CODE 2023

various artists, 2023

Production: IMPAKT (NL), School of Machines, Making & Make Believe (DE), Werktank (BE) and Privacy Salon/Privacytopia (BE)

With the support of Gemeente Utrecht Stimuleringsfonds, Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie, Nederlandse Ambassade in België (Koninkrijk der Nederlanden) and Goethe Institut

Photo credits: Tasha Arlova

Each year, participants from from several European countries take part in a process of collaboration, discussion, and co-creation. Together they produced projects that address specific issues concerning our digital agency and the power of big tech.

Here are the projects realized in 2023:

Digital maps representing the physical world are built and updated in real-time as people use their devices to navigate public space. Even while wandering aimlessly, users generate data trails which are captured and fed back into a cybernetic leviathan. On the Exactitude of Maps contrasts user reviews with excerpts from critical reflections to raise questions about the ownership of geospatial data in a global economy and what that implies for the generation of value in contemporary cities.
Team: Rebekka Jochem (BE) and Felipe Schmidt Fonseca (DE)

VOICES aims to shed light on the opaque inner workings of common voice technologies, by reflecting how these technologies process, analyse and clone voices. This interactive audio-visual installation invites participants to record a secret. In return, they hear cloned voices telling the secrets of previous participants.
Team: Mohsen Hazrati (DE), Phivos-Angelos Kollias (DE), Yu Zhang (NL), Ahnjili ZhuParris (NL)

Tracking for Love
The design of online interfaces influences the way users form identities and perspectives on the world. is a provocative social experiment that addresses the current issue of online platforms implementing untransparent, non-consensual user tracking to inform the design of their interfaces. Using the format of a dating platform, integrates this type of user tracking in its core matchmaking system. In this scenario, users come to question just how much can be concluded from their data.
Team: Hennie Bulstra (NL), Robin van de Griend (NL), Leon van Oldenborgh (NL), Lukas Völp (NL)

Ansible departs from the global roll-out of the 5G infrastructure to explore the disconnect between the speed of telecommunications and the human act of communication. The work unfolds in the form of a conversation between the fictional characters meeting for the first time on an internet video chatroom, each from their own corners of the world. The work explores these themes not only within the finished piece itself, but also in the documentation of the creation process: over the course of several months, the artists left improvised scripted voice messages on each other’s phones, each in their own native language.
Team: Yedam Ann (DE), Alexander Walmsley (DE), Sixin Zeng (NL)

BUG investigates how we look at insects and asks: Who or what determines our perception of an animal? Biosurveillance has become more popular over the past decade and now bug fights have become a source of entertainment. Look into the BUG telescope and you become a voyeur of a vibrant ecosystem living in networks of channels. While you surveil, wait to be entertained and discover new truths about this underground universe, BUG looks back at you.
Team: Antje Jacobs (Amarante Swift) (BE), Denisa Pubalova (NL), Lea Luka Sikau (DE)

The natural movement of our eyes is being marketed as a ‘next generation’, intuitive interface. This simple human gesture has become yet another resource to be exploited by surveillance capitalism. How much is our gaze at a screen worth? Pay with Your Gaze raises awareness on the misuse of eye tracking technologies and the true value of our online attention.
Team: Vinciane Dahéron (BE), Marion Lissarrague (BE), Ana Spagnolo López (BE), Helena Roig (NL)

Decoding the Mutations of Truth
Cybi0nt is an interactive installation that seeks to explore the alarming acceleration and impact of deepfake news on contemporary society. The project uses the symbolism of gene mutation to represent the morphing and distortion of truth, as simulated through an automated cyberdeck-like machine.

The machine generates deepfake news targeting European Union policymakers and institutions, thus demonstrating the destabilizing potential of such tactics in real-world scenarios. Each piece of fabricated news is then represented as a gene mutation inside a large, wall-mounted Petri dish, which serves as a visual metaphor for the rampant spread of misinformation. In the face of an infodemic, Cybi0nt offers a potent critique of the current information landscape. The mutating gene in the Petri dish symbolizes how each piece of disinformation disrupts our understanding of reality, much like a genetic mutation can alter an organism’s function. In addition to a video installation, visitors are invited to interact with the cyber news machine, triggering the generation of new deepfakes and subsequently observing the mutation unfold. This interactive element provokes individual reflection on our role in the propagation of fake news, our susceptibility to it, and our responsibility in combating it.

Cybi0nt is not only an art project but a societal commentary and a call to action. By witnessing the disturbing metamorphosis of truth, we hope to inspire critical thinking and responsible information consumption in our digital age.
Team: Aslı Dinç (DE), Deniz Kurt (NL)

Natural Field Recordings
If the digital world is a sea of information, malicious software and computer viruses are sirens – apparently charming water creatures that are actually terrible monsters that sing sweet, magical songs to lure their victims. This project stands at the crossroads of psychoacoustics, political critique and sound healing. It uses sampling, distortion, and mixing techniques to pose critical questions about our relation to the signals, notifications and alarms that aurally demarcate our digital world.
Team: Lisa Bador (DE)

APEIRON is an application that analyses the ways we work with information. Using this independent and transparent, self-regulating application powered by AI technologies, users can regain control of their digital identities and reduce the influence corporations have over our data. This approach offers users alternative ways to manage and protect their information. The users are represented by biological cells; their data flows like viruses.
Team: Robert B. Lisek (DE), Oleksandr Sirous (DE)