May 16, 2021


#Sounds from BBC #archive

#Sounds from BBC #archive

  • browse, mix and use for non comercial projects

33,000 clips from across the world from the past 100 years. These include clips made by the BBC Radiophonic workshop, recordings from the Blitz in London, special effects made for BBC TV and Radio productions, as well as 15,000 recordings from the Natural History Unit archive. You can explore sounds from every continent - from the college bells ringing in Oxford to a Patagonian waterfall - or listen to a submarine klaxon or the sound of a 1969 Ford Cortina door slamming shut.

-> the only #Mexico recording, is from a market in #Tijuana you can hear the bilingual culture (spanish/english) of this border city.

#recordings #audio

by vlax 0°0 we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of May, 2021.

Chrome extension recommends local businesses while shopping on Amazon or eBay
May 08, 2021 (comments)
A webshit drags extinct features back into reality. Hackernews is pissed that small businesses don't do enough work to enable webshits to scrape their store shelves. Other Hackernews list all the other reasons they'll never do business with any company who doesn't underpay hordes of warehouse operatives and delivery drivers in order to ensure their counterfeit messenger bag arrives within seconds. One Hackernews prefers to shop online because brick-and-mortar retail stores don't treat their employees as well; in accordance with article 500 of the National Electric Code, this comment thread constitutes a Class III* Division 1** Group D*** hazardous area.

The Animal Is Tired
May 09, 2021 (comments)
Getting old sucks. Hackernews debates how old you have to be before you're allowed to start bitching about it, then they start arguing about which chemicals to ingest to fix all the problems. No technology is discussed, except by the idiots for whom clocks are a lost technology; they argue about which sleep tracker will best tell you you're asleep.

Can I Email?
May 10, 2021 (comments)
Some terrorists share notes about exactly which awful webshit can be crammed into which email clients. Surprisingly, Microsoft Outlook supports the least of the bullshit here on display, making it the best email client available for Windows. Hackernews asks questions whose answers will not benefit them, but the asking of which reveal how little Hackernews understands the core technologies they get paid to shit onto the internet. Several apostate Hackernews pine for the days of text-only email, but they are duly castigated by their CSS-addicted cohort.

Germany bans Facebook from handling WhatsApp data over privacy concerns
May 11, 2021 (comments)
Facebook goes to war against Germany. Hackernews mulls how anyone can possibly exert any regulatory control over a software company. Other Hackernews bicker about the precise nature of the user abuse which companies like Facebook and Apple undertake in order to protect their money extraction farms.

Google Docs will now use canvas based rendering
May 12, 2021 (comments)
Google Docs gives up on the pretense of being a website, and embraces its nature: a subpar office suite implemented in the world's least-efficient possible GUI toolkit. Some of the original architects of the Google Docs atrocity arrive in the Hackernews comment threads to announce that doing things in the dumbest possible manner turns out to be really difficult; congratulations are handed to all players for having the tenacity and determination to fuck everything up despite all the myriad red flags on the road to mediocrity. The rest of the comments are from Hackernews trying to ascertain exactly which of the walls in Google's walled garden just moved six inches closer in.

Pentagon surveilling Americans without a warrant, Senator Wyden reveals
May 13, 2021 (comments)
The United States Government bought some data on the open market and some internet hippies are mad about it. Hackernews experiences a whataboutism meltdown, as every spy, journalist, community organizer, or political activist in the history of the United States is reprosecuted in the Court of Hackernews. Another comment thread focuses on which high-visibility politician is to blame for this sort of behavior. Almost none of the comments hold accountable -- or even recognize the participation of -- the filthy animals who make their business the collection and sale of private information, because Hackernews doesn't want to get fired by them.

A URL Lengthener
May 14, 2021 (comments)
Yep, it's this joke again, and this one, and neither are as much fun as this one was. Hackernews bitches about Google and Microsoft URL redirections.

* ignitable fibers; it is after all a thread.

** high probability of combustion; likely to attract flaming.

*** high methane content in atmosphere, since this comment is bullshit.


May 15, 2021


Señor deportador, are you not going to set a trap for me, are you?

Señor deportador, are you not going to set a trap for me, are you?

I was full of tears reading this heartbreaking story.

some lawyers speaking with Democracy Now think this families are going to live with a trauma. And I believe it.

#migration #deportation #USA #Mexico #border #family #humanrights #exile

by vlax 0°0

Ser Idem : floresta del entretanto

Ser Idem : floresta del entretanto

  • Acompañan árboles ceiba Pochota y Jacaranda.

convivimos desde tiempo atrás en el valle de #Oaxaca #Mexico y escuchamos el cantar maravilloso de insectos chicharras que en estas épocas previas al verano ocupan masivamente estos lares.

by vlax 0°0

Evgeny Morozov

Privacy activists are winning fights with tech giants. Why does victory feel hollow? | Evgeny Morozov

Perhaps we wasted energy achieving privacy concessions, when we should have been building a more foundational critique of the power of big tech

For privacy activists, 2021 brings one big victory after another. First, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, announced in March that it would stop tracking individual users as they roam from site to site. This decision was part of Alphabet’s broader campaign to phase out the use of third-party cookies – an old but controversial technology, increasingly blamed for today’s lax culture of data-sharing.

Related: You should be worried about how much info WhatsApp shares with Facebook | Burcu Kilic and Sophia Crabbe-Field

The tech industry delivers an extremely unappetizing dish that invariably features the same set of ingredients

Evgeny Morozov is the founder of the Syllabus, and the author of several books on technology and politics

Continue reading...

by Evgeny Morozov

Institute of Network Cultures

What Doesn’t the Algorithm See? With Rosa Menkman and Joanna Zylinska

“We need to focus on what remains unrendered, or unseen – what we are blind to.” – Rosa Menkman

On Friday evening May 14, 2021, the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and The Digital Hub hosted a webinar with Rosa Menkman and Joanna Zylinska. It was the fifth event in the Digital Cultures series, and my first time tuning in. I expected a straightforward panel discussion, but after the host, Rachel O’Dwyer introduced the two artists, we were shown two presentations first by Rosa and Joanna. Seeing them back-to-back provided a nice opportunity to notice similarities between their areas of expertise and differences in how they approach machine vision and algorithmic blindspots.

Rosa’s presentation “Destitute Vision” demonstrated her keenness to experiment with alternative forms of lecturing. In a mesmerising 15-minute work, she explores how artistic interventions can help us understand technologies of perception. In a calm voice-over, she proposes that data has the potential to be fluid, but it is the architecture through which it moves that distorts it and molds it into a singular form. Instead of asking what algorithms see, Rosa inquires what they render invisible.

Rosa Menkman glitchy “Vernacular of File Formats” (2009-2010)

I enjoyed learning about her “BLOB of Im/Possible Images” project, a playfully named 3D gallery that shows images chosen by a group of particle physicists, who visualised important concepts or phenomena that cannot (yet) be rendered. I can see how this type of speculative thinking opens up new possibilities for understanding each other across disciplines and types of expertise.

Still from Rosa Menkman’s “BLOD of Im/Possible Images,” found on (click on image to visit).

Joanna’s presentation explored her experience of using an Artbreeder GAN algorithm to render images of eyes and brains, which turned into an artwork titled “Neuromatic.” Her choice to focus on these body parts points to an interest in pinning down what exactly constitutes seeing. She explained that even though we know a lot about the human body and its complex processes, the phenomenon of seeing remains somewhat of a mystery.

In her research, Joanna considers what it means for humans to endow machines with the capacity of seeing, and inquires whether machines can see at all. Her approach proves the value of artists borrowing from other fields – in this case, from philosophy – to tackle a concept they deem interesting. Indeed, later in the discussion, Joanna talked about how her practice requires re-learning biology and philosophy and using their knowledges in a way that breaks rules and poses unconventional questions. These methods are usually inaccessible by scientists, who are more limited by funding requirements and goal-oriented methodologies.

What followed the presentations was a productive discussion about collaboration, modes of seeing, and the role visual arts play in rendering visible different technological and biological phenomena. I left the event feeling like I got to look at artistic research from a new angle, one that reveals their playfulness and lack of rigid expectations as assets and activators of interdisciplinary understanding.

Found on the Wellcome Collection, which Joanna used to source original images for “Neuromatic” video: A dissection of the skull, showing the eyes with attached nerves and muscles. Lithograph by G.H. Ford, 1864.

In the discussion, Rosa pointed out that scientists want to open up their knowledges to other experts and communities, and that artists are often a bridge between scientific fields and people who are unfamiliar with them. Similarly, Joanna noted that artists often deal with the same themes as engineers or scientists, but the endpoint of their projects tends to differ, and their scope can be broader.

On the topic of interdisciplinarity, Joanna pointed out that jumping between fields reveals similarities between them, but also shows their respective blindspots. She stressed that the aim shouldn’t be to create some sort of (unattainable) universal knowledge, but rather to notice each other’s limitations and find common ground, without flattening the differences that remain.

What started as a conversation about specific themes – machine vision, algorithmic limitations, collaboration – shifted to a meditation on why people desire to model and represent the world. Joanna asked if there is a single world out there to be represented, hinting at the intrinsic subjectivity of perception and sensations.

“Vision is just one of the senses, it is never just vision because it’s always already expanded, it’s environmental, it’s always been haptic. But the human has been constructed as a visual being. There is a history of vision and the human as a visual, visualising subject. We have to address that history.” – Joanna Zylinska

The discussion also carried climate urgency undertones, as the guests noted the importance of recognising non-human actants in the world in our explorations of modes of perception. Instead of seeking a “total vision” that encompasses different kinds of experiences, Joanna suggested that treating this concept as a speculative, artistic question allows for exploring the human desire to understand our limitations.

Kazimir Malevich’s “Black Square” painting: the experience of looking at “nothing”?

Joanna noted she could see a corporation exploiting an idea of “hyper vision.” Yes, I can imagine a neoliberal Tesla-esque project using computer vision to obtain the “perfect” way to see and analyse the world. Elon Musk would announce it at a self-serving event, claiming he is changing the world, only to grant access to this new “product” to a select few, dodging critique and refusing to consider why a “total vision” would be a good idea in the first place. In this ecocentric and capitalist mode of thinking, to see the world from every angle would mean to own it from every angle.

In the end, it boils down to agency. Knowing that current infrastructures of digital cultures are shaped by profit- and data-oriented corporations, we have to be vigilant when thinking about who acts as a user and who is being used. Both Joanna and Rosa discussed these power structures. They highlighted that algorithms – sometimes perceived as abstract and incorporeal – have very real socio-political consequences, often harming already marginalised groups when used in the hands of immigration enforcement or banks.

Trees have eyes in Rachel MacLean’s “Eyes to Me” video.

For me, the all-encompassing influence algorithms already have was the most important takeaway from this event. Artistic interventions can shed light on the shadowy inner workings of certain algorithms without vilifying them. We have to acknowledge the limitations of our perception – literal and conceptual – to engage with other modes of seeing.

Learn more:

Watch the full event back on YouTube.

See other events in the Digital Cultures series here.

Read Rosa’s recent publication, Beyond Resolution.

Read Joanna’s recent publication, AI Art.

by Agnieszka Wodzińska

May 14, 2021

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 5x30 - Operazione Simpatia

Zuck, Elon e Bill sono tre tipi come noi, con le loro manie e i loro difetti. Il fatto che siano anche riusciti a diventare miliardari ne fa certamente i candidati ideali per capire e risolvere i problemi di tutti noi, perché plutocrazia è bello.

by Walter Vannini

May 13, 2021


#science #sciencemanuelacasasoli The evolution of flowering plants:...

#science #sciencemanuelacasasoli
The evolution of flowering plants: a fascinating story.
1-In my little garden
2-The delayed and geographically heterogeneous diversification of flowering plant families

by Manuela Casasoli

Ser Idem : las flores del jardín

Ser Idem : las flores del jardín

Retrato de algunas bellezas crecidas de

  • una biznaga (si, con filtro)
  • y un girasol

ambas residentes del valle de #Oaxaca, sur de #Mexico

esta publicación está motivada por el artículo sobre la #evolución de las #plantas angiospermas que @[Manuela Casasoli](/people/8df3a0e0b5e30136b7c300505608f9fe) compartió ->

#flor #botánica #biología #vida

by vlax 0°0

May 12, 2021

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Successful rollback of Spring @Autowired annotation” Oil On...

“Successful rollback of Spring @Autowired annotation”

Oil On Canvas

Édouard Debat-Ponsan (1880)

Institute of Network Cultures

Body of Work: Alina Lupu’s Precarious Strategies

The moment I write this I am a design student at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, where I am enrolled in the industrial design master program. I currently generate no noteworthy income from my own design practice, but I do have hopes for a noteworthy professional future. This is what I assume my education will build up to.

I know however that I will be graduating in precarious times. This was obvious to me even before Covid punched a hole in the job market and into our collective wallets. It became apparent that the idea of work was changing comprehensively, with the labor market having become liberal and flexible, bringing new opportunities and with them also risks. We were seeing more types of jobs being created while salaries decreased, contracts were shortened and became flex, and a large degree of freedom was coupled with vanishing insurance policies and pension plans.

So, having said this and with my graduation peeking at the horizon, I rightly wondered what will become of me. This led me on a path to find the answer to the question ‘what do new types of work look like?’ And more specifically ‘who are the workers?’ 

“Tell me about the world of work.” – The interviewees at large

My journey began by engaging in conversations with Geert Lovink who filled me in on theories of new generations of workers; Alina Lupu, an artist who moves between the precariously employed field and the cultural field – which are at times one and the same; and the members of Cultural Workers Unite (CWU), a solidarity organization that promotes the rights of workers within the cultural field. I have chosen these interview partners because they work from different perspectives with (or within) the new conditions of work.

Figure 2: Lupu at a panel discussion CRITICAL STUDIES at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, 2017


Illusions of work: Alina Lupu between dreams & realities of work

Is there a difference between the creative worker and the precarious laborer? Some would argue there never was one, maybe just a difference in branding. 

In the winter of 2017, a little over half a year from having graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from a prestigious Dutch art academy, the Rietveld, in Amsterdam, Alina Lupu received an invitation to be a part of a panel discussion during an event at that very same academy. The invitation was meant to showcase the experience of recent graduates, their evolution since finishing art school, and their experience as students, looking back. That experience was very much fresh in her mind. But so was her new side-job.

That afternoon, honoring the panel discussion invitation, Lupu decided to show up, talk about her position and also wear her new food delivery courier uniform. She went to the stage, without introducing her condition at the time, wearing a jacket from the company Deliveroo and a small food delivery bag with the same branding. The company was, at the beginning of 2017, very fresh on the Dutch market, without any scandal associated with it, but still very visually present in the local landscape with couriers riding in the streets daily in striking bright blue-green athletic gear.

Lupu had taken the job after her realization that having a degree in art was not enough to make a living. She spent half a year applying for office jobs which never called back. She couldn’t yet apply for structural funding as an artist, since there was a period of one year between graduation and the time one could submit an application, so she chose the quickest route that would have her – a job in the platform economy. This was a job that could start almost immediately after being called for an interview, with a quick onboarding.

A job that would give her a uniform if only she said yes and showed her passport. She was game.


Judgments of work: Meeting expectations of yourself and others

To live was to make. But to live was not to make a living – Lupu said while she was still an ambitious art student. A belief she did share with her peers and teachers while being in the safe surrounding of the Academy. I myself am yet following a similar mindset while making use of my freedom to explore and expand my horizon, getting critical and aware about abstract issues of the world. But have I understood my own reality? With my graduation ahead I start to question if I have reached the level of control and knowledge to steer into my professional future. Lupu had done it, she was free again but in a way that she and her educational path had not foreseen for her.

Lupu could feel that exposing this new side-job in her former art academy might cause some friction, but didn’t quite realize the extent of outrage that would follow. Exposing herself as a minimum wage worker created tension. She felt judged by her choice of temporary employment.

