This Bot Club evening focussed on Critical Bots. With presentations by media artist Julian Oliver, digital culture researcher Anne Helmond, and the bots themselves.
Media artist Julian Oliver presented some of his critical devices: Newstweek manipulated which news people can access at Internet hotspots (a collaboration with Danja Vasiliev), and the Transparency Grenade made the leaking of secret information as easy as pulling a pin. Anne Helmond delved into the history of online bots and analyses the methods of critical bots and the circumstances in which they can operate. What can we learn about platforms such as Google and Wikipedia? And how do bots analyse platform practices? The bots also appeared on stage. The evening was moderated by Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Het Nieuwe Instituut).
Anne Helmond is assistant professor of new media and digital culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative research collective, where she focuses on the infrastructure of social media platforms and apps. In her dissertation The Web as Platform: Data Flows in Social Media, Anne developed the notion of ‘platformization’ to understand the dual logic of social media platforms’ extension into the rest of the web and, simultaneously, their drive to make external web data platform ready’.
Julian Oliver is a media artist and co-author of the Critical Engineering Manifesto. Julian’s perspective is formed by his consequential open-source code practice, giving him a technologically independent position not steered by off-the-shelf hardware and software. He regularly gives workshops and masterclasses in software art, data forensics, creative hacking, computer networking and counter-surveillance.
Bot Club (humans welcome)
Bot Club casts a critical look at a world where bots, algorithmic agents and generative processes do the work and gives them the stage.