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Disobedient Innovation
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Through the hacking of surveillance techniques, machine learning, and big-data analytics, DISNOVATION.ORG’s trilogy of internet bots is uncovering and repurposing some of the influential and opaque operating systems of our online environment.
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[Music] hello everybody a warm welcome to our friend Nicholas Madrid from this innovation talk they are making
contemporary art with research and hacking to question the positive ideology for technology to stimulate a past growth technology narrative so I'm quite interested and give him a warm welcome
hello everyone how does it work can you hear me hello and together with Mayakovsky we initiated this new vision tour collective and our collective intent reveal and challenge the dominant
ideology of technological innovation and circulate alternative narratives so I
will show you a selection of projects and mainly it's a few project selected to resonate with the CCC and the topics here so we do basically creation so we organized a festival and we create art species in different surveys of project
around basically at the rhetoric of technological innovation and the effect of this dominant ideology on society we also work on the publication in books I will get back to that in a minute and we do artworks and site-specific projects but I will present in the second half of this talk so the first part will be focusing on our curatorial practices around this idea of content narratives on technological innovation so I will introduce three works and the first one is the pirate so it's a book we started to compile in 2014 and 2040 it's a computational of stories about sharing and distributing distributing cultural content outside the boundaries
of local economies politics laws religions and so on so with this work we try to explore the notions such
as the diversity of necessity the idea of new originals and I think it's interesting to go back to this project to come back to this project in the context context of the Anthropocene and the potential imminent collapse because I think there is a need for non technology honest and non-technical stories at the moment and somehow I need to develop post growth narratives so we will see what we can learn from the following examples taken from the book around concerns like repair care maintenance and creative appropriation so the first excerpt from the book I would like to focus on is an example from Mexico given by our contributor yet I see our dough and basically it focuses on the stories of craftsmen that works for improving the practices of street
vendors in Mexico so we'll I will play a quick excerpt of it [Music]
so it cannot smoke a moment that's because a kid I borrow and I will say those realistic kicker person today's
the last class Mussina's como una otra vez de tiempo it's a spiritual venus de las personas
que que temos Ignotus she was Kate oven
and in Metro K kilos coupon para Kanta it was IE p salon de del movimiento de las docenas a chi mexico location el sistema de transporte colectivo Metro it says nosotros in
every instance Luca drama drama Lamas practical Damascus in present oh
listen always given a service tenant of today's sales usuarios [Music] the hundreds of illuminated Hamas and Fatah camo since 2002 when the servicing of those posters in this ocasion rectangular beta disco compact oh and for mass of mana disco from particle contain everything on the state marks da Vinci cocoon
cover multiple stories in the sword we just focus on a couple of those the second one is based in style it's a
contribution by Christopher quickly and it's presenting basically a big part of music distribution in style is down through copies between the dumb phones using bluetooth so it's a way somehow to create a circulation of contents by nearest-neighbor dynamics basically and the third example I would like just to introduce his alpaca to Simon now basically it's in the context of Cuban lack of fast internet or Internet at all basically alpaca test seminar is a sort of substitute to the Internet in the
form of a package it's not right as you can see here and this harddrive also circulates one copy at a time and it's basically compilation of all the contents that is considered to be missing for people so you can see on this hard drive TV shows books movies music and all the sorts of content you could expect from an internet browsing experience so you can find this book online for free and we cover many of the stories but tonight I will just present those and connect with this last contribution by klimova know he did long term six years research in China and he shared with us this story about a Shanghai technology production it's basically something between piracy in hybrid ation in a Chinese manufacturing and I will focus on this one a little bit more so in article climber Renault described the specific local tech innovation named Shanghai the Shanghai culture is a mix of piracy DIY and anti-establishment it literally means a mountain fortress and
it comes from a novel from the 13th century that tells the story of a group of outlaws that that hides in the mountain to be outside the system and outside the regulation of the state basically so in a more Western context
Shanghai refers basically to manufacturing it emerged in the 50s for instance in Hong Kong to describe a small-scale factories that we're producing cheap low-quality items and mainly Cointreau fate products of famous brands like Gucci or Nike and they sold those product on markets that will not buy the fancy expensive originals and as electronic manufacturing emigrated to to Shenzhen in the early 2000 this informal network of Shanghai production found perfect products in the mobile phone so our first acquisition in this collection
was basically the gonna phone and we've been very intrigued by this this device so basically this device is has not been conceived for its superficial design but it's it's been conceived to fill a gap and need or a niche market so this phone is a power bank basically to fill the
gap of the frequent power cuts in Ghana but it's also so it has a battery that can last for a week you can also charge