She was supposed to have become an autonomous artist, and even if most autonomous artists make a living by other means, she was not supposed to glamorize, or even show, her precarious job.

These jobs tended to be kept in the dark as ‘shadow jobs’ as if they should not be seen in relation to the creative worker. The clash of the expectations of the creative class and the realities of the market shaped Lupu’s choices in the years that followed her graduation and that panel discussion in particular.

Figure 4: Lupu performing THE MINIMUM WAGE DRESS CODE in The Living Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2017

Solidarity in work: A new type of workers who don’t recognize each other

That instance of exposing herself as a worker and being considered less deserving in the eyes of her peers and of the teachers that shaped her brought about the realization that there was a gap in perceiving solidarity among different categories of workers who are equally as exploited. Lupu would go on to make performances using the iconic looks of the food delivery couriers, but she would also join a union, continue doing the delivery work, and eventually join forces with the food delivery couriers in striking against Deliveroo and against exploitative conditions that the company would push on their workers.


Lupu rightly realized that “It doesn’t matter if I do creative work if I get paid as much as a cleaner – then I should be solidarity with that cleaner”. She saw herself aligned with the ones working in the same conditions, not only with the people in the same sector. And creatives were shown to have equally precarious contracts, if any, lack of security, lack of a pension plan or insurance.

In the same line of thinking, the CWU chimed in: “Maybe it is part of the problem that we consider ourselves “special” as this creates a “cognitive dissonance” in a lot of us, that would identify us as “artists” while we earn most of our money through side jobs or more “commercial parts” of our practice”. The Union, therefore, has tried to open the definition of the cultural workers they want to support. They include creators and curators as well as “cultural institution cleaners, administrators, security guards, horeca workers etc.” and “volunteers and interns who contribute unpaid and low paid labor to the sector.” This highlights a sensibility towards the various modes of work in culture and that they are reliant on each other.


Sharing of work: The autonomous workers collective – a paradox

Without a doubt, to be a food courier was not what Lupu had dreamed of when she started to study fine arts. It is no secret that the market in arts and design is by any means challenging and difficult which the individual maker mostly must face alone. However, it is this mindset that must be challenged Lovink points out. In his sight, one of the main issues is that single creators might fail thinking she/he is not ‘good enough’ to withstand the market’s pressure, whilst we are missing out on the community of those working in similar conditions: “It’s about new forms of cooperative work. […] But these discussions and debates have not yet reached the creative industries […], people need to understand that they actually have to act together.” This turns out to be the main challenge as the CWU claims:


“It’s difficult. Solidarity is a thing to be worked on, it isn’t the default position for most in a neoliberal society.”

Occupational prestige and desire for more personal freedom are the leading factors to the creation of the neoliberal condition and a singular mindset. However, the proposed independence that neoliberalism peddles is illusive.

“If freedom is to be taken as freedom from an employer, you are free to choose your own way of being exploited by the market.” Says the CWU “In effect, you’re not “free to” do whatever you want, as the economy has already pre-established paths for hyper-competitive and hyper-individualized entrepreneurial careers.”

The ‘free-thinking creative’ who needs to be set aside from the crowd seems to be outdated yet persists to be the role model in the sector of Arts and Design as experienced by Lupu and the members of the CWU.

“While we are encouraged to work collectively, collective work is continuously being devalued and is not taken as seriously as an ‘autonomous practice’. As if any practice can be ‘autonomous.”

Creative work as well as capitalist structures were and are still reliant on cooperation between different professions. It seems as if the truly independent worker in the creative industry is simply an unrealistic model of work. “Autonomous work does not exist” states the CWU, and there is no logical reason for a worker to pretend it does.


Communities in work: Recognizing and dealing with your working peers

Lupu’s working outfit which she eventually ended up calling “The Minimum Wage Dress Code” changed how she was perceived by other artists, but it also influenced how she was perceived in society at large. Her outfit allowed her access to certain spaces like restaurant kitchens while at the same time it gave her insight into how couriers are usually mistreated by other links in the delivery chain. Like an 18th century servant she had to be ‘hidden’ from customers, often left waiting outside in the cold.

“The irony is that you are treated like shit by the ones that earn as much per hour as you do.”

She lived through the same failures in perceiving solidarity from restaurant workers not just from the “creative class”. She witnessed how solidarity fails across the board as long as we judge and humiliate people just by their presumed link in a labor chain.

Maybe COVID was, in this sense, useful as it triggered the understanding of dissatisfaction and acknowledgment of insecurities in job and/or in life. One could be sure of a worldwide relatability and to a certain extend solidarity. “The idea that you can do it all on your own, especially if you have to work from home, no, that’s over.” Says Lovink. This unprecedented event has exposed the fragility of many, which is fertile ground on which unions like the CWU formed and gained more attention. Worldwide precarity almost enforced a large part of society to take jobs that are not unique to ones ‘main’ profession and it is yet uncertain if this affect will be reversed. This state is on its best way to become mainstream – and could this for once mean something for the greater good?

“Covid only exacerbates what was already there before the pandemic. Precarity was there, it just became visible” agrees the CWU. Like Lupu, they see the problems of precarity amplified throughout the crisis and aim for a solution of collectiveness. The membership number of unions has rapidly dropped in the last years. Lupu explains this with the popularity of flex and temp-work which has created more individual work, while communal or collective work, work that could be organized in the traditional sense, declined.

Figure 9 Lupu presenting the Online Campaign #RideWithUsPhilip, 2019; As Philip Padberg, CEO of Deliveroo Europe, suggested that riders should switch to a freelance contract, in her video, Lupu is asking Padberg to prove that what he was proposing (10 orders in 2 hours) was possible.

In the past Lupu, experienced the way in which classical unions had difficulties in reacting to new, flexible, platform-based working conditions. The FNV, The Federation of Dutch Trade Unions, initially had trouble adapting on how to tackle a company like Deliveroo: “They tried to support platform workers and strikes – with banners, tents with warm chocolate. But how do you strike against an online company? Do you go to the streets or block apps? Are you just not going to work?”.

The FNV has made strides in the past couple of years in tackling the food delivery giant, through a series of court trials questioning contractual agreements, which have been won. These were however symbolic victories since the gains rarely if ever got to reach the workers.

The case of Deliveroo has exposed how little protection one can expect as a precarious worker in an unregulated market.

It has also rightly exposed similar precarious and unregulated tendencies within the creative field, which the work of Lupu highlights.

Chances of Work: Alliance between workers

Adding up these different perspectives gave me greater depth in understanding the problem as well as the strength of the new types of work at large.

Alina Lupu does perceive herself as an artist but aligns with workers which earn a minimum wage, who need to take precarious jobs out of pure necessity, and usually do not speak up against the unfairness, to not risk their only source of income. Lupu, as a progressive risk-taking artist, turned herself through her performance into a channel for her own, but also for their precarity. The dress became the medium for a collective message for anyone taking minimum paid jobs or participate in the economy in ways that are not unique to cultural work. It visually connected unrecognized labor with the profession of the artist created friction but moreover awareness and relatability of the working circumstances within the profession. She used the impact of the choice of clothing to challenge the publicly perceived identity of the wearer. Design-wise we can question if we could adapt this system for the new workers at large to shape and clarify their work identity. A visual (and wearable) statement could become a superficial work identity for the new working community, visible for oneself, the ones working in the same sector, and the public or client. From this perspective, a design like a work cloth presents the idea of a person, profession, and one’s community all connected in one design.

Figure 10: THE MINIMUM WAGE DRESS CODE Performance at the Launch of Simulacrum Magazine at Cinetol, Amsterdam, 2017

Figure 11: MINIMUM WAGE DRESS CODE Performance at PUBLIC ART AMSTERDAM, 2018, Participants eating the content of their delivery bags with visitors.

Similar to Lupu, the CWU tries to include and connect all workers and laborers that are involved in the production of arts, design and culture. They want to illustrate the necessary cooperation between cultural workers.

A common understanding of precarious conditions and shared knowledge are key elements to deal with precarity.

Collectivism needs to be included in the ‘look’ of the contemporary creative worker. In detail, change needs to happen on two levels: firstly, through recognition of a shared problem or support within a community, so that empathy can evolve between workers that deal with the same issues. COVID has highlighted these discussions on a global scale, it is up to us how we make use of them for our common future. Secondly, through a general understanding of the fact that current neoliberal socio-economic structures lead to precarity. If this will be achieved, new forms of cooperation could evolve. The equality of voices and easy access is important to create a collective body and to share knowledge. The new design of cooperative channels could be understood as resistant to the individualizing turn, placing emphasis on sociality rather than on the individual creator working to produce art or design.

Finally, the theorist Lovink presents the structural and organizational side which can facilitate and manage the space in which cooperation can happen in an effective way and can allow workers to distribute their ‘risks’ among several people. He promotes the idea of cooperatives as a solution to our current predicament. This way, a seemingly big problem becomes smaller through sharing. Thus, cooperation needs not only to be encouraged but also fairly valued financially and socially. Design wise we can discuss whether the co-opted skills are those of the contemporary creator or if creators engaged in collective structures have adapted to the new conditions of capitalism.

All three, Alina Lupu, the CWU, and Geert Lovink, are proposing a new form of institution created by the ones suffering the most under the current models of work. This can make a shift from the drive for individual self-realization through work and towards more collective values that can uplift the currently precarious and atomized class.

I end this text not with a definitive conclusion, but with the prospect for a greater conversation on the art and design creator’s relation to work and to making their labor visible. What has become clear to me, and I hope to certain extend to the reader, is that art and design-making and work in the socio-economical context, are evolving simultaneously to an appearance in which we present our contemporary art and design practice.


I want to thank everyone involved in my research including Institute of Network Cultures, the CWU for their ambition and effort to combine their forces to answer my complex questions, and, naturally, Alina Lupu for being the steadfast and inspiring source which never forgot to feed me with sharp and on point answers and well-selected references and Instagram posts.

by Malin Dittmann

A Theory of Digital Hygiene

…Cleanliness is godliness
And God is empty just like me.
Zero by The Smashing Pumpkins (1996)

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, our interaction with the digital has increased to never-before-seen heights. Along with it identity theft, hacks, the ‘misinfodemic’, data breaches, phishing, and other cyber risks all skyrocketed as result. Thus, improved or increased cybersecurity has become a necessity for all actors upon the digital networks. The tendency is to look to cybersecurity companies, studies, or governmental branches on (cyber) defense for these directives, whose deployment of military metaphors grant themselves a certain authority. However, another approach has emerged simultaneously within the field, one that leans towards principles of education and discipline. This approach has come to be known as ‘digital hygiene’. The rise of ‘digital hygiene’ to increase, secure, and sanitize cyberspace corresponds with the ubiquity of the internet, its political-economic influence, and socio-cultural pervasiveness within everyday life.

Digital hygiene encourages individuals to perform routine-based digital practices in order to minimize cyber risks. In contrast to cyber security’s use of military or war-like metaphors, the narrative of digital hygiene returns to illness as metaphor, as introduced by Susan Sontag in a 1977 lecture, which provided the basis for her famous short book Illness as Metaphor (1978).

The use of metaphors to explain and guide concepts, in both everyday vernacular and authoritative rhetorics, has the tendency to instill morality that carries a disciplinary power. Back in 2014, the Institute of Network Culture’s (INC) Theory On Demand publication already provided insight into how we can consider ‘digital hygiene’ as a metaphor. In a text titled Transcoding the Digital, the late Marianne van den Boomen unravels ‘digital praxis’, a coherent set of everyday practices that involve the manipulation, modification, and construction of digital-symbolical objects that “somehow matter socially”.

The relationship between the praxis and the objects is metaphorical. This theorizing of ‘digital hygiene’ borrows from Van den Boomen’s conceptual framework to unravel how the disciplinary praxis of ‘good’ digital citizenship and the relationship to its digital-symbolic objects through the metaphor of hygiene (and its history) is constructed in the first place. How does digital hygiene come into play in the cybersecurity discourse? Who is advocating for it? What is ‘good hygiene citizenship’ and how does ‘digital hygiene’ claim to provide it? This essentially outlines the current situation and provides insights into where ‘digital hygiene’ might be heading.

Prevention Over Defence

The digital has always been seen as a space where ‘battles’ are fought, albeit through viruses, heated debates, combats between hackers and the hegemony (think Mr. Robot), or other forms of cyber-attacks. The growth of the internet has been, and is, paralleled by the growth of cybersecurity. On one hand, the neoliberal foundation of the web paved the way for Silicon Valley’s capitalist tech ventures we see dominating the online platform economy and contemporary capitalism at large today. On the other hand, it created a landscape where information flows without restriction, and this circulation of information—including freedom of speech—is considered of utmost importance to be maintained at all cost.

These are two sides of the same coin, but while the former required protection for political-economic ends, it is the latter, the more socio-cultural, which now seems to be running wild without restraint. It’s visible in the battle against piracy, the way platforms are currently (attempting to) combat fake news or harmful information through content moderation, and the oft used securing of terms within cybersecurity discourse that are military metaphors. Whether they are referring to the non-human technology or the humans behind cybersecurity, militant metaphors act as the authoritative agent between the cyber risks, the network, its users, and other stakeholders. While this form of agency carries a responsibility, it also generates dependency which centers power around these actors in cybersecurity.

Figure 1: Transcoding existing practices.

Military Metaphors Meet Medical Metaphors

These militant metaphors parallel the metaphorical world of medicine where cancer is battled, diseases are neutralized, infections infiltrate, and illness is defeated, or doctors fought until the bitter end. Wordings like this illustrate the ‘medicine is war’ metaphor whilst utilizing Sontag’s insights on illness as metaphor. In the aforementioned text, Sontag describes how military metaphors are abundant in discourses of plagues and how we respond to it through hygiene:

“[M]etaphors of illness are malign in a double way: they cast opprobrium on sick people and they hinder the rational and scientific apprehension that is needed to contain disease and provide care for people. To treat illness as a metaphor is to avoid or delay or even thwart the treatment of literal illness.”

The opprobrium cast upon sick people can act as a form of discipline. Metaphor also can obscure the nature of an illness. This act of applying existing concepts to the digital realm through metaphor is what van den Boomen calls transcoding. The familiarity of practicing good bodily hygiene makes it easier to understand similar practices in the frame of sanitizing digital environments of disease or viruses. The metaphor of ‘digital hygiene’ broadens the target audience and allows for more participants to enter the field. Routine practices ought not to be too technical since the more users there are practicing ‘good digital hygiene’, the better both personal and collective digital security will be. What follows is a list of actors and advocates who are attempting to educate user-consumers via utilization of the good-bad conflict:

Words such as safe, good, healthy, responsible, and respectful recur in their pursuit to moralize digital hygiene. The suggested practices include regularly updating passwords, actively limiting one’s digital and social footprints, managing your mailbox, downloading software from legitimate sources, encrypting backups, and so on. Some encourage the use of technology such as 2FA, password managers, and firewalls.

Figure 2: 12 digital hygiene commandments by

Digital-Symbolic Objects

The use of software represents the materialization of the digital-symbolic objects and matter socially in the sense that they signify cleanliness or sterility. Other digital-symbolic objects such as VPNs also increase one’s cyber defense and provide personal control through privacy and anonymity, however, their prominence in suggestions is limited since the use of VPNs potentially circumvents personalized ads, thus opposing platform-economy logics. Normalizing practices, such as the ‘12 Commandments’ in Figure 2, discipline users to be(come) good digital citizens through an implicit message that it is their duty to keep digital spaces clean.

Good hygiene is made synonymous with good digital citizenship and thus not partaking in the practice becomes labeled as inherently ‘bad’. However, it requires a certain digital competence or accessibility to make use of these transcoded metaphors. This means that illiterate demographics, the elderly for instance—who already are frequent targets of personal hacks—or those whose budget does not allow for the use of smartphones, desktop computers, personal laptops, or access to these forms of information, are all excluded. Discriminating notions of classism lie behind the moralized and moralizing language.

