You and I, You and Me

You and I, You and Me

Mindaugas Gapševičius, Maria Safronova Wahlström

In collaboration with Helga Mogensen (jewelry), Leon Crayfish (shoe design)

The project You and I, You and Me explores the possibilities of communication through electricity. The project proposes that electricity could help to reveal the imperceptible connections between different actors within the environment. How far could electricity help in understanding the other? Is there a possibility to alter human senses by electric impulses?

The project invites the audience to imagine the future. Humans, computing machines, and various types of hybrids share the space they live in. Senses are altered, some are inextricably linked to computing devices. Electricity is used to control the space and beings living in it. Humans take responsibility to reshape social ties to avoid being controlled by corporations and machines.

Mindaugas Gapševičius explores the impact of non-human actors on human creativity and the impact of humans on the umwelt. Maria Safronova Wahlström is interested in social myths, and works with themes such as collective behaviour and linguistic practices that signal our social belonging.

The project is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

More information about the project: http://triple-double-u.com/you-and-i-you-and-me/

Latent Voice

Creation of a system to capture / record / transfer to the gallery space (or other inside) voice of the river flowing from Svartediket.


Jarek Lustych is Polish visual artist (b.1961). He received his MFA degree from Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts; and since then he has been working as a freelance artist. Initially, the main area of his artistic focus was relief printing. Exploring its possibilities and limitations, he has created a series of works that have been shown in Poland and abroad and also in
competition presentations. His solo exhibition showed various stages of these experiences – in the changing technical solutions, formats, and in the methods of imaging. After his fifteen-year career in the confined space of printmaking
following his basic training, Lustych decided it was time for some change and enriched his practice with an extra
dimension in an attempt to redefine the perception area of art. Since then, he has participated in several international sitespecific symposiums and artist-in-residency programmes making sculptures, installations and organizing street actions / interventions. Twice he received the Polish ministerial scholarships, but the most creative so far were his stays in VillaWaldberta AiR (Germany) & A4 AiR – Luxlakes A4 Art Museum, Chengdu, China.

De-fragmented Bergen

Carbon Death will transmit a live cinema experience at the crossing between environmental harsh noise wall music and bleak November landscape during Piksel Festival. A machine will received films and sounds to produce a new forms of live cinema based on landmarks and landscapes of Bergen. Defragmentation stands for the transformation of this material based on the analysis of the level of activities in the images and the sounds recorded. The semi-autonomous AI program will re-compose a new landscape with a cold perception of the evolution of the environment in order to creates a new machine anti-perspective view on our world. Man with a movie camera by Dziga Vertov creates a new vision of the cities in the early days of the 20th century industrialisation, 92 years after Carbon Death proposes a machine to reinvest the subject Defragmenting Bergen using no literature, no theater, no cinema, the machine is its author, editor and producer.


Carbon Death – non-collective experience

Carbon Death is a non-collective of artists that offers artistic and scientific research without territorial limits, potentially opposing artists, curators, scientists and academics, by way of a voluntary impertinence towards places and concepts and by revisiting, redefining and reorganising these domains.

The Live cinema installation will be displayed on the Piksel festival website and multiple streaming platform.

Decoding Black Magic. Interventions in Infrastructure

Critical Engineers Working Group exhibition “Decoding Black Magic. Interventions in Infrastructure” will take place from the 15th of November to 12th of December 2021, showing well known artworks plus new works in progress by the artists Bengt Sjölén and Danja Vasiliev.
Black Book of Wireless (2020), Unintended Emissions (2019), Vending Private Network, WannaScry! [work in progress] and Unnamed Deep Fake Project (2021)

