MuDA: Closing

Hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdown, the founders of Zurich’s Museum for Digital Art (MuDA), Caroline Hirt and Christian Etter, announce the non-profit’s untimely end. “It is heart-breaking to have to make such a short-term decision after all these years building this project up from zero.” Crowdfunded in 2016 and recognized for exhibiting the likes of Zach Liebermann and Vera Molnar, MuDA will host its final finissage on July 19th.

Out Now: Earth Speakr

Olafur Eliasson
Earth Speakr
An augmented-reality app that allows children to map their faces onto their environment and record messages, “Earth Speakr invites kids to speak up for the planet and adults to listen to what they have to say.” The accompanying website collects the messages; a selection of them will be streamed at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg as well as at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.

Anna Haifisch Illustrates the Perfect Art Heist

In the Bloomberg webcomic The Perfect Art Heist: Hack the Money, Leave the Painting, illustrator Anna Haifisch and writer James Tarmy relate the ongoing dispute over who owns John Constable’s 1824 painting A View of Hampstead Heath. Art dealer Simon C. Dickinson had sold the prized landscape to the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, for $3.1 million in January, but a (still at large) hacker intercepted the money transfer by hijacking Dickinson’s email.

NYT: Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm

“Mr. Williams knew that he had not committed the crime in question. What he could not have known … is that his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm.“
Kashmir Hill, revisiting the (unprecedented) circumstances that lead to the arrest of Robert Julian-Borchak Williams by the Detroit Police Department in 2018

Abolish the #TechToPrisonPipeline

“The uncritical acceptance of default assumptions inevitably leads to discriminatory design in algorithmic systems, reproducing ideas which normalize social hierarchies and legitimize violence against marginalized groups.”
– An open letter signed by hundreds of scholars, to Springer Publishing, about the forthcoming publication of a paper entitled “A Deep Neural Network Model to Predict Criminality Using Image Processing”

Berlin Gallery Exhibits Digital Art in Sticker Form

Curated by Zentrum für Netzkunst, “” opens at Berlin’s, showing digital art in sticker form. Produced during an online residency on the messenger app Telegram, the show features sticker sets by 19 different artists and collectives including Nadja Buttendorf, Rosa Menkman, Lorna Mills, and Carla Gannis. The stickers can be collected in a scrapbook at the gallery or digitally via Telegram.

Blizzard Entertainment Suspends 74,000 Players as Bot Mafias Wreak Havoc

“The influx of bots and bot mafias has had a complicated impact on the WoW Classic economy. Some items are worth less because bots are working 24/7 to achieve them; others are worth more because bot mafias have hogged goods.”
– Cecilia D’Anastasio, on Blizzard Entertainment suspending over 74,000 World of Warcraft accounts, as bots upend the game’s economy

Stephanie Dinkins on Afro-now-ism for Noema

“Direct input from the public can also help infuse AI ecosystems with nuanced ideas, values and beliefs toward the equitable distribution of resources and mutually beneficial systems of governance.”
– Transmedia artist Stephanie Dinkins on Afro-now-ism, and how infusing AI with a multiplicity of perspectives could offer emancipation from America’s “infinite loop of repression and oppositional thinking”

Prix Ars Electronica: 2020 Winners Announced

In announcing this year’s Golden Nica winners, the Prix Ars Electronica jury notes that, for the first time in the prize’s 33-year history, an anonymous citizens movement—that of Hong Kong protesters—has been awarded while all other winners—another first—are women. Among them are Miwa Matreyek (Computer Animation), VALIE EXPORT (Visionary Pioneer), and Lauren Lee McCarthy (Interactive Art +), whose 2019 piece SOMEONE (pictured) had gallery visitors become human versions of smart home assistants.