Traditional actors of the field, like the gatekeeping cybersecurity companies, are also adapting to this new narrative. Not by modifying their products, but rather by introducing the same moralizing language in their content marketing through blogs.

Through content such as the above, stalwarts of the cyber-safety industry have found creative ways to acknowledge the self-preserving acts of digital hygiene whilst their products implicitly tell their users that there is a socio-technical problem they have a responsibility towards but can’t fix on their own. Again, it is the consumer’s duty to undo the internet’s fundamental flaws and become a good digital citizen by investing in cybersecurity products: Consumerism is the available antiseptic towards attaining digital purity.

Just as philosopher Slavoj Žižek observed that Starbucks coffee ‘creates moral consumers’ by including an informal tax to aid some towns in a third world country somewhere, moral consumerism is also present in the commodification of digital hygiene through the subjectivization of good digital citizens. The use of purchased software symbolizes good digital citizenship. Similar to Mark Fisher’s comments on how the solution to treating mental health as a natural individualized pathology is sold back to the individual in a capitalist society, so, too, is the solution to the problem of digital hygiene. Atomised, and sold back to us, by cybersecurity software companies in the most surveillance-capitalist-way possible where user transparency is traded for increased privatized surveillance.

Beyond the Software

The commodification of the digital hygiene metaphor can also be found beyond cybersecurity software. Think about digital detoxes, another prime example of Fisher’s observation. Those who can afford it (another classism alert) take a break to purify themselves of the illnesses that come along with being online all the time: addiction, FOMO, stress, depression, instant gratification, and so on. Others who can’t afford to be offline just have to deal with this, I guess…

In contrast to the authoritative narrative of cybersecurity, the disciplinary power of hygiene metaphors can become malleable to fit other digital fields where it moralizes online users. For instance,

This form of power creates a certain type of individual. One producing new habits, movements, and skills by utilising and employing rules, surveillance, exams, and control.

These examples illustrate the spread of ‘digital hygiene’ as metaphor’s moralizing language, as well as how it is used without much regard towards its politics—Bergmann’s article is an exception—and its disciplinary nature. These metaphor’s use is little contested as various terminologies are used to signify good digital citizenship: digital literacy, media literacy, digital competence, digital detox, digital declutter, digital proficiency, digital hygiene, data hygiene or cyber hygiene, to provide a shortlist. While this essay focuses on hygiene, all metaphors generate a good-bad dichotomy that carries an embedded disciplinary power within them. This form of power creates a certain type of individual. One producing new habits, movements, and skills by utilizing and employing rules, surveillance, exams, and control. The aim is prevention, through moral education of digital hygiene, rather than protection.

Instead of serving as an authoritative intermediary, this discourse places its emphasis on the user and conceptualizes the problem as a personal responsibility to become a ‘good digital citizen’. By introducing a more soft-spoken, moralistic language, the effort becomes about minimizing cyber risks through the advocacy of self-preservation. Semantics such as ‘literacy’, ‘hygiene’, ‘good citizenship’, ‘commandments’, ‘abilities’, ‘skills’, ‘awareness’ and ‘practice’ all indicate the shift from the traditional authoritative military metaphor to the disciplinary narrative that also invites an education system into the realm of cybersecurity and the subjectivization of digital citizens. ‘Practicing good hygiene’ implies cleanliness, not only of your environment but also of one’s self. Cleanliness doesn’t start with washing your hands, but rather by knowing why and how to wash your hands. The education is here to help with that by singling out the individual. These notions of self-preservation and moralization coincide with a specific kind of ideology, with a political history.

I am the Hydra-headed beast
I am the worm you can never delete
I am the dangers that never sleeps
I am the virus
I am the virus
I am the Virus by Killing Joke (2015)

Washing the Hands of Hygiene

The ideology of wellness essentially presents its subject with a feeling of being fundamentally flawed and provides a solution that advocates the user to take matters into their own hands and to purify themselves. To not dwell further on the demoralized path of dirtiness, one needs to take certain measures, begin certain practices, and buy certain products. Since neoliberal capitalism sees personal responsibility as an important political and economic creed, it concurs with the ideology of wellness’s emphasis on the self. As seen earlier, the ideology of wellness is fundamental to the good-bad dichotomy of the moral consumerism advocated by cybersecurity companies.

Bergmann finds this ideology through the moralizing language in metabolic metaphors in digital data hygiene, but they are constitutional to hygiene as metaphor and the overarching illness as metaphor. She argues that the usage of disenchanting and shaming [language] is effectively counterproductive and hides the true problem: an industry built on neoliberal digital utopianism, surveillance, and data extraction—illustrating what Sontag prophetically observed in the late 70s: metaphors of illness tend to obscure the nature of the illness. Cybersecurity companies, institutions, and big tech, present digital hygiene as a self-preserving solution, but overlook their own role in, and contribution to, the problem. Similarities can be found with the impending ecological crisis, where polluting companies tend to discipline individuals to take responsibility, separate waste, recycle, upcycle, and be mindful about water and meat consumption, in order to minimize their contribution to climate change.

Social Projects Remain Social Projects

Tracing hygiene’s etymology illustrates the political history and relation to social reform and discipline. Rapid urbanization during the Progressive era ushered in the social hygiene (and purity) movement during the 19th century, which aimed to oust social immorality such as prostitution and the spread of STIs, subsequently bringing along gender inequality, racial marginalization, and hints of eugenics. Science and media techniques were utilized to advocate for self-discipline in order to put emphasis on the individual’s responsibility towards the public health problem. The movement itself later made its way into the education system. This is where institutionalization enters, and the initial relation between hygiene and literacy can be located. Standardization through the education system and social reform disciplined individuals to maintain cleanliness and stray from dirty immoral behavior. Along with public health officials, these regulatory apparatuses aimed to sterilize the spaces ‘diseased’ by urbanization—as a result neutralizing marginalized groups through civic standardization.

The use of hygiene as a metaphor extracted from illness as metaphor thus borrows and extrapolates from this disciplinary history of exclusion and moralization as well. The comparisons should not be hard to notice. Firstly, urbanization as the cause for the movement can be paralleled to digital urbanization: The shift from the early blogosphere and web 1.0 towards web 2.0 and the contemporary platformed internet. Today, we are taught that an innumerable amount of people use platforms without universal hygiene protocols. The subsequent increase in cyber risks ask for standardization through methods beyond cybersecurity: the current advocation and colloquially appropriate phrasing is made explicit on’s homepage:

Digitalization or deployment of various digital solutions has become critical in our daily business and private lives. Our world has never been more technology-centric. Especially this year as more and more brick-and-mortar businesses and solutions have moved online. And the sheer volume of transactions taking place online is staggering. This digital acceleration hasn’t been without its risks.

Parallels between the social hygiene movement can also be found also in terms of the moral panics that come as a result of urbanization. Societal ills during the Progressive era required regulation, both by the public and institutions. Today we see something similar with the spread of misinformation, conspiracy culture, rising ethnonationalism, and polarisation, all taking place online. These immoral digital activities take place more on the fringes of the net where radical thought finds a safe haven, piracy takes place, and illegal goods can be marketed. Sanitisation, thus, is not confined to the urbanized platforms. A new infrastructure is currently being implemented, a digital sewage system to sanitize the streets of the platform economy whilst simultaneously neutralizing the polluted cesspool where immoral digital activity such as hacking, conspiracism, trolling, piracy, and radicalization, takes place (what about the dark web though?). The people who inhabit these contaminated spaces are sanitized and their acts are labeled poisonous through the use of moralizing language, disciplining digital users that such immoral acts belong in the gutter.

Naturally, digital urbanization also brings along digital gentrification. Similar to the social hygiene movement, digital hygiene is (on the cusp of being) institutionalized, but also melts into PR marketing tactics by neoliberal capitalism. It is a double-edged sword where standardization will make for control, also bringing along increased surveillance and traditional notions of exclusion.

“But industrial civilization is only possible when there’s no self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning.”
– A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

Together we Clean, Divided we Soil

Digital hygiene follows as a magnified version of Sontag’s illness as metaphor and discipline through moralizing language. While it is still in full development, perhaps arguably in its early-adopter stage, one can already see its pervasiveness. The adjacency of military and illness metaphors makes it easier to adopt and transcode digital hygiene into something that is understood by many and required for digital urbanization’s population increase. We could expect a more pronounced version in the near future, increasingly incorporated into formal education and endorsed by governments.

Following the political history and relationship between military metaphors in discourses of plague, it would seem that ‘hygiene’ suits the climate of cybersecurity better than ‘literacy’. Not only because illness as metaphor holds virality during the global pandemic, since it is used almost ubiquitously in the news about COVID-19, but also because the internet and cybersecurity are already littered with illness metaphors—memes go viral, computer viruses, the spread of misinformation, infected computers, 4chan as a cancerous cesspool of racism.

Just as Sontag foretold, through the individualizing hygiene metaphor and its accompanying software objects we’re encouraged to use, the true nature of the illness that is cyber risk is obscured. Platform capitalism shifts its responsibility onto us. Therefore, I propose a critical definition of digital hygiene as follows:

A socio-technical reform that disciplines digital user-consumers towards moral purity through routinely-based self-regulation and surveillance.

It is not us, the individual, who are the patients, but rather the networks serving capitalism. In this discourse, we’re carrying and spreading the disease of immoral digital activity and need to be neutralized—similar to the imposed disciplines of mask mandates, curfews, and other dreadful things we’ve encountered the past year. These measures carry an urgency to them, especially during rapid-changing times, whether that be the pandemic or an increasingly populated and congested digital space.

Figure 3: What we learn is what we know (source: Existential Comics).

It is not that discipline itself is inherently bad. With increased data breaches, hacks, phishing, and viruses that problematize internet usage, both individuals and the capitalist structures rely on it. However, this critical analysis and theorizing of digital hygiene illuminate the underlying disciplinary powers that accompany the digital hygiene discourse and construct individuals, modifying their behaviors and habits accordingly to serve the structures dependent on ‘good digital citizenship’. The advocates of digital hygiene, an assemblage of hegemonic platform capitalists, neoliberalism, and ‘traditional’ state apparatuses, educate users of these practices under the name of ‘Skills for the 21st  Century’ while simultaneously constructing a digital sewage infrastructure. We are continually reminded why it is there, what septic waste flows through it, and that a good digital citizen does not act like a pig and never dares to wallow in such dirt.

Special thanks to fellow INC colleague Jess Henderson for their help with this article.

by Maurice Dharampal

May 11, 2021

Institute of Network Cultures

The Digitarian Society @ Tetem op 25 mei

In de driedelige serie The Digitarian Society onderzoekt Tetem samen met mediakunstenaar Roos Groothuizen en gasten van het Institute of Network Cultures, Waag en PublicSpaces wat er nodig is om verder te komen in onze zoektocht naar een veiliger internet.

De bewustwording over internet dilemma’s in relatie tot online verslaving, privacy en verantwoordelijkheid groeit; niet alleen onder organisaties, in de media en bij de overheid, maar ook onder het ‘grote publiek’. We hebben allemaal wel eens gedacht om alternatieve apps, videoplatforms en social media te verkennen, maar we doen het niet massaal. Wat houdt ons tegen?

In de driedelige serie The Digitarian Society onderzoekt Tetem samen met mediakunstenaar Roos Groothuizen en gasten van het Institute of Network Cultures, Waag en PublicSpaces wat er nodig is om verder te komen in onze zoektocht naar een veiliger internet. We gaan op zoek naar concrete acties. Wat kun je als individu doen? Welke rol hebben publieke instellingen hierin? Hoe krijg je je publiek mee om een switch naar veiliger platforms te maken? En hoe kun je met deze acties andere mensen inspireren om een volgende stap te zetten?

Deze serie events gaat verder in op de dilemma’s van de escape room tentoonstelling ‘I want to delete it all, but not now’ die Roos Groothuizen voor Tetem heeft ontwikkeld. Daarin komt de vraag naar voren wat ons tegenhoudt om te stoppen met diensten van bijvoorbeeld Facebook en Google. Hoe worden we een digitariër, iemand die geen producten of diensten gebruikt van bedrijven die hun geld verdienen met het verkopen van persoonlijke data? Of is het mogelijk die moeilijke stap te verzachten door een flexidigitariër te worden, waar je zoveel mogelijke bewuste keuzes probeert te maken, maar nog geen afscheid wilt of kunt nemen van bijvoorbeeld Whatsapp? Het idee is dat we met kleine stappen onszelf en andere mensen en organisaties aansporen om bewuster te worden ten aanzien van de apps die we gebruiken en samen de stap naar een veiliger internet zetten. De drie events vinden plaats op verschillende platforms waarmee we als flexidigitariërs gaan experimenteren.

The Digitarian Society #1
Dinsdag 25 mei van 19.00-20.00
Met Roos Groothuizen,  Geert Lovink (mediatheoreticus, internetcriticus en oprichter van het Institute of Network Cultures) en Chloë Arkenbout (onderzoeker en editor bij Institute of Network Cultures)

De titel van de tentoonstelling ‘I want to delete it all, but now now’ van Roos Groothuizen komt uit het boek ‘Sad by Design’ door Geert Lovink. Het boek biedt een kritische analyse van de groeiende controverses op sociale media zoals nepnieuws, giftige virale memes en online verslaving. Tegelijkertijd roept Geert Lovink op tot het omhelzen van de digitale intimiteit van sociale media, berichtenverkeer en selfies, in de hoop dat verveling de eerste fase is van het overwinnen van ‘platformnihilisme’. Om daarna de afbraak van – verslaving aan – sociale media in te zetten.

Tijdens The Digitarian Society #1 ontdekken we wie de mensen achter het Institute of Network Cultures zijn en wat er bij hen persoonlijk is veranderd na het publiceren van het boek ‘Sad by Design’. Roos gaat met Geert Lovink in gesprek over de schaduwzijde van online platforms, menselijke verlangens die ons tegenhouden en hoe je als individu de theorie in praktijk kunt brengen. In een gesprek met Chloë Arkenbout wordt ingezoomd op Chloë’s onderzoek naar de macht van memes, media ethiek, morele verantwoordelijkheid, (digitaal) activisme, call out culture en de manieren waarop zij als nieuwe generatie onderzoekers met social media omgaat.

Doen, durven of je data?
Het publiek krijgt de kans om ‘Doen, durven of je data?’ binnen het thema van The Digitarian Society in te sturen. Uit de inzendingen wordt een selectie gemaakt die we gaan voorleggen aan de sprekers. Stuur jouw ‘Doen, durven of je data’ van max. 25 woorden uiterlijk 19 mei naar De sprekers krijgen een keuze tussen ‘Doen/Durven’ (een opdracht uitvoeren) of ‘Data’ (de waarheid over je digitale leven vertellen).

Voorbeeld van Doen/Durven (een opdracht uitvoeren):
• Stuur je moeder een appje dat je vanaf nu niet meer via Whatsapp wil communiceren
• Raad van een andere tafelgast welke social media zij het meest gebruiken

Voorbeeld van Data (de waarheid over je digitale leven vertellen):
• Wat is je grootste afknapper bij een platform?
• Heb je praktische maatregelen genomen om je social media gebruik te verminderen? Zo ja, wat?

Informatie over de events i.s.m. Waag (juni) en PublicSpaces (juli) wordt binnenkort bekend gemaakt.

Praktische informatie
Datum: Dinsdag 25 mei van 19.00-20.00

Prijs: Gratis

Sprekers: Roos Groothuizen, Geert Lovink (mediatheoreticus, internetcriticus en oprichter van het Institute of Network Cultures) en Chloë Arkenbout (onderzoeker en editor bij Institute of Network Cultures)

Online platform: ohyay

Inschrijven: Schrijf je in via de rode knop op deze website. Je ontvangt een paar dagen ervoor de link naar onze kamer op ohyay.