Exhibition view. Photo credit: Martin E. Koch

Black Book of Wireless

The Black Book of Wireless is intended to be a book of the dark magic that antennas and radios is, with pages that are circuits and PCB trace antennas (copper traces on PCB material) and of which some examples are shown in this iteration. The piece tries to describe the physical connection between form and function in high frequency electronics such that all the traditional passive electronic components can be implemented with just the shape of copper on a substrate: a resistor being the thickness and length of trace, a capacitor a gap in a trace, a coil literally being a spiral or coil shaped trace and more obscure shapes like filters, couplers, transmission lines. The more obscure parts of this is things that are not fully understood or even if you can model and simulate how you think they will behave you have to try them out to see how they actually behave. For examples in the pictures see e.g. the UWB antennas that look like little faces or funny cartoon shapes and the fractal antennas with funny shapes and turns trying to maximize their length in a finite space or the Vivaldi antennas curved shapes where the maximum and minimum gaps between the copper bodies define the range of frequencies the antenna is tuned for while not even being connected the input – the input is on the opposite side of the PCB being coupled and in that way conveying the received signal.

Black Book of Wireless receives and decodes radio signals present in the local environment such as Air Traffic transponders for airplanes flying past, AIS transponders from ships, GSM communication between local cell towers and phones, Wifi communication between devices and base stations. Decoded information as well as description of other artefacts such as pcb trace antennas and a software radio system that can be a rogue GSM baase station (the white beagle bone and the white usrp software radio board with gsm antennas) is continuously printed on terminal style min screens distributed across the table.

Photo credit: Martin E. Koch

Unintended Emissions (2019)

Wireless (802.11) Citizen Surveillance Investigation

Inserted into urban environs, Unintended Emissions captures, dissects, maps and projects radio emissions invisibly shared by our portable wireless devices.

Unintended Emissions reveals meta-data such as make of device, networks the device previously connected to and Internet connection requests transmitted by the device out into the air, employing two arrays of directional Yagi antennae the project attempts to determine positions of Wi-Fi devices in the vicinity.

Similar to surveillance and tracking systems such as StingRay, Unintended Emissions places mobile Wi-Fi users on a 2D map indicating the kind of device user has, time of appearance, user’s network activity and other user-specific meta data. This information can be further analyzed to determine the user’s identity and movements within a locality and the Internet.

Using methods and technologies known to be deployed by federal, surveillance initiatives, the intervention seeks to engender a “healthy paranoia” in the interests of an increased techno-political subjectivity.

Photo credit: Martin E. Koch

Vending Private Network

A vending machine for selling VPN internet access via gateways located four countries not involved in FIVE- NINE- ELEVEN-EYES internet surveillance program.

https://criticalengineering.org/projects/vending-private-network

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have come into increasing demand in recent years, providing route encryption through hostile networks. In China, Vietnam, Turkey and Pakistan they also serve to mitigate government censorship, such that foreign sites otherwise blocked by state firewalls are made available to VPN users (Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, activist sites and digital libraries being the most common).

Vending Private Network takes the form of a condom vending machine, such as those typically seen in public toilets, nightclubs and bars. Equipped with mechanical buttons, a coin-slot and USB ports, it offers 4 VPN routes, each with an animated graphic depicting the route as a fantasy destination.

Audiences are invited to insert a USB stick into the slot, a coin (1 pound or euro) into the machine, and to select a VPN destination by pressing a mechanical button. In doing so, a unique VPN configuration file is then written to the USB stick. Special instructions (in the form of a README.txt) are also copied, explaining how to use the VPN in a special ‘sheathed’ mode that evades detection methods (namely Deep Packet Inspection, or DPI) used by corporations and state-controlled infrastructure administrators. This is the only means known to work against state controlled firewalls.

Vending Private Network is especially designed for use in wealthy countries; only then can its ulterior motive come into play: leveraging economic and cultural privilege to benefit those less fortunate. With each VPN config paid for, another ‘shadow config’ is generated, to be later shipped to dissidents, activist organisations and others in Turkey, China, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran (other countries to be confirmed) such that those that need it most can enjoy protection and access to the open web.

