Politics

Critical Engineering Working Group EXHIBITION

Decoding Black Magic. Interventions in Infrastructure

Piksel Festival 2021
15th of November to 12th of December

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

Black Book of Wireless

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

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

Unintended Emissions (2019)

Wireless (802.11) Citizen Surveillance Investigation

https://criticalengineering.org/projects/unintended-emissions/

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

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

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

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

Vending Private Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WannaScry! [work in progress]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current variant:

3 screens (or a projection) shows 3 faces. A camera tracks faces of visitors in the space in front of the three screens. As the system locks to your face the 3 faces on the screens start moving in concert as your face does – you control all 3 faces in concert, if you smile they smile, if you lean your head to the right they do to, if you open your mouth they open their mouths mimicking you. The faces can be glitched and deformed e.g. by hiding part of your face, make strange faces or turning it almost away from the camera making it hard for the machine learning system to catch the pose and expression on your face. This also means that typically as you turn and walk away from the camera the last frame would typically be a weird deformed and glitched triptyc of faces.


Critical Engineering Working Group

Critical Engineering Working Group

Piksel is glad to announce a special collaboration program with the Critical Engineers Working Group within the next 3 years. As a result, Piksel will host several exhibitions, workshops, and presentations led by CE components. The program will be developed within the Piksel Festival and Piksel Fest Spill activities along the years 2021-2023. Starting in November with an exhibition and 2 workshops. Stay tuned!

In 2011, a group of artists and engineers published the “Critical Engineering Manifesto”, since translated into 18 languages. In true avant-garde fashion, the “Manifesto” launches by describing Engineering as “the most transformative language of our time, shaping the way we move, communicate and think”, thus, it is the work of the Critical Engineer “to study and exploit this language, exposing its influence”. Further, a Critical Engineer “recognises that each work of engineering engineers its user”, considering “any technology depended upon to be both a challenge and a threat”. And so the manifesto unfolds.

https://criticalengineering.org/

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

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

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


Fri Kunst

FRI KUNST – en feiring av kunstnerisk ytringsfrihet 2.- 8. mars 2020

FRI KUNST er et nettverk av kunstnere, kunst- og kulturinstitusjoner og -organisasjoner.

Vi står sammen for å bidra til at kunstnere og kunstinstitusjoner – i alle land – skal kunne skape og utøve sin kunst fritt, uten trusler og forfølgelse. Dette er en grunnleggende rettighet og forutsetning for et fritt og demokratisk samfunn.

Den kunstneriske friheten er stadig mer utsatt og truet i verden. Vi kan ikke akseptere at kunstnere og kunstinstitusjoner settes under press av politikere som er uenig i budskapet, virkemidlene eller formen på kunsten. Politiske myndigheter skal ikke overstyre uavhengige, kunstfaglige beslutninger.

Vårt mål er:

– å handle aktivt og solidarisk når kunstnere utsettes for sensur, forfølgelse og trakassering,

– å bidra til økt oppmerksomhet og bevissthet i samfunnet om å ivareta den kunstneriske ytringsfriheten,

– å bevare kunstens autonomi – gjennom forsvar av «armlengdes avstand»-prinsippet i kunst- og kulturforvaltningen.

https://www.frikunst.org


PIKSEL15 – open Call for Projects:- deadline June 30

Piksel15
November 19-22 2015
Bergen, Norway

open CALL for PROJECTS
For the exhibition and other parts of the program we currently seek projects in the following categories:

1. Installations
Projects to be included in the exhibitions. The works must be realized by
the use of free and open source technologies. For Piksel15 we specially
encourage projects in the field of DIY BIOart and renewable/sustainable
technologies to apply.

2. Audiovisual performance
Live art realized by the use of free software and/or open/DIY hardware.

3. Presentations
Innovative DIY/open hardware and audiovisual software tools or software art
released under a free/open license. (Also includes presentations of artistic
projects realized using free/open technologies.) For Piksel15 we specially
encourage projects in the field of DIY BIOart and renewable/sustainable
technologies to apply.

4. Workshops
Hands on workshops utilizing free software and/or open/DIY hardware for
artistic use. For Piksel15 we specially encourage projects in the field of
DIY BIOart and renewable/sustainable technologies to apply.

