Packetsphere: An Internet Travelogue

What does it take to send a single message halfway around the globe? What issues exist in the technological world just below the surface of your keyboard? Come join Zak, Becky, and a colorful cast of digital characters for a look into the grand tour you initiate every time you send a phrase as simple as “hello.”

Zak Argabrite is an interdisciplinary artist working in music, art and technology based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington New Zealand). Zak creates pieces for performance and installation and designs performance scores, handmade instruments, sculptures and circuitry. Zak’s artistic practice is varied and ever-evolving, exploring art making as a fluid and personal process that often involves learning new skills and stretching between
established disciplines.

In 2020 Zak received the Victoria Doctoral Scholarship to begin work on a PhD at Victoria
University of Wellington. The focus of Zak’s PhD thesis is on establishing a deeper understanding of the complex pasts and futures of technology through research grounded in creative practice. Zak researches the international network of land extraction, manufacturing, distribution, consumption and waste processing that make up technology’s
lives. Zak’s creative work surrounding this research (re)uses old, obsolete, discarded technology or e-waste to create audiovisual performances and installations.

Zak was born on ᏣᎳᎩ (Tsalagi) land (Louisville, Kentucky). Zak’s personal connection with that land and ᏣᎳᎩ heritage remains an important part of Zak’s life and artistic practice.

Zak grew up playing jazz, funk, blues, experimental and classical music, while maintaining a passion for visual arts. Zak moved to Lenapehoking (New York City) in 2012, where they studied Jazz, Composition and Sound Arts, and worked for several years in audio engineering and venue management. In 2019, Zak relocated to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and
is currently pursuing a PhD in Sonic Arts at Victoria University of Wellington.

As a composer, Zak has had the privilege of having international performances and has written for large ensembles, orchestras, big bands, chamber ensembles, and solo artists. Zak has also had the opportunity to exhibit works of installation and video art, and has performed internationally in a variety of settings on wind instruments (saxophones,
clarinets and handmade designs), handmade electronic instruments, and as a visual projection artist.

Becky Brown is a composer, harpist, artist, and web designer, interested in producing intensely personal works across the multimedia spectrum. She focuses on narrative, emotional exposure, and catharsis, with a vested interest in using technology and the voice to deeply connect with an audience, wherever they are. She is currently pursuing graduate
studies in Composition and Computer Technologies at the University of Virginia.

In the installation ☯, booklets (also entitled ☯) are stacked and presented on a pedestal, where Piksel21 attendees may take copies. The self-cover booklet is 40 pages long (10 sheets of paper) and presents Unicode glyphs opposite each other on page spreads, allowing readers to mediate on empty/full dichotomies and our current global text encoding system.

Nick Montfort studies creative computing. As a poet and artist, he uses computation as his main medium and seeks to uncover how the material and formal qualities of computing are entangled with each other and with culture. His computer-generated books of poetry include #! and Golem. His digital projects include the collaborations The Deletionist and Sea and Spar Between. His MIT Press books, collaborative and individual, include The New Media Reader,
Twisty Little Passages, Racing the Beam
, and Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities. He is professor of digital media at MIT. He lives in New York City.


PAC-MOM [1] is a parody of the popular arcade game PAC-MAN (1980) by Toru Iwatani. Game scholars classify PAC-MAN as an eating game. PAC-MOM is a game about gender and food insecurity. PAC-MOM takes place in a situation where accessing
food requires PAC-MOM to work a disproportionate amount more than PAC-MAN. In
addition to having to work more for the same amount of pellets as PAC-MAN, PAC-MOM
has to avoid powerful ghost-enemies including patriarchy, misogyny, racism,
ableism, and many more. Watch a playthrough on Vimeo. [2]

  • Links:
  • [1] PAC-MOM Website:
  • [2] PAC-MOM playthrough video:

Annina Rüst is an artist-technologist. She creates electronics and software-based media art. Her works often focus on political issues within tech culture, including gender representation and online privacy. Rüst’s work has been
reviewed in such publications as Wired and the New York Times Magazine. The Huffington Post called her recent
robotics work a “Badass Feminist Robot”. Besides making and exhibiting technology-driven art, she writes scholarly
articles that contextualize her own work and the work of others. Rüst teaches programming, game development,
electronics, data visualization, and digital fabrication at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic
University where she is an Associate Professor.

Platform Sweet Talk

Today’s dominant social media platforms are designed to produce, above all else, user engagement. Engaged users contribute increasing amounts of data, transforming platforms from empty containers of nothing into profitable private stores of human behavior and culture. But this production doesn’t happen by itself; it requires careful engineering to craft and present the right message at the right time in a way that compels users to keep scrolling, liking, and posting. Platform Sweet Talk examines a primary tactic Silicon Valley employs to seduce its users into a one-sided relationship: notifications. Based on longitudinal research into a major platform’s notification strategy, this work presents their extensive notification language in a depersonalized form, revealing how notifications operate to encourage, manipulate, and woo users into maximal platform engagement.

Ben Grosser creates interactive experiences, machines, and systems that examine the cultural, social, and political effects of software. Recent exhibition venues include the Barbican Centre in London, Museum Kesselhaus in Berlin, Museu das Comunicações in Lisbon, and Galerie Charlot in Paris. His works have been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Washington Post, El País, Libération, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Der Spiegel. The Chicago Tribune called him the “unrivaled king of ominous gibberish.” Slate referred to his work as
“creative civil disobedience in the digital age.” Grosser’s artworks are regularly cited in books investigating the cultural effects of technology, including The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, The Metainterface, Critical Code Studies, and Technologies of Vision, as well as volumes centered on computational art practices such as Electronic Literature, The New Aesthetic and Art, and Digital Art. Grosser is an associate professor in the School of Art + Design, and co-founder of the Critical Technology Studies Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

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.

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 (, 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:

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:

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: