WINDOWS
16/06/17
Basel
What
User Manual

Software is real. For all indications we are otherwise given, computer sofware arises through the efforts of organisations and management, the orchestration of many hands typing, many neurons absorbing the productive energies of human metabolism, and many hours spent being tutored, or self-tutoring, in the arts of computation. Equally real, actual, and material are the effects of these algorithmic parcels, the labours of distribution and advertising, commerce and marketing and marketeering that help get software into the soiled hands and plebeian hard drives of “users”.

We were perhaps never more aware of the efforts and energies that go into software products and services than when these were things that were purchased in storefronts with window dressings, from vendors and salespeople with geo-tractable jobs. Early versions of these things were over-sized, mostly air-filled cardboard boxes, a physical-asynchronous interface between computer user and software producer. As capitalism liquidises itself, will we come to miss the earnestness of these anachronistic, over-the-counter purchases? For software and its distribution, the cycle of design, production, packaging, physical distribution and consummation has now almost entirely disappeared itself behind a curtain of “apps” and “app stores”. Almost.

WINDOWS

WINDOWS is an invitational installation in the front window of the COMPUTER + SOFTWARE store in Basel. Moritz Greiner-Petter and Jamie Allen asked a set of 16 artists and friends to design a software box for our contemporary digital era. Participating artists include, alphabetically by first name: Aram Bartholl, Benoît Verjat, Bernhard Garnicnig, Ciara Phillips, Constant Dullaart, Evan Roth, Geraldine Juárez, Ishac Bertran, Jan Robert Leegte, Peter Moosgaard, Phillip Stearns, Pussykrew, Rosa Menkman, Sebastian Schmieg, Suzanne Treister, Windows93.

The exhibition opens on June 16th, 2017 and runs through the end of that month. An exhibition opening, performance and lecture are taking place on June 16th, in collaboration with Plattfon Stampa, a local record store that offers music and media that falls outside of the mainstream, online at www.plattfon.ch.

In 1984, the first software retail store opened in Basel, Switzerland. Now called “COMPUTER + SOFTWARE”, it has offered competent advice and high quality products for well over thirty years. Offering computer software and hardware, the shop also still offers hard-to-find accessories and legacy products, maintaining a product range that dates to the early days of personal computing culture. The location in the area of Basel that baseldeutsch renders us as Glaibasel, or “Little Basel”, is a living archive of disappearing cultures and artefacts of software production, software labour and the material exchange these require and allow. Online, COMPUTER + SOFTWARE maintains a spartan presence at www.computer-software.ch.

Boxes of Software

There was a time when bandwidth and a lineage of publishing practices meant that in order to purchase software, you went to a bookstore or an office supply shop. There, you would find a helpful clerk — a human being — who would attempt to match your verbally articulated needs with an appropriate application, software product. In ‘shopping around’ in this way, the user or consumer was connected, albeit indirectly, with the industry and labour that lies behind software. Software is distributed, but only via the activities of human beings, and the physical machines and energetic capital they make and activate. Someone makes all this stuff, all these applications, all these tools for reading, accounting, writing, emailing, authoring, tracking, creating.

As there are no longer disks or hardware to buy, sell, rent, borrow or exchange anymore — the meatspace of moving bodies and civic engagements in streets, houses, bars, street corners and public spaces finds less and less a part in the culture of software which floats “above it,” where we all, erroneously imagine ‘the cloud’ to reside. Artists like Microradio pioneer Tetsuo Kogawa, and his purposefully short-distance radio broadcast projects proved that technologies of distribution can indeed be used to bring people together. The software box is a similar locus — a boundary object that presences what is exchanged when people put their energies and ideas into the digital language of code. Like microradio is a good excuse for a radio party, software boxes are a good excuse for a software party. They are the demonstration-objects of a domesticated demo-scene, the everyday pedestrian packaging of personal computer clubs.