other devices with it recharge a computer know the phone you can also use it as a light so that's why you have a hook to connect it on the on the ceiling and basically it's a wall package of functions and properties that were designed specifically for local markets
that's know any brands we're paying attention at so we were very interested by this track of research and we wanted to dig some more so we started with a
simple protocol we started to collect hybrid phones that were combining
multiple functions and design for those niche markets all over the place mainly in the global South but not only you will see so you can find lots of fancy and weird devices the table show and those devices we've been collecting them in markets in changin like what's on Bay
and also online like on Taobao Aliexpress and so on so one of the reasons that we wanted to focus our research on mobile phones because some giant production is not only about Mobile's it's about every kind of technology I would say but we we kind of want it to stick to one sort of device
to have this continuity over 20 years and also because somehow a huge contrast could be seen through the mobile phone between sort of nor FEMA sphere culture
or just somehow the standardized culture of the the black rectangle we all have in our pockets here and this kind of non
normalized technological imaginaries that were emerging there and somehow it reminds us a thing that other technological possibilities always exist beyond the ultra normalized industry so I will dig into a few of those so each
of those example I think tell a specific
story and we will specific uses and cultures so here you
can see a lighter phone so it's basically founded those cigarette lighter this one is a I would say
working cigarette pack that also includes a mobile phone or perhaps the
other way around
mr. Silvester policy here yeah [Music]
and this one is a race of fun so it's a phone that includes a walking shaver so
since 2015 we've been collecting about hundreds of those hybrid phones and I will zoom into a few of very interesting specimens and stories so here you can see the card phone is the size of the of a credit card it used to be the cheapest on the market it cost about 12 and it's made of a single board so basically it can be very easily replicated and optimized modified and so on and so that's why it's been called the Ganga phone which means open source and you can find this board in multiple versions in the later generation of phones I will
present in a minute
so this one is called the Buddha phone
it's been designed as a digital alternative for Buddhist prayers and related religious activities so basically it replicates for instance the ritual components like the burning of incense purification rites meditative
music and more so all of those features
are included in basically the uux of the phone [Music] [Music]
so this is the sound system phone it's been designed for mainly the elderly people so the favorite one of the favorite activities of the elderly in China is group dancing on the big square in evenings and this specific phone has
been designed for this purpose so it comes with several gigabytes of
old-fashioned communist songs that Chinese pensioners are particularly keen on it it has a huge buttons I mean it's really designed for elderlies so the device is like that size and there is also supports to stand in front of the dancers and a powerful light torch to ensure a smooth return home after the dance about twenty in two minutes
because they available in most of the visit halls you can't take something
that might not be there because if you do is they're gonna notice it different
I'd say that there's probably 75% of
prisoners have fangs in in jail I'll
take that in I'm a person and places
that you wouldn't get searched your front of your trousers in your bra so this one is the prisoner phone or it's also called bit the bus the bus is a device for scanning prisoners so it's
actually it's it started on the market as the smallest phone on the market but for some reason it became popular among prisoners mainly in the UK because of the it's small size it's the size of a finger and because of the factor so it's composed of 99% of plastic so it's Bolly detectable doing the checks in prisons
and you can easily smuggle it inside food inside the body obviously but also in weird ways like inside using drones carrier pigeons rats and so on so we try to exhibit all this collection of weird devices in their natural habitat in a way so we built a reproduction of a street market kiosk where we basically showcase this collection of hybrid phones and together with that we have a couple of video documentaries like this one that kind of tells the larger Shan
Zhai culture and focus on Chinese
ecosystem of technological device production and distribution so that's how it look when it's shown
yeah that's it for this one and the last cultural project I'd like to introduce is a work in progress it's called the
Museum of failures and I will start with a quote by Paul V radio powerlessness
before the upsurge of unexpected catastrophic events forces us to reverse the usual trends which exposes last to accidents and inaugurate a new kind of news ology and music rafi one which consists in exposing or exhibiting the accident all accidents from the most commonplace to the most tragic from natural catastrophes to industrial and scientific disasters including also the kind that is too often neglected the happy accident the stroke of luck the coup de foudre or even the coup de Grasse so as you could guess with this quote this project is about uncovering and compiling continuities about the history of technological innovation and our project is basically to compile those under-represented stories that can help us to disrupt the dominant positivist discourse on innovation and help us maybe to think about technology
in post growth era so the project takes
the shape of workshop conferences add-ins and we share it as a database and exhibitions so this symbolic museum is structured in two floors they go in negative numbers there are somehow the underground counterparts of usual technological museum so each floor is a potential sort of entry or perspective on the museum sorted by topics so you have like intentional failures fiction in dystopias risk and disasters unexpected outcomes and so on so the first part of this future book is
