A critical introduction to networks by Julian Oliver & Danja Vasiliev
After Snowden's revelation of global network surveillance, iMAL and KASK / School of Arts Gent join forces to propose this unique workshop in Belgium.
Ask anyone how the postal system works and they would give a vaguely correct description. Few however would come close to describing how email, let alone a computer network itself, actually functions. With this lack of knowledge comes a risk; we lack the practical understanding to effectively read the infrastructural and political implications of our increased dependency on this technology.
In this intensive workshop Julian Oliver and Danja Vasiliev teach low level networking using only command line tools and networking hardware. In doing so, students learn not only how to create and manipulate computer networks, but also how they can be used to manipulate us.
No prior knowledge of computer networking, programming or command line interaction is required.
Registration is mandatory. Maximum 13 participants!
A small scale model of the Internet is created in class for the purposes of study with which we interact over another self-built local network.
In the second phase of the workshop students learn to read network topologies as political control structures, seeing how corporations and governments shape and control the way we use computer networks.
Finally, encryption, anonymity strategies and theory will be addressed, with a mind to defending and asserting the same basic civil rights we uphold in public space.
Julian and Danja provide all students with a customised virtualised Linux operating system, complete with tools familiar to both the hacker and network engineer alike. Complete documentation is provided.
About the workshop leaders
Julian is a New Zealander, Critical Engineer and artist based in Berlin.
His projects and the occasional paper have been presented at many museums, galleries, international electronic-art events and conferences, including the Tate Modern, Transmediale, Ars Electronica, FILE and the Japan Media Arts Festival. Julian has received several awards, most notably the distinguished Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica 2011 for the project Newstweek.
Julian has given numerous workshops and master classes in software art, data forensics, creative hacking, computer networking, object-oriented programming for artists, augmented reality, virtual architecture, video-game development, information visualisation and UNIX/Linux worldwide.
He is an advocate of Free and Open Source Software in education and is a supporter of, and contributor to, initiatives that promote and reinforce civil rights in the networked domain.
Danja is a Critical Engineer born in Saint-Petersburg, currently living and working in Berlin.
Starting from year 1999 Danja is involved in computer-technology events, media-art exhibitions and seminars around the world. He received a number of awards and mentions at Ars Electronica, Japan Media Art Festival, Transmediale and collaborated with many other organisations.
Danja Vasiliev is studying Systems and Networks through anti-disciplinary experimentation with hardware, firmware and software. Using computational platforms he engages in examination and exploitation of System and Network paradigms both in physical and digital realms. Basing on the findings Vasiliev creates and exhibits works of Critical Engineering, gives public workshops and talks. Danja regularly teaches courses on topics of network insecurity, software/OS modification, hardware re-engineering, digital forensics and else.
In his work and everyday computing Danja is using GNU/Linux software and propagandizes Open Source practices in all scopes of life.
Pictures by Danja Vasiliev