______________________________________________________________________________________ Project Proposal
_____________ What do you want to make?
This project is taking several interlinked routes: web-based applications, command line tools, and autonomous servers and networks. Its development is tied to and informed by my research into DIY tools and methods implemented by the individuals and collectives for the purpose of either coping with the limitations imposed upon them or in search of ways to operate outside the established systems and techniques. Furthermore, the prototypes I have been working on define my project on a practical level: -- I started out by running a web server on RPi at my place and hosting a website leverburns.blue --- The flexibility and autonomy that comes with it gives me freedom and inclination to modify and try things out on it on a regular basis. -- Used Terminado to make my server terminal available via browser at leverburns.blue/x, which is also displayed on an index page. --- Executing the python script to make this happen brings some sense of vulnerability for me; exposing my server this way gets personal. At the same time it is interesting to bring a terminal in a browser setting and let others in remotely. -- Used netcat to chat and send files between machines. --- I'm drawn how to-the-point and simple this tool is. -- Tried setting up piratebox [piratebox.cc]. Although it didn't go through, I'm going to implement this idea idea in a different way, as having a local/offline server with file upload/download options is important for me in this process. -- I am hosting an Etherpad instance on my RPi at eth.leverburns.blue --- I'm using this tool more often after self-hosting it. The project and research will extend beyond graduation in form of series of publications involving prototype/process documentations [manuals], interviews, translations and findings.
_____________ How do you plan to make it?
My thesis and project are interconnected, which means further prototyping is integral to my process as my findings are reflected in my practice. As a method of developing the project I'm taking two opposite approaches simultaneously: --------- Bottom-up -- Learning python : we've used this language in past special issues and it helped us implement wide variety of ideas. -- Familiarizing myself with basic hardware/electrical engineering : to gain more understanding of hardware hacking/repair and hardware-software communication. -- Going further with command line : I use it daily and wish to explore it more. This way of working is important to me as knowing the tools gives me insights and clues to new ideas --------- Top-down -- Picking up and/or combining the chunks of already existing codes and resources to implement concrete ideas during prototyping.
_____________ What is your timetable?
-- October-December --- Keep experimenting with different tools, threading and molding these processes into specific ideas. --- Implement self-hosting practices --- Start learning Python --- Start learning the basics of hardware/electrical engineering --- Explore command line more --- Thesis research --- Draft of the 1st chapter of thesis --- Start conducting interviews -- January-February --- Focused prototyping --- Keep going with Python --- Keep going with hardware/electrical engineering --- Explore command line more --- Py.rate.chnic workshop --- Continue the thesis reasearch --- Conduct more interviews --- Prepare the first draft of the thesis -- March-April --- Write the second draft of the thesis --- Nearing the final phase of prototyping --- Write the final version of the thesis -- May-June --- Finalize the project --- Prepare for the grad show
_____________ Why do you want to make it?
'When people say "technology" these days, they generally mean IMPOSED ENVIRONMENTS.' -- Ted Nelson Technologies have specific intent behind them, they are not arbitrary or neutral, and their prevalence means us having to play on someone else's terms and in accordance to their interests. This is exacerbated in proportion to pervasiveness of a specific technological instance and the powers it allocates to the people behind it. I want to operate in a 'blank'/paranodal space, outside the established system while unavoidably being part of it in many ways. I want independence from the imposed environments and to gain flexibility while still existing within them; having an experience of building the tools from ground up and fostering the possibilities to modify them to fit my ideas and needs serves this purpose precisely. I want to make a useful tool for myself and anyone interested. This has a potential to go beyond the tool and expand/mutate/connect in a practical sense, through knowledge-sharing and setting off the conversations.
_____________ Who can help you and how?
Michael Murtaugh and Manetta Berends : technical implementation and feedback on contextualization
_____________ Relation to previous practice
Vicinity Point is a sonic equivalent of heavily pixelated/blurred images of familiar places in Dnipro [Original field recordings for the locations are available here: rb.gy/4zfqaf]; it serves as a metaphor for distorted perception of the external stimuli or to what extent it would be possible to retrieve relevant pattern when given the partial/manipulated information. The installation is also a physical manifestation of received information being dependent on where we stand in relation to the source.
-- Several years ago I made a sound installation [Vicinity point] for which i conducted a desk research on Facebook black-box and associative memory to better understand the effect of the platform on its users. The interface design in conjunction with the ways humans form and retrieve memories makes it easier to form biases and keep the users entangled in the platform. This work also involved field recordings of the prominent local [Dnipro] areas, which were later distorted and 'bent' by the installation itself. This time around i want to approach the matters from an active position, rather than solely investigating them. -- The way we used the tools out of necessity in relation to the idea during the past special issues is valuable to me, because it centers the purpose and process in its approach and not the tools themselves.
_____________ Relation to a larger context
Langdon Winner: Different ideas of social and political life entail different technologies for their realization. One can create systems of production, energy, transportation, information handling, and so forth that are compatible with the growth of autonomous, self-determining individuals in a democratic polity. Or one can build, perhaps unwittingly, technical forms that are incompatible with this end and then wonder how things went strangely wrong. The possibilities for matching political ideas with technological configurations appropriate to them are, it would seem, almost endless. If, for example, some perverse spirit set out deliberately to design a collection of systems to increase the general feeling of powerlessness, enhance the prospects for the dominance of technical elites, create the belief that politics is nothing more than a remote spectacle to be experienced vicariously, and thereby diminish the chance that anyone would take democratic citizenship seriously, what better plan to suggest than that we simply keep the systems we already have? »»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»» Ernesto Oroza: The most disobedient aspect of repair is the capacity to immortalize objects by preserving their original functions. When we repair, we establish a more complex relationship with the object; it is an undertaking that surpasses even the use of the object itself. It equalizes, in a sense, the dependence we have on objects, positioning them as subordinates to us. »»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»» Repair as an attitude and method towards disregarding object's/brand's authority by extending its lifespan and viewing it as parts [to be used later on] as well as a whole. The Critical Engineering Manifesto [...] 4. The Critical Engineer looks beyond the 'awe of implementation' to determine methods of influence and their specific effects. 5. The Critical Engineer recognises that each work of engineering engineers its user, proportional to that user's dependency upon it. [...] »»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»» This manifesto addresses the scope of impact of critical engineering and the responsibilities its implementation entails, without glorifying the latter; it seeks re-appropriation of past works from various fields.
-- Nelson, T. (2017) 9 November. Available at https://twitter.com/TheTedNelson/status/928610222544842752 (Accessed: 15 November 2020) -- The Critical Engineering Working Group (2011) The Critical Engineering Manifesto, [online]. Available at https://criticalengineering.org/ (Accessed: 15 November 2020) -- Winner, L. (2001). Autonomous technology : technics-out-of-control as a theme in political thought. Cambridge, Mass. Mit Pr. -- Oroza, E. (2016). Technological Disobedience: From the Revolution to Revolico.com, [online]. Available at http://www.technologicaldisobedience.com/2016/03/30/technological-disobedience-from-the-revolution-to-revolico-com/ (Accessed: 15 November 2020)