“When people feel they are not being heard, they may resort to different measures to get their message across. In the case of programmers, they have the unique ability to protest through their code.”
– University of Melbourne software engineering lecturer Christoph Treude, on ‘protestware’—programmers sabotaging their own software to make a political point. Categorizing these interventions as “malignant, benign, and developer sanctions,” Treude takes stock of related ethical and technical implications.

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully impacts its target, demonstrating the potential for future asteroid deflection and planetary defence. After ten months of flying in space, NASA’s spacecraft crashed directly into Dimorphos, a 160 metre moonlet orbiting the larger asteroid Didymos. More than a feat of precise guidance and navigation, the test was “a mission of unity with a real benefit for all humanity,” says NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“Systems of Belief,” a group show that dives deep into artistic worldbuilding, opens at HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark in Graz, Austria. Intriguingly, it puts works by late artists like Storm de Hirsch, Paul Laffoley, and Lee Scratch Perry in conversation with young(er) artists including Irina Lotarevich and Harm van den Dorpel. The latter contributes Markov’s Dream (2022, image), a generative subdivision study (based on a 2004 work) inspired by the Russian mathematician.

“Refined Vision,” an exhibition in which Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadir draws parallels between Texas Gulf Coast and Persian Gulf region petro-cultures, opens at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston. Featured works include Crude Eye (2022, image), a new single-channel video piece on landscapes and infrastructures of extraction, and Spectrum (2016), a series of 3D-printed sculptural forms that abstract the ‘alien’ aesthetics of (ornate) oil and gas drill bits.

“If you look at TikTok your body is literally animated by the algorithm—it tells you how to move yourself—and you end up dancing for this abstract formulation of capital and algorithmic recommendation.”
– Online subculture researcher Joshua Citarella, describing the diminishing agency of internet content creators. In his assessment, “people were able to make targeted critical interventions … shape it [media] with intent,” a decade ago—now users “are instrumentalized by the algorithim itself.”
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Duke University researchers develop a novel method of encrypting text, harnessing the chaos of computer simulated bacterial growth. Expanding on their recent article in data science journal Patterns, the team summarizes their use of machine learning frame-by-frame analysis of organic reaction–diffusion system animations to en- and decode text strings. “These patterns in essence constitutes a new, digitally generated coding scheme, which we call Emorfi,” they write.

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Miriam Arbus Cultivates “Seed Systems” That Nurture New XR Ecologies

The Canadian curator discusses interfaces, immersion, the metaverse, and prototyping new forms of human-nature relations in digital space

The Canadian curator discusses interfaces, immersion, the metaverse, and prototyping new forms of human-nature relations in digital space

“Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust,” a solo show that zooms in on Kim Morgan’s eight years working with scanning electron microscopes, opens in Halifax. Featuring work across digital images, installation, and intervention (image: Blood Galaxy, 2017), the show deploys the same imaging technology that revealed the coronavirus for all to see, provoking questions about “understanding threats to human health, and of the social disparities that a virus spread exacerbates.”

“RE_________,” the U.S. stop of Norwegian artist Sissel Tolaas’ touring retrospective, opens at Philadelphia’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). Foregrounding issues including climate change, geopolitics, and anthropology through 20 interactive stations that deploy the researcher’s primary medium—scent—the exhibition invites visitors to smell, experience, and contemplate Tolaas’ provocative claim: “nothing stinks, only thinking makes it so.”

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“Tracing Memories,” a show presenting two decades of projects by Maarten Vanden Eynde, opens at Berlin’s NOME gallery. Its collected works articulate the Belgian artist’s driving question (“how will we look back to the past in the future?”), and answer it with witty and incisive sculptural encapsulations of pressing issues including peak oil, broken democracy, prolific mass production, and unchecked resource extraction (image: History of Man, 2022).

“And we finalized! Happy merge all. This is a big moment for the Ethereum ecosystem. Everyone who helped make the merge happen should feel very proud today.”
– Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, celebrating the cryptocurrency’s transition to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. The shift of the leading smart contract blockchain to 99% less energy consumption is good news for crypto boosters, who have endured a downslide, platform implosions, and countless exploits since the 2021 boom.

A group show bringing more than 30 artists together, “Territories of Waste” opens in Basel with a global roster of participants including Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Otobong Nkanga, Ed Ruscha, and Pinar Yoldas. Contributed environment and extraction focused works include Eloise Hawser’s The Tipping Point (2019), a video installation scrap metal shrine, and The Last Particle (2017), Anca Benera and Arnold Estefán’s rumination on mineral analysis (image).

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