The coins inserted into the vending machine also directly fund the VPN running costs, whose tally is displayed on each screen of the vending machine. Should a particular VPN not have enough money deposited to pay for monthly server hosting costs, it is shutdown, with a white on black notice on the display that it no longer functions due to insufficient public funding. Should money sufficient to cover costs be donated the dormant server will boot back to life and public service continues.

Just as one might expect to see on a condom vending machine, Vending Private Network is adorned with the sticker “Get Protected”.

Photo credit: Martin E. Koch

WannaScry! (2021)

WannaScry! is a video-conferencing server that operates from an exhibition venue and publicly displays and stores video calls conducted through it. Real-time and recorded video-chat are projected inside a Palantir*-like scrying ball.

Practices of communication interception, distortion and manipulation are broadly exercised in cyberspace as a means of control and monetization; all the while the recent increase in usage of video-calling services created an abundance of personal media-data which itself became an easy and desirable prey.

Privacy negligence – like in the example of Zoom Leaks – intentionally or not may expose users’ most private biometric information to data harvesters and those alike.

WannaScry! illustrates a security breach of a video-calling service and demonstrates to the public the extent to which personal biometric data can be intercepted and extracted by malicious cyber-actors and state agencies.
Information such as age, sentiment, location of a user complemented by a transcript of their chat is collected. However, instead of being sold on the black market this information is presented publicly.

WannaScry! seeks to draw attention to the next generation of our interrelationship with the internet and vulnerabilities that come with our accelerating sublimation into cyberspace.

Taking the shape of a large scrying ball, or “palantír” on the surface of which images of
intercepted video-calls are projected, WannaScry! installation references “remote viewing” –
known as an extrasensory ability, today is easily afforded by the functional principals of the
internet.

Connected to a rigged video-calling service platform, WannaScry! covertly joins every call
placed on that service platform, copies complete video/audio streams of each call and
projects those onto its spherical display.
While displaying contents of each video call, WannaScry! attempts to extract facial
(biometric) and conversational (sentiment and context) data of those individuals participating
in the call, including their geographic location. That information is then relayed visually to the
audience.

Using their mobile devices audiences are invited to place video-call using WannaScry!
service and witness their own images appear inside the gazing ball.
https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/523667524

*Palantir is a Techie Software Soldier Spy, Big Data’s scariest, most secretive unicorn in Silicon Valley1

https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/523667524

Photo credit: Martin E. Koch

FakeDeeper – Portrait of three critical engineers (Bengt Sjölén, 2021)

Minimal variant:

Photo manipulation has existed as long as photography has existed. Recent research has leveraged machine learning to do things such as face swap to replace the face of a person in a video with another persons face or to be able to drive one persons face with the motion of another face thereby e.g. making it look like a persons says or a reacts in a way that they didn’t do.

With our visual culture, in news, politics, social media etc, the ultimate proof of that something actually happened, or what someone actually said, has for many decades been the moving image documenting the event – what used to be perceived as the unquestionable absolute truth.

We have now rapidly moved into a time where this is no longer the case, where images and videos are malleable and easily edited to misrepresent events, to literally put words in someones mouth that they never uttered, or place people at a scene in which they never were.

This obviously has far-reaching implications in a society that puts the ultimate trust in the image be it a surveillance camera, a news coverage or a video posted on social media. FakeDeeper demonstrates this in a simple and direct way by having the face of a visitor drive the faces on 3 still images making them move their mouths, pose and facial expressions as the visitor does in front of the camera in real time. The live situation also allows for weird deformations and glitches and the possibility to easily break the illusion in ways that a deliberate fake video production would of course edit away but then also hints at artefacts that can reveal the fake while also emphasizing how much can be done easily with readily available code, machine learning models and only still images and a webcam.

Nearly ten years later, the relevance of the “Critical Engineering Manifesto” has only become more evident, as an ever-growing public becomes aware of the techno-political implications of using – and depending upon – integrated systems and complex, networked technologies. Today, one can find its 11 points listed on the walls of hacklabs, museums, engineering and media-art academies, and in a great many texts, the world over.