Voertaal: Nederlands

by Chloë Arkenbout

Classic Programmer Paintings

Alphabet cancels LoonZdzislaw Beksinski, 1979, oil on masonite

Alphabet cancels Loon

Zdzislaw Beksinski, 1979, oil on masonite

May 08, 2021 we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of May, 2021.

Piano teacher gets copyright claim for Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata [video]
May 01, 2021 (comments)
An Internet gets crushed in the cogs of Google's attention juicer. Hackernews is beginning to accept that Google is the enemy of all mankind, but panics at the thought of attempting to use networked software from any other source. Later, the original video creator sees the decision reversed and declares victory over Google, thus fixing the problem for all time.

Hosting SQLite databases on GitHub Pages or any static file hoster
May 02, 2021 (comments)
A webshit absolutely refuses to do anything correctly. Hackernews is enthusiastic about the ingenuity required to do things the hardest possible way, and as a result you can look forward to your health insurance claims process relying on technology based on this article, starting between twelve and eighteen months from now.

Back in 1993, I was taking a number theory class
May 03, 2021 (comments)
An Internet reminisces about when computers were designed to be useful to the person sitting in front of them. Hackernews remembers old computers, too, and lists them all. Coincidentally, that era was also the last time Hackernews recalls doing anything productive for anyone, and so we are treated to several stories about Hackernews being the smartest person in the room, especially if that room happens to be someone else's datacenter.

Instagram ads Facebook won't show you
May 04, 2021 (comments)
Signal (business model: Uber for Cryptocurrency Scams) flaunts a series of advertisements which Faceook has declined to carry. Hackernews figures out pretty quickly that the ads are being blocked not because of any content, but because Signal didn't pay its advertising bill, so everyone wearily lines up according to allegiance and repeats the last sixteen internet arguments about chat programs.

LiveLeak shuts down after 15 years online
May 05, 2021 (comments)
A titan has fallen. Hackernews mourns the window into other people's lives which is now closed to us, forever.

Crazy New Ideas
May 06, 2021 (comments)
Increasingly belligerent walking participation ribbon Paul Graham shit-talks critics, subtextually in response to getting pilloried on Twitter for declaring a web browser streaming service to be The Future. Hackernews is no longer quite as unanimous in their support for Uncle Paul's Opinion Edicts, but that subject is too taboo, so we're treated to heated proxy wars on the matter. Each Hackernews selects a strained analogy to Paul Graham's article, then bikesheds the shit out of it, only returning to the source article after combat dies down.

Amazon Fake Reviews Scam Exposed in Data Breach
May 07, 2021 (comments)
Amazon continues the war against its own users. Hackernews wishes someone would do something about all the lies, and an escaped Amazon arrives in the comment section to explain why Amazon hasn't addressed the plague of fraudulent reviews: it's too hard. Hackernews then erupts into a debate over the reason it's too hard: is Amazon too poor to finance a proper content moderation team, or is it more ethically consistent to just ignore any problem that doesn't personally affect Jeff Bezos?


May 07, 2021

Institute of Network Cultures

Self-Surveillance, Step by Step: Tracking My COVID Walks

“A journey implies a destination, so many miles to be consumed, while a walk is its own measure, complete at every point along the way.” – Francis Alÿs

Most of us are used to knowing that our devices track how we interact with them and monitor what we do when they are around. But the Health app, built-in on iPhones, has been causing me a lot of grief lately. What started as an innocent interest in the number of steps I take has grown into an issue. Is tracking steps a helpful tool for becoming more active? Or is it more damaging than helpful in this context, that is, is it easier to associate the level of physical activity with productivity and, by extension, self-worth? I propose to explore the differences between pre-pandemic walks and what I’ve been calling corona walks/COVID walks.

A weekly report on the Health app.

Before the pandemic, I knew that my phone had an app installed that tracked my steps. I would look at it occasionally out of curiosity but did not feel compelled to check it often. Then, the pandemic began, and suddenly almost all options for spending time outside seemed dangerous. My relationship with walking started to shift. Going on walks became a promise for a better mood and a better day. The alternative was dire, sitting in a studio apartment, breathing stagnant air, unmoving and worrying about the future. I would walk to take my mind off things and to have at least some variety in an otherwise homogenous routine.

Soon, I found myself performing for my phone. I would check it during walks to see what mark I was hitting. Am I over 5,000 steps, or still around 3,000? When the weather was bad, I would sometimes pace back and forth at home, phone in hand, watching as it registered each step. As an avid social media user, I had found another way to gain instant gratification. I watched the numbers go up and felt better about myself. Until I felt like I’ve performed enough. Then I would leave the app alone, until the next day. Rinse and repeat. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Artist Stanley Brouwn’s manual step-tracker app. “A Distance of 336 Steps” (1971).

My granddad, a now-retired but still academically active professor, loves to walk. Like many, he believes that walking clears his head and helps him come up with good ideas. I grew up believing that going on walks can solve a lot of things. Above all, it offers a new perspective, getting rid of stagnant energy and providing needed stimuli.

I appreciate the physical and psychological benefits of walking. But being an able-bodied person without a driver’s license or a car means that walking is also my most reliable form of transportation, especially when using public transport is not advised (but, of course, sometimes necessary). So, I find it hard to separate a utility walk from a leisurely walk. I walk fast because I am used to walking to get somewhere, do something. Living in the Netherlands changed this a bit, as now I rely on my bike to run errands. But the habit of walking “with purpose” persists. Even now, over a year into my corona walks, it seems I cannot slow down.

Asking around

I asked on my Instagram story if my friends and acquaintances cared how many steps they were taking and if they used an app to measure their physical activity. Forty people responded, most of them reporting that step counts did not matter that much. But the split was almost even between those who used health apps and those who did not. (See below.) This suggests that some people have health apps, either built-in or downloaded willingly, but they do not check up on them daily, or tracked activities other than walking.


I wanted to know more about other people’s experiences over the last year, so I asked a few close friends about their changing relationship to walking. James said that before the pandemic, he did not go on leisure walks as his job required him to stay on his feet all day. But nowadays, he says, “I always feel better after a walk, even if there were too many people or my feet hurt.” He elaborates: “I had my first proper cry on a walk in about three years. I’ve never felt claustrophobic in my flat but there’s something about how big the outside is that it just felt right, to fill the space.” I love this perspective. It makes me think that going on walks nowadays is a more embodied way to experience something outside of ourselves, something more tangible and fulfilling than observing an endless stream of information online.

According to John Wylie, landscapes represent the “creative tension of self and world.”[1] So, experiencing a changing landscape can be a way to reconcile something within ourselves, exploring these tensions. Corona walks are also about control. Living through a pandemic is an extreme exercise in letting go, accepting there are some events and consequences we cannot influence or neutralise. So, we go outside to be somewhat in charge of our surroundings. The views change as we walk, serving as a reminder that time continues to pass outside of our homes, outside of ourselves. Still, a level of unpredictability prevails, even on a calm walk.

Walking around Leiden last summer.

Frédéric Gros is a philosopher of walking. In an old Guardian interview, he said: “You can be replaced at your work, but not on your walk. Living, in the deepest sense, is something that no one else can do for us.”[2] Do we walk to prove to ourselves we are alive, living, and moving through time? It makes sense to me. Walking grounds me, connects me with my body, and helps me relate to other walking, thinking bodies who walked before me.

Walking is also a manifestation of slowness. It is a refusal to optimise, streamline, be efficient and generate profit. Walking requires your attention, and (usually) gets you away from your working self. It asks you to slow down and take stock. This is why I see it as a challenge. My habits speed up my walking pace as my mind starts to wander towards work plans, ideas, anxieties. This inability to take a break is a product of late-stage capitalism. Even when I try to think about something else, it creeps back in, beckoning me to do more, quicker, better, promising I will feel more useful if I increase my productivity. But I do not want to give in. So why am I still compelled to know how far I’ve walked?

Today’s everyday technology allows us to measure everything, monitor performance. Media outlets advise us how to be on our A-game, and how to cut out whatever is unnecessary. But who gets to decide what is and isn’t urgent, needed? Why should I feel compelled to shove my phone under my pillow each night to let it track the quality of my sleep? To go on walks with my phone in hand, feeding it a stream of information about my whereabouts? I do not see how I can benefit from these forms of self-surveillance. Sometimes I wish we could go back to a time when phones allowed for communication and not much else. But we cannot go back. We have to face the privacy threats that come with our wearable personal technologies.

Nostalgic about everyday technology. Artist Maya Man’s page

There must be a middle ground. Perhaps it is time I disable “Fitness Tracking” on my phone altogether and move however and whenever I want. I do not want to perform for my phone anymore. I want to peel away from it and enjoy time apart.

Looking inwards

Independent, aimless walking allows us to step into ourselves and think about how we relate to the wider world; the actual world, out there, continuing to change even if we are not walking through it and witnessing it. Gros talks about how walking helps to go into autopilot mode, during which we synchronise with our bodies and glide for hours at a time (if your health allows it). This perspective makes walking sound like a primordial, almost ritualistic activity. Why not? Magic has been syphoned out of Western everyday life. Walking can be a vessel for restoring some of that meaning into our routines A refusal to hurry and perform labour makes space for meaningful connections with ourselves and our surroundings.

In the Nintendo Switch game “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” you have the choice of travelling around Hyrule on foot or a horse. Sure, the horse can take me around faster, but I quickly find myself missing the slower pace of walking in-game, and how much easier it is to notice the details I would have otherwise missed.

Exploring the landscapes in “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” on Nintendo Switch.

When I talked to my friend Max about corona walking, he said: “I kind of like having my phone tracking steps, but maybe that just comes from growing up playing video games. I like to know the stats from time to time.” I get that, and it is hard to remove ourselves from measuring our performance. Maybe I am making it sound all too serious. If walking can be a ritual, I don’t see why it can’t also be a game. If we treat our data with some distance, we refuse to be controlled by it. Gamifying everyday tasks can be another way to restore some of the joy and spontaneity we’d lost through excessive planning and obsessive control over our performance.

Maybe we are in a contemporary digital panopticon, willingly giving ourselves over to constant surveillance in exchange for surface-level interactions? Foucault says that a participant in a panopticon structure “is seen, but he does not see; he is an object of information, never a subject in communication.”[3] Our phones were meant to be communication devices, but they act more like data extraction devices. We are given a degree of seeing and engaging, but the price we pay is high – boredom, dissatisfaction, inaction, radicalisation.

I am unsure how to find a way out of this mess. In fact, I might have internalised the panopticon, watching myself from the watchtower as I sit in the cell, pacing and watching the numbers go up. But it can change. I can refuse to participate in the spectacle of constantly measuring myself and my self-worth based on faulty interpretations of productivity. I am growing less interested in my performance, my stats. Doesn’t that take away some of its power?

I have been in locked-down Amsterdam longer than pre-corona Amsterdam. It is sad, but it’s also something I cannot change. So, I go on walks. I see new sights as I glide around town, growing more familiar with these spaces. Sometimes, I catch myself worrying about my stats. Other times, I allow myself to just be, and for that to be enough. Change isn’t linear, but by consistently questioning and readjusting our positioning to digital power structures, we might begin to take back some of the power that self-surveillance holds.


[1] John Wylie, “Landscape and Phenomenology” in Routledge Guide to Landscapes; p. 62

[2] The Guardian, [Accessed 28 April]

[3]  Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, p. 200

by Agnieszka Wodzińska

May 04, 2021

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 5x29 - Il Garante non sta a guardare

Con la questione della Certificazione Verde, il Governo dimostra ancora una volta di non capire i dati personali. E si fa sbertucciare dal Garante.

by Walter Vannini

May 01, 2021 we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of April, 2021.

Tiny Container Challenge: Building a 6kB Containerized HTTP Server
April 21, 2021 (comments)
A webshit figures out the most complicated possible method of running a single process. Hackernews spends a lot of time running operating systems in their operating systems, so they have plenty of tips on how to throw away 90% of the bytes they downloaded in the process. A few Hackernews focus on the process-isolation features of containers rather than the ridiculous construction mechanisms involved, while other Hackernews wonder why you might not want a program's memory use to grow in an unbounded manner.

Why Lichess will always be free
April 22, 2021 (comments)
Some Internets run a website as a hobby. Hackernews is enthusiastic about the idea, but doubts it can be replicated. One Hackernews notes the refreshing change of pace from the typical wealthy-techbro point of view, and the "Hacker" "News" Hall Monitor shows up to insist that Hackernews are generally the salt-of-the-earth randos. We're told to just trust everyone with an account, and the Hall Monitor reflects "How can we function as a community" otherwise, failing to note the established answers: banning dissidents, spiking political stories, steadfastly refusing to espouse any ethical structure except "don't call people mean names," and other fundamental tenets of healthy community-building.

The most effective malaria vaccine yet discovered
April 23, 2021 (comments)
Some scientists make progress toward controlling an awful disease. Hackernews dusts off recently printed virology diplomas from the University of Youtube, and tries to reckon whether malaria is worse or better than COVID-19; after all, millions of people die every year of malaria, but on the other hand, they are far away.

Dan Kaminsky has died
April 24, 2021 (comments)
A person passes away. Hackernews remembers other times.

Feynman: I am burned out and I'll never accomplish anything (1985)
April 25, 2021 (comments)
We are treated to career advice on how to avoid burnout: just be a genius with a stable income and plenty of free time to pursue your interests. Hackernews are all geniuses, so they set about tackling the other two conditions. An early theory to achieve them ("be old") is bandied about but lost in the subsequent bickering about continuous deployment tools. Later theories are left unconsidered while Hackernews tries to convince themselves they can do math.

My Current HTML Boilerplate
April 26, 2021 (comments)
A webshit shits web, and then lectures us about it for a while. Hackernews is always interested in a new way to fuck users over with javascript feature gating, but the real fun comes when each Hackernews selects one line of HTML to target for ultra-pedantry, and then holds forth about whatever the hell it does. In one such lecture, we're cautioned that failure to set a proper lang= attribute on the html tag can cause problems; this has not been the experience of the Webshit Weekly editorial board.

Google have declared Droidscript is malware
April 27, 2021 (comments)
Some Internets got kicked out of Google's shopping mall, and post an angry blog entry about it on Google Groups. Lots of bold text is involved, but none of it has motivated me to find out what the hell DroidScript is, why it got the boot, or who cares whether it gets back in. Hackernews is mad at the phrasing of one of the emails Google sent to the excommunicated nerds. Other Hackernews are outraged to discover that Google is willing to stop doing business with people Google suspects of fraud.

Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut, has died
April 28, 2021 (comments)
The world loses another astronaut. Hackernews leafs through some records and remembers.

April 29, 2021 (comments)
An Internet keeps in touch. Hackernews wants a switchboard-based contacts list available immediately. Most of the rest of the comments are pedantic whining about which specific decade switchboards belong to, recommendations for 'similar' products that are completely unrelated to the product in the article, or complaints about iPhones.

Internal Combustion Engine
April 30, 2021 (comments)
A webshit continues a brutal and relentless spree of javascript animations. Hackernews wonders whether they've earned the title "engineer" but decide it's fine as long as your five-line webscraping shit earns you credit for the programming language you wrote it in, the networking libraries you invoked, and the hardware architecture that executes the resulting instructions. Having glanced at some of the illustrations in the linked article, Hackernews spends the afternoon incorrecting each other about the rest of the automobile.


April 27, 2021

Institute of Network Cultures

Copy before you transfer. Digital archiving strategies with nGbK Berlin

Collectivity, copying, care. Sharing knowledge is key; no one should be irreplaceable. Copy before you transfer. Care about your content and be transparent about your biases, as archiving is never truly objective.

Last Friday, the first event in the Networks of Care series initiated by nGbK Berlin took place. Artist Cornelia Sollfrank introduced Old Boys Network (OBN), a cyberfeminist alliance from the late 1990s in need of archiving and preserving today. Guests revealed their archiving experiences, strategies, and pitfalls they encountered while building archives of different types, ranging from initiatives started by national institutions to self-organised independent projects. 

