AMRO – Art Meets Radical Openness 2016, Linz Festival Dedicated to Art, Hacktivism and Open Culture Waste(d)!
AMRO is a biennial community festival in Linz that probes and engages with new challenges between digital culture, art, everyday life, education, politics, and taking action.
This year’s festival “Waste(d)!” is devoted to aspects of the conditions of our digital infosphere that are increasingly perceived as complex. The act of saving, deleting, or resurfacing data and information has taken on a life of its own, is monitored, monetized and waste valuable natural resources.
What is the cultural, social, philosophical, ecological, and economic significance of producing, saving, deleting, and resurfacing data?
Exhibition in conjunction with AMRO 2016: Waste(d)!
Opening: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 7:30 pm
Agbogbloshie is a district in the teeming metropolis of Accra in West-African Ghana. The world’s largest electro-waste dump is located here. Twenty-two hard drives brought back to Austria from this dump are the starting point for the exhibition. Alongside the material and exploitative dark sides of the dirty business with electronic waste, the exhibition brings together artistic positions dealing with the value of digital information and our constant production of data. The saving, deleting and resurfacing of information is part of our everyday life. We leave not only material traces that have disastrous effects on people and our environment, but also digital traces, the value of which is to be called into question.
A project by Linda Kronman and Andreas Zingerle (KairUs) realised in cooperation with servus.at.
KunstRaum Goethestrasse xdt, Art University Linz, afo architecture forum upper austria
Funded by: The Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, City of Linz (LinzImPULS), Art University Linz
Supported by: Canada Council for the Arts, OCA: Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Material Sponsoring: MGG – Müller-Guttenbrunn Group
We meet the “Behind the Smart World” participants at this years Stuttgarter Filmwinter where we discussed the ongoing developments of the artworks. In the early evening of Friday Jan 15th 17.-19.00 we had a public presentation at the Kunstbezirk in Stuttgart. The presentation followed a discussion about leaking the data online and seeing what happens rather than protecting it and inviting people of trust to participate in the project. Those who were not present (Joakim, Simon, Matthias) at the meeting were participating through VoIP and for over 3 hours we were presenting each participants progress, discussed aesthetical choices and special equipment needs. There are more photos to come from the Filmwinters photographer and Marcus! Big thanks to Marcus Kohlbach, Lili Weiss, Fabian Kühfuss and the Filmwinter team for making this happen!
Second day at 32C3 we had the first “Behind the Smart World” workshop. It was very well received and we could interest a diverse crowd of activists, blogger, journalists and the ‘general’ mass of IT people that attend the congress. It has been a while since we had such interesting remarks and feedback and we also got some tips which places we could visit in Hamburg to collect phones and hard drives. Some remarks were that you can trace the users of a computer by looking at the different writing style in documents. One interesting suggestion was the paper “Overwriting Hard Drive Data: The Great Wiping Controversy” by Wright, Kleiman, and Sundhar R.S. According to their tests, you just have to zero fill a HDD once to make the data on it non-recoverable. When talking about found footage and flea-market artworks one guy said that with photos and S8mm material the data is not erases as with deleted and recovered data and that it is sold (sometimes by the relatives) with the knowledge (and intention?) that this material is clearly useable and amusable by others. The perception of humans material/digital trash was found interesting and one suggested to offer a hand sorting service of trash so that people get more aware of what they throw away. In general it was a good workshop with critical minds tomorrow we will continue the discussion with a focus on projects and actions that people were doing or plan to do.
We are in the finishing steps to put together a publication around “saving, deleting and resurfacing” of data. The publication includes essays and interviews by Fieke Jansen (Tactical Tech.), Ivar Veermäe, Emilio Varvarella, Leo Selvaggio, Marloes de Valk, Research Team “Times of Waste”, Interview with Audrey Samson, Stefan Tiefengraber, Dr. Michael Sonntag (JKU Linz), Interview with Michaela Lakova.
We are in the final phase of collecting statements on artistic research on the topic of Saving , Deleting and Resurfacing Data. We gathered interesting projects and perspectives from the following people:
In August we participated in the ISEA 2105 conference in Vancouver, Canada. The theme of this years ISEA was Disruption and as keynote speakers amongst others the Yes Men who were promoting their new film: Yes Men are Revolting
Maybe one of the most disruptive actions took place during the Yes Men keynote when young activist where questioning the connections of Simon Frasier University (the host of the conference) to a plan to build a new Trans Mountain pipeline to transport crude oil. With the help of the Yes Men in a selfie style video the activist got the whole ISEA crowd to say no to the pipeline.
We were also busy presenting the ‘Behind the Smart World’ project as a poster/artist talk in one of the sessions to present ongoing works and processes. It was a interesting 2,5 h during which people came and asked questions about our project after a short presentation we did for the whole audience. The poster paper is available here:“Behind the Smart World: 22 harddrives from a West African e-waste dump. While we had a chance, as KairUs, we also organized a 419-fiction workshop, made a demo presentation of our work ‘Let’s Talk Business’ and Andreas presented a long paper which is part of his PHD.
From our perspective the conference could have been more disruptive, but some highlights were Carmin Karasic workshop”Hacktivism Seeds for Discourse” with Byron Smith explaining his concerns about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that was to bisect his farm. Afterwards in a role play we tried to understand the perspectives of the government, the general public and how net activists could play a role i this. Also talks in the GeoPolitics and Activism session (e.g. Tugce Oklay. An Aesthetic Reading of Online Artivist Projects, Tomas Laurenzo. Geopolitical Subjectivity, and of course Andreas) and in the Surveillance session (e.g. Annina Rüst. Participatory (Counter-) Surveillance and the Internet, and Leo Selvaggio. URME Surveillance: Analyzing Viral Face-crime) were very interesting. One of the most rewarding things about conferences are that one can get to know people behind interesting projects that deal with similar issues as ones interests are. And therefore we hope that both Leo Selvaggio’s URME Surveillance project as well as Emilio Vavarella’s Google Trilogy will make it as a part of the Behind the Smart World -publication. And of course at the main ISEA exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery we could spot one work with hard-drives: Error 404 502 410 by Marcelina Wellmer.
(images starting left Carmin Karasic, Byron Smith, Tugce Oklay + presentation slide, Tomas Laurenzo, Annina Rüst + presentation slide, Andreas wearing Leo’s face & Leo Selvaggio, Emilio Vavarella at a demo session and Error 404 502 41)