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A project that avoids internet censorship in social protests wins an international award

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A project to facilitate decentralized communication in communities and among protesters, entitled “Bi0film.net: Resist like bacteria”, of the Colombian Natalie Rivera and the Taiwanese Jung Hsu, has received the prestigious award “Golden Nica” from the Ars Electronica festival.


This was announced on Monday Martin Honzikmanaging director of the contest held every year in the Austrian city of Linz, presenting this year’s five Nica awards, selected from among 2,338 projects from 88 countries.

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The award ceremony will take place at a gala during the next edition of the festival, from September 7 to 11, 2022.


Rivera and Jung’s project, an open platform that facilitates connection to alternative networks, was awarded in the “interactive art +” category, chosen from 900 proposals.

With “Bi0film.net: Resist like bacteria”, the young creators underline the importance of autonomy in terms of communication technologies, “especially where authoritarian regimes use internet censorship”Honzik said.

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In telephone statements to Eph From Berlin, Rivera explained that it is about learning from bacteria, microorganisms that have developed great techniques of “communication and collaboration” so that they can act in unison without a leader.

The great inspiration was the so-called “biofilm”, an ecosystem or organized microbial community, which allows bacteria to “grow hidden, covered”, when a sufficient number of individuals of the group have not yet formed, Rivera highlights.

Similarly, the platform created by the two artists, their umbrellas and the devices placed on them, open to diverse communities, allow protesters to “connect to an internal autonomous network”specified the Colombian.

Inspired by those abilities of microorganisms, The idea arose during the coronavirus pandemic, when restrictions and lockdowns were holding back protests and social movements in many parts of the world, such as Colombia or Hong Kong.

Rivera and Jung used the yellow umbrella, an icon of the Hong Kong movement, to adapt it so that, in addition to covering, hiding and protecting the identity of the protesters, it serves as a WiFi satellite dish to connect people in a decentralized way and “without internet” .

According to the artistic director of Ars Electronica, “responsible action with technology and active intervention in the future” are the common thread of this year’s most outstanding projects.

A) Yes, the “Golden Nica” in the “Computer Animation” category went to “Being”, created by the American Rashaad Newsome, a virtual avatar that denounces social injustice and racism.

In the category “Digital Communities”, the winner was the “Avatar Robot Cafe”, by the Japanese Ory Yoshifuji, a project with robot waiters that, controlled by disabled people, serve the customers of a cafeteriain a project that seeks to fight against isolation and loneliness. (YO)

Source: Eluniverso

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