Going into this, I wanted to develop a better understanding the challenges of digital archiving. Now I appreciate the importance of the commons and care in the context of these cultural practices. I will share the most insightful points from the event, and reflect on the significance of informed and honest archive-making.

Sollfrank explained that OBN was hard to define and pin down. It aimed to facilitate discussions about cyberfeminism through research, experimentation and direct action. She noted the challenges of documenting a shapeshifting organisation; sometimes a network, sometimes a group, or a collective with an aesthetic dimension.

OBN home page (click on image to visit).

The talks

Curator Mela Dávial-Freire reflected on the difficulties Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid had archiving materials that belonged to local LGBTQ+ activist groups from the 1990s. Posters, banners, and photographs of demonstrations exposed different archiving issues. Some materials were kept in multiple spaces, their authors/makers were often unknown, and emotional involvement complicated acquiring and circulating the content. Dávial-Freire noted that the project unbalanced the musem’s collection, which gathered millions of documents to date. This was a good thing, as it made the institution reconsider its archiving strategies.

Art scholar Michael Hiltbrunner explained his practical approach to archive-making while gathering information about the early days of the F+F School of Experimental Design (now the F+F School of Art and Design, in Zürich). He worked with time witnesses from the 1970s, when the school was founded, and maintained positive relationships with individuals who provide insights, leads and materials. The goal for his project was to create a platform that has an openness to it, one that allows interaction.

Monoskop founder Dušan Barok noted the importance of working with independent servers. Monoskop’s server allows other websites to use it as a host, free of charge, and offers basic maintenance tools. He clarified that while running a server is not a precondition for creating a digital archive, it is a good solution. He stressed that we should be wary of the current trend of storing information in “the cloud,” as they routinely run statistics and analytics of users.

Monoskop’s main page right now (click to visit)

Curator and cultural worker Laurence Rassel urged everyone to consider sustainability from the beginning of the project, going as far as asking: “What happens when the archivist dies? Who knows how the archive works, how to add to it and maintain it?” Based on her experience as director of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, where she opened the archive some ten years ago, she highlighted the importance of using free and open-source software. She also mentioned that being transparent with the public and cultural workers about each step of archive-building should not be overlooked.

The aftermath

Based on the talks, I identified overarching themes and most valuable advice: collectivity, copying, care. Sharing knowledge is key. No one should be irreplaceable, and their knowledge should not disappear when they do. Copy content before you transfer. Care about your work and the networks that are involved in its creation and maintenance. Be transparent about your biases, as archiving is never neutral.

In the discussion, a point was raised about the untouchability of archives. Some participants believed that archives are ever-changing, and that with each interaction, they shift just a little into something different. Others said that the value of an archive lies in its autonomy; people may interact with the content or add information, but the very nature of the archive should remain unchanged. I tend to side with the first camp, seeing interaction as added value, but I understand the core of an archiving project should be respected.

I wish there had been enough time during the event to discuss what strategies may be used to build the OBN archive. However, it seems like the project has just begun. I am sure the discussions gave ideas to the OBN team. The meeting left me wondering about the fragility of archives, how we rely on them always being there, but may be disappointed to find traces instead. Digital archivisation does not lift the anxiety of losing content, and comes with its own set of challenges; technical, logistical, even emotional.

Nothing lasts forever. One day, archivists, their archives, and anyone interested in them will be gone. There is no way of telling when this happens. But maybe it doesn’t matter. It is up to us at this moment to decide what feels urgent, and how to record it and share it for as long as it retains a degree of importance. 

Kaucylia Brooke’s “Boy Mechanic” project, documenting the disappearance of lesbian bars in the US and Germany. [Cologne Edition, 2004]

I wrote my master thesis on the ways artistic research activates engagements with queer temporalities. I focused on projects that utilised archives, used archiving strategies, and/or acted as archives themselves. While archival artworks operate on a different set of priorities than the projects discussed during this event, there are similarities between them. In my research, among themes of nostalgia, longing and speculative thinking, I identified an overwhelming sense of community; a desire to relate to others across time (and space), coming together in the present to establish these connections. The question of how to build sustainable digital archives is multifaceted, especially now that cultural events happen almost exclusively online. What traces do they leave? Do archivists recognise their power as individuals who decide what to record, and what to discard? It is clear that only collaborative, transparent efforts can preserve content that would otherwise fade and dissipate, way before its time.

“To stand out of time together, to resist the stultifying temporality and time that is not ours… It is in these ecstatic moments that we arrive (or move inexorably towards) collective potentiality.” – José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia (2009).

by Agnieszka Wodzińska

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 5x28 - Governare la IA

La Commissione Europea propone un Regolamento per il governo della IA. C'è di che gioire, ma ci sono anche tante falle di cui preoccuparsi.

by Walter Vannini

April 26, 2021

The Society for Social Studies of Science

From Sideline to Frontline: STS in the Trump Era

The Trump presidency and its relationship to science and truth have prompted considerable reflection as well as significant action by STS scholars.  Among those thinking, speaking, and acting are the authors of the articles in this thematic collection.  This brief introduction summarizes the major strands in each of the articles, placing them in the context of current political trends.

by Daniel Lee Kleinman (

Breathing Late Industrialism

Breakdown, trespass, seepage, degradation: this is late industrialism. Over the past decade, the term has become synonymous with collapse, describing everything from crumbling infrastructure to outmoded paradigms. But the “late” in “late industrial” carries radical potential, too. It points toward the possibility of another world taking shape within the wreckage as people retrofit broken systems, build flexible coalitions, and work creatively with time. In this collection, we train our eyes on these refashionings, asking how late industrial systems might be put to life-affirming work. Specifically, we track cases where breath, air, and atmosphere help inaugurate a “phase shift” (Choy and Zee 2015) from breakdown toward worlds otherwise. Breath has sentinel qualities: it can warn of trouble in the air. But it is also an animating force. Taking conceptual cues from this duality, contributors attend to late industrialism as it is sensed and transformed into something vital.

by Alison Kenner (

April 22, 2021


‘The Ember Way’ audio

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by Tunapanda

Tunapanda Wikonnect Apprenticeship


Members from Tunapanda Kibera CBO have been working with mentors from November 2019 to late September 2020. They have been apprenticing under more equipped and experienced designers, programmers, researchers and project managers to develop skills in their areas of interest. It has been an opportunity for Tunapanda participants to learn and build their curriculum vitae and portfolios in project management, design, research and coding.

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by Tunapanda

2020 Community Creation Trainings

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by Tunapanda

2020 Community Creation Trainings

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by Tunapanda we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of April, 2021.

Time flies in Google Earth’s biggest update in years
April 15, 2021 (comments)
Google announces a new way to look at ads. The announcement is accompanied by a video showing some old satellite imagery, narrated by someone who is evidently falling asleep with excitement. Hackernews is excited that Google is still writing software, and decides this is the opportune moment to argue about whether humanity should keep going. Given the sorts of people with whom Hackernews associate, it's easy to see whence the uncertainty. The next series of arguments starts with someone who is super psyched to use virtual reality googles to look at low-resolution photographs from the early 1990s, followed by a hundred Hackernews trying to convince one another that virtual reality is either the most important display technology of the century, or already destined for the clearance bins.

SpaceX wins contract to develop spacecraft to land astronauts on the moon
April 16, 2021 (comments)
NASA flies coach. If SpaceX schedules are anything like Tesla feature schedules, we will hear on Twitter that astronauts will be on the moon by the end of the year, and in 2045 we'll have to watch video of a fully self-auguring crew capsule disappearing in a cloud of dust. Hackernews has played Kerbal Space Program, and has several opinions strongly held but lightly understood.

Thanks for the Bonus, I Quit
April 17, 2021 (comments)
An Internet relates some surefire tips for taking popular employee rewards, rubbing some bureaucracy on them, and then converting them into offensive gag gifts which cause your employees to fuck immediately off. Hackernews has received several of these corporate gag gifts over the years, and lists all of them in nauseatingly detailed accounts. Other Hackernews speculate on whether employees should have specific roles within a company or if everyone should just do all the jobs, which is a more balanced approach. Another thread debates whether people should have any say in the salary they work for.

Livebook: A collaborative and interactive code notebook for Elixir
April 18, 2021 (comments)
Some webshits clone Jupyter again. Certain Hackernews are super excited about this round, because it contains certain features that put this product almost, but not quite, on par with Microsoft Access circa 1998. I say certain Hackernews, because fewer than a hundred give enough of a shit to post a comment about it.

The Endless Acid Banger: algorithmic self-composing acid techno music
April 19, 2021 (comments)
A webshit creates a tool to generate mixtapes for use exclusively in Saturn S-series cars. Hackernews is full of ideas for adding Tensorflow.

Apple Introduces AirTag
April 20, 2021 (comments)
Apple sells personal surveillance decals. Hackernews tries to figure out some good reasons to insist this version of the product is innately superior to all of the thousands of nearly-identical products that have been available for many years. Part of this effort consists of a sustained attempt to reverse engineer the device based entirely on the press release. Later Hackernews speculate on the impact this will have on the stolen bicycle market (spoiler alert: none). The rest of Hackernews wants to tell us stories about losing shit.

“They introduce kernel bugs on purpose”
April 21, 2021 (comments)
Some computer scientists are so bad at computer science that they accidentally write a psychology paper. Embarrassingly, everyone involved with this idiocy completely fails to prevent it from happening: a university faculty member decides it's a good idea, the institutional review board decides the idea doesn't need review, the credulous reviewers for the conference approve of the work, and the conference itself appoints the faculty member who started all this shit to the program committee for next year. Hackernews posts seventeen hundred comments, most of them whining about how university research is inherently seasoned to taste with corporate self-interest, completely unlike the corporations Hackernews works for. The Linux Janitor-in-Chief arrives to declare the matter is in hand, so long as you adhere strictly to the absolute latest "stable" kernel version, updated twice a day and four times on Sunday. One Hackernews needs help navigating an email thread because there aren't enough pictures. Later, the university administrators get mad at the bad computer science researchers.


April 21, 2021

The Society for Social Studies of Science

Enchanted Determinism: Power without Responsibility in Artificial Intelligence

Deep learning techniques are growing in popularity within the field of artificial intelligence (AI). These approaches identify patterns in large scale datasets, and make classifications and predictions, which have been celebrated as more accurate than those of humans. But for a number of reasons, including nonlinear path from inputs to outputs, there is a dearth of theory that can explain why deep learning techniques work so well at pattern detection and prediction. Claims about “superhuman” accuracy and insight, paired with the inability to fully explain how these results are produced, form a discourse about AI that we call enchanted determinism. To analyze enchanted determinism, we situate it within a broader epistemological diagnosis of modernity: Max Weber’s theory of disenchantment. Deep learning occupies an ambiguous position in this framework. On one hand, it represents a complex form of technological calculation and prediction, phenomena Weber associated with disenchantment. On the other hand, both deep learning experts and observers deploy enchanted, magical discourses to describe these systems’ uninterpretable mechanisms and counter-intuitive behavior. The combination of predictive accuracy and mysterious or unexplainable properties results in myth-making about deep learning’s transcendent, superhuman capacities, especially when it is applied in social settings. We analyze how discourses of magical deep learning produce techno-optimism, drawing on case studies from game-playing, adversarial examples, and attempts to infer sexual orientation from facial images. Enchantment shields the creators of these systems from accountability while its deterministic, calculative power intensifies social processes of classification and control.

by Kate Crawford (

The Methodologists: a Unique Category of Scientific Actors

This essay introduces a new analytical category of scientific actors: the methodologists. These actors are distinguished by their tendency to continue to probing scientific objects that their peers consider to be settled. The methodologists are a useful category of actors for science and technology studies (STS) scholars to follow because they reveal contingencies and uncertainties in taken-for-granted science. Identifying methodologists is useful for STS analysts seeking a way into science in moments when it is no longer “in the making” or there is little active controversy. Studying methodologists is also useful for scholars seeking to understand the genesis of scientific controversies, particularly controversies about long-established methods, facts, or premises.

by Nicole C. Nelson (

Low-Carbon Research: Building a Greener and More Inclusive Academy

This essay examines how the fossil fuel energy regimes that support contemporary academic norms in turn shape and constrain knowledge production. High-carbon research methods and exchanges, particularly those that depend on aviation, produce distinct exclusions and incentives that could be reformed in the transition to a low-carbon academy. Drawing on feminist STS, alternative modes of collective research creation and collaboration are outlined, along with an assessment of their potential challenges and gains. This commentary concludes with several recommendations for incremental and institutional changes, along with a call for scholars of social and technical systems to uniquely contribute to this transition.

by Anne Pasek (

Upgraded to Obsolescence: Age Intervention in the Era of Biohacking

Popularized by DIY scientists and quantified-selfers, the language of “biohacking” has become increasingly prevalent in anti-aging discourse. Presented with speculative futures of superhuman health and longevity, consumers and patients are invited to “hack” the aging process, reducing age to one of the many programs, or rather “bugs” that can be re-written, removed, and rendered obsolete. Drawing on recent examples from popular media and anti-aging promotional materials, I explore how the language of biohacking signals an orientation to the body that denies the acceptability of a body that is anything but optimal. In the endless strive towards the latest and greatest, the language of biohacking renders the old body obsolete, standing as nothing more than a relic of an outdated operating system.

by Kirsten L. Ellison (

We Have Never Been Anti-Science: Reflections on Science Wars and Post-Truth

This essay addresses the so-called "post-truth" era in which scientific evidence of, for example, climate change, is given little weight compared to more immediate appeals to emotion and belief, and examines the relationship of alleged anti-science and populist irrationality to left- and right-wing political alignments. It also addresses charges of anti-science that were once leveled at Science and Technology Studies (STS) itself, and particularly in relation to the “symmetrical” posture taken toward scientific controversies. Recently, "symmetry" in STS has been linked to the media conventions and argumentative strategies that have sustained controversies over climate change and other health and safety concerns. This essay argues that "symmetry" was originally set up in a circumscribed way to encourage research on controversies, but that it does not amount to a general conclusion to the effect that science is no different from any other system of belief. Instead, an effort to pursue "symmetrical" research on scientific controversies can document how, far from being displaced from all relevance, scientific authority and its institutional supports are being duplicated along parallel tracks which sustain disputes and delay concerted action.

by Michael Lynch (

Du Boisian Propaganda, Foucauldian Genealogy, and Antiracism in STS Research

This essay explores the relationships between the “new” anti-science formation under Trump and the kinds of anti-Black racisms we are experiencing at present. What appears at first glance to be a new anti-science formation, isn’t new at all, but old wine in new cloth, all dressed up to confound and distract our gaze from power. The vast majority of Black and Brown people are not surprised nor fooled by Donald Trump and the danger he represents to truth, to our lives, to our precious Earth. For that matter, how are STS scholars working to produce anti-racist knowledge that directly benefits Black people? In this commentary, I briefly respond to these questions by exploring how wildly contrasting accounts of propaganda, truth, and science by W.E.B. Du Bois and Michel Foucault might help STS scholars make sense of the relationship between anti-Black racism and the current anti-science moment in American society.

by Anthony Ryan Hatch (

Drought, Hurricane, or Wildfire? Assessing the Trump Administration’s Anti-Science Disaster

We describe the Trump Administration as an “anti-science disaster” and approach study of the phenomenon as other disaster researchers might study the impacts of a drought, hurricane, or wildfire. An important, but rare, element of disaster research is identification of baseline data that allow scientific assessment of changes in social and natural systems. We describe three potential baselines for assessing the nature and impact of Trump’s anti-science rhetoric and (in)action on science, science policy, and politics.

by Christopher M. Rea (

STS Currents against the “Anti-Science” Tide

This essay considers some possible relationships that STS scholars can have with activists who are resisting attacks on environmental science. STS scholars can document the counter-currents to the “anti-science” moment, work in partnership with activists outside of academia, use access to institutional resources to give environmental movements strength, use STS research to help activists better understand the policy process and the history of science funding, and help people to develop a sociological imagination about science and the environment.

by Abby J. Kinchy (

April 20, 2021

Institute of Network Cultures

Celebrating a Decade of Knowledge. A conversation with Sci-Hub’s Alexandra Elbakyan

Interview by Hoçâ Cové-Mbede

In March 2021 London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit issued a warning towards students and universities to stop visiting Sci-Hub, the first website in the world to provide mass and public access to millions of research papers, a project designed, programmed and maintained by Alexandra Elbakyan since 2011.

