Exhibition

Through artistic research and investigations, the exhibition addresses the plurality of forms and approaches of practicing digital sovereignty. 

From a random selection of one million #MeToo tweets, we read through all examples with more than 100 retweets. Only 8 out of the 894 tweets are actual tweets about sexual assault or experiences around the topic of #MeToo. Of the rest, the vast majority are news media posts and political (trolling) discussions, most of them neglecting the specific issues and survivor voices at the heart of the MeToo movement.
Cosmologists say that most of the universe is structured by antimatter. We postulate that social media is similarly structured by effects of the unobserved discourse and experience. The backbone of a movement such as #MeToo is not based on the most-liked and most-retweeted, but by the masses of unobserved tweets. Vast numbers of #MeToo tweets that had no retweets and no likes nonetheless constituted acts of quiet testimony or unassuming solidarity. Conventional measures of network science thus fail to capture the true relevance of #MeToo. From a distance, the graphics appear as abstract diagrams, similar to Bridget Riley’s work. The beauty of each line contains a powerful request for a reordering of power within society.

#MeToo Anti-Network is a project by Kim Albrecht with textual and conceptual support from Catherine D’Ignazio, Cole Martin, and Matthew Battles. Supported by metaLAB (at) Harvard, Schlesinger Library, and the Harvard Data Science Initiative.

The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 has been disproportionately destructive to communities that were already marginalised in pre-Coronavirus societies, weaved with socio-political technologies of racialisation, sexism, homo- and transphobia. Accelerated by the biopolitics of surveillance, different forms of oppression and violence have intensified with deployments of surveillant technologies. Critical readings of the impact of the worldwide crisis are urgently called for, that which depart from the quantification and datafication of the atrocities.
Dear Chaemin is an auto-fictional series of three video letters sent from The Hague to the director’s sister in Seoul amid isolation. The film juxtaposes the Korean and Dutch contexts of state surveillance, entangled with the b/ordering technologies against queer communities in Seoul and Asian communities in Europe, among others. This project aims to guide the viewer to question the normativity embedded in the (techno-)optimistic outlook towards the post-Corona futures through a queer feminist perspective.

Original soundtrack by waterparken

Futura Trōpica Netroots is an InterTropical Network of Grass-Root Local Networks for the lateral exchange of other forms of endemic knowledges, resources and technologies, from a Tropikós perspective. The etymology of the word Tropics comes from the ancient belief that the sun turned back at the solstices, the Tropikós, from the greek word τροπή (tropḗ, “a turn, turning, solstice, trope”), meaning the point where things turn. The Tropical Turn as a mindset is the ability to turn around the pulses of both our natural and artificial environments and develop symbiotic relationships and dances with all living and nonliving beings and the planet, beyond the idea of control and domination. Taking the form of a P2P network using the InterPlanetary Files System (IPFS) protocol, FT connects practitioners and networks of affection in Bogotá, Kinshasa, and Bengaluru; and from 2022 Martinique, Kampala, and Manila. Each node or Rhizome is composed of a DIY Local-Network in combination with a USB distribution system similar to Paquete Semanal in Cuba or the USB ecosystem from Colombia.

Supported by EYEBEAM – Rapid Response for a Better Digital Future

In 2021, Nex led technical investigations with the international journalistic consortium “Pegasus Project”, which revealed the targeting of countless journalists, activists and politicians around the world with the “Pegasus” spyware, produced by the Israeli company NSO Group. The revelations sparked a global surveillance scandal which continues to unfold. The targeting of politicians and government officials across Europe also demonstrated how Pegasus poses not only a threat to human rights and personal freedoms, but to democracy and national sovereignty as well. As a result, the European Parliament launched a committee of inquiry. Spyware is designed to be stealthy and remain unnoticed. It escapes accountability by benefiting from its apparent immateriality. But, as with any other software, spyware is also an architecture of bytes. A living digital being that someone, somewhere, created with some thousands of lines of code.  Bytes of Repression attempts to demystify and deconstruct Pegasus. Through data visualizations of its components, recovered from an infected iPhone, you can interact with binaries which profited hundreds of millions of euros while crushing dissent the world over.

Building face recognition technology requires massive datasets of faces. Often these faces are taken from online sources like social media and photo sharing sites. In 2016 researchers from the University of Washington used over 3.7 million images from Flickr.com to create the MegaFace dataset. It includes over 672.000 individual identities, each appearing in multiple photos. MegaFace become one of the most widely used face datasets for benchmarking and training face recognition algorithms. Although it was created by academic researchers, MegaFace was one the most valuable face datasets for the biometrics industry. Users of the MegaFace dataset include billion dollar tech companies, military research organizations, defense contractors, and police agencies. Each of the 672.000 identities in the MegaFace dataset are visualized here. The faces have been downscaled to less than 12 pixels in the maximum dimension to prevent revealing any uniquely identifiable biometric information.