a collection of about about that project flops errors malfunctions business failures ethical rejections disasters and the somehow reflect the outlines of our society from a historical symbolic poetic and cultural point of view the second part of this book though will be based on interviews and contributions and we are open to proposals so if you have stories or research on post graph
technological missionaries and content narratives on technological innovation you're welcome to submit ok so the
second part of this talk will be about our artworks specific selection to
resonate with the CCC as well and we grouped it into this idea of psychoanalysis of the hyper-connected era so the first artwork I will introduce is the pirate in the mouth basically the copy culture got mainstream with BitTorrent and the Pirate Bay in the early 2000 and it became an essential part of culture for a world generation and at the same time as this process since the early days of peer-to-peer it coexisted with an
intense level of Serbians so this surveillance was conducted by
universities cooperation states sometimes for statistical purposes just for you know to know how much is consumed from different type of contents and so on and most of the time for copyright infringement and we got very
interested in how we could disrupt those systems of network surveillance basically and use it revealed dynamics
and the materiality of peer-to-peer file-sharing so basically to expose the Mauri materiality of this process and geographical dynamics of the content that were consumed and shared so we'll show a few excerpt of this project
so we programmed the server to use a
BitTorrent and to synchronize every morning with the top 100 videos of The
Pirate Bay so it's sort of a man-in-the-middle
attack where we see what people are
sharing through our server so it's a
it's a way to view the global dynamics
as through one node of the BitTorrent Network and as you can see on the video it also reveals the user IP address and
the countries and somehow it's a way to
depict the geographical dynamics of
media sharing and consumptions the next
project I'd like to introduce following this idea of continuities it's serious
about illicit contents it's called blacklist so we got
interested in basically controls and decides what should be visible or not online or what should be blocked or not and all those lists are built and used and somehow how maybe it can be something that reveals the value system we live in so there are numerous blacklist you can subscribe to more less efficient and up-to-date squid blacklist shallowest cisco and so on and some
other reminds us literally of the index
of forbidden books that used to exist in libraries around the globe it was a list basically of publication considered heretical immoral or anti-clerical and
you know in an internet blacklist nowadays you have pretty much the same so addresses that can be blocked they are organized into categories as you can see here and as a season mean you can decide what type of content you want to block so in such lists are used by University towns airports companies individuals and so on and it helps you basically to restrict the access to a specific specific content on your network so you have categories like copyright porn pharmacy and so on and you can see weird stuff like feminists for instance and I guess it reveals the the for-profit nature of this list and the fact that anything can be requested if enough clients are asking for it so this work took the shape of sort of innocent encyclopedia in certain volumes of 666 pages it's basically an encyclopedia of illicit and filter websites when it is a structure like an order phone book it's sort of ready-made that reveals the mobile sort of portraits or framework of
the web the directory of the
prohibitions of the internet deployed in the form of an encyclopedia in 13 volumes of 666 pages each it is an extensive collection of restricted websites used for the automatic filtering of traffic considered a listed on licenses just like the intent of forbidden libraries the black lists project points out the sidelining of online content that could be dangerous for the very survival of the system with around 2 million websites extracted from commercial content control software's this collection reveals the cultural social and ideological model of our society through what has been deemed unfit for consultation by specific groups and institutions around the globe
so I guess you get the idea all right so this next work is a
predictive at-bat and I will need to contextualize a bit so basically we live in the era of hyper-connectivity and the time we spend on phone and social media has radically increased over the last 10 years and this has a strong effect on us online news and communication tends to monopolize a lot of our attention and it does as a growing influence on our types of concerns and priorities so we know about
effects like filter bubble media key to echo chambers and to some extent the influence of social media and hyper connection tend towards a sort of uniformization not only of our concerns but also somehow of our innovation and creativity and it tends to have the higher chance of predictability of our behaviors so stunning basically sustaining from from the art field we
started to notice somehow similar
patterns amongst the artists around us so we spotted numerous similar
imaginaries similar trends in each
interest groups and we started to
observe similar topics similar ideas and
even similar ways of realizing artworks and answering to ideas and concerns so
at some point we're like do we really
need artists to simply follow the trends and we need artists to to just
illustrate the latest technical technological bells may be now so that's
where the project started with this simple question and we decided to automatize the process of mainstream creativity we could say and to push it toward sort of of the absurd so to do that we created a but and this but basically subscribed to hundreds of Eris's feet that's the sort of feeds we will get ourselves on our Twitter feed you know so we basically subscribed the but to the same and then the butt is using some PM library to try to identify the most significant keyword in the headlines and