5. PikselSavers
Video and software art based on the screensaver format – short audiovisual
(non)narratives made for endless looping. Possible thematic fields includes
but are not limited to: sustainable resource allocation, renewable
technologies, energy harvesting, fair trade hardware, free content, open
access, open data, DIY economy, shared development. The works must be
realized by the use of free/open source technologies. –

piksel15_call_200

!!!!!!!!!! Deadline – June 30. 2015 !!!!!!!!!!
Please use the online submit form at: http://piksel.no/ocs or send documentation material – preferably as a URL to online documentation with images/video to piksel15 (AT) piksel.no


Piksel15 is supported by the Municipality of Bergen, Arts Council Norway,
PNEK and others.

more info: www.piksel.no


Piksel13 || RIOT

logo-penguin13_riotgred-shadow
The 11th annual Piksel Festival for Electronic Art and Free Technologies

– Exhibitions – workshops – live art – presentations
– November 21st-24th, Bergen (NO)
– http://13.piksel.no

The 11th edition of the Piksel Festival takes place in Bergen (NO)
November 21st-24th 2013. This years theme – RIOT – connects to the
diversity in the tradition of hactivist art and specifically the use of
tactical media, digital resistance and electronic disturbance as more
relevant now than ever before.

———————————————————–

Programme:

EXHIBITIONS @ Franz : Navle and Lydgalleriet
http://13.piksel.no/category/exhibitions/

Will Burn, Maria Colina Perez, Sergey Dushkin, Azahara Cerezo, F.A.T.,
Geraldine Juarez, Magnus Eriksson, Mark Beasley, Louise Harris,
Wolfgang Spahn, Artemis Papageorgiou, Aforditi Psarra, Stefan
Tiefengraber

PERFORMANCES @ ØSTRE
http://13.piksel.no/category/liveart/

Afroditi Psarra, Constanza Piña, John Bowerss, Sten-Olof
Hellström, Theremidi Orchestra, Servando Barreiro, Alex McLean, Ryan
Jordan, Raquel Meyers, Goto80, Great International Audio Streaming
Orchestra III, Malte Steiner, Darsha Hewitt, Anis Haron, Dr. Nexus,
Víctor Mazón Gardoqui, LaptopsRus, Casperelectronics

PRESENTATIONS @ ØSTRE
http://13.piksel.no/category/seminars/

Trasformatorio, The Open Modular Synthesizer, Creating Performance
Systems with Pd, Raspberry Pi and Arduino, F.A.T. – Free Art &
Technology, MicroFlo: flow-based programming for microcontrollers, All
the lines arrive to NAZCA

WORKSHOPS @ Trykk : Trykk and Piksel HQ
http://13.piksel.no/category/workshops/

PSYCHOHELIOPHYSICISTS – SUN TONGS, Sound happens in the group!, Noise
Make-up Language, Limen – electromagnetic sniffing device, APODIO V9
WORKSHOP, Haptic City Workshop, Paper-Duino-Pi, LornaLab Projection
Workshop, OSC controlled realtime visuals with the gameengine Panda3D,
<3-bit shirt


more info and complete festival program:
http://13.piksel.no

Piksel13 is supported by The Norwegian Art Council, Bergen
Municipality, Hordaland County, PNEK, BEK, Grundtvig – Lifelong
Learning Program and others.


PIKSEL[X] open CALL for projects

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Piksel[X]
November 22-25 2012
Bergen, Norway

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Now open for proposals.
Read the open call for projects and use the online submit form to apply.

!!!!!!!!!!  Deadline postponed until August 25. 2012 !!!!!!!!!!

 


Support the PlayOgg campain!

Play Ogg

The Free Software Foundation has initiated a campain in support of the free and non-patented Ogg format for audio (Vorbis) and video (Theora) files and streams.

Everyone can join the campain by putting a ‘PlayOgg’ button on their site!

More info and images for download at FSF.


Call for Papers: FLOSS+Art !!!DEADLINE EXTENDED!!! 1st Nov 2007

Extended Deadline

Thanks to all the persons and groups who have replied to the call so far!
Due to a growing demand for extra time, we have decided to extend the
deadline. Please note that this new deadline will *not* be extended.
Every paper/article/map received after the 1st of November 2007 midnight
will not be published in the book.