In cultures of contemporary creative production (‘digital art’ and ‘internet art’, as well as their ‘post-’ variants) our links to those that produce platforms and tools of creative production have largely been cleaved. Our ability to maintain an awareness, as artists and audiences, of the industrious individuals and environments which subtend the aesthetic and conceptual potentials of personal, digital, networked and mobile computation is subverted by the ‘one-click’ app download, and the instantaneous, continuous update. ‘Appification’, and with it the economics of ‘plat-forming’ bring about not only a fragmentation of labour and function, but also a flattening and homogenization of all production, artistic creativity included. The app icon as the ‘boiled down’ software box of today is one obvious sign of this harmonising aesthetic monoculture. Artistic interest in the ‘app’ as a reformatting of creative practice has been rendered explicit by projects such as The Imaginary App by Paul D. Miller and Svitlana Matviyenko. As well, post-digital and post-Internet art practices show active interest in the perfidy of materials as exhibition-oriented manifestations of online, digital and software ‘objects’. WINDOWS develops a design-historical connection to the precursors and productive industries of software. In creating comparative disjunctions between current and prior software ‘packaging,’ the product-object aspects of software are brought to the fore. Software, computing platforms, media communications are drawn out of the cloud, and back into the box.

The hours of work, and billions of clicks and keytaps, that go into the software that underlies digital culture is disappeared when the ‘product’ is obfuscated beneath a myriad of click-purchased, incremental updates, and service-signups. We no longer exchange capital for labour, we ‘sign up’ for a lifetime of potential associations and bank account seepage. The Adobe Creative Suite (a set of tools through which most art, design and media production flows inevitably seep these days) is no longer available as a single license, but requires subscription and membership — a forced buy-in to software development and update cycle, an ideology, that is as abstract as it is infinite. Meanwhile, behind this system lay an army of engineers and programmers, computer scientists, designers, developers and advertisers. This is to say nothing of the computers, servers and routers machines that also ‘labour’ to host and distribute these codebases, and with which we also now have life-long relations but very little conscious awareness or contact. The shopfront is a login screen, and the economies of digitality lay with the micro-payment and the auto-renewed bank withdrawal; a kind of anti-economy, where exchange itself disappears beneath a cloudy haze; nobody knows what they are working for, or paying for. We buy gas, and we purchase milk… but we “sign up” for software.

There have been many attempts, most cumbersome, to return the material to software systems and their use — from the ‘license dongle’ which for a brief period in the 1990s was what granted ‘keyed’ access to expensive software systems; to the numerous attempts by creative coders and digital designers to ‘render media physical,’ by printing out sound files and physically rendering and extruding film frames. In each of these cases, the physical world interrupts (either intentionally or unintentionally) what would otherwise (dis)appear as seamless economic flow. Fragments of functionality and liquid labour vascularise exchange into the unassailable mist of atomised capital.

Partners

WINDOWS is a project by Jamie Allen and Moritz Greiner-Petter.

Special thanks to Claudia Wenger (COMPUTER + SOFTWARE) and Michi Zaugg (Plattfon).

Funded by the Department of Culture Basel-City.

Supported by the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM) / Academy of Art and Design FHNW.

Who
Aram Bartholl

Never Worry Again

Amazon Dash is an Internet connected button to make online shopping as simple as possible. The ‘click-buy’ interface from the website becomes a real button. For each brand series Amazon offers a different button which, when pressed will result in the delivery of a single product. “Never worry again” [to run out of soap, shampoo or chocolate etc.] was the slogan Amazon used advertise this new invention in Spring 2016.

With each button press a complicated chain of logistics and automation is triggered. A hyper optimized series of commands is issued through networks, software, robots and low wage workers to make the perfect delivery chain work. We don‘t understand in detail how all this works. Where does the product come from? Who made it? How many robots or low wage workers were involved or what is their condition? We just press a button and like magic a new consumer good appears a day later.

The current worldwide drone war works in a similar way. Drone operations are highly automated and distributed among a series of specialists with different tasks. Only very few officials get the whole picture. Who and why someone is attacked? The drone soldier in a bunker in Nevada (or else where) who presses the button to kill certainly doesn’t know.