Around the manifesto, originally written by Julian Oliver, Gordan Savičić and Danja Vasiliev, gathered a larger group – the Critical Engineering Working Group – now including also Sarah Grant, Bengt Sjölén and Joana Moll.

Piksel will start a series of works inviting some of the representatives of the group Critical Engineering Working Group to work in Bergen.

https://criticalengineering.org/

Falling

360° video / VR installation.
Synopsis : Falling is the study of a collapse. Consisting of nine “collapsology” scenes created from Internet culture imaginaries, this artwork tries to interrogate a possible dismantling of the human practices of nature subjection and species classification through a search of eco-feminist postures. The project is based on the power of utopian and feminist anticipations, and the idea of short-circuiting collective imaginations from the Internet to develop new utopias and invent sustainable imaginations.


Sandrine Deumier is a pluridisciplinary artist working in the field of performance, poetry, and video art whose work investigates post-futurist themes through the development of aesthetic forms related to digital imaginaries. With her dual philosophical and artistic training, she has constructed a multifaceted poetic style focused on the issue of technological change and the performative place of poetry conceived through new technologies. Using material from the word as image and the image as word vector, she also works at the junction of video and sound poetry, considering them as sensitive devices to express a form of unconscious material itself. The process of writing and the mobile material of the image function as underlying meanings of reflux which refer to her real installations and audiovisual performances in collaboration with composers.

PANDEMIC SOUND MAP

The interactive sound installation “PANDEMIC SOUND MAP” transforms the statistical data on the spread of the SARS COVID-19 virus into sound, by means of sonication process based on the number of infected per day per country since January 2020 until today. On a metal political map of the world, 186 switches are located in the center of each country. The installation allows any number of countries to be “switched on” or “switched off” interactively by the audience, forming one common sound picture. This sound representation provides a new perspective on the pandemic, with the expressive means of sound art and digital technologies, reflecting the different approaches to controlling the pandemic, its scale, distribution and current state. The installation is an artistic metaphor for the impact of the pandemic crisis in political, social and cultural aspects, which, as a circuit breaker, almost “switched off” the world economy.


Everyone is Trapped in Someone Else’s Paradise

Everyone is Trapped in Someone Else’s Paradise is a video installation of three looped-animations. The animations are made using the open source software Blender with some photoscanned assets from the free Quixel Megascans library.

The animations depict three portraits of a being seemingly stuck in an endless situation beyond their control. These three scenes speak to the timeless impulse to wish for what you don’t have and to blind to what you do have.


Alex Myers is Assistant Professor of Interaction Design in the Department of Computer Science, Design, & Journalism at Creighton University. Often interrogating issues of immersion, affect, violence, and interactivity, Alex’s new media work has been widely exhibited in international venues across North and South America, Europe, and The Middle East. His work has also received numerous grants and awards, including the Provincié Groningen Kunst en Cultuur Prijs in 2009 and 2014; the Electric Objects Artist Grant in 2016; and the “Best Interactive” Award from the Austin Music Video Festival in 2017. In 2011, Myers was selected as one of ten “Artists to Watch” by the Los Angeles Center for
Digital Art. As a visual artist, he explores the use of video game technologies in media art and the critical roles which technologies familiar from mainstream media contexts can play in experimental art practices.

256 Million colours of Violence

256 Million Colours of Violence is a survey-based interactive archival research project, inviting online and onsite audiences to participate in a survey-based research to actively co-create the website’s archive of colours that represent ‘violence’.

The project addresses issues of privilege and discrimination (such as sexism, ableism, racism), identity and its resulting forms of alienation. By transforming the commonplace ‘survey questionnaire’ into a diverse communication interface, the project subverts the problematic usage of such questionnaires as bureaucratic tools for data collection. Gathered from various bureaucratic and social media signup forms, the 50 questions in this questionnaire reveal ‘direct, structural, and cultural’ violence present in everyday life – particularly gender, sexuality, class, sectarian, and race-based violence.

