CODE: Reclaiming Digital Agency, towards better policies for the digital public sphere, was a follow up event co-organised by the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe and IMPAKT Center for Media Culture. This was held and streamed at Are Electronic Festival 2021, on September 10, 2021. With this sharing, we presented the results of a social hackathon and invited tech policy analyst Frederike Kaltheuner to share on issues of privacy and notions of freedom in our digital public sphere.
Presentation of Prototypes
The four groups of participants presented their prototypes at CODE:
by Fred Wordie, Kwan Suppaiboonsuk, Ola Bonati and Timo Meilof
GOOGLESS is a project that draws attention to the omnipresence of google on the internet. GOOGLESS aims at pushing alternative tools that don’t rely on the google platform, while educating on Google’s problematic aspects in a playful but provocative way.
It's Time to Play a New Game
by Harm Hofmans, Etta Jeanne Harkness-Bartholdi, Jeroen Witjes, Arjon Dunnewind, and Rachel Uwa
An alternative card deck that creates awareness around existing economic and informational power structures and the dominant role of big tech. This project functions as a conversation starter: an entertaining way to envision and discuss thoughtful remedies and alternatives to the current status quo
Making Invisible Visible
by Jennifer Jiang, Dana Foth, Merel Noorlander, Sanne van Deijl, Alice Dallinga, Adriaan Bernstein, and Alistair Alexander
An evocative intervention that brings the reality of online tracking to the physical space through personal encounters. Being offline doesn't mean you can not be tracked!
by Lizzie Reid, Pierre Depaz, Sara Žišković, Stephanie Walravens, Saeeda Saeed, Lukas Hondrich, Sarah Haffar, Helin Ulas, and Luna Al Bondakji
A campaign about the dangers of new dystopian tech being used on the European borders in order to track and capture migrants. Smart Border is also a call to action: it encourages the general public to support the campaign to change the AI act to ensure a more just regulation with respect for human rights.
Keynote: Frederike Kaltheuner
Frederike Kaltheuner gave a very thoughtful and insightful presentation on the realities we face in exercising civic agency in policy change. For instance, big tech firms such as Google spend about 5.8 million euros in lobbying EU institutions, seeking to exercise say over how policies are made. Which begged the question, Kaltheuner asked on how one can compete with ever growing lobby budgets? With that in mind, she provided to suggest ways to rework our present trajectories, which include creating conditions for alternative visions to emerge and thrive, to ensure enforcement measures are being put in place, for emerging trends and issues to be reflected in legislation, and having strong societal foundations - for our datafied societies.
For all these to take place, civil society as a whole has a part to play in ensuring our fundamental, data rights and consumer protection measures are upheld, by holding governments accountable. She proceeded to share about the near future of commercial surveillance and what we might face as datafied societies, and how we could address that. With that sobering sharing in mind, in reclaiming our digital agency as interrelated communities, we have to grasp the implications of (sophisticated) technological infrastructures and how it implicates us. From there, craft our responses.
Our team is presently in the process of continuing our budding engagements with politicians, artists and citizens on both the German and Dutch side, with Project CODE NL-D. We are also planning for a showcase at Dutch Design Week 2021 in Eindhoven, Netherlands, with an online exhibition planned for end October. Stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, we welcome your thoughts and inputs on how to enable dynamic dialogue channels - hit us up with ideas!
School of MA x
13 Sept 2021