Foundation.

The stories are so vivid…

Associate Professor Rebecca Giblin, Faculty of Law, Monash University

Garton, Andrew, 1962, author
Right to Know: India’s Internet Avant-garde
Issued in print and electronic formats
ISBN 978-81-933164-2-9





A documentary radio drama set in a former displaced persons camp in Austria. Stories from Lagerstraße, Spittal, are interwoven with a short fiction written by Elena Garton (1903 – 1972), a former resident of the camp and Andrew’s grandmother. Elena was born in the city of Sevastopol in the former Crimea. A white Russian Elena was herself a refugee of the Russian revolution before she and her two sons became displaced persons during and after WW2. Lagerstraße contrasts the vast cultural diversity that spread across Europe during and after WW2 against that of present times and the conflicted response to displaced persons today.



Lagerstraße (or Lagerstrasse) has its origins in Andrew’s Master of Arts project, an outcome of which was Auslander Micro (see showreel), the earliest web interactive to employ scripted multi-layered animated dynamic HTML with an algorithmically driven soundscape. Work on Auslander Micro began in 1995 and completed in 1998. It had itself emerged from Andrew’s spoken word opera, Auslaender und Staatenlose.

Lagerstrasse picks up where both prior projects left off, completing in full Andrew’s original vision of a multi-tiered work blending spoken word narrative, field recordings, interviews, soundscapes, music and historical fiction.

Note works such as Auslander Micro may no longer function as they did in 1998. Sound files from the Master’s project are no longer accessible due to the RealAudio format no longer being supported.

Photos from the  Stadtarchiv.

Sample sound works and compositions

Status: In development.

For more information contact Andrew Garton.

Ocean in a Drop soundtrack

Ocean in a Drop soundtrack

Ocean in a Drop - Soundtrack

Music, field recordings and soundscapes from the documentary Ocean in a Drop filmed in fourteen villages located in nine districts across the Indian states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

Ocean in a Drop includes music performed on bhapang, or talking drum. The bhapang has been played and taught across 20 or more generations of the Khan family who originate from Alwar, Rajasthan.

The album also includes a selection of live recordings of desert musicians from Rajasthan courtesy of the musicians. Recorded by Shweta Rao courtesy of Khamayati.

Fifty percent of proceeds from the sale of this album will go towards ongoing support for rural and tribal musicians in India through the Khamayati project, an initiative of the School for Democracy in India and the New Delhi-based Digital Empowerment Foundation.

The remaining 50%, after hosting fees and PayPal charges, will go towards the completion of Andrew Garton’s film, Forged from Fire – the making of the Blacksmiths’ Tree.


  • Curated and Produced by Andrew Garton
  • Rajasthan field recordings by Shweta Rao
  • Soundscapes and atmos recorded by Andrew Garton
Forged from Fire

Forged from Fire

Forged from Fire

Forged from Fire tells the story of how an Australian and international community of blacksmiths, welders, artists and volunteers responded to the devastating Black Saturday bush-fires by creating perhaps the most ambitious public artwork and memorial in Australia – a three tonne, 9.8 meter tall stainless steel and copper gum tree – The Blacksmiths’ Tree.


On Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, townships north-east of Melbourne were threatened by firestorms. Considered Australia’s worst ever natural disaster it resulted in the highest loss of life and injuries from a bushfire in Australia. The conditions in which the fires were ignited and burnt were extreme. After the horror of immediate losses, people had naturally embarked on various journeys of repair and recovery. The Blacksmiths’ Tree was one of them.

Production status

It’s taken over five years to shoot this film. Now we need to complete it. Join our efforts to complete Forged from Fire by making a tax-deductible donation. We need some follow-up interviews and the time to edit our story into a feature length film, around 75 minutes all up.

A selection of screenshots from Forged from Fire.


  • Writer / Director – Andrew Garton
  • Director of Photography – Mike Wilkin
  • Music – Invention in Time, Charles Brown, Neatly Folded Goat
  • Aerial footage courtesy of I-Drone, Brett Chilton and Michael Prinzi
  • Archival footage courtesy of Warwick Page, Quentin Fogarty and Quotable Productions
  • Time-lapse footage courtesy of Barry Thomas
Ocean in a Drop

Ocean in a Drop

Ocean in a Drop

India’s invisible majority are poor yet literate in their own traditions and increasingly online. Ocean in a Drop is a film about these emergent online populations told by rural women and children, artisans and entrepreneurs. Shot in 2015 the filmmakers visited fourteen villages throughout nine districts across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

A film by Andrew Garton in collaboration with the Digital Empowerment Foundation and INOMY Media and in association with the Internet SocietyAustralia India Institute and the Association for Progressive Communications. Ocean in a Drop is a production of Secession/Films.

Production commenced January 2015. Ocean in a Drop was completed February 2017. The film is accompanied by the book, Right to Know – India’s internet avantgarde, a soundtrack album. An eight-part web series is in post-production awaiting finance towards its completion.

Book a community screening in Australia

Community screenings are a great way to share the experience of watching new films with small groups within intimate settings. It’s also a way to stimulate discussion about the topics explored in the film. Where possible resource materials can be provided and if I can get there, organise a Q&A with the Director.

License fees
  • Small (Up to 75 people):              $210 + shipping
  • Large (Over 75 people):               $315 + shipping
  • Director’s appearance:                Fee and travel costs available on request
Shipping costs include a screening version on DVD or thumb-drive if a download screener is not available.
All screening license fees are put towards the completion of, Forged from Fire – the making of The Blacksmiths’ Tree.
Email or call me to discuss your screening event and the kind of support I might able to provide.

Duration: 75 mins
Completed: 22 February 2017


  • Writer / Director – Andrew Garton
  • Director of Photography – Jary Nemo
  • Second unit camera – Rohit Dhall
  • Design – Cathy Chen
  • Media and Translations – Udita Chaturvedi
  • Translator – Ravi Guria