What is the function of the network in the age of pervasive surveillance, fake news, and filter bubbles? How to Internet under the First Troll President of the United States?
Internet Resistance is both a schizo-seminar about critical issues in cyberculture and a trans-media studio to develop terrible ideas for the networked society.
Term: Spring 2017
Course number: 60427
Classroom: CFA 307
Days / time: Tuesday + Thursday 06:30PM 09:20PM
Professor: Paolo Pedercini - paolop [at] andrew [dot] cmu [dot] edu
Office: School of art 419A - 4th Floor (the closet)
Office hours: By appointment
CourseWare: we will use a Facebook group, plus a tumblr collecting references to artworks and other case studies.
Intro: Deep Surfing
Plumb the depths of the World Wide Web, curate a selection artifacts that can only exist on the Internet or that can only be found and compiled through the Internet. They can be products of a sub-subculture, a new form of humor, a collection of digital ready made, indicators of an emerging trend. Present them in an artful form and explain their significance to the class.
Grading: automatic C- if somebody else in the class is already aware of your thing.
Works: Internet Surfing Clubs, #readymade.
Readings: Intro: The Dads of Tech by Astra Taylor, Joanne McNeil
Commodify your consumption (excerpt) by Curt Cloninger
Create an art made of communication. It can be a digital performance, a social network intervention, an absurd protocol, a relational work, a misuse of a communication platform, a social engineering stunt, and identity performance
Grading: D if it doesn’t include other humans, bonus if it’s non-digital or low-tech.
Works: mail art, #communicationart #identity.
Reading: Taking the Whole Earth Digital - from Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner
A class exercise: let's create and remix memes commenting on a current topic.
Grading: Same vote for the whole class! A for 10K+ views. B for 1K+ views. C for less than 1K. D/E for viral catastrophe (outrageous attention whoring, illegal stuff like bomb threats etc)
Works: #memes, a brief history of Internet memes, features and strategies.
Readings: It’s Supposed to Look Like Shit - The Internet Ugly Aesthetic Nick Douglas.
Batman, Pandaman and the Blind Man - A Case Study in Social Change Memes and Internet Censorship in China by An Xiao Mina.
Does this Meme Prove Donald Trump is a White Supremacist? by Scott Wark.
Net.art != art on the net
Create a browser plugin that radically or subtly but meaningfully alters the user’s experience.
Grading: D if it doesn’t work, C if it’s just silly.
Works: #net.art, #plugin, #browser
Readings: Introduction to net.art (1994-1999) by Natalie Bookchin, Alexei Shulgin.
Utopian Promises / Net Realities by Critical Art Ensemble 1996
Excerpt from Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff.
1) Find a creative way to make money on the Internet.
2) Make money.
1) Work as mechanical turker.
2) Employ mechanical turkers to make your art.
Grading: A $100+, B $100-$10, C $10 or less.
Reading: Excerpt from The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor.
Is There Life Beyond Money? by Franco "Bifo" Berardi.
How to Sell Digital Art an Make a Million Visits by Pau Waelder.
Analyze an algorithm that deeply and problematically affects our lives and devise an antidote to it. Present it as a work of speculative design: a site about a possibly existing or near-future artifact, envisioning its effect on society. It can be utopian or dystopian, operate by exaggeration/parody or by prefiguration.
Grading: A if somebody believes it's true.
Works: #net.art 2.0
Readings: The Internet's Original Sin by Ethan Zuckerman, Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem by Kate Crawford, Israel, Gaza, War & Data – The Art of Personalizing Propaganda by Gilad Lotan, The Conservatism of Emoji by Luke Stark and Kate Crawford, How algorithms shape our world by Kevin Slavin, The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing by Cory Doctorow, Rich User Experience, UX and Desktopization of War by Olia Lialina.
Long Screenings (scheduled flexibly throughout the semester)
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
Upon completion of the course students will be able to:
💩 Create online artworks and interventions using tactically appropriate tools.
💩 Approach critical issues related to art and cultural production in the networked age.
💩 Discuss their works in the context of new media art and in relation with pop culture.
💩 Question authority (both political and algorithmic) and problematize narratives of technological progress.
👮 Absences: you are responsible for what happens in class whether you’re here or not. Organize with your classmates to get class information and material that you have missed.
👮 Participation: you are invited, encouraged, and expected to engage actively in discussion, reflection and activities.
👮 Net addiction: you can exist for few hours without twitting, facebooking, chatting, texting, sexting or emailing. Any device for mediated communication is banned during frontal talks, crits and discussions unless specified.
👮 Assignments: late assignments are only accepted with permission of instructor. You lose 10% of your points per day late up to a max of 7 days late.