The press statement displays terms and compounds such as malicious, phishing, compromised access, cybercrime, bad actors, fraud and hacking in order to build a specific profile that speculates around the active use of the site. The move is not surprising or impressive for Sci-Hub’s standards, since its rise as one of the most important sources/archives for scientific research globally, Elbakyan has been dealing with constant turmoil: suspensions from social media platforms, permanent blocks, takedown orders, legal prosecution for copyright infringement, spying accusations, censorship and media backlash.

But not all sides are hostile in advance, the scrutiny and feedback taken from public and private conversations about the apparatuses that paywall database-knowledge for profit also devised a reputation for Elbakyan during all these years, cementing her as an unparalleled figure to talk about digital + bypass redistribution (aka the Robin Hood of Science Publishing), and not only that, Sci-Hub’s way to operate and interact puts interesting question marks on the limits of online ownership and the involvement of academic institutions regarding open access.

2021 will bring backward-looking moments for Sci-Hub, in September S-H will celebrate a decade of existence, which hopefully will open reviews about the impact of the uninterrupted service the site provides, analysis on the media-portraits made of Elbakyan by third actors in the public sphere, and our role in the current corporate model of production/access of scientific knowledge.

In June of 2020 I contacted Alexandra to have an extended conversation that covers S-H’s revolution in science, copy + paste archival practices in favour of copyright abolition, US Justice Department targeting S-H as an undercover espionage-project, private ownership of science, prejudices against women in IT, astrology and its nexus with information flow and Elsevier’s attempts to worldwide-block S-H.

This conversation previously appeared in a shorter version on

Hoçâ Cové-Mbede: Multiple profiles depict you with specific associations and comparisons with other projects or personas historically and culturally related with online piracy in the USA—from Piratebay, Megaupload and Napster to Wikileaks, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. What are your thoughts on how the media covers Sci-Hub? I’m thinking in particular of an article in Nature from 2016 and a profile published in The Verge in 2018, both of which get cited regularly in relation to Sci-Hub.

Alexandra Elbakyan: In my opinion, Sci-Hub’s media coverage was very little, unfair and biased. I would even say that discussion of Sci-Hub was censored in the media. Sci-Hub is a real revolution in science comparable to CRISPR but the media prefer to keep silent about it.

Sci-Hub started in 2011 and from the very beginning was recognized as a revolutionary Open Science project and gained huge popularity among researchers. But only in 2016 did articles about Sci-Hub in the media start to appear. That censorship is perhaps the result of the general perception of Sci-Hub as a Russian project opposed to the US.

I would say that the discussion of Sci-Hub in the journal Nature is very small compared to its real impact. In particular, Nature published very detailed descriptions of such open science projects as Unpaywall with pictures. The Unpaywall project is tiny compared to Sci-Hub, but Nature published only very short pieces about Sci-Hub, without pictures. So some readers of Nature journal who do not know much about the topic will have the wrong impression that Unpaywall is much bigger than Sci-Hub, because Nature has described it in detail while discussion of Sci-Hub was little. But in reality, the opposite is true: Unpaywall is tiny compared to Sci-Hub. If Nature was unbiased to Sci-Hub it would have put Sci-Hub on its cover picture in 2016.

You’re correct that even those articles about Sci-Hub that appeared in the media are focused not on the project itself but on comparisons, trying to belittle Sci-Hub and present it as secondary, while in reality it is revolutionary and unique. In the Verge article, journalists have presented a skewed picture of my conflict with the Russian science fund “Dynasty”, supporting Dynasty. They did not even bother to ask me about the information they collect so I could comment on it!

Wrong information appears not just in the media, but in more reputable sources also, for example, books, such as “Shadow Libraries” published by MIT and in dissertations. I read some of them and there were serious mistakes in my biography and the description of how Sci-Hub works. Again, authors of these works did not even bother contacting me.

However in Russian media the current state of affairs is much worse. An extremely unfair picture of me is being promoted; good facts about Sci-Hub are not published. I am being presented as a person who blocked access to academic literature while the reality is opposite. I opened access and not blocked it.  Also, usually journalists attach to their articles the most horrendous photo of me they can find, instead of asking me to send them a good photo. I guess that some of the bad media publications about me and Sci-Hub could be directly paid by Elsevier.

There’s a current pattern of legal tactics that label common words or compounds employed in open knowledge activities as criminal-by-association in regards to free access and text-private-property. Why do you think these legal tactics under the argument of capitalist loss have been used to try to slow down sharing networks and archival repositories? 

There is a huge industry around science publishing and copyright law in general, and they have enough money and power to support the status quo.

Do you think the measures against you, like the legal prosecution directed by Elsevier to cease Sci-Hub in 2015, are similar to Middle Age’s curses intended to protect against the theft of books?

Alexandra Elbakyan: In the Middle Ages books were copied by hand and it was a very tedious task and books were precious. So to protect books from stealing, a popular method was to insert a curse in the beginning or the end of the book, so that somebody who would steal that book will be cursed and go to Hell or get an illness or something else very bad will happen to them. Because Elsevier and other publishers also insist that their books and articles are being stolen by such websites as Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, I thought that is quite funny if they would also try using curses to protect their articles and books. Perhaps that will be a better method than suing us for copyright?

Images by Hoçâ Cové-Mbede.

It is fascinating how the tense relationship between the USA and Russia during the Cold War plays an important precedent in the public eye to generate plots and theories about the origins and intentions of Sci-Hub on copyrighted territories, even though you repeatedly insisted that Sci-Hub is a project you started in 2011. These theories suggest a plethoric range of possibilities, from a fully state funded project by Russian Intelligence, to an ongoing investigation directed by the US Justice Department that targets Sci-Hub as an undercover espionage-project. What is your response to these accusations and what is behind the constant emergence of conspiracy plots toward Sci-Hub?

Alexandra Elbakyan: First of all, these suspicions are understandable: Sci-Hub is an openly communistic project, coming from the former USSR or Russia, with a picture of Lenin pinned on its twitter page. I studied information security at the university, supported Putin politics and Sci-Hub uses supposedly hacked credentials to log in into university systems. All these facts taken together create a classical picture of some Russian intelligence. Also US authorities could suspect that Sci-Hub is an attempt to influence US researchers by the Russian government.

And the second reason for conspiracies is that Sci-Hub is a very cool and advanced project. So many people think: how could an Armenian woman coming from Kazakhstan create this herself? There should be a team of developers behind her face and so on. We still have a lot of prejudices against women, especially young—still many people think that women cannot code or do some serious work in IT—prejudices against race and countries. Just think of the Borat movie about Kazakhstan! After watching this movie, who can believe that something great such as Sci-Hub—and many people consider it great—can come from Kazakhstan? And so on. The funniest thing here is perhaps that because of all that, who will consider me for any great job at all? Hence all I can work on is a project that is illegal in all countries. But even then that work will not be considered mine. It is necessary to note that these prejudices were much stronger a few years ago, when Sci-Hub started, now they are becoming weaker.

In 2016 Marcia Mcnutt (former president of the National Academy of Sciences) wrote a column for Science Magazine titled My love-hate of Sci-Hub in which she argues that downloading papers from Sci-Hub could create collateral damage for authors, publishing houses, universities, fellowships, science education, among other areas. The love-hate scenario Mcnutt paints is nonetheless confusing for the debate she wants to open about corporate knowledge inside institutions, since the whole text leaves serious cracks in her depiction of the publishing system’s function. Accidentally in the same text, she evidences a chain of normalized exploitation towards researchers in her community—by not rewarding them. To use her own words “Journals have real costs, even though they don’t pay authors or reviewers, as they help ensure accuracy, consistency, and clarity in scientific communication.” If access means power and power is fueled by elevated amounts of money, what are the standards of politically correct access to information aiming for, if not capital accumulation?

Of course Sci-Hub creates damage: damage to the status quo, because old ways of doing things die and a new reality is born—what is perceived as damage to old ways is just transformation and change.

In her article Marcia McNutt says: “Authors do not benefit from download statistics, for example, which are increasingly being used to assess the impact of their work.” That does not seem to be a strong objection to me. After all, the real impact is when some work is cited, not just downloaded? I download many papers for later reading, for example. You can download and read some paper because it has a catchy title, but it will turn out to be useless for your work.

Sci-Hub collects download statistics, although they are not public, but all download statistics have been recorded since 2011 and I have a plan to add the number of views each paper has in the future. So Sci-Hub can be updated to provide such information.

The article goes on… “Libraries cannot properly track usage for the journals they provide and could wind up discontinuing titles that are useful to their institution. As institutions cancel subscriptions, the ability of non-profit scientific societies to provide journals and support their research communities is diminished.” In my opinion, it is very good when institutions cancel subscriptions, because we need to get rid of that outdated subscription model that operates by blocking access to knowledge for everyone who has not paid for a subscription. I don’t see it as damage but as a good thing.

The argument continues that journals have real costs. My response is that the prices currently charged for subscriptions are not used to cover the costs but simply to increase the profits. An example to illustrate this is that papers published in the 2010s and earlier are paywalled. Why? There is no reason—these papers have been published more than 10 years ago. Haven’t the costs of publishing them been covered already? They could be free, but they are being kept with closed access only to extract more profits.

Sci-Hub’s borderless pirate distribution is generating not only scientific capital but also cultural capital, in an availability of knowledge never experienced before. Language barriers aside, the capacities for scientific development in countries with research shortages may have significant growth in the next ten years thanks to Theft Trade Communication.

In a presentation you made this year about the mythology of science titled The Open Science Idea you made an unexpected statement: modern science grew out of theft. What is the nexus between cognition, communism, and theft inside your studies about the cultural history of science?

Since about 2010 I have had astrology as a hobby (yes, I know that is considered to be pseudoscience) and in modern astrology, there is planet Mercury that is responsible for all communication and information flow. That is because Mercury is an ancient god of language and speech, trade, travel, and theft. I thought that corresponds very well with Sci-Hub’s mission  and the common idea behind all these different activities is the idea of communication. We can find similar gods in other cultures and they are also gods of knowledge, and the god Mercury later developed as god of alchemy, astrology or the earliest forms of science. What we can see here is that science from its inception was connected to communication or to the idea of making something common. Hence private ownership of science by corporations is contradictory to science itself.

Is also worth noticing the high contrast amid the graphic assertions from Elsevier and Sci-Hub and what each one represents and stands for in regard to power and information. I’ve always wondered about Sci-Hub’s logo genesis, because in this case the graphisms go beyond the symbolic.

Alexandra Elbakyan: The history of Sci-Hub logo is less intriguing than it appears to be. When Sci-Hub started in 2011, its first logo was a simple Soviet hammer and sickle, and when the mouse pointer hovered upon it, a text showed up stating: “Communism is … common ownership of the means of production with free access to articles of consumption.”

I took this communism definition from a Wikipedia page and it fitted Sci-Hub very neatly. I was lucky because that definition of communism in Wikipedia was only in 2011—if you check earlier versions of Wiki articles about communism or later versions, they do not contain anything about “free access to articles.”

In 2014 I created a group in a social network to bring together Sci-Hub users ( First I used the Mendeleev table as a logo, after that it was an alchemical serpent. Later I decided to look up some pictures in Google with a key and books to use as a group logo, and found Raven sitting on books, holding a key. I loved that picture and immediately put it up as a logo on Sci-Hub’s social network group. Later in 2015, I decided to re-design Sci-Hub website and create a more current design, and used the group raven logo as a website logo.

Now that you discovered attractive routes to study information patterns and similarities through history, What do you think about the future of file-sharing consumption under severe .net regulations?

It is quite hard to predict the future, but I hope everything will be OK with Sci-Hub and it will have millions of daily visitors, not just half a million, and be recognized as a legal project.

We are in the middle of important changes at institutional, corporate and cultural levels in the context of Open Science and information access. In June of 2020 MIT ended negotiations with Elsevier for a new contract, and recently the University of California also renewed negotiations launching open access resolutions with the company. At the same time, many universities are inaugurating new protocols and initiatives to ensure wide and free access for academic resources. Do you consider the recent measures taken by academic organizations to be enough to abolish the paywall-economy?

As we can see paywalls are still there, and Sci-Hub is getting a lot of traffic. It could help if all—or most—science organizations stopped support of the paywall system, not just MIT and the University of California.

In May 2020 you were nominated for the John Maddox Prize by Fergus Kane after almost ten years of navigating heavily corporate waters. One curious detail about the award is that it has support from the international scientific journal Nature, Nature’s news team covered Sci-Hub’s legal battle in New York courts unfavorably. What is your approach to this nomination and how significant could it be for Sci-Hub’s potential?

I have seen many times in social networks how people say that I should get a Nobel Prize for Sci-Hub! So I expect a Nobel Prize, not just John Maddox, but of course the prize condition of Sci-Hub is just as unfair as its media condition. Sci-Hub has existed for 9 years so far, praised—and sometimes worshipped—by researchers all around the world: many people say that without Sci-Hub they would barely be able to do science, the project is extremely popular and considered to be revolutionary and… in the nine years of its existence it never got a single prize! That John Maddox nomination is a small step towards justice.

Can you elaborate the statement you made about Elon Musk’s Neuralink similarities with your Global Brain project developed back in 2010?

I’ve written a lot about neural chips in my blog and participated in conferences on that topic. Now Elon Musk is working on exactly the same things I wanted to work on and talked about 10 years ago. But there is not as much work as there is publicity: nothing is done yet, but everyone all over the world knows about that Neuralink—so when you talk about brain chips or brain-machine interfaces, people will immediately think that you’re somehow copy-cating Elon Musk, right? In fact, that topic of brain chips is quite old, attempts to develop and discuss something similar were made back in 2003 and earlier, it all started way before Elon Musk, but the advertisement works in such a way that most people think that is Elon Musk’s Neuralink.

A similar thing happened with Aaron Swartz. His name became so strongly associated with that “free science papers” topic that when people finally learned about Sci-Hub it was perceived as nothing but a shadow copy of Aaron Swartz work, while in reality Sci-Hub started and became popular before Aaron Swartz’s case.

Sci-Hub was a unique and extremely revolutionary project, but it became perceived as a shadow copycat just because it was given publicity only after the name of another person has been associated with the idea of freeing science by stealing research papers. In the beginning, it really felt as if Sci-Hub was working hard to free itself from that “copycat“ image. And I wonder whether something similar is being done with Neuralink. Elon Musk is very unappreciative of communism, as we can see from his twitter. So, I wonder if Sci-Hub was somehow the reason behind Elon Musk’s Neuralink.

What is your opinion about Elsevier’s Scholarly Networks Security Initiative (SNSI) founded together with other large publishers that proposes an analysis engine with biometric data and conspicuous usage patterns spyware, to prevent “cyber-attacks targeting institutions” and even hosting a presentation titled “The threat presented by Sci-Hub and other state-sponsored or individual bad actors”?

Actually I don’t know much about that surveillance scandal, I myself learned from Twitter about their plans, some people posted a link to that Times Higher Education article, I wanted to read it but it was not available in full—I had to register in their website. I did that, read the article and then re-posted it in Sci-Hub’s twitter. A well-known Open Access advocate Björn Brembs, who was mentioned in that article, has more on this topic in his twitter. I do not know him, but he often shares opinions in support of Sci-Hub.

