This project aims to point out that:
1. Building electronic objects can be an effective form of social argument or political protest.
2. DIY, maker culture and local artisinal productions can have strong nationalist and protectionist components to them - in some senses, populism can be seen as the rise of the DIY non-expert.
3. Critical and Speculative Design (Dunne & Raby) are worthwhile approaches within industrial design, but perhaps not adversarial enough to reply to contemporary populist right-wing movements (Brexit, Trump & Le Pen). Questions like “Is it moral to punch Nazis in the face?” should be answered with smart alternatives to violence that are provocative pieces of direct action.
4. If we are living in a post-truth time, we should focus on trying to make progressive arguments and facts more legible and engaging to a wide and diverse audience.
5. The fad of ‘Maker Culture’ is over. Arduinos and 3D printers are fascinating things, but the larger issues of what it means to be a human or a society needs to be directly confronted.
Introduction • G. Hertz
Abortion Drone • Women on Waves & Collaborators
The 79% Work Clock • J. Carreiro of PARTY New York
A Piece of the Pie Chart • A. Rüst
PeriodShare • M. Søndergaard & L. Hansen
Mixed Messages Bra • J. Hansen
Blinkini • N. Wu
Home Surgery Instructions • Barbie Liberation Organization
The Knitted Radio • E. Kurbak & I. Posch
Probots • C. Csikszentmihalyi, V. Aguiar & V. Azevedo
Backslash • P. Olivera & X. Chen
BIT Rocket • Bureau of Inverse Technology
Robotic Graffiti Writer • Institute for Applied Autonomy
Dissenting Jabots • J. Liu & C. Baumann-Jaeger
CRAF • T. Sawangdee & E. Ishikawa
Improvised Empathetic Device • M. Kenyon & D. Easterly
Gun Control • S. Kildall
Campus Carry Doorbell • SP&CE Media Lab
The Transparency Grenade • J. Oliver
THERO • R. Torre & Á. Angulo
Integrated Entropic Sanitization • M. Klapman
Phantom Kitty • N. MacAloney
Device for the Emancipation of the Landscape • M. Walker
Solar Cooker • S. Kuznetsov, S. Chung & S. Puthenpurakkal
What if Artifacts Had a Different Sort of Politics • L. Forlano
DISOBEDIENT ELECTRONICS: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (DEC 31 / 2016 DEADLINE)
The political landscape is increasingly volatile and divisive, and it appears as if social networks like Facebook have done little to create useful dialogue on complex issues of economics, immigration, race, or human rights. In some senses, liberal progressive dialogue has failed.
Objects can help illustrate our ideas in ways that words can’t, however. Objects can take on a life of their own, be deployed publicly, can initiate action, and can be legibly understood by a wide and diverse audience.
“Disobedient Electronics” is a zine-oriented publishing project that seeks submissions from industrial designers, electronic artists, hackers and makers that disobey conventions, especially work that is used to highlight injustices, discrimination or abuses of power.
Topics might include the wage gap between women and men, homophobia, racism, surveillance and privacy, human rights, economic disparity, or other issues. The work (or ideas for projects) must incorporate electronics or electricity in some way in a physical thing, with an emphasis on product prototypes, interactive sculptures, or activist-oriented electronics. This might include critical design, tactical media, adversarial design, hacker tools, participatory design prototypes, makerspace projects, pranks, physical computing, contestational robotics, agitprop, the blatantly illegal, culture jamming, objects used in civic disobedience, or something you’ve been working on in your bedroom. The work does not need to be technologically sophisticated: hacks, kludges, ‘jugaad’, or MacGuyverism is welcomed.
As a context, here is a list of some projects that would fit as “Disobedient Electronics”:
- Natalie Jeremijenko – Feral Robotic Dogs
- The Bureau of Inverse Technology – Suicide Box
- Michelle Teran – Life: A User’s Manual
- Benjamin Gaulon – Corrupt.desktop
- Critical Art Ensemble, Paul Vanouse, Faith Wilding – Radio Bikes
- Institute for Applied Autonomy – Graffiti Writer
- Survival Research Laboratories – Demanufacturing Machine
- James Pierce – Obscura 1C Camera
- Electronic Disturbance Theater – Transborder Immigrant Tool
- The Yes Men – The Survivaball Survival Suit
- The Illuminator Art Collective – The Illuminator
- Limor Fried / Ladyada – Wave Bubble Cell Phone Jammer
- Barbie Liberation Organization – Barbie / G.I. Joe Home Surgery Instructions
- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer – Updating ‘Perverting Technological Correctness’ for 2017
- Krzysztof Wodiczko: Updating ‘Interrogative Design’ Post-Trump
- Dunne & Raby: Updating ‘Critical Design’ Post-Brexit
Submissions should be short and provocative – approximately 2 pages in length per project – and must be received before December 31st 2016. Submissions can be historical work, documentation from existing projects, or sketches of new concepts – but the focus should be on explaining the object. Photos, illustrations, schematics, notes, instructions, source code, how-to’s or diagrams are welcomed. Hand-drawn notes and ideas are fine, you can submit other people’s work with their consent, and you can submit more than one thing. You are welcome to submit ideas for proposed projects with your contact information if you want collaborators or help. Contributions do not need to be in English.
In a similar spirit to my Critical Making publishing project (http://conceptlab.com/criticalmaking/) I will lovingly hand-produce approximately 300 copies of the finished publication in a zine-like format, and selected contributors will get three free copies: one special “contributor edition” and two standard handmade copies, which I can mail to people of their choice for free. I plan on giving away the remaining copies of the handmade publication to libraries, collections, and people I think are interesting and may have something to add to the conversation. In other words, the entire initial run will be given away for free.
Six months after the first edition is completed and distributed as hardcopy, the book will be put online as a freely downloadable PDF, and it may be formatted into a book that is sold commercially.
Snail-mailed contributions can be sent to me at: Garnet Hertz, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, 1399 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3R9, Canada. Scanned contributions should be at 300dpi or greater and emailed (at email@example.com) as one page per email or as a Dropbox (or similar) link. Soft copy can be sent to me as an editable file: Pages, .odt, .doc/.docx or whatever you have. If you have legally questionable work, wish to remain anonymous, or just like fax machines you can fax submissions to me at +1 (604) 630-7427. So – consider contributing something by December 31st, and in exchange I will do my best to do something interesting with it.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about whether your work fits into this project, and please feel free to forward this to people you know that have something useful to contribute.
Thanks – I’m looking forward to seeing your work,