IslandCQ: Julian Olivier Lecture

Story: Emilia Kwiatkowska
26th of May was a great opportunity for those who participated in the Island CQ to meet with Julian Olivier. Who is Julian Olivier?

“He is a New Zealander and Critical Engineer based in Berlin. His projects and the occasional paper have been presented at many museums, international electronic-art events and conferences, including the Tate Modern, Transmediale, Ars Electronica, FILE and the Japan Media Arts Festival. Julian's work has received several awards, most notably the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica for 'Newstweek', a collaborative project with studio partner Danja Vasiliev.”

Critical Engineering in the Closed World
His lecture called ‘Critical Engineering in the Closed World’ was more than interesting. It opened our eyes for what happens around us.
Engineering is a ground under our feet; it creates everything what is around us. Equipment purchased by us is our only in 49%, 51% of it still belongs to the producer. We really do not know what is inside, how to fix it if something is broken - we are in a large extent dependent on the manufacturer.

Infrastructure; even bones, heartbeats are infrastructure. Humans are turning the Earth into energy.
What is computer network? It is something what became infrastructure. Most people do not know how the email box really works. This lack of knowledge can be dangerous while internet became such a huge part of XXI century life.

Where are we in internet?  We are in data centre which is carefully guarded. We cannot access those places, even to take a photo.
Did you ever think what the ‘social network’ is? What can be caused by the information which you put to the internet?

All the information which you uploaded to the internet is stored in mentioned above data centres.  Most of us think that social network is a gift and does not see second end of this infrastructure which is more or less connected with politics. Some of people lost their jobs because of photos which were posted on Facebook. Posts or tweets are not as it seems to be. The interaction is not as simply as it looks like – there is not only write, push the button, read from the profile. Between those movements there are mini seconds during which are sent signals usually to US and back – your data has been stored.

According to Julian Olivier social network has been based on the fear of sociality. We have to have it because we will be out of sociality.

This short summary of the lecture is written in the way to interact with the reader. All Island CQ trip was based on four words: PRIVACY, TRANSPARENCY, POWER and CONTROL. In my opinion Julian Olivier lecture perfectly fits into these topics. If you want to read more about an artist visit his webpage:

Emilia is student of our international Degree Programme in Media
Read more about the IMPs, the Media students
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