You mentioned before that since 2010 you study astrology/modern astrology as a hobby. I would like to ask you to do a prediction about Sci-Hub (or Elsevier).

Ha! You’re the first journalist to ask such questions. Most questions are just duplicates: they ask how Sci-Hub works, why the science must be open, and what I’m going to do next. I cannot give a prediction for Elsevier, because for astrology, you need to know precisely, in minutes, time and place of birth—or, for websites and companies, time and place where they launched first. I can do it for Sci-Hub only. I actually looked into the Sci-Hub natal chart only in September 2017, when my friend’s ex-boyfriend, interested in astrology, contacted me and asked about Sci-Hub.

Sci-Hub has Mars in Cancer in its 10th house. What does that mean? 10th house (out of 12) is the middle of heavens. Mars is a god of war and god of heroes, so perhaps that’s why Sci-Hub is fighting the system. Usually Mars in Cancer is considered to be bad for Mars, because, as I read in one astrology source, Mars is a planet of energy, and inside Cancer that energy is hitting the shell and gets blocked, so the person’s energy is blocked, until sometimes that shell explodes. I thought that is a good metaphor of what Sci-Hub does: that is the service to breaking walls or shells where Science is currently incarcerated. On the other side, that is destiny: Sci-Hub gets blocked everywhere. You can also make a rough prediction, that since Mars is in Cancer, Mars is in a weak position, that usually signifies losers, or people who prefer to sit at home with their mother (Cancer is home/mother sign) than go fighting, because they think that will be smarter. Partially, that description fits Sci-Hub: so far it lost in all courts, because it was never participating—and that is a actually a smart thing to do, because fighting against such a huge corporation as Elsevier, with current law on their side, would obviously make no sense. But in astrology, as well as human life, is more complicated than just win or lose.

To compare, I have Mars in first degree. Aries (the strongest position that Aries can be) in 3rd house. The 3rd house in the human horoscope represents communication, studying and information—people often say that I’m too aggressive when communicating. Another feature I noticed in Sci-Hub’s horoscope is Neptune in the 6th house. That house represents work (not career) and Neptune is the planet of confusion (Neptune in astrology is opposed to Mercury, planet of rational knowledge). I noticed that no matter how much I explain how Sci-Hub works, still after several years people are very confused about it.

There is the 12th house in the human horoscope that represents death and life outcomes, Sci-Hub has the Sun and Venus here, they both bring luck and good fortune. So I hope the outcome of Sci-Hub will be better!

In September of 2020 the domain was blocked under a Website Infringement Complaints lawsuit by Elsevier using legal representation from Beijing. Can you explain the reasons behind this worldwide block and the suspicious follow-up appearance of fake look-alike Sci-Hub domains?

I have doubts about the real reason for the Elsevier lawsuit. Why? Well, I bought the .tw domain a few years ago from one Russian Internet company and since then, was never blocked, while other domains (Sci-Hub had a lot of them) did not live long, a couple of months or so. But the .tw domain was miraculously resilient to this. I was thinking, perhaps Chinese government (back then I did not know about the conflict between mainland China and Taiwan) was silently supporting Sci-Hub because of communist ideas?… What prevented Elsevier from seizing the .tw domain, just like they did with all other domains? (Another resilient domain is .se but Pirate Party in Sweden is backing it up).

When suddenly got blocked in September, I contacted that Russian company asking them what happened, because I had no letters from the domain registrar in my mailbox that are usually sent before the domain gets blocked. They took a long pause and then responded that they had asked the company where the .tw domain was registered, but they were silent and did not reply. I asked whether I can ask them myself, and they gave me an email. I sent a letter on 29 September, but then already I felt something was not clear here. The company responded the next day, very shortly, ‘we have sent you the document, please check, thanks’ I asked whether they could send me the document again because I received nothing! After 10 days, they finally responded with a document, explaining that there was a lawsuit filed by Elsevier (I posted that on Sci-Hub Twitter).

Then it popped up. was a very popular domain, it popped up first in Google search results, 45% of Sci-Hub users were coming from Google and other search engines (now percentage of search traffic is only 22%) but after it got blocked, it disappeared and instead, some suspicious ‘Sci-Hub’ websites started to appear first in Google (I also posted about that on Twitter)

By suspicious ‘Sci-Hub’ websites I mean,,,, and These websites are actually the same, and they worked as a proxy to Sci-Hub, so they receive request from the users, redirect it to real Sci-Hub website (using some non-blocked Sci-Hub address) and give user the response, hiding/masking the address of real Sci-Hub. Actually, such websites can, in theory, have good goals, just to unblock Sci-Hub in those places where access to real Sci-Hub is blocked, for example, or work the same way – but we can easily see these as generic services to unblock various blocked websites.

In the case of the websites mentioned above, the first time I encountered this was when one of the Sci-Hub domains was blocked in Russia. In such cases I usually add a new Sci-Hub domain for Russian users to work. After .se was blocked in Russia back in 2019, I quickly added (if I remember correctly) as a replacement but then I noticed, that surprisingly, instead of this new domain published by me, people promoted some ‘’ website. I opened it and it worked as a proxy, and I really did not like that, also because .ltd domain means ‘limited’ and Sci-Hub should not be limited. I found their IP address and configured Sci-Hub, so that when Sci-Hub is accessed though proxy, it shows the REAL Sci-Hub addresses that people can use instead.

After I did that, the author contacted me, and instead of providing some good reason for his .ltd website, such as “we want to provide access to Sci-Hub where real addresses are blocked” mumbled something about promoting Sci-Hub through this domain!

Then coronavirus happened and I forgot about this, but this September it all resurfaced as a replacement for the .tw website worldwide. These websites are adding advertisements while real Sci-Hub has no advertisements. They use suspicious domains such as ‘shop’ or ‘tf’ which reads as ‘thief’. Just like previously, I replaced their content with real Sci-Hub addresses (.st .se and .do) and they were aggressively fighting it! They tried using multiple proxies to hide their IP, they were desperately replacing and removing real Sci-Hub addresses from my message, they changed my email (!) on my About page ( to some another email registered at, and later they removed link to my page completely. If they had good intentions, just to unblock Sci-Hub, they could SIMPLY provide real Sci-Hub addresses in the left menu, with an explanation that they are only a proxy to help people when Sci-Hub is inaccessible by real addresses. They did nothing, instead they started to redirect to some Sci-Hub database mirror instead, and for new articles they put a completely fake “proxy search” page, while in fact it does not search anything, is just an imitation of the real Sci-Hub.

I really suspect that these websites are kind of man-in-the-middle attack from publishers (or somebody else!), who are providing fake Sci-Hub websites instead of the real one, to manipulate or control Sci-Hub’s image. But they could not do this with domain live, they needed to block it in order to replace Sci-Hub with their fake Sci-Hub they can control. This happened soon after I posted “About me” information on Sci-Hub for everyone to read. See? Somebody might want to prevent such information from being posted, so they need a controlled Sci-Hub, so there will be no “About me” or “about Sci-Hub” pages that can provide true facts about Sci-Hub. Media is controlled, but I could post my story on Sci-Hub, and everyone respects Sci-Hub… they want to block this opportunity. Additionally, simple advertisements already create a negative impression of Sci-Hub as some shady website, while real Sci-Hub does not rely on advertisements.

Co-edited by Serafin Dinges.

Hoçâ Cové-Mbede is a writer, graphic designer and cultural vector, who focuses on interviews-as-templates to explore topics fueled by Silicon Valley criticism, guerilla media, surveillance aesthetics and technology + information. C-M’s work has been featured on platforms such as the Institute of Network CulturesThe Wrong BiennaleTTT in Art & Science, The Quietus and Metal Magazine.

Alexandra Elbakyan is a web developer and a researcher focused in neuro and cognitive sciences, Open Access/Science and theories of knowledge, with a bachelor degree in Computer Technology and master’s degree in Linguistics from the Saint-Petersburg State University in Russia. Elbakyan is the founder of Sci-Hub, the first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to millions research papers.



by Geert Lovink

April 19, 2021

Riccardo Orioles

Pino Maniaci assolto e ignorato dai media. Perché la sua non è una storia minore

22 aprile 2016. “I Siciliani riaffermano la loro piena fiducia e solidarietà a Pino Maniaci e alla redazione di Telejato. Non è la prima volta – Giuseppe Fava, Peppino Impastato, Titta Scidà – che l’antimafia viene colpita da accuse rivelatesi successivamente infondate e spesso pretestuose. Nel momento in cui la falsa “antimafia” degli affari (Montante, Costanzo, Lo Bello) viene sempre più smascherata dalle inchieste dell’antimafia vera, non è inutile ricordare queste semplici, ma non peregrine verità”.

* * *

8 aprile 2021. “Il giornalista Pino Maniaci è assolto con formula piena dall’accusa di estorsione”.

* * *

La storia compresa fra queste due date ha una certa importanza nella storia del giornalismo italiano.

Pino Maniaci, conduttore di una piccola televisione locale, aveva condotto una serie di inchieste su gravi episodi di corruzione al palazzo di giustizia di Palermo. Esse sono state seguite, nel giro di pochi anni, dall’incriminazione e condanna di magistrati e funzionari corrotti.

Nell’aprile 2016 Maniaci viene incriminato con accuse pesantissime a carattere mafioso.

Nell’aprile 2021 viene assolto con formula piena.

Nell’aprile 2016 i principali media scatenano campagne contro l’inattendibile, e forse anche mafioso, giornalista Maniaci.

Nell’aprile 2021 i principali media ignorano, o riportano in poche righe, la sentenza che lo assolve.

Fra l’aprile 2016 e l’aprile 2021 diversi altri scandali (Montante, Confindustria, Ciancio, ecc.) colpiscono l’establishment siciliano e nazionale e vengono approfonditi dalla poca stampa d’opposizione rimasta e da singoli giornalisti indipendenti. Fra essi, fatica a prendere posto Maniaci. La campagna diffamatoria seguita alla sua incriminazione lo ha – con poche eccezioni – isolato. Telejato, che non aveva mai goduto di molti mezzi, boccheggia fino a rischiare la chiusura. Il piccolo gruppo di giovani che vi imparava il mestiere è stato quasi interamente dissolto.

In Italia, frattanto, gli spazi di libertà di stampa si sono ulteriormente ristretti. Al monopolio dell’emittenza privata si è di fatto aggiunto quello della stampa quotidiana, con la scalata a Repubblica del gruppo Agnelli. Il giornalismo di punta, specie nel settore mafia, è ora praticamente affidato a qualche piccola e media testata e a un buon numero di singoli giornalisti che reggono come possono questo fronte. Il fatturato dell’economia mafiosa è intanto cresciuto fino a raggiungere una quota non indifferente del Pil nazionale.

* * *

L’assoluzione con formula piena di Pino Maniaci è certo una vittoria per tutti noi, per i giornalisti, per i cittadini italiani, per la brava gente. Maniaci si è dimostrato un giornalista affidabile e autorevole: non ha paura, controlla le fonti, opera sul territorio e non solo sulle conferenze-stampa. Non solo: ha fatto scuola, decine di ragazzi sono cresciuti con lui, e anche questo è un patrimonio da preservare. Ma ha un punto debole: è un personaggio bizzarro, “spettacolare”, e questo nel giornalismo italiano – avido di folklore, con confini molto sfumati fra entertainment e informazione– è pericolosissimo, ché espone a infinite trappole – in buona o in cattiva fede – da cui ci vuole molta abilità e esperienza per tenersi fuori. E Maniaci non possiede né l’una né l’altra. Nè i suoi interlocutori erano in genere in grado, culturalmente parlando, di distinguere l’allegro personaggio Maniaci dal Maniaci serissimo professionista.

Nessuno, così, ha avuto la capacità di confrontarsi realmente con ciò che diceva Maniaci, che erano cose molto concrete: la signora Saguto ha dovuto lasciare la magistratura e il Palazzo di Giustizia di Palermo – quello di Falcone e Borsellino – lo ha difeso lui, lo strambo omino coi baffi. Altri non hanno capito, o hanno fatto finta di non capire, o non hanno ritenuto quelle inchieste meritevoli, bizzarrie a parte, di attenzione.

Ci sono state eccezioni – i Siciliani, dalla Chiesa, Cavalli, qualche altro isolato – ma in generale il giornalismo civile, quello di cui siamo amici, non ha appoggiato Maniaci ma anzi, spesso e volentieri, gli ha dato addosso. Nell’occasione, non ha mancato di dare una mano al dibattito allora di moda sull’antimafia (antimafia sì, antimafia no, antimafia parola retorica e certo un po’ superata). Eppure Montante sulla parola antimafia (Nino Amadore, “L’isola felice, Le aziende siciliane contro la mafia”, Einaudi 2009) aveva le idee chiare: linguaggio ormai ammuffito, da sostituire con un più tranquillo “legalità”.

A questi nostri amici, a cui nonostante la delusione non ritiriamo affetto e stima, chiediamo di riflettere, serenamente. La storia di Telejato – condanna, linciaggio e assoluzione – non è una storia minore. E’ una storia profonda, perché qui non è stato il giornalismo mafioso a dare botte al giornalismo, è stato il giornalismo buono. La fretta, la leggerezza, la difficoltà a comprendere linguaggi e codici non regolamentari – se Maniaci fosse stato un gay, nero, ebreo, transessuale e per di più comunista nessuno si sarebbe stupito del suo modo di fare; i baffi, gli occhietti vispi e le battute pesanti con l’accento partinicano invece l’hanno inchiodato irrimediabilmente a un ruolo, a una specie di Franco e Ciccio che pretendeva chissà perché di fare il giornalista.

* * *

Adesso, naturalmente, Telejato vuole andare avanti ma questo non è mai stato messo in discussione, conoscendo Pino e conoscendo soprattutto il partito di Pino Maniaci. Un partito composto da poche persone: Pino, la signora Maniaci e Letizia, la figlia (di Letizia ricordo la volta che, minacciata, mettemmo in piedi con Roberto Morrione un meccanismo per trasferirla immediatamente a Roma, presso liberainformazione; e lei rifiutò categoricamente, “io non lascio mio padre e Telejato”).

Una famigliola siciliana come tante che però ha avuto il coraggio di piantarsi davanti alle mura del Palazzo di Giustizia di Palermo e di difenderlo a spada tratta, contro chiunque.

Una vittoria loro, una vittoria di Telejato e dei Siciliani, una vittoria del bravissimo Ingroia che ha dimostrato di essere un grande uomo di legge smontando in quattro e quattr’otto le accuse pretestuose e mettendo in ridicolo chi le ha montate, una vittoria di Salvo Vitale che stava a Radio Aut e ora è a Telejato, una vittoria dei ragazzi di Telejunior come Danilo Daquino che ora lavora pure coi Siciliani.

Andranno avanti meglio di prima, facendo il buon mestiere che Pino, la famiglia Maniaci e la giovane redazione di Telejato hanno dimostrato di saper fare, cercando stavolta di non cadere nelle trappole e contando sulla solidarietà di tutti noi giornalisti antimafia “ufficiali”, quelli che ci hanno creduto da subito e quelli che non avevano capito bene; e questi ultimi certamente una telefonata di augurio e di buona amicizia non la negheranno.

(Un ragazzo di Telejato, poco dopo il patratrac, si presenta con la telecamera a riprendere la manifestazione di Cinisi per Peppino. Arriva uno, un compagno, un compagno importante, che si mette a sbraitare contro al ragazzino e lo caccia in mala maniera – poiché è dell’infame Telejato – e quello se ne va a testa bassa, senza capire perché lo cacciano, visto che lui è li per fare semplicemente il suo lavoro, per dare una mano anche lui alla giornata di Peppino. Almeno quel ragazzino, in questi giorni, vorrei che ricevesse una telefonata formale, proprio di scuse)

L'articolo Pino Maniaci assolto e ignorato dai media. Perché la sua non è una storia minore proviene da Il Fatto Quotidiano.

by Riccardo Orioles

April 15, 2021

Institute of Network Cultures

“Please move through this site with care.” On Maya Man’s Compassionate Digital Experiments

Maya Man is a young artist, dancer and technologist from New York. Utilising her background in coding and computer science, she makes projects that enhance and expand online experiences. Her work incorporates themes of joy, nostalgia and curiosity all at once, often leaning on early internet aesthetics while projecting a vision of embodied technological bodies into the future.

