Sleep Tech
Creative Coding Utrecht, Alice Stewart, Felipe Aravena
Utrecht
An unexpected effect of the pandemic that might seem minor in comparison to the severe consequences of the COVID disease, was the reduction of possibilities of sleeping with someone because of lockdown restrictions. - Sleeping with someone as a trascendental act - Ancient and magical approaches - You can do it with people you’re not sexually attracted to - Sleep as an act of trust and consent (with animals and nature too) - How the tech industry has been dealing with romantic intimacy
KEY FEATURES
Consent
Not creepy
Private
Connects with the non-human
Away from the hands of big tech

CHALLENGES
Distance
Timezones
Internet accessibility
Poor communication and delusion

PROTOTYPE
A ritual
Materiality
Dreams are welcome
Easy love






How did you first become interested in the topic of sleep tech?


It was last year, I was talking with a friend who lives in Chile and we lamented that with the pandemic it was becoming quite difficult to sleep with people because of the restrictions. We speculated about a possible app that could replicate the act of sleeping with someone, the very intimate act of sleeping that in many cases generates a stronger bond than sex. It was a cute exercise but also quite sad since we were acknowledging how painful was to be distant. Months later, Alice Stewart who’s a genius of sex tech, invited me to present at the Sex Tech Hackathon organized by Creative Coding Utrