COVID-19 is a virus that affects people’s respiratory systems. While in around 8o% of cases the symptoms will be mild, it has lead to a large number of deaths internationally. It is estimated that 2-3 people out of a hundred who contract the virus will die. This can easily mean hundreds of thousands of deaths in the UK alone. We must do everything we can to prevent this from happening.
As Covid-19 becomes more than a health crisis and turns into a crisis of capitalism, with workers being laid off and health systems stretched to the limit, CODED GEOGRAPHY are working within our communities to help build mutual aid networks and support the wider tech activist respond. Those with hacking and home manufacturing skills can play an important role. See the resources below and get involved.
This is a bat walk with a difference, a search not just for hidden urban bats, but also data systems that govern and record change in the city. All are welcome!
Bats are common in London, but their presence often goes unnoticed by local people. They roost in attics, trees, between roof tiles, and forage for insects in parks, gardens and waterways. Like the city’s other inhabitants they are vulnerable to the churn of urban development – for bats, this could involve the demolition of buildings they roost in, changes to features they navigate by, or introduction of lighting that they might find deeply unpleasant. Bats are protected by law, and so the presence of bats can in turn affect urban development, though the protection offered is not always adequate.
Just as bats are hidden, the systems, decisions, and underlying forces that reshape our city are rare to see. These benefit some, leading to significant profits for developers and benefits for some communities, whereas for others they could mean the loss of their homes or amenities on which they depend. So as we search for bats, we’ll also start to investigate the systems and processes that affect all the city’s inhabitants, albeit in very different ways.
How will we do this? Together we will explore the local area using a combination of bat detectors and specially designed “datasniffers”. The bat detectors make audible the high frequency calls bats use to echolocate. The datasniffers make audible records from London planning databases, giving us hints of how the city has changed and how it is going to change. By exploring these two different, yet intertwined, phenomena, the hope is to spark conversation about how and why the area is changing, the effects on humans, bats and others, and how we might like things to be different.
About Nightsniffing Nightsniffing is a creative research project, by Cliff Hammett, that seeks to reimagine urban bat walking as a way to collectively investigate the systems that shape the London and other UK cities. The project combines methods from critical making, mobile sonic art and art/science in order to engage different publics with bats, digital systems and planning procedures in novel ways. It starts from the complex relations that bats have with cities and human society, including how bats’ interests figure in the UK planning system, how bats inhabit and use the built environment and the role of bats in community alliances against development. From there, it opens out onto to consider wider systems of urban decision making, considering how decisions are made and in whose interests. Engaging with the technologies and methods that make bats perceivable, Nightsniffing stages walks and events in London that allow different conversations to emerge regarding who and what are cities are for, and how we might wish for them to function differently.
Practicalities and Accessibility All are welcome. The walk is relatively short, but as it will have several stops it will last around an hour. Please wear warm clothing. In case of moderate or heavy rain, the event will be rescheduled. Let me know if you have any access needs, and I will adapt things accordingly. If you would like to come, but can’t due to e.g. caring commitments or being unable to afford transportation, please get in touch. I have a small fund available to cover costs, so I may be able to help.
The border that separates the physical world and the digital realm has been breached. We can no longer speak of a clear distinction between analogue, carbon-based, offline entities and digital, silicon-based, online representations. Digital technologies and the physical space of cities have converged. This process is variously referred to as pervasive computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), ‘everywhere’, Ambient Intelligence and ubiquitous computing.
CODED GEOMETRY believes that the most urgent task of contemporary psychogeography is to carry out a sustained investigation into the role digital technology, algorithms and machine learning play in the structuring and restructuring of space-time. We have commenced our research in Limehouse through a digital expanded game of psychogeography.
CODED GEOMETRY – Presentation ‘Limehouse a digital expanded game of psychogeography’ 16th February 2020 From 12.45 pm East London location Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the venue
The emergence of the digital city can be traced back to the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004. WIFI was just starting to have an impact on peoples’ everyday life. The 802.11g standard had been launched giving WIFI faster speeds and enabling coverage over much greater distances. This was greeted with a utopian political movement, led by activist groups such as YouAreHere  in London and free2air in Berlin. Their aim was to build and mesh local area wireless networks to provide communities with Open Distributed Public Wireless (ODPW). YouAreHere set itself the goal of developing a wireless backbone reaching from Limehouse to Hackney Central. They constructed a series of masts at strategic sites along the route. One of the most significant masts was mounted on the top of Limehouse Town Hall, which also housed the headquarters of the London Psychogeographical Association (LPA) .
At the same time, third generation (3G) wireless mobile telecommunications technology was rapidly being introduced to providing faster internet speeds for mobile devices. In contrast to the optimism of the ODPW activists, the introduction of 3G was met with anxiety, paranoia and fear. The roll-out of 3G technology involved the siting of a network of mobile phone masts throughout the country. In East London, the rooftops of high rise buildings on working class estates were chosen to locate the majority of these masts. Around the country, residents had begun tearing down mobile-phone masts, as public concerns over the untested health impact of the radiation they emit hit national headlines. The Telegraph reported  that in one week as many as four masts were destroyed in a campaign to stop them being placed on top of, or close to, peoples’ houses. Working class people accused the mobile phone companies of using them as guinea pigs. In Hackney, a group of Kurdish activists chained themselves to a mast while it was still on the lorry delivering it to be installed on the roof of their block. In London Fields, one 90 year old resident of the Wayman Court estate refused to move from a site adjacent to his flat that had been given planning permission for a mast.
In this febrile atmosphere of utopianism and paranoia, it was clear that the construction of wireless and mobile networks signalled a significant transformation of the landscape. I purchased an A-Com receiver used by telecoms engineers and started to listen to the new world of data transmissions. The crackle of white noise greeted me as I switched it on. I noticed a distant pulsing signal that drew me towards it. I was in the front room of my flat and its intensity increased as I started to approach my settee. The sound throbbed with metallic bass tones. I moved my receiver towards the settee then back again. The signal was surprisingly spatial. I carefully traced its shape revealing an invisible pulsating electromagnetic sphere hovering above my orange settee. From that moment, I saw the city as overlaid with invisible lines, shapes and structures, a coded geometry of machine to machine interactions beyond our perception.
As the UK prepares to introduce 5G cellular network technology, I am struck by an overwhelming sense of Déjà vu. Time seems to be punctured by accelerating epochs of pseudo progress X to the power n. 5G transmissions are broadcast on frequencies between 3.4 – 3.6GHz. These waves travel shorter distances through urban spaces, so 5G networks require more transmitter masts than previous technologies, positioned closer to ground level. The construction of the 5G network has sparked viral conspiracies, renewed health fears and an angle grinder attack by residents of one working class estate in Manchester. The next generation of utopian media artists are already presenting critical 5G projects at media arts festivals.
CODED GEOMETRY is scanning the 3.4 to 3.6GHz spectrum using new antenna designs connected to Software Defined Radio (SDR). We are conducting research analysing and mapping the structures, invisible geographies and ambience this technology is bringing into being. Researching the spatial aesthetics these new circuits of digitality are bringing forth. Asking how they will shape our understand and experience of space and spatiality which are already inscribed by, but not reducible to, digital systems.
In Either/Or the principle of exclusivity undergoes détournement by a diverse range of invited participants. Either celebrate its brutal 2-state logic cutting across a stacked earth, or contest such sovereignty in precipitating each uncanny flip or flop glimpsed struggling against its slitted foreclosure. KISS!! In an evening of unemployable expenditure, from the trauma of the binary to its ontic co-constituency, Either/Or includes talks and performances by:
± Annabelle Stapleton-Crittenden
± Claude Heiland-Allen
± CODED GEOMETRY
± Daniel Rourke
± David Cunningham
± Jahan Nazeer
± Jennifer Boyd
± JeongEun Park
± Mari Ohno
± Ryo Ikeshiro
± Stephen Cornford
April 30th 2016 Doors open 7:30pm (’til late!)
Apiary Studios, Hackney.