Berlin · december 12 · 2015:

STUNTS: Distributed, Playful and Disruptive

The 6th event of the Disruption Network Lab at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Studio 1, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin. Directed by Tatiana Bazzichelli.

Event funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin.
In cooperation with Kunstraum Kreuzberg /Bethanien. With the support of the Free Chelsea Manning Initiative Berlin. In collaboration with SPEKTRUM and Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art.

After Conference at SPEKTRUM, Bürknerstraße 12, Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Entrance 5€. In English language.


Artists, hackers, mythmakers and disrupters present and discuss political stunts, interventions, pranks and viralities.


STUNTS concludes the series of conference events of the Disruption Network Lab in 2015. Political stunts as an artistic and activist practice generate criticism by creating distributed, playful and disruptive interventions. Artists, hackers, mythmakers, hoaxers, critical thinkers and disrupters present practices of mixing the codes, creating disturbance, subliminal interventions, giving raise to paradoxes, fakes and pranks. Subversion, disruption and disorder have been performed as a critique of the status quo by many underground projects in the course of the past decades. How can subversive actions happen today, in the context of increasingly invasive corporations and government agencies, after the NSA scandal?


Programme · Saturday December 12 · 2015

16:30-18:00 · KEYNOTE

John Law (original member, The Suicide Club, Cacophony Society; co-founder, Billboard Liberation Front and Burning Man Festival, USA). Moderated by Marie Lechner (journalist and researcher, FR).

18:30-20:30 · PANEL

Mustafa Al-Bassam (alias Tflow, former core member, LulzSec, UK), Jean Peters (co-founder, Peng! collective, DE), M. C. McGrath (founder, Transparency Toolkit, USA/DE), Andrea Natella (former Luther Blissett conspirator and creative director of guerrigliamarketing.it and KOOK Artgency, IT). Moderated by Ruth Catlow (co-founder, Furtherfield, UK).

20:30-20:45 · CLOSING STATEMENT

Tatiana Bazzichelli (Artistic Director of Disruption Network Lab, IT/DE).

From 22:00: After Conference at SPEKTRUM

SPEKTRUM, Bürknerstraße 12, Berlin-Kreuzberg (U Schönleinstraße)


STUNTS: Distributed, Playful & Disruptive

A stunt is an unconventional act requiring particular skills, often performed by people in extreme or difficult situations. The idea of political stunts as an artistic and activist practice means to generate criticism by "perfoming the machine" which we want to fight - a strategy adopted by many hackers and artists in the past decades of network development. Today, in the era of big data and in the context of increasingly surveillance of corporations and government agencies, asymmetries in society become even more evident. How to respond in a proactive and constructive way to the threat of being tracked during our online (and offline) moves? And most of all, which kind or artistic responses can we imagine, if we want to maintain a playful and disruptive approach? Artists, hackers, hoaxers, mythmakers, storytellers and disrupters meet to discuss how to challenge powerful systems from within, turning around the idea of “opposition” into the one of creating distributed, playful and disruptive interventions.
In the artistic and activist contexts, the concept of “political stunts” goes along with the act of exposing control mechanisms that can affect institutions and media corporations. To reveal social injustices or misconducts by corporations and governments from within becomes an artistic strategy. This event proposes both to expose and to dissipate this tension through a network of multiple, distributed, playful and disruptive tactics to intrude into the inaccessible world of corporations and government agencies. The goal is to make people aware of such mechanisms, opening up a critical perspective and a common debate by generating unpredictable feedback and unexpected reactions.

With the support of the Free Chelsea Manning Initiative Berlin.


16:30-18:00: December 12, 2015

KEYNOTE: FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE ‘SUPPOSED TO DO’ - THEN DO SOMETHING ELSE.

John Law (original member of the Suicide Club and the Cacophony Society; co-founder of the Billboard Liberation Front and of the Burning Man Festival, USA). Moderated by Marie Lechner (journalist and researcher, FR).

How everything started in San Francisco.
Rumors of pie wielding assassins and a cryptic invitation to explore the miasmal underbelly of the urban landscape seen in a hippy free university calendar in 1977, was enough to enflame the curiosity of seventeen-year old John Law. A subsequent initiation into the secretive Suicide Club propelled Law into a thirty-eight year “career” amidst the hidden world of pranks, urban exploration, counter culture, ‘Culture Jamming’ and creative mayhem.
Fight Club, Burning Man, SantaCon, media hacking, urban exploration, street art, flash mobs and more - these are some of the cultural phenomena that were initiated or somehow influenced by the Suicide Club, and the subsequent sub-cultures that Law was fortunate to have fallen into as a teenaged juvenile delinquent. This presentation reveals some of the genesis & history of these groups including a brief survey of their precedents and influences on through the present day iterations, spin offs and ‘fellow travellers’. The idea we hope you take away from this presentation is simply this: this strange, obscure world is available to anyone who can appreciate the concept that “you may already be a member”.

 

18:30-20:30: December 12, 2015

PANEL: STUNTS & DUMPS - THE MAKING OF A VIRAL CAUSE

Mustafa Al-Bassam (alias Tflow, former core member of LulzSec, UK), Jean Peters (co-founder Peng! collective, DE), M. C. McGrath (founder of Transparency Toolkit, USA/DE), Andrea Natella (former Luther Blissett conspirator, creative director of guerrigliamarketing.it and KOOK Artgency, IT). Moderated by Ruth Catlow (co-founder of Furtherfield, UK).