Exposing.ai is made by Adam Harvey and Jules LaPlace. Funding for research and development has been received from Mozilla, Karlsruhe HfG, and Copenhagen Business School.

Carbolytics is a project at the intersection of art and research that aims to raise awareness and call for action on the environmental impact of pervasive surveillance within the advertising technology ecosystem (AdTech), as well as to provide a new perspective to address the social and environmental costs of opaque data collection practices. Online tracking is the act of collecting data from online user activity, such as reading the news, purchasing items, interacting on social media or simply doing an online search. It is known that tracking and recording users’ behaviour has become a major business model in the last decade. However, even though the societal and ethical consequences of abusive online surveillance practices have been a subject of public debate at least since Snowden’s revelations in 2013, the energy and environmental costs of such processes have been kept away from the public eye. The global data collection apparatus is a complex techno maze that needs vast amounts of resources to exist and operate, yet companies rarely disclose information on the environmental footprint of such operations. Moreover, part of the energy costs of data collection practices is inflicted upon the user, who also involuntarily assumes a portion of its environmental footprint. Although this is a critical aspect of surveillance, there’s an alarming lack of social, political, corporate and governmental will for accountability, thus a call for action is urgent.

A project by Joana Moll commissioned by Aksiomain collaboration with Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and in partnership with TheWeizenbaum Institute + Sónar +D
Technical Development: Ramin Soleymani
Research Team at BSC: Fernando Cucchietti, Patricio Reyes, Marta Esteban Fernández & Carlos García Calatrava
Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2022
In the framework of konS – Platform for Contemporary Investigative Arts (The project konS: Platform for Contemporary Investigative Art was chosen on the public call for theselection of the operations “Network of Investigative Art and Culture Centers”. The investment isco-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union.)

Vending Private Network offers four different ways to surf the internet securely and privately. The virtual private network (VPN) you select will disguise your internet traffic by making it look like it is coming from a vacation destination. Insert a USB stick into the slot, and a coin into the machine, then select a destination. The machine will write a file onto your USB stick that grants you access to a private network for browsing the internet. You will also receive instructions explaining how to use the VPN in a hidden or ‘sheathed’ way that is safe from anyone who might want to track your internet activity.

Being able to use the internet safely and privately is crucial, especially for people for people in certain countries. Each purchase made using VPN machine goes toward maintaining the network that provides this service for free to people in countries where governments surveillance of the internet is prevalent.

Eco-Bot.Net was developed in response to the complex problem of distinguishing accurate information on social media from disinformation and greenwashing content related to climate change. While social media has fundamentally changed our information ecosystems, providing the public direct access to more information than ever before, it has also led to a vast increase in mis-and disinformation—false or intentionally misleading information that aims to achieve social, economic or political goals. With the aim of enhancing climate change awareness and social media literacy, Eco-Bot.Net’s system collects, visualises and flags corporate greenwashing ads and content from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Corporate greenwashing is a tactic used to mislead consumers about the green credentials of a product or service, or about the environmental performance of a company. Once our system finds a sponsored ad or post that contains greenwashing content and it is verified by our in-house team of journalists, the data will be visualised online and then flagged on the social media platform where it was found. The data displayed in this section can be verified in the data archive section of the website. New “data drops” for different sectors such as lobbying, energy and aviation have been frequently released throughout 2021, e.g., during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

Polylogue is an interactive installation fed by visitors through their mobile devices locally. Through an open Wi-Fi, anybody in reach can send text messages, which are printed immediately on a paper roll that runs in between two translucent black boxes. Ploylogue offers a physical experience analogue to apps like Snapchat and thus serves as an antithesis to the internet’s “eternal memory”, as the messages and their relationships only exist situational.
Unlike digital messages, which often travel for thousands of kilometers, messages submitted to Polylouge travel exactly 2m until reaching their final destination. It depends on the density of conversations how long it takes for a message to get from one box to the other to then get shredded: The more and the faster visitors feed the installation, the more short-lived a single message becomes.

How to interact with the artwork: (1) Connect with your smartphone to the WiFi “Polylogue”. (2) A page will automatically open (if not, navigate to http://on.app in your browser). (3) Type your message in the text field and send it by clicking “RETURN”.