All we know is that these soon to be automated wars are taking place to ‘protect’ our ‘freedom’ to consume, to make sure the people in the western world keep buying more products every day.

Aram Bartholl's work creates an interplay between internet, culture and reality. How do our taken-for-granted communication channels influence us? Bartholl asks not just what humans are doing with media, but what media is doing with humans. Tensions between public and private, online and offline, techno-lust and everyday life are at the core of his work and his public interventions and installations, often entailing surprisingly physical manifestations of the digital world, challenge our concepts of reality and incorporeality. Bartholl has exhibited at MoMA Museum of Modern Art NY, the Pace Gallery NY and London's Hayward Gallery as well as conducting countless workshops, talks and performances internationally. Bartholl lives and works in Berlin.

http://datenform.de

Benoît Verjat

‘Don’t be so close to the TV! Step back!’ Children tend to be too close to the screens. Charles, my nephew, was one day so close to my phone that both of us could not see the interface. I installed a drawing app and asked him to interact with his nose so his face could be as close as possible to the screen. We started to alter images with a smudge tool (similar to the one you got in Gimp with a finger for icon). The nose became the finger, and from that I asked my friends to draw with their nose on my phone. For WINDOWS the box is about an imaginary OS which will take the nose as the main interaction device. With eyes so close, all you see on the screen would be some blurry coloured shapes that help you to navigate through the function and menus of your phone.

Benoît Verjat is a designer and researcher concerned with real time interactions. In various contexts and format including performance, debate, workshop, politics or scientific research how visual representation can be summon or created at the speech speed via situated instruments? For "demo" purpose he produces "alibis" — images meant to show the specificity of the instrument — who often refer to painting, history of representation and image making techniques.

http://benoit.verjat.com
http://dcfvg.com

Bernhard Garnicnig

John Baldessari for the Big Data / Big Disillusionment Generation. While the 1970s afforded us to look for minimalist lines in Baldessaris photographs, today we seek relevant data and facts in simulations of spontaneity and concurrence. And so it seems that throwing four balls in the air is a similarly relevant instrument of making statements and predictions like the heuristic models of statistical supercomputing, which rely on simplifying complexity to make the world as a system computable.

Bernhard Garnicnig currently works on building emancipatory institutional and corporate surfaces as structures of aesthetic collaboration and political agency and on earnest attempts at making paradoxical things work to see what happens. He is the current Very Artistic Director of the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien, a historic site for futuristic art; he co-founded continent., a journal and publishing collective for thinking through media and the Bregenz Biennale, a festival for ephemeral public art in the town he was born. He is the director of Supergood, a lifestyle brand and catering service that exists in the ambiguous space between product and performance.

http://bernhardgustavanton.com

Ciara Phillips

Ciara Phillips uses printmaking and other forms of making – photography and textiles - as a way to instigate discussion around current social and political concerns. Her artworks combine the bold graphic language of printed forms of public address (such as informational posters and billboards) with more intimate visual imagery including photographs of her friends at work, and objects that surround her. Phillips often creates context-specific installations that foreground exhibition spaces as places for collaborative thinking and working. In her ongoing project Workshop (2010 – ) she transforms galleries into a spaces of simultaneous production and display which she invites others (artists, designers, community groups, children) to collaborate with her in making new artworks. Phillips has exhibited widely internationally and in 2014 she was nominated for the UK's Turner Prize.

http://www.ciaraphillips.com

Constant Dullaart

DullDream™ by DullTech™ is a series of experiments appropriating neural network image recognition technology to make visual representation less interesting. Can machine learning help us desensitize? Our impactful lives are clogging up social media feeds with unique filter settings, leaving us nostalgic for a vanilla future. Can machine learning help us achieve this? Take the excitement out of our lives, prepare us for a time where we will all have to be the same, have the same value’s and culture? Painting a future where the Dull is no longer a dream but a nightmare?

