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Gothenburg N.B.

Ralo Mayer and Philipp Haupt

“It looked like maps, very much like structures – and arrows of communication – how the communication was going between different points. (…) Because of the serious look of it the jury was really sucked into it. In the court, yeah – i think that’s really when it differs… My experience from the streets was so different from these organized maps of the situation.”

This quote is from one of numerous interviews with actvists being involved in the protests against the EU-summit in June 2001 in Gothenburg. It describes diagrams of traffic data the prosecutors used to prove the organisation of the “black block” through mobile phones. Based on such “evidence” people were convicted to years in prison for sending out four SMS-messages.

Pic: Mobile Phones

During our comparative research about GBG01 and Constant’s network utopia New Babylon, the politics of information visualizations stepped more and more into the center of attention: What is it that makes diagramatic depictions so fascinating, how can they help to layout both revolutionary situationist ideas and the sophisticated repression of postfordist liberal democracy?

Experimenting with different ways of artistic renderings of our research, we soon found ourselves in a mirror-trap like situation: In a programming environment like max/msp – stunned by the order of the objects that do not necessarily tell you something about its functionalities – you start to read the patch as a structure, getting more interested in the interface than in the actual output. They become indiscernible: mixing up the real and the imaginary, the actual and the virtual. Deleuze describes this indiscernibility of object and description as “time crystal”.

In Gothenburg the resuming of order and control had already violently materialized when police shot at protestors: a power vector right through the body. It is through an accidental escalation like this that some trajectories of the overall power diagram become visible for short moments.

Ralo Mayer and Philipp Haupt
Artists, based in Vienna, Austria, currently collaborating in the framework of the Manoa Free University (MFU).

Source: http://artefact.mi2.hr/_a03/lang_en/art_manoa_en.htm