FLOSS+Art
Call for Papers
NEW DEADLINE: November 1st 2007


David Turner (FSF) on trusted computing

David Turner (FSF) delivered a very interesting and engaged speach about the dangers of trusted computing thursday evening. It’s now available online for downloading as an mpeg video (150Mb).
Among the things he brought up in addition to the DRM threat, was the upcoming GPL3 and some interesting theories about the background for Apples switch to Intel. He also had some critical views on Creative Commons licensing.


  • 2 days ago

    Piksel
    For the first time, the Critical Engineering Working Group are opening their workshops to the online realm. It is a unique opportunity to join Danja Vasiliev and Sarah Grant this Friday and Saturday for the hands-on workshop using Hotglue. On the 10th and 11th of December Bengt Sjölén and Danja Vasiliev will work together again to lead the workshop Selfhosted. Join us sending an email to piksel21(at)piksel(dot)noWeb-pages made with HOTGLUE never look the same - each page is a new creation of its author.Hotglue by Critical Engineering Working Group / Danja Vasiliev and Sarah Grant3-4 December 2021 – 15:00-17:00 hours.piksel.no/2021/05/19/hotglueBuilding websites using Hotglue is fun – and a great, hands-on way to learn about visual design, markup language and hyper-links that power the web. But to do so, one – more so than ever – needs proficiency in the language of the web (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) in order to participate.Hotglue is a FOSS “What you see is what you get” editor for the web. At the workshop a free-to-use grass-roots service Hotglue.me will be used to allow quick hosting of webpages.HOTGLUE Content Manipulation System is a unique tool for DIY web-design and Internet samizdat. System design is based on several fundamental rules primarily aimed at preserving visual homogeneity between editing and viewing modes. This structural transparency of HOTGLUE UI permits its users to disregard any separation of Content and Design and /ultimately/ to remove Design as such from their creative practice.Danja Vasiliev and Gottfried Haider believe that modern web-users shall be given an easy yet powerful, online (in-browser) authoring tool for making exciting, personally distinct and otherwise odd web-pages. Page contents suddenly become something more then only text blocks and images; user begins to construct web-pages as multi-layered collages where textual is visual and vice versa. Web-pages made with HOTGLUE never look the same - each page is a new creation of its author. ... See MoreSee Less
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    2 days ago

    Piksel
    Did you know that you can still visit the Critical Engineering Working Group Exhibition `Decoding Black Magic; Interventions in Infrastructure´ at Kulturhuset 2, C Sunds Gate, every day 13-18h (apart from Mondays)?We will also allow private visits at other times with selected appointments. Let us know when is a good time for you to visit, and the bogeyman will be here waiting for you.Email for more detailspiksel21(@)piksel(.)no ... See MoreSee Less
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    2 days ago

    Piksel
    3-4 December 2021 – 15:00-17:00 hours.Web-pages made with HOTGLUE never look the same - each page is a new creation of its author.JOIN us at the HOTGLUE workshop by Danja Vasiliev and Sarah Grant this Friday and Saturday! We will learn to build decentralized websites using Hotglue. It is fun - and a great, hands-on way to learn about the otherwise hidden structures and exchanges that power the web. HOTGLUE developers believe that modern web-users shall be given an easy yet powerful, online (in-browser) authoring tool for making exciting, personally distinct, and otherwise odd web-pages. Page contents suddenly become something more than only text blocks and images; user begins to construct web-pages as multi-layered collages where textual is visual and vice versa. Web-pages made with HOTGLUE never look the same - each page is a new creation of its author.To attend send us an email to piksel21(at)piksel.no. The workshop will be online through a BBB video chat. We will send the information on how to connect. ... See MoreSee Less
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    3 days ago

    Piksel
    “Samizdat: I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend time in prison for it myself”, Vladimir BukovskyThe term ‘samizda’ was coined as a word game by the Russian poet Nikolai Glazkov in the 1940’s. He included the note ‘samsebiaizdat’ (self-published) in the copies he types of his poems. HTML SAMIZDAT is a web creation proposal made directly from the browser, collective, open and instantly visible. Using the web as a support and canvas, it is proposed to create a joint site, a samizdat, through the appropriation of html code and multimedia objects. To do this, we will use the Hotglue tool, developed by Gottfried Haider and Danja Vasiliev, and worm.org.You only need a computer with Firefox browser installed to participate. Programming and code skills are not required.To attend send us an email to piksel21(at)piksel.no. The workshop will be online through a BBB video chat. We will send the information on how to connect. ... See MoreSee Less
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