Département des Nuisances Publiques (D.N.P.) is an experiment in collaborative art making, public intervention politics and experimental documentation practices. Initiated in 2011, DNP stems from an interest to investigate – through intervention and documentation-based practices – the interruption of our public routines and the limits of personal space.
This year, the D.N.P. artists have created an apparatus, Anonymous Apparatus, which affords its user a strangely double-edged anonymity: on the one hand, their identity is hidden and their autonomy protected by a two-way audio and video capture; on the other hand, the act of being visually anonymous amongst a sea of onymous (i.e. publicly identifiable) individuals has the effect of drawing an extreme amount of scrutiny due to the uncanny nature of the persona. The user is anonymous, but far from incognito.
The device was developed as a tool which can be used by any member of the public for the exploration of autonomy and anonymity, of the sort inherent to the Internet, in the real context of daily life. It is accompanied by a web platform, Constitution Pro, hosted on the deep web, which allows the potential user to itemize a personally ideal set of rights and values; a constitution which they will attempt to embody during their use of the apparatus. Each item is then shared as an option for other users and ultimately, visualized as a network of relationships between each user’s ideal political reality, conflicts and all.
These two projects engage a wealth of ideas relating to art, technology, surveillance, sousveillance and political self-determinance.
15 September, 2pm (free)
Trolling the deep web for fun and profit
Goerzen and Garcia will present a short introduction to the network known as the "deep web," "invisible web," the "darknet" and myriad other names. The TOR browser will be highlighted from a host of browsers designed to provide anonymized access to this area of the Internets and foundational deep web cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will be illuminated. A practical demonstration of its use and mode of employment will be followed by a cursory pontification of aesthetic and political possibilities such forms of networking might allow. Sites of interest will include the Hidden Wiki, Silk Road, and anything we find along the way. Bring your computer if you wish to follow along on this anthropological journey.
Matt Goerzen is an artist and theorist based between Montreal, Berlin and Saskatoon. His broad areas of interest include seemless / organic technologies, philosophical realism, networked anarchism, anonymity as utopia and the negation of the subject / object distinction via a totalizing virtuality. Goerzen's main activity centers around an emergent aesthetic and theoretical entity he terms the "amject" - a hybrid subject / object, a virtual entity defined by its mediated status and need for remediation in order to be engaged with. Goerzen is a founding member of BOCA Gallery, a conceptual art project / collective which presents itself as the first commercial art gallery exclusively devoted to the exhibition and sale of virtual art objects. He holds degrees in journalism, philosophy and painting.
15 September, 3pm
D.N.P. and Public Intervention
Panelists: Caroline Blais and Stephanie Castonguay
The D.N.P. artists will hold a discussion on the creative process surrounding the projects "Anonymous Apparatus" and "Constitution Pro," as well as their experience using the anonymizing device in the public space.
Stephanie Castonguay is an emerging artist based in Montreal. She is presently completing her studies in visual and media arts at UQAM. She is a founding member of the //Termostat// collective, whose work was presented during the first Montreal Digital Art Biennial.
Caroline Blais is a Montreal-based visual artist. She studied cinema, graphic design and languages in Montreal and Lapland. Her art practice situates itself at the intersection of art and graphic design, in the public space. Her work has been presented in Canada and Europe, as VJ performances, video installation work, publication work and web projects. She is a member of the Very Awesome collective.
16 September, 5pm
The limits of online autonomy: when and how can digital systems realize legal sovereignty?
Panelists: soon to be announced
This panel discussion aims to explore different instances of virtual spaces (or their physical manifestations) where an amount of freedom, whether personal or legal, is attainable. How and given which parameters? What is the nature of true online anonymity and where do we situate its limits in a given sociopolitical context?
Gabriella Coleman: Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy in the Art History and Communication Studies Department at McGill University, Coleman is trained as an anthropologist. She researches, writes, and teaches on hackers and digital activism.
Antoine Beaupré: Founding member of Koumbit.org, Beaupré is also behind the Réseau libre Montreal network, an open, free, user-led wireless Internet network.
Micah Anderson: Co-founder of Riseup Networks, Anderson is a tech activist working on free software, media activism and corralling servers to create grassroots democratic technology alternatives.
Moderator: Faiz Abhuani (founding member of Artivistic)