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This course will take place in the academic year 2014/2015 in ArtEZ Arnhem in the Interactive Media Design department. The course is designed and facilitated by Luis Rodil-Fernández.

This course proposes the following building-blocks for the ALT initiative:

  1. Participants take active decisions about the direction of the course.
  2. The Horizontal Assembly as the leaderless decision-making organizational structure.
  3. Socratic Discourse as a think-tank tool and long term collective strategies.
  4. Self-grading (through assembly)
  5. Open content (creative commons attribution license) for all educational material.
Practical Info

Arnhem Campus
Onderlangs 9
6812 CE Arnhem

Sessions take place on Wednesday.


We confer a very special status to technology in our lives. New technologies get adopted at a very fast pace and the general perception is that technology is good, it makes us more efficient, it makes new forms of communication possible and allows for convenience. But does it really? In this course you will be exposed to other takes that explore the darker side of technology and reveal the threats that come hand in hand with every innovation. We will look at specific technologies that have transformed our ethical and socio-political outlooks, from the atomic bomb to the smartphone. The Critical Art Ensemble stated that any technology that is unavailable to the masses is an instrument of control and domination. It would therefore be desirable for the powers that be, if these technologies were invisible or ignored.

In this course you will learn how to use technology in a tactical manner and you will be exposed to fields in which this way of understanding is key, such as computer networks, critical engineering, civil resistance, journalism, privacy, cryptography, surveillance and so-called cyberwarfare. You will learn how to take control over your data, techniques for circumventing censorship and tracking, how to use digital media to protest and resist and how to publish digital information responsibly. You will develop atypical design thinking that can then be used to empower your designs and the users of your products, so that technology can be a useful servant rather than a dangerous master.


  • Develop critical thinking about the technologies that form part of their daily lives.
  • Enabling them to use media for tactical purposes.
  • Learn the operational details of protecting their communications.
  • Learning to use circumvention tools.
  • Think critically about innovation.
  • Students should be able to implement technologies without making themselves, their designs or their users victims of those technologies. (useful servant vs. dangerous master)
  • Critically research, at least, one issue that is important to their use of technology.
  • Increase awareness about alternatives to the Apple + Adobe cartel that rules Interaction Design.


privacy | surveillance | security | networks | censorship | cryptography | online activism | citizen journalism | direct democracy | Pirate movement | Google will eat itself | skynet | in web 2.0 the consumer is the product | fetishization of technology | desire and technology | skeuomorphism in design | digital publishing | technology and advertising | a storm in The Cloud | slavery-free electronics | planned obsolescence | social networking, death and break-ups | emotions and technology | hacking | demoscene | hyperrationalism | high frequency trading | machine morality | computational somatics: technology and the body | ergonomics


The methods in this course take inspiration from the participatory nature of Open Source and the decision-making processes in squares during the Indignados and Occupy uprisings. Every session will begin with an assembly in which students will make active decisions about the course collectively. Students will have an active voice in evaluating and elaborating the products of the course.

PGP, SSL and OTR will be used as the only means of communication with instructors and facilitators to encourage the use of cryptography and expose students to these tools with the hope of engaging them with UX design problems that these tools are facing for wider adoption.

The course will be largely theoretical and based on discussion but will provide hands-on workshops to learn specific skills.

Students will receive a numeric mark at the end of the course that will be evaluated in a final assembly, all students will take part in the marking process.


Course will be imparted to two groups at different stages of their BA programs, second and third years. The emphasis for the second years is exposure to new ideas & technical capacitation. For third years the emphasis is on deepening into critical discourses around technology and research-based approaches.


    1. How does the internet work
    2. How is the internet used (beyond the obvious, talk about Press, activist, civil society)
    3. Who owns what? | Right of access
    4. How public is the internet?
    5. Online identities
    6. Mobile telephony | the smartphone
    7. Censorship
    8. Surveillance (economics of Surveillance)
    9. Net neutrality
  • BLOCK2: Technical capacitation and emancipation
    1. Improving anonymity (Onion Pi workshop)
    2. Emancipating from Dropbox/Drive, etc.
    3. Circumventing censorship
    4. Tools for collaboration (etherpads, wikis, blogs, calendars)
    5. Tools for publishing (reaching an audience)
    6. Tools for social participation and collective decision making
    7. Hidden services
  • BLOCK3:
    1. Build an artificial online identity on social media
    2. Use the artificial online identity to cover a conflict (in NL)
  • BLOCK4:
    1. Computational Somatics



  • Collectively keep a Facebook profile of a fake identity, slowly build an online identity throughout the duration of the course. (see rules)
  • Emancipate from The Cloud
  • Alternative networking


  • Basic Linux (using VirtualBox)
  • Tor WiFi AP for the classroom on a Raspberry Pi
  • Emancipate from The Cloud
  • Setting up a newsroom in the middle of nowhere
  • Tools for online collaboration and self-organization (etherpads, wikis, blogs, calendars)


  • “Critical Engineering Manifesto”
  • “The Electronic Disturbance”
  • “Digital Resistance”
  • “Electronic Civil Disobedience” – The Critical Art Ensemble
  • “The Technological Society” – Jaques Ellul
  • “The Shallows” - Nicholas G. Carr
  • “The Circle” - Dave Eggers
  • “Flash Boys” - Michael Lewis
  • IAAA (Institute for Artificial Art Amsterdam)
  • Bruno Latour

“This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature.” –Don DeLillo


  • “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” - Adam Curtis
  • “Blood in the mobile”, Frank Poulsen ( )
  • “7 Cameras” witness documentary about Israeli settlements
  • “The Atrocity Exhibition” J.G. Ballard
  • “Crash” David Cronenberg
  • “Pirates” NOS Documentary about The Pirate Bay
  • Jacob Appelbaum keynote @ CCC 2012
  • Glenn Greenwald address @ CCC 2013
  • Julian Oliver @ CCC 2013
  • “The Man in the White Suit”


  1. Possible trip to the CCC in Hamburg, just after Christmas?
  2. DiploHack
  3. TA3M
  4. Hacks and Hackers (Amsterdam chapter)
  5. Visit to Hack42 (hackerspace in Arnhem)
  6. Visit to AMS-IX (Dutch Internet Exchange)
  7. Visit to a datacenter (EvoSwitch)


  • 1x 20Gb VPS
  • 10x Raspberry Pi
  • 1x 3G wireless router
  • 1x network switch
course/catt.txt · Last modified: 24/11/2015 19:47 (external edit)