Constant Dullaart‘s (NL, 1979) practice reflects on the broad cultural and social effects of communication and image processing technologies, from performatively distributing artificial social capital on social media to completing a staff-pick Kickstarter campaign for a hardware start-up called Dulltech™. His work includes websites, performances, routers, installations, startups, armies, and manipulated found images, frequently juxtaposing or consolidating technically dichotomized presentation realms.

Recent solo exhibitions include Synthesising the Preferred Inputs, Future Gallery, Berlin; Deep Epoch, Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam; The Possibility of an Army, Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt; Jennifer in Paradise, Futura, Prague; The Censored Internet, Aksioma, Ljubljana (2015); Stringendo, Vanishing Mediators at Carroll / Fletcher, London; Brave New Panderers, XPO gallery, Paris (2014); Jennifer in Paradise, Future Gallery, Berlin; Jennifer in Paradise, Import Projects, Berlin (2013) and Onomatopoeia, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2012). Group exhibitions include Then They Form Us, MCA, Santa Barbara; When I Give, I Give Myself, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; Algorithmic Rubbish, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2015); Casting a Wide net, Postmasters, NYC, USA; Online/Offline/Encoding Everyday Life, Transmediale, Berlin (2014); Online Mythologies, Polytechnic Museum, Moscow; Genius without talent, de Appel, Amsterdam (2012); A Painting Show, Autocenter, Berlin (2011). Dullaart has curated several exhibitions and lectured at universities and academies throughout Europe, most currently at the Werkplaats Typografie. Recently he has been awarded the Prix Net-Art 2015.

http://constantdullaart.com/

Evan Roth

In Landscapes, an exploration into the physicality of the Internet is used as a gateway to enter nature and better understand the cultural shifts brought about by the increasingly frequent demands of technology.

Evan Roth is an artist based in Paris whose practice visualizes and archives typically unseen aspects of rapidly changing communication technologies. Through a range of media from sculpture to websites, the work addresses the personal and cultural effects surrounding these changes and the role of individual agency within the media landscape. Roth’s work has been exhibited at the Tate, Whitechapel Gallery and is the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art NYC.

http://evan-roth.com/

Geraldine Juárez

HI-FI GEO

“It is neoliberalism, rather than merely ‘denialism’, that needs to be defeated. If we fail in this task, we might as well get used to the murky, synthetic sunlight of a user-pays atmosphere.” – “Beyond Denial” – Philip Mirowski, Jeremy Walker and Antoinette Abboud.

HI-FI GEO is a fictional videogame based on “Earthmasters: The dawn of the age of climate engineering” by Clive Hamilton and “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis.

In the past-present future, financial markets use microwave technology to send and exchange capital in the form of signals, but these signals don’t travel well in bad weather conditions. GEO have the power to control climate phenomena and open small windows of time where financial signals can be captured to redistribute global wealth. In order to communicate with GEO and complete the mission, the user need to learn dance rituals to command the sun, water, wind and fire.

The artwork of the videogame box was commissioned to Jaime Ruelas, the legendary illustrator of the flyers and mixtape art of the mexican soundsystem POLYMARCHS, a group of DJs active in México back in the time where users needed CDs and peripherals such as Powerglove and Dancepad to play videogames.

Lamin Fofana, a DJ and music producer based in Berlin, created the soundtrack of the game, which is available in a limited edition of 50 CDs.

Geraldine Juárez (MX) is an artist working with stories, histories and contexts about media technologies and its related technics and economics.

Recent group exhibitions include ‘University of Disaster’, Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavillion, Venice; ‘Situations/ Placeholder’, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; ‘Works for Radio’, Cinemateket, Copenhagen, Denmark; ‘Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema & Art, 1905-2016’, Whitney Museum of American, New York, USA.

Her writing has been published in The Radiated Book (Constant,2016), Intercalations 3: Reverse Hallucinations from the Archipielago (K.Verlag, 2017) and Scapegoat, Journal for Architecture, Landscape and Political Economy (2017).