those keywords are stored and then we organized using Treasury in a sort of general tree of poetry to create potential concepts for art works and those concept are we posted on Twitter and different places to basically create a new weird inspiration machine that's what you will see now that turns the
latest media headlines into artistic concepts in the age of hyper connectivity the perverse implications of media echo chambers are becoming more and more obvious groups of similar behaviors are being partitioned in filter bubbles while the few massively reposted topics tends to monopolize most of the available attention such insular echo chambers strongly affect ways of thinking resulting in increasingly homogeneous imaginaries within groups of like-minded people predictive art bought caricatures the predictability of media influenced
artistic concepts by automating and skirting the human creative process but beyond mere automation it aims to stimulate unbridled counterintuitive and even disconcerting associations of ideas to do so it continually monitors emerging trends among the most influential new sources and fields as heterogeneous as politics environment innovation culture activism or help on this basis it identifies and combines keywords to generate concepts of artworks in a fully automated way ranging from unreasonable to prophetic
through absurd each prediction becomes a thought experiment waiting to be incubated misused or appropriated by a human host okay and we also commissioned a few
artists to interpret and I realize those projects a few times okay the last project for tonight I see that it's almost time for me so the last project is a map and it's a work in progress for a future long term project and basically it focuses on the fact that the web has become one of the most impactful vehicle for the propagation of
ideas and culture and hyper-connectivity did intensify the rise of online politics and made it way easier to manipulate public opinions and I mean
this happened as a sort of unpleasant unprecedent at the scale so you know we've seen the emergence of political bots fake accounts for farm and so on
but today I will focus on the cultural aspect of this battleground so one of the important aspect of online culture wars that we were trying to map is perhaps this notion of transgression so as one of the Trump supporter million applause used to say conservatism is the new bank and think about how the culture
will change and change very rapidly and and in a very short space of time the dissident element in culture Punk mischief irreverence is now better representative politics bio make America great again hat then buy anything unless if you want to annoy somebody you want to piss your parents off if you want to eject it from polite society as this poor angel has been there is no better way to do it than to cast a vote for Donald Trump this is the new pump Republican is the new cool thank you for coming [Applause] so in the context of the political
correctness and self-censorship too big shaming that we're curing a lot in the the left this obscure style of sort of iconic cynical mockery emerge as a sort of counter force and frustration made the alt-right attractive in a way in this transmissive online culture is well presented in the book of Angela Nagel I call the kill or no means all together
in their obscurity was a love of mocking the earnestness and moral self flattery of what felt like a tired liberal intellectual conformity running right through from establishment liberal politics to the more militant enforcers of new sensitivities and from the wackiest corners of tumblr to campus politics so basically this this culture
of transmission aligns pretty well with what is called a weaponized meme so a
weaponized meme is when internet memes becomes part of political in the ideological propaganda it can be done by the right but as well by all the political spectrum like here to fight homophobia in Russia and as a starting
point for this new series of project went we wanted to create a kind of 9 map of the emerging online culture wars so we use this classical political compass as a framework I mean it's a framework that has been criticized a lot but
nonetheless it became popular as a
format to exchange content on online forums and on the memo sphere and it
often integrates non-political
characters and pop preferences and so on
so after studying numerous critical researches on the topic like the computational propaganda project on Jelani girl florian kramer and so on and also were on investigations we started to assemble a sort of category of weaponized meme elements with the help of baruch got the online culture wars project offers a provisional cartography of weaponized meme elements using a speculative political distribution taking the political compasses of framework this cartography offers a symbolic representation of online ideological and political debates in the context of a growing polarization and ridiculous ation this sever volume chart is the result of a superposition of hundreds of politicized memes found online in addition to influential political symbols actors and influencers it is designed as the discussion starter intended to expose and contextualize the present battlefield of online culture wars so we are currently continuing this
map as an interactive contributing webpage well this was a quick selection
of our all the new works that somehow resonate with the CCC and thank you for your attention
a big Sangma class are there any questions to necklace there is microphone one hi
Congrats beautiful presentation Thanks I'm curious what's what have you never dared doing what's your next step I think it's correlated somehow yeah yeah yeah so as I said this last project
is a sort of a starting point for a new series of investigation and research and at the moment we are accumulating a lot of document on online propaganda and online influence and we're starting a new series of online performance using
and basically challenging those strategies for the manipulation of opinions so we are yeah trying to
develop our own propaganda strategies basically are there any questions from
the internet
No yeah then a big warm applause for thanks for Niklas [Applause] [Music]
[Music] you [Music]