Hackitectura – Critical Cartography of Gibraltar

Critical Cartography of Gibraltar

Hackitectura’s map Cartografía del Estrecho (Cartography of the Straits of Gibraltar) creates an alternative understanding of the Spanish-Moroccan border region. The border is not an abstract geopolitical line but an increasingly complicated, contested space. The inversely oriented (north at the bottom) map highlights connections between southern Spain and northern Morocco to show a single region. A multitude of migrants enters Europe in flows, past motion sensors, semi-military repression and expulsion. The idea of the map is to follow the flows that already traverse the border, such as migrants, Internet data and cell phone calls, as well as capital and police. The flows reshape the very border into a border region. In this mapping project, Hackitectura and their collaborators map the border region to contest and transcend it.

Hackitectura is a group of architects, artists, computer specialists and activists founded by José Pérez de Lama, Sergio Moreno and Pablo de Soto in 1999. Their practice uses new technologies to create temporary spaces that can escape the formal structures of control and surveillance which are regulated by technological and political means in contemporary society. Inspired by hacker culture, they use free software and communication technologies to subvert established power structures through bottom-up organisation and by creating alternative connections between disparate spaces. The group often works collaboratively, carrying out research into the effects of communication and technology on physical spaces, the formation of social networks and how these can be put to work for an activist agenda.

They have collaborated with Indymedia Estrecho on mapping and creating links across the Straits of Gibraltar or Madiaq, the highly militarised zone that is the shortest distance between Africa and Europe. As part of a series of projects they established a network link that became a free public interface between the two continents creating an ‘alternative cross-border communication space’, a counter-strategy to the increasing surveillance and security regimes of the border. The project also included a series of regular events that took place on either side of the straits. Called Fada’iat or ‘through spaces’ the events included workshops, actions, and seminars bringing together migration, labour rights, gender and communication activists, political theorists, hackers, union organisers, architects and artists in a temporary media-lab that could become a permanent public interface between Tarifa and Tangiers. Combined with direct actions against the detention of migrants, for a time the event created a network of communication, action and solidarity between the two continents.

Ken Rinaldo – Paparazzi Bots

Ken Rinaldo
Paparazzi Bots
Autonomous robots

Paparazzi Bots are autonomous robots standing at the height of an average human. Comprised of multiple microprocessors, cameras, sensors, code and robotic actuators they move at the speed of a walking human, avoiding walls and obstacles while using sensors to move toward humans. They seek one thing,  to capture photos of people and to make these images available to the public elevating them to celebrity status through this momentary anointing. The robots also achieve celebrity status through their association to the famous people at Nuit Blanche that are captured by the Paparazzi Bots. Each Paparazzi Bot can make the decision to take the photos of particular people, while ignoring other humans in the exhibition, based on things such as whether or not the viewers are smiling or the shape of their smile. When the robots identify a person they stop, automatically adjust their focus and use a series of bright flashes to record that moment.

Ken Rinaldo who is an artist, theorist and author, creates interactive multimedia installations that blur the boundaries between the organic and inorganic. Integration of the organic and electro-mechanical elements asserts a confluence and co-evolution between living and evolving technological cultures. His works have been commissioned and presented nationally and internationally. Rinaldo is an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University teaching robotics, 3D modeling and animation. He directs the Art & Technology Program.

Amy Franceschini – Finger Print Maze

Amy Franceschini
Finger Print Maze

Fingerprint Maze is an art installation that uses the language of video games to let one wander through a 3D labyrinth constructed from one’s own scanned fingerprint.While playing video games with friends, Amy Franceschini imagined one day to penetrate inside her own own finger print and to find her way inside of the winding gorges one would find inside of a maze. A scanner takes the fingerprint of a participant, models it in a virtual three-dimensional maze and the image is then projected onto a wall. The participant can then enter the maze of her/his fingerprint as if it were a topiary maze.

Amy Franceschini is a pioneer in the burgeoning field of net art, an art form that is created, circulated and experienced through the Internet. She is the founder of Futurefarmers, an art and design collaborative dedicated to expressing environmental and community interests through digital media.

Franceschini helped to start Atlas, an online magazine, in 1995. She has taught at art and design in schools across the San Francisco Bay Area, including Stanford University. She has shown at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum and Transmediale in Berlin, and was invited, along with Futurefarmers, to participate in the 2000 Whitney Biennial.

Cédric Parizot & Douglas Edric Stanley – A Crossing Industry

A Crossing Industry is a videogame on the informal border economy that has emerged over the last 20 years between the West Bank and Israel. This informal economy has developped in reaction to the tightening of Israeli mechanisms of control. While providing ways to circumvent movement restrictions, it has also set up a parallel system of movement regulation. Smugglers and facilitators have become informal regulating authorities aside of the State of Israel. Drawing from the data collected during ethnographic fielwork investigations (2000-2010), the game simulates this complex borderscape. It is produced by an anthropologist, Cedric Parizot, a digital artist, Douglas Edric Stanley, and students from the Higher School of Art of Aix en Provence. At the cross road between research and art, it explores how simulators, such as video games, can disseminate research analysis in ways the linear narratives produced by books and articles cannot.

Authors: Cédric Parizot – anthropologist, researcher at the CNRS, Institut de Recherche et d’Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (AMU, Aix en Provence) and Douglas Edric Stanley – digital artist and lecturer (Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence)

Students at Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence: Tristan Fraipont, Emilie Gervais, Matthieu Gonella, Martin Greffe, Bastien Hude

Iconography: Matthieu Gonella