Following the thread of creating unexpected consequences in economical, social and political systems, this panel reflects on the practice of political stunts and data dumps by provoking intelligence disruptions, virality interventions and corporate hijacking. The panel brings together Tflow, former core member of LulzSec (Lulz Security), the computer hacker group responsible for several high profile attacks in early 2011 to corporations and governments (i.e. CIA and Sony Pictures); Jean Peters, co-founder of Peng!, the German collective known for intruding into business conferences, producing corporate fakes and pranks, as well as for their recent campaign “Intelexit” , an initiative that helps people leave the secret service; M. C. McGrath, founder of Transparency Toolkit, a project that uses open data to map the intelligence community and uncover secret surveillance programs as well as investigates human rights abuses and find perpetrators; and, last but not least, Andrea Natella, former mythmaker of the Italian Luther Blissett Project, founder of Guerrigliamarketing.it, and creative director of KOOK Artgency, an unconventional agency specialised in designing and manufacturing viral, street and digital marketing. The panel is moderated by Ruth Catlow, co-founder of Furtherfield, an online community and distributed network active since the 1990s in UK and on the net, focused on digital arts, experimental poetry, critical texts, and anarchic creativity.

 

20:30-20:45: December 12, 2015

CLOSING STATEMENT

Tatiana Bazzichelli (Artistic Director of Disruption Network Lab, IT/DE).
A year of events and research on art, hacktivism and disruption at Kunstquartier Bethanien. The sharing of a process of networking as curatorial practice and some (open) conclusions.

 

From 22:00: After Conference at SPEKTRUM art | science | community.

Bürknerstraße 12, Berlin-Kreuzberg.
Celebrate with us a year of disruption!


Participants

John Law (original member, The Suicide Club, Cacophony Society; co-founder, Billboard Liberation Front and Burning Man Festival, USA)

John Law was an original member of the Suicide Club and the Cacophony Society, co-founder of the Billboard Liberation Front and co-founder and first operations manager of the Burning Man Festival. John Law was raised in the Midwest and dreamed about bridges from a very young age. He attended the first Suicide Club initiation a year after his arrival in San Francisco in 1976 and through his apprenticeship in that saturnalian cabal came to know many of the world’s greatest bridge spans. He is affiliated with singular organizations such as Survival Research Labs, Dark Passage, The Cacophony Society, PeopleHater, Seemen, Circus Redickuless, S.F. Cyclecide, and The Madagascar Institute to name a few. John Law joined Laughing Squid as a partner in 1999. Past projects include: co-founding the Burning Man Festival an event he parted ways with in 1996, and co-founding in 1977 and directing (for 35 years) The Billboard Liberation Front. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and spends a lot of time in Detroit, MI.
johnlaw.com

Marie Lechner (journalist and researcher, FR)

Marie Lechner is a French journalist, writing about digital culture and art (Liberation, Arte Creative, among others). She is also a researcher on media archaeology at the PAMAL [Preservation & Art – Media Archaeology Lab] at the Ecole supérieure d'art in Avignon and collaborated to several shows (Evil Clowns at HMKV, Welcome to the Future at Imal, Streaming Egos by Goethe Institut) and organised several conferences about Web Folklore at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris.

Mustafa Al-Bassam (alias Tflow, former core member, LulzSec, UK)

Mustafa is an undergraduate at King's College London in Computer Science. He gained notoriety in 2011 for being a part of LulzSec, a computer hacking group responsible a number of high profile attacks. As a result, he was legally banned from the Internet for almost two years as a condition of his bail. Mustafa has worked with Privacy International to analyse the destruction of computer equipment ordered by GCHQ, that held top secret material leaked from the NSA and GCHQ. He was portrayed as one of the main characters in "Teh Internet is Serious Business", a play by the Royal Court Theatre telling a story about Internet culture. Concerned about mass and corporate surveillance, he has advised human rights defenders around the world on protecting their data and communicating securely online. During the Jasmine Revolution he created a tool for Tunisian dissidents to defend themselves against government malware.
musalbas.com

Jean Peters (co-founder of Peng! collective, DE)

Paul von Ribbeck, Luther Blissett, Jean Peters – is co-founder of the Peng Collective, a group of activists, artists and media hackers. In their last campaign, they created an exit association for secret services to help them to stop war crimes and mass surveillance but build up a civil life.
pen.gg

Andrea Natella (former Luther Blissett conspirator and creative director of guerrigliamarketing.it and KOOK Artgency, IT)

In 1995 he was known as Luther Blissett. In 1999 he create “Men In Red”, first marxist-ufology group. In 2003 he founded guerrigliamarketing.it, a fake advertising agency that designed subversive hoaxes and created weird art projects exploring pornography, politics and advertising. In 2009 he founded Kook Artgency a real advertising agency that runs 00KK a street disturbing team active in Rome. He created ThisMan.org, a website about the story of a face everybody dreaming.
andreanatella.it

M. C. McGrath (founder, Transparency Toolkit, USA/DE)

M. C. is the founder of Transparency Toolkit, a non-profit that uses open data and makes free software to better understand surveillance and human rights abuses. He is also a Thiel Fellow and an Echoing Green Fellow. Previously, M. C. graduated from Boston University with a degree in civic technology and did research at the MIT Media Lab.
transparencytoolkit.org

Ruth Catlow (co-founder, Furtherfield, UK)

Catlow is an artist, and co-founder and co-director, with Marc Garrett, of Furtherfield. Furtherfield is the UK's leading organisation for art, labs, & debates around critical questions in art and technology since 1997. Catlow co-curates programmes developed to make network cultures more feelable and accessible to more diverse people. Exhibitions and labs tour nationally and internationally, strengthening the expressive and emancipatory potential of digital technology.
furtherfield.org