Geraldine lives and works in Gothenburg, Sweden.

http://geraldine.juarez.se

Ishac Bertran

In the 90s a group of researchers was put together to investigate new literary formats that would help dissemination of new ideas. After two years of research, the group defined three templates that were proven to spread messages faster than any existing format, and with a deeper power of influence.

The first known case of mass distribution using those formats goes back to 1994, when thousands of leaflets were printed from skyscrapers in the main US cities during a presidential campaign. The new templates, combined with technological advances in digital printing, became a new standard for communication that changed media and society forever.

BubbleUp was the first commercial product to appear in the market in 1996.

Ishac Bertran is a designer and artist from Barcelona, currently living in New York. His work revolves around the relationship between people and technology. In recent years he has combined freelance work for clients with self-driven projects. As an interaction designer, he specializes in envisioning and prototyping future scenarios that often involve emerging technologies. He enjoys looking toward the future as well as learning from the past to better understand our culture. Through art he investigates the aesthetics of nature, physics and more recently, computation. He finds beauty in complex systems that are driven by simple principles.

http://ishback.com

Jamie Allen

Elements*

There very fact that there is a term for the cyclical imbalances that occur when you discover you have something that everybody wants — “resource curse” — is telling of the routine and presupposed inevitability of the disparities that accompany discovery, extraction, exploitation, wealth and poverty driven by crescendos of material resource demand. Compelled by the conjoined compulsions of market trend, consumer desire and technological “progress”, resource curses are today tightly coupled to software application stack architectures. Each new piece of code, every new algorithm, all these expanded data stores are necessarily backwardly compatible with deeply entrenched trajectories of matter and manufacturing. These dirty digital systems, new services and devices, always call back to the mined, processed and purified elemental material precursors that they run on. The execution of software is bound to the requirements of silicon computation, copper communication and lithium power.

* Not to be confused with ADOBE Elements

Jamie Allen is a Canadian researcher, artist, designer and teacher, interested in what technologies teach us about who we are as individuals, cultures and societies. He likes to make things with his head and hands, and has worked as an electronics engineer, a polymer chemist and a museum designer in NYC. He lectures, publishes and exhibits worldwide. He lives in Europe, works on art and technology projects, writes a bit, and tries to engage himself with and create prefigurative institutions which that are generous and collaborative, acknowledging that friendship, passion and love are central to artistic, research and knowledge practices. His PhD (summa cum laude) was supervised by Siegfried Zielinski and Avital Ronell. He is Senior Researcher at the Critical Media Lab in Basel, Switzerland.

http://jamieallen.com

Jan Robert Leegte

The Internet is dead, long live the Internet! With the coming of the web in the nineties, the Internet transformed from an idealistic dream to the machine of power it is now. A beautiful child with all its naive quirks, that you lovingly smiled upon has now grown up, with grown-up problems of a global scale. On the one visible side every inch is being commodified, while on the dark side, states and hackers are in an all out war for power. Back at art school in the late nineties I made my first home connection with the Internet using a Compuserve service. It came on a nice CD-ROM, with the text, “Try the Internet!”, that came with a magazine. A world of total anarchy on a corporate plastic disk.

Jan Robert Leegte (born 1973, The Netherlands) started working as an artist on the Internet in 1997. In 2002, he shifted his main focus to implementing digital materials in the context of the physical gallery space, aiming to bridge the online art world with the gallery art world, making prints, sculpture, installations and projections, connecting to historical movements like land art, minimalism and conceptualism. As an artist Leegte explores the position of the new materials put forward by the (networked) computer. Photoshop selection marquees, scrollbars, Google Maps, code and software are dissected for their sculptural properties.

His work has been exhibited internationally (Lux, Whitechapel Gallery, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). He is currently represented by Upstream Gallery Amsterdam.

Jan Robert Leegte lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

http://www.leegte.org

Moritz Greiner-Petter

Oulipo Office

In the history of computing the office has been the primal scene for domesticating personal computers and its users alike. The office is the scriptorium of mundane literature – recommendation letters and meeting notes, invoices and annual reports, drafts of drafts of drafts of emails.