By filling out the questionnaire, participants will subconsciously learn to identify the presence of violence embedded within questions that surround us daily – whether on social media, work environments or bureaucratic spaces. For example, although Race as a scientific and biological reality has been thoroughly disproven and is no longer an accepted fact, it still exists in socio-political discourse, both as a historical presence as well as within contemporary reality. And so, although Race doesn’t exist, it has transformed into Racism – an acute form of form of discrimintation that is based on a fabricated idea of the world we embody. Throughout the questionnaire, the participants are confronted with these questions of gender, sexual orientation, age, language, race, colour, nationality, religion, class, history, education, occupation, economic status, cultural conditioning, health, temperament, and political affiliation.

The project offers a platform through which participants recognise the inherent and embedded forms of violence in each of the ubiquitous questions posed. By choosing how to answer, and how they position themselves within the stratified spectrums of identity, participants individually cross a spectrum of pertinent issues embedded within ‘routine’ questions, initiating a process of critical introspection.

Once mentally attuned to the multiple dimensions of violence, participants are asked to respond to the last question, “What according to you is a colour of violence?” by selecting a colour from a digital palette containing 256 Million Colours. Although such responses are emotionally unique and personal, they are not ‘instinctive’ but learned through association and cultural conditioning. The project is an effort to map this conditioning, where such participative mapping provides systemic insights into the conditional relationships between the causes and effects of violence.

Through this mapping, participants co-create a ‘Colour of Violence’ archive – the only part of the survey questionnaire that is made public, whether online or through physical exhibitions. Although all participant information except their choice of colour remains confidential, the multiple responses of each participant – as contextualised meanings of lived experience and worldviews – become condensed into a single pixel of colour. This way, colour becomes a complex dataset representing a participant’s nuanced understanding of the world around them. The project is a Living Archive of these complex datasets, portraying a diversity of experience and subjectivities from across the world. Recognising and publicly sharing something as personal as a ‘Colour of Violence’ initiates further questions – a process of enquiry and a sensitive dialogue into another person’s experiences of violence.

Through continued participative sharing the project serves the role of a witness, a therapist, and a mirror – creating a new vocabulary of colour in the context of violence. This participation accumulates data, allowing us to comprehend the relationship between violence and socio-political institutions. By occupying a dual position of being both the giver and receiver of information, it facilitates a unique equal exchange – ‘an encounter of equals.’

This way, the project forms and nurtures its own community through an ongoing inquiry embedded in digital media and contemporary social culture, that not only creates awareness of violence present in everyday life but also provides tools and the necessary discourses required to counter such violence.


Ali Akbar Mehta (b.1983, Mumbai) is a Transmedia artist, curator, and researcher. Through a research-based practice, he creates immersive cyber archives that map narratives of history, memory, and identity through a multifocal lens of violence, conflict, and trauma. Such archival mappings – as drawings, paintings, new media works, net-based projects, poems, essays, and theoretical texts, as well as performances both of bodies and networks – are rooted in datafeminist, posthumanist critical theories of making visible hegemonic power relations and silenced historical materialism. He is a founding member and co-Artistic Director of ‘Museum of Impossible Forms’; a board member of ‘Kiila ry’; and is pursuing his Doctoral Research in the Contemporary Art Department at Aalto University, Helsinki.

Dystopia Trilogy (WebVR)

Dystopia Trilogy is a WebVR composition consisting of three movements inspired by the author’s experiences during the seven months of social restriction in 2020. These memories are interpreted and developed as narrative ideas and divided into three major pandemic episodes—infectious period, lockdown, and new-normal.

Three virtual environments were created to simulate the actual events to manifest the narrative notions, in which sound recordings and 3D scanning assets made during and after the lockdown are utilized to construct the virtual space that functions as memory lines connecting between the past and the present over the digital domain. The symbolism approach is adopted to contextualize the usage of visual elements in conjunction with the narrative idea.