Maya Man’s personal website (2021). Click to explore.

Maya’s art excites me because it celebrates the possibilities that open up when people and machines work together, and avoids falling into naiveté over the possible risks of such collaboration. I hope more people recognise the potential her works have to change our relationship to the internet and AI. My aim here is to show and discuss a few key works, and invite you to explore Man’s projects yourself, as they are best when experienced first-hand.

Moving with the Machine

PoseNet Sketchbook was the first Maya Man artwork I saw online. It is made with a modified algorithm sourced on tensorflow.js. PoseNet is an open-source library of code that tracks a moving body and creates a variety of distorted moving images based on the user’s movements. When I saw the work, I immediately thought of Myron Krueger – “a pioneer of interactive media art”[1] – and his innovative work on immersive environments in the 70s and 80s.

One of many PoseNet Sketchbook experiments (2019).

Still from YouTube video showing one of Krueger’s VIDEOPLACE experiments (1985).

Both works show an interest in tracking and modifying the movements of a body. However, I thought Maya’s work facilitated a more intimate relationship between the participant and the technology capturing their movements. Since the 1970s, our understanding of developing everyday technologies deepened, and various machines entered our daily lives and the very fabric of societies. This shift irreversibly affected how we interact with everyday technologies, and influences the level on which we acknowledge or bypass their existence and visibility.

In Kruger’s immersive environments, the experiences were communal, new and exciting, all-encompassing for as long as participants interacted with the meticulously-built environment. Man’s work, on the other hand, disenchants the spectacle of technological possibility and represents the inseparability of our entanglements with the machine. PoseNet Sketchbook exists in multiple places at once, on computer screens of individual users as their shapes shift, distort and layer. The miracle of endless possibility is gone. Now, we explore what to do with what remains. Each movement is like a brushstroke, and the effect lasts for as long as the browser tab is open. There is something beautiful and pure in this temporary interaction.

Some of Maya Man’s PoseNet experiments, available to try (click on image).

An intimate staring contest

The idea of close encounters with daily technologies appears in Maya’s other works, establishing itself as a theme. The screens of users are their primary mode of exhibition and existence. Take, for instance, Glance Back, a Google Chrome extension that captures the webcam image from a device once a day and prompts the user to record what they were thinking about at that moment.

This process makes visible the data collection that already occurs in search engines and on other platforms that facilitate our online activity. While the browser extension asking you about your thoughts might be jarring to some, it is simply a more streamlined and direct cousin of algorithms that track and predict our actions. Glance Back adds nuance to these relations. It acts as a personal diary and prompts personal interest in the performing machine. Unlike other modes of online surveillance, Glance Back operates under the agency and consent of the user. Maya explains: “It’s important to note that all of the photos are saved to your browser’s local storage. This means that they never leave your machine. This is a collection shared purely between you and your computer.”[2] 

I think Glance Back acknowledges the physical and emotional closeness between ourselves and our machines, especially now, when we use them to work, relax, but also socialise with other internet users (including our loved ones). Or, more specifically, “Glance Back” allows users to decide whether or not they wish to share such personal data with the extension. Choosing to download it can be an act of making visible the personal connections many of us already have with our devices. However, can it lead to acknowledging this relationship might be toxic? I am not sure. I would love to see Maya engage with the concept of surveillance capitalism and the attention economy further in her practice, especially as she continues to collaborate with the Google Creative Lab.

What are you willing to share?

What happens when we willingly share personal information online? A few things. We begin building an archive of feelings and reflections; a sporadic, erratic digitised diary. We hope somebody out there listens, interacts, relates. We might even share things online that we are unwilling to communicate face-to-face. However, doing this invites unwanted attention too, and provides a source that others can use in malicious ways in the future.

Using code as her medium, Maya reinterprets Madeleine’s large file of personal data she’d shared with the artist. Maya built a website that shows notes from Madeleine’s iPhone. What emerges is an intimate portrait of a young woman recording significant, useful and introspective information over the years. For personal use, until now. Looking at the website, I feel like an intruder, even though I am aware she shared the data willingly. Still, it feels too personal to be accessed by just anybody.

Maya Man, Madeleine’s Notes.

I cannot help but keep swiping and reading note after note, and the blue skies in the background add to the whimsical, otherworldly feeling the website evokes. Can this be a modern-day confessional, embedded in code and designed to fit a specific aesthetic, a millennial nostalgic about websites they grew up visiting? I am conflicted, but I keep looking. I realise that this project shows online activity does not have to be so heavily curated. Madeleines.notes and Glance Back take away the users’ ability to select, edit and filter content that reflects who they are. Why not give that agency away? To think how many hours I’ve spent thinking about how to present myself online. I am sick of it now, like many others. I want to refuse to participate in the spectacle, but I am unsure how. Is there an alternative way of relating to social networks? I see Maya’s work can be a stepping stone towards a more balanced and healthy relationship between our actual selves and our virtual/online extensions.

Digital Literacy Now

Maya’s presence online takes many forms, but always carries an interest in embodying compassion and care through machine learning and code. I consider her website to be an artwork in and of itself, a source for artworks and education; points of departure. The Racial Justice Bookshelf needs to be mentioned here. It is a resource made to make it easier to buy anti-racist books from black-owned businesses in the US. Then there is; Maya’s scrapbook of inspiration and information, an ever-growing archive of online happenings and references.

The difficult part is this: Maya’s work does require quite a high level of digital/internet literacy. In the beginning, I struggled to understand how or GitHub work. However, when I moved past confusion, I started to appreciate and see the exciting potential of alternative platforms, creative coding, and the artistic expression they allow.

Pretty Machines on Man’s

Maya speaks openly about her passion for computers and coding, and her interest in facilitating new interactions between bodies and everyday technologies they already encounter and absorb. The future of online content can be more transparent and genuine, based less on the logic of the attention economy and more on the needs and interests of individual users, who come together to experience and share their embodied technological selves. It starts with looking back at the machine that is already watching.


[1] Mark Hansen, Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media (New York: Routledge), 2006, p. 25

[2] Maya Man, Glance Back Info page [Accessed April 2021]

by Agnieszka Wodzińska

Organize Solidarity with Arrested Members of Moscow Doxa Journal

In the early morning of April 14th, 2021, the four editors of the journal DOXA were arrested by Russian authorities. Armen Aramyan, Natasha Tyshkevich, Volodya Metelkin and Alla Gutnikova appeared in court later that day. The purpose of the charges were made clear by the judge – to silence critics – who ordered the editors to house arrest and has restricted them from all electronic communication.

DOXA is a Russian student-run popular journal dedicated to critiques of the modern university. They have served as a clearinghouse for disseminating radical philosophy, especially feminist, Marxist, and anarchist voices. It also hosts editorials about the sprawling Russian university system, highlights student protests, and organizes solidarity for students harassed for speaking out.

The charges against the editors are preposterous. DOXA had posted a rather innocent video urging others to protest without fear and that expelling students for political reasons was unlawful. In response, the Russian communications authority Roskomnadzor demanded they remove the video. DOXA complied and removed the video. Even then, the editors were charged under Article 151.2 of Russian law (“involvement of youth in activities that can be harmful to them”).

Perhaps there is some honor to being charged with the same crime as Socrates? Yet it is remarkable to suggest that university students need protection from DOXA. Only one who uses education to manufacture obedience outlaws critical thinking as self-harm. And it is no coincidence that laws like these are also used against social critics, queers, and migrants.

The Institute of Network Cultures urges all charges to be dropped against the DOXA editors and that all harassment of students immediately cease.

More information:

1) (in Russian)

2) Chronology of Events (in English)

3) News report on the Amnesty site:

4) The Moscow Times: Russian Student Journalists Face Jail Over Navalny Protest Video

The information above has, in part, been collected by ‘Dark Deleuze’ Andrew Culp, now teaching at Calarts/LA. Please sign his petition. He writes:

“I am reaching out because the student-editors of the Russian journal DOXA were arrested earlier this morning under the charges of “corrupting the youth” by encouraging other students to protest. The event is deeply personal for me, as DOXA was a part of the cohort that has hosted me a number of times in Moscow and I have grown to know some of them quite well.

Perhaps like me, you are pessimistic about petitions. But after expressing this to DOXA earlier this afternoon, they still requested an international solidarity statement from scholars. And if nothing else, it is crucial to mark the absurdity of charges like these whenever they arise. So today I penned a statement in consultation with Slavoj Zizek, with whom I keynoted a conference hosted by DOXA in 2017. The statement can be signed at”

by Geert Lovink we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of April, 2021.

The architecture behind a one-person tech startup
April 08, 2021 (comments)
A webshit writes a Lovecraftian horror story about a simple web service sprouting tendrils from hellish dimensions unknowable to human experience. Hackernews argues about the proper selection of free hosting tiers amongst a diverse selection of webshit services to ensure availability approaching a ten-dollar virtual machine. Other Hackernews appreciate the dozens -- possibly hundreds -- of awful decisions that led to the concluding monstrosity in the article, and are grateful for the advice.

uBlock Origin works best on Firefox
April 09, 2021 (comments)
Studies indicate that adblockers work better on browsers which don't contain millions of dollars of engineering devoted to undermining adblockers. Hackernews discusses alternative solutions for blocking ads, since they're wholly incapable of going a single day without using Google Chrome. Other Hackernews are pissed that previous adblockers tools have been discontinued, and want you to know. The rest of the comments are people arguing about which web browser they use. Turns out it's all of them, but mostly Chrome.

Everyone is still terrible at creating software at scale
April 10, 2021 (comments)
A webshit is mad that programmers can't seem to get their shit together at work. The article, as a bonus, contains a hilarious comment claiming that typing programs into computers is a class of problem that requires more planning than mere "physical engineering" products. I'm not big on meditation but I strongly recommend a medium-quality cigar and a decent glass of scotch while you consider how a person's mind must work to compare, for instance, Twitter with, as an example, the Hoover Dam, and then shit out that marvelous opinion. Hackernews posts a few hundred comments insisting that their work environment is the most common work environment, and everyone else's experience consists entirely of outliers.

std::unique_ptr implementation backed by Ethereum NFTs
April 11, 2021 (comments)
An Internet conclusively proves that C++ was a mistake. Along the way, Rust is named as an accomplice. Hackernews is pretty sure this is a joke, which is something they're not particularly comfortable with, so there are almost no comments.

Just Be Rich
April 12, 2021 (comments)
An Internet realizes that Paul Graham doesn't have anything to say about any topic unrelated to how correct Paul Graham is. Hackernews has a lot to say about why poor people deserve to live in hell, which outmoded economic theories can be slightly misunderstood in order to justify starvation in first-world countries, why poor people would just fuck everything up if they ever got any money, which specific family members are best sacrificed in the pursuit of fuck-you money, and why sacrifice isn't enough, because you need some kind of elusive Business Gene no matter what you do.

Yamauchi No.10 Family Office
April 13, 2021 (comments)
Nintendo scales new heights in the war against its own users, releasing a website with text in two languages, readable in neither. Hackernews posts three comments about the beautiful sentiment the website espouses (something about how great it is to be rich for a hundred years, it's not clear or important) and then posts two hundred comments complaining about the website not working correctly on anything but specific generations of iPhone.

YouTube suspends account for linking to a PhD research on WPA2 vulnerability
April 14, 2021 (comments)
A dumbass gets locked out of someone else's video site, so turns to someone else's shitposting cesspit to complain about it. Hackernews debates whether it is possible to have a functioning society without needlessly-aggressive automated moderation tools hovering over heavily centralized ad networks beholden to one specific company into whose hands the entire Internet is bequeathed. After a few hundred strained analogies, the answer appears to be 'no.'


Centro de Autonomia Digital

CAD, present at FLISOL 2021!

Since 2005, the Latin American Festival of Free Software Installation - FLISOL has been held in different cities of the continent in order to spread the word about Free Software and strengthen ties with those who are part of its community. Simultaneously, volunteers in hundreds of cities share their knowledge and help people install free applications. The 2021 edition will be held on Saturday, April 24th virtually, however there are groups that organize events on other dates, even for more than one day.

If you want to know more about FLISOL, visit the event’s wiki!

At the Center for Digital Autonomy - CAD - based in Quito, Ecuador - we develop free software for the protection of privacy and digital security. As an organization, we recognize the importance of FLISOL and for this reason we want to share our work with the community.

We will participate in various venues with the following talks:

Below you can take a look at the scheduled times for each talk!

Date & Time (gmt -5) Sede Talk
April 17 10h30 - 11h00 🇪🇨 Riobamba - Ecuador Secret and Autonomous VOICE / IP Communications with Wahay (2h55m)
April 17 11h00 - 11h30 🇪🇨 Riobamba - Ecuador Privacy and Security with Free Software (3h23)
April 18 11h00 - 12h00 🇪🇨 Riobamba - Ecuador CoyIM Secure Chat client using Tor and OTR (3h07m)
April 18 16h30 - 18h00 🌎️ FLISOL libre - Latin America Privacy and Security with Free Software
April 19 9h00 - 9h30 🌎️ FLISOL libre - Latin America Secret and Autonomous VOICE / IP Communications with Wahay
April 20 9h00 - 9h30 🌎️ FLISOL libre - Latin America CoyIM Secure Chat client using Tor and OTR
April 23 14h00 - 14h30 🇲🇽 FLISOL Ranchero - CDMX - México Secret and Autonomous VOICE / IP Communications with Wahay
April 24 (11h00 - 11h30) 🇦🇷 Buenos Aires - Argentina [Secret and Autonomous VOICE / IP Communications with Wahay]]({:target=”_blank”}
April 24 11h40 - 12h20 🇪🇨 Loja - Ecuador Secret and Autonomous VOICE / IP Communications with Wahay
April 24 14h00 - 14h30 🇨🇴 Bogotá - Colombia CoyIM Secure Chat client using Tor and OTR
8 de mayo 17h25 - 17h55 🇪🇨 Quito - Ecuador Secret and Autonomous VOICE / IP Communications with Wahay

Description of the talks

Privacy and Security with Free Software: Privacy is a human right subject to multiple violations in the digital world. The use of free software, combined with cryptography, improves our privacy and digital security. In this talk we will explain the importance of these, how they are being violated and the role that free software plays at the moment of protecting them.

CoyIM Secure Chat client using Tor and OTR: CoyIM is an XMPP chat client whose objective is to provide secure communications. In its default behavior, it uses Tor to secure connections to servers. The protection of the content of the messages is carried out using the OTR protocol. Additionally, with CoyIM it is easy to create anonymous accounts on public XMPP servers. At the moment, the group chat functionality is under development.

Secret and Autonomous VOICE / IP Communications with Wahay: Wahay is a free tool that allows autonomous and secure audio conferencing without the need for third-party servers or its own infrastructure. Only people who participate in a meeting can know that the meeting happened and what was said in it. For this, Wahay integrates Tor’s onion services with the Mumble audio conferencing system.

by ["rafael"]

April 14, 2021

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK5x27 - Data breach tre per due

Facebook: 553 milioni di profili. LinkedIn: 500 milioni. Clubhouse, 1,3 milioni. E nel nostro piccolo Axios (il registro elettronico) riesce perfino a prendersi un ransomware. Come mai i preziosi dati della data economiy vengono gestiti così a cappero?

by Walter Vannini

April 08, 2021

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Vendor proposes subscription-based pricing...

“Vendor proposes subscription-based pricing model”


Giovanni Battista Moroni (1565)