The personal computer spawned a digitisation of the tools of workaday creative labour – not to be mistaken for the automation of work itself. In a homogenous ecology of provided tools and working styles clerks and poets become subject to virtually the same working environments. To create is to become the secretary of your imagination and imagination becomes bound to the labouriousness of software virtuosity.

In the spirit of Oulipean techniques of constrained and automatic writing, Oulipo Office proposes new structures and patterns for business-literary work. It is where poetry and computation meet and administration conflates with literary creativity. To cherish and obey arbitrary rule sets in the creation of literary works exposes the arbitrariness of language and formats of expression, and outwits the fetishisation of human creativity. Oulipo Office shows the formatting of language and creativity at work.

Oulipo Office is the workshop for potential office automation.

Moritz Greiner-Petter is designer and researcher with a background in visual communication and digital media design. He is junior researcher at the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures (IXDM) Basel. As a researcher and practitioner he is exploring the media aesthetics and epistemes of information technologies through design practice. His work takes the form of speculative artifacts and interactive prototypes, experimental publishing formats as well as writing.

http://jammersplit.de

Peter Moosgaard

Box from Cast Away (Replica)

Cast Away is one of the weirdest cases of product placement: In the white mans struggle agains the forces of nature, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is aided by stranded fedex boxes, which represent the western commodity and its worldwide availability (including famous volleyball “Wilson” a weird syncretism of a totem, and a product, and a companion). It is in total seclusion, where western man has to finally embrace animism to fight his isolation, but towards his commodities and sponsors. The last remaining gap of irony between us and our physical products is finally dissolved: in total empathy we too cry for sponsor Wilson, he was our last companion in global wilderness. Not only within the narrative of the film, but also in infrastructure FedEx invested over 54 Million Dollars to implement the story of a delivery guy who – after being rescued and alienated – delivers one last parcel he took with him from the island, demonstrating the reliability of the employee. My box is a replica of the Fedex Prop in Cast Away – a film about corporate totemism when left to ones own devices. A magical parcel never to be opened.

Peter Moosgaard lives and works in Vienna, Austria. Graduated in Digital Arts (MA) in 2012, he first studied Philosophy and Linguistics, and later Visual Media at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Class Prof. Peter Weibel. He is a member of the international activist group WochenKlausur since 2007 and co-founded the experimental TRAUMAWIEN publishing in 2010. Moosgaard worked as a journalist, janitor, teacher and dj. He has had exhibitions and performances in Istanbul, Stockholm, Athens, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Brussels, Basel and many more. Currently he is a PhD Candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Austria and his research focuses on Cargo Cults and Shanzahi as global, postdigital strategies.

http://cargoclub.tumblr.com

Phillip Stearns

OPEN VAULT: RELICS OF AN IMAGINED FUTURE PRESENT

A selection of software retail package designs made for the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence cyber weapons from the Vault 7 leaks published by WikiLeaks.

Unknown to most, we are in the midst of a rapidly escalating global cyber war. This war isn’t one with clearly defined borders or groups. Rather, there is a diverse ecology of individuals, criminal groups, private organizations and companies, state sponsored groups, and government intelligence organizations all operating with their own agendas.

Cyber warfare involves the deployment of cyber weapons, or weaponized malicious software (malware) against targets. The motivations are as diverse as those operating on the frontlines. High profile attacks covered by the media have resulted in power outages in Ukraine, Internet Outages in Libya, Destruction of Uranium Enriching Centrifuges in Iran, Ransomware attacks on British National Health Service, Internet Service disruptions due to Distributed Denial of Service Attacks on DYN’s Domain Name System servers to attacks on voter registries in the US as well as phishing attacks on US and French presidential campaigns.

The boxes in this project represent only a handful of actual cyber weapons developed by the CIA. Knowledge of the CIA’s cyber arsenal was first made public by Wikileaks on March 7th, 2017:

“Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.” -- wikileaks.org

Many of the CIA’s cyber weapons revealed by the leaks were in active development which included several ZeroDay vulnerabilities, those that software or hardware developers are unaware of and have not patched or corrected. In addition to having extensive research capabilities for seeking out these vulnerabilities and developing its own exploits, there is evidence that the CIA was actively collaborating with Britain’s Mi5 as well as tapping into research done by broader Information Security and hacking communities.