The first movement displays human figure videos and animated COVID-19 models, whereas, on the second movement, the 3D model of human bodies (legs and hand) is placed within a square format to restrict the user’s locomotion. At the environment’s center rests a human heart model that is randomly beating and rotating infinitely, which symbolizes the desperateness feeling. The third movement is structured upon the distorted objects of 3D scanning surrounding Melbourne after the lockdown. These decimated 3D objects portray the lifeways changes of new normal where conjointly with video footages offers a twofold visual presentation.

A specific compositional strategy that utilized Hubs’ spatial sound feature was applied within this piece. Instead of fixed-structured music, pre-composed materials are placed within particular premises with specified distance values, meaning each sound is only hearable at a given range according to the user’s location within the virtual environment. Therefore, the musical structure and experience become subjective matters for each user based on their interaction (spatial location) when exploring the digital space.


Born in Makassar 1988, Patrick Gunawan Hartono is an Indonesian electroacoustic composer and intermedia artist. He earned a BMus in Composition (Cum laude) from Rotterdam Conservatory with Minor Study at The Institute of Sonology, MMus in Sonic Arts from the University of London, Goldsmiths, and Live Electronic Course from IRCAM, Paris. In 2017 he won the ICMA audience award for his generative audiovisual piece “Matrix Studies” and the 1st Prize for WOCMAT 2019 International Electroacoustic Music Young Composer Award.


Patrick’s art and musical interest are to use technology and scientific approaches as creative tools. He is also interested in 3-D sound spatialisation, analog/digital synthesis, psychoacoustic, visual music. Most of his works use the sound of Indonesian traditional music instrument, computer generated sound/images, field recordings; transformed, rearranged, modulated by mathematical rules, real-time interaction, and controlled random operations.


His music has been internationally performed at the festival, conference, and venue such as ICMC [2014, 2016, 2017, 2021], YCMF [2007, 2008, 2010], WOCMAT [2012, 2013, 2019], Sound Bridge Festival [2013, 2020], ZKM [2014, 2015, 2019], IRCAM [2014], NYCEMF [2014], Sines and Square [2014], ACL [2014], Sonorities Festival [2015], ACMC [2020, 2021], BEAST [2021], CCRMA [2018] etc.


Patrick is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Melbourne while actively involved in local and international electroacoustic/computer music communities.

The Stage is (a)Live

title: The Stage is (a)Live

authors: Joana Chicau and Renick Bell

short synopsis: a web based installation that stages the interactions between algorithmic dancers that set into motion a myriad of audio pieces and visual elements. This work is part of an on-going project called Choreographies of the Circle & Other Geometries (http://www.geometries.xyz/index.html), a research on socio-technical protocols for collaborative audio-visual live coding and a corresponding peer-to-peer environment programmed in JavaScript.

online version of the artwork can be found at: https://www.geometries.xyz/theStageIsAlive


Joana Chicau is a graphic designer, coder, researcher — with a background in dance — currently based in London. In her practice she interweaves web programming languages and environments with choreography. She researches the intersection of the body with the constructed, designed, programmed environment, aiming at widening the ways in which digital sciences is presented and made accessible to the public. She has been actively participating and organizing events with performances involving multi-location collaborative coding, algorithmic improvisation, open discussions on gender equality and activism. Recent work, news and updates: www.joanachicau.com

Renick Bell is a computer musician, programmer, and teacher — currently based in Taiwan. His current research interests are live coding, improvisation, and algorithmic art using open source software. He is the author of Conductive, a library for live coding in the Haskell programming language. He has released music on labels, including Lee Gamble’s UIQ, Rabit’s Halcyon Veil, Seagrave, and Quantum Natives. He graduated from the doctoral program at Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan. Originally from West Texas, he previously lived in New York City and Taipei, Taiwan. Web: http://renickbell.net