Reclaiming Digital Infrastructures (RDI) is a research collaboration with KASK School of Arts in Gent taking serious the question how to understand digital networks and communication tools as an integral part of the art education.
RDI4: Hiding trees among the forest
During this session, Seda Guerses and Femke Snelting will share concrete cases, readings, art-projects and hands-on exercises to explore how obfuscation strategies might evade surveillance, protect privacy and improve security. But could it also be a way to protest, contest, resist and sabotage the increasing grasp that technology has on managing our daily lives?
The pandemic condition intensified our dependency on technologies that survey, extract and optimize data-flows. This changes social, workplace, political, health and educational spheres where technical systems have become central and inescapable. Whether you book your jury via Eventbrite, join an on-line class in Zoom, get notified by your Coronalert app, chat with your colleagues in MS-Teams or work for Deliveroo, the digital expands into the physical to govern both the human and the more-than-human.
Obfuscation methods render data more ambiguous, difficult to exploit and interpret, less useful. They rely on the addition of gibberish, meaningless data; they pollute, add noise, randomize. Obfuscation invokes an intuitive form of protection: it distorts that which is visible to render it less (or in)visible. It hides the trees among the forest.
Seda Guerses is a member of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, TU Delft in the Department of Multi-Actor Systems, and also a member of Constant. Her work focuses on privacy enhancing and protective optimization technologies (PETs and POTs), privacy engineering, as well as questions around software infrastructures, social justice and political economy as they intersect with computer science. http://vous-etes-ici.net
Femke Snelting works as an artist and researcher, developing projects at the intersection of design, feminisms, and free software. In various constellations, she explores how digital tools and practices might co-construct each other. Femke is member of Constant, and collaborates as/in Possible Bodies and The Underground Division. http://snelting.domainepublic.net
With Helen Pritchard and Miriyam Aouragh, Seda and Femke initiated The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest (TITiPI), a trans-practice gathering of activists, artists, engineers and theorists. Together they convene communities to hold computational infrastructures to account and to create spaces for articulating what technologies in the “public interest” might be when “public interest” is always in-the-making. http://titipi.org