The CIA isn’t alone in developing cyber arms development. There is a growing cyber arms market, with several hundreds of companies globally developing and peddling cyber weapons and cyber “security” services. A recent article by the New York Times Magazine covering the Italian group Hacking Team reveals that many of these companies operate in obscurity, selling their wares directly to governments, not all of whom have clean human rights abuse records.

The Vault 7 leaks are significant, not only because they reveal the scope of the CIA’s involvement in developing cyber weapons, but that they lost control of the arsenal. Knowledge of these vulnerabilities and exploits could easily spread to malicious actors who could then deploy widespread cyber attacks as evidenced by the recent ransomware attacks on the NHS. The WannaCry ransomware attack is a direct result of a leak by the hacking group Shadow Brokers of a pair of ZeroDay exploits developed by the NSA targeting the Windows operating system.

Cyber arms deals do not involve the exchange of physical equipment like conventional arms deals. Agreements happen over encrypted channels, oftentimes using cryptocurrencies. These activities are kept far from public eyes. Leaks, like Vault 7 and others are oftentimes the only way the general public to become informed of the current situation. However, the highly technical and immaterial nature of cyber warfare creates barriers to broad efforts to increase public awareness of the dynamics behind the headline-making attacks.

This collection of software boxes imagines what these cyber weapons might look like if sold in a public commercial space using some of the visual language of cultural tropes referenced, hinted at, or suggested by their names. They are relics of an imagined future present.

Phillip David Stearns (USA, 1982) holds a MFA from Cal Arts in Music Composition and Integrated Media (2007) and a BS from University of Colorado @ Denver in Music Industry Studies: Sound Recording (2005). His work is centered on the use of electronic technologies and electronic media to explore dynamic relationships between ideas and material as mobilized within complex and interconnected societies. Deconstruction, reconfiguration, and extension are key methodologies and techniques employed in the production of works that range from audio visual performances, electronic sculptures, light and sound installation, digital textiles, and other oddities both digital and material.

http://phillipstearns.com

Pussykrew

Pussykrew is an interdisciplinary duo of Tikul and mi$ gogo.

Their creative practices range from multimedia installations, 3D imagery, videoclips and audio-visual performance, to DIY electronics and sculpture design.

Pussykrew is originally from Poland, developed globally via Ireland, UK, Berlin, Brussels, Shanghai and online environment.

Pussykrew explores post-human concepts, corporeal aesthetics, urban landscapes and fluid identities with their synthetic-organic notions, constantly searching for liminal states within the digital realm.

Pussykrew is creating gender-bending visual journeys, filtered through carnal data mesh, liquid dysphoria and 3D fantasy shuffle. Pussykrew pieces are known for their multi-sensory purposes and physical affection.

Pussykrew works are being presented in various contexts - at digital arts and film festivals, independent art spaces, renown institutions, club environments, as well as commercial events, tech fairs and galleries.

Pussykrew have worked with Boiler Room / x House of Vans, Converse, Hugo, Mini, WARP Records and performed live visuals for numerous international music artists (such as Angel Haze, Kelela, Evian Christ, Kode9, Nguzunguzu.. )

Pussykrew loves dynamic surroundings, interactive spaces, discoveries and future scenarios.

http://niochnioszki.net

Rosa Menkman

DCT ENCRYPTION

Resolutions determine what is read and what is illegible. DCT ENCRYPTION uses the aesthetics of JPEG macroblocks to mask its secret message as error. The legibility of an encrypted message does not just depend on the complexity of the encryption algorithm, but also on the placement of the data of the message. The encrypted message, hidden on the surface of the image is only legible by the ones in the know; anyone else will ignore it like dust on celluloid.

How Not to be Read, a recipe using DCT:

  • Choose a lofi JPEG base image on which macroblocking artifacts are slightly apparent. This JPEG will serve as the image on which your will write your secret message.
  • If necessary, you can scale the image up via nearest neighbour interpolation, to preserve hard macroblock edges of the base image.
  • Download and install the DCT font
  • Position your secret message on top of the JPEG. Make sure the font has the same size as the macroblock artifacts in the image
  • Flatten the layers (image and font) back to a JPEG. This will make the text no longer selectable and readable as copy and paste data.

Rosa Menkman is a Dutch artist, curator and researcher, focusing on noise artifacts that result from accidents in both analogue and digital media (such as glitch, encoding and feedback artifacts). She believes that these artifacts can facilitate an important insight into the otherwise obscure alchemy of standardization via resolutions. This process of imposing efficiency, order and functionality does not just involve the creation of protocols and solutions, but also entails black-boxed, obfuscated compromises and alternative possibilities that are in danger of staying forever unseen or even forgotten.

http://rosa-menkman.blogspot.ch

Sebastian Schmieg

While technology is often described as an extension of our body, my software box hints at a reversed relationship: digital workers as software extensions.

The ubiquitous network and the computerisation of everything have not only blurred the lines between bots and people – in fact, supposedly autonomous programs are sometimes people that have to act as if they were software. This development has also made it very easy for everyone to hire, program and retire humans as part of any workflow: bodies and minds that can be plugged in, be re-wired, and be discarded as one sees fit.

Sebastian Schmieg examines the ways networked technologies shape online and offline realities, in artworks that range from shredded hard-drives from a Google datacenter to crowd-sourced versions of popular self-help books using Amazon's Kindle. His output encompasses websites, videos, interface performances, lectures, online interventions, print-on-demand books or neural networks. His artistic practice currently revolves around digital labor, optimization and the amalgamation of humans and software. Previously his work has been exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; Transmediale, Berlin, Germany; Art Center Nabi, Seoul, South Korea; and Bitforms Gallery, New York, USA. Sebastian Schmieg lives and works in Berlin.

http://sebastianschmieg.com

Suzanne Treister

Survivor (F)/Interplanetary Sex Station 01/Software

For this WINDOWS exhibition I have made a new design for an imaginary software box, based on an image from my currently ongoing project, SURVIVOR (F).

Between 1993-1994 I made about 50 works for a project called, SOFTWARE: Would you recognise a Virtual Paradise? This group of works were constructed from cardboard boxes and actual floppy discs which were both painted or covered in other materials. Each software package imagined a different coded or virtual scenario, were it possible for the disc to be inserted into a computer’s disc drive, which it was not. See: http://www.suzannetreister.net/Software/Software.html

This new work imagines code for a post-apocalyptic scenario where sex takes place only in outer space between interplanetary species, which may or may not include the human race.

Suzanne Treister (b.1958 London UK) studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1978-1981) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981-1982) based in London having lived in Australia, New York and Berlin. Initially recognized in the 1980s as a painter, she became a pioneer in the digital/new media/web based field from the beginning of the 1990s, making work about emerging technologies, developing fictional worlds and international collaborative organisations. Utilising various media, including video, the internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing and watercolour, Treister has evolved a large body of work which engages with eccentric narratives and unconventional bodies of research to reveal structures that bind power, identity and knowledge. Often spanning several years, her projects comprise fantastic reinterpretations of given taxonomies and histories that examine the existence of covert, unseen forces at work in the world, whether corporate, military or paranormal.

http://www.suzannetreister.net

Windows93

Windows93 is run by Jankenpopp and Zombectro.

http://www.windows93.net

Where
Display

16–30 June 2017

In the shop window of
COMPUTER + SOFTWARE

Klybeckstrasse 76
CH-4057 Basel

Facebook event

Opening

Friday
16 June 2017, 7PM

PLATTFON Record Store

Feldbergstrasse 48
CH-4057 Basel

With a lecture by Peter Moosgaard & Jamie Allen and a performance by Phillip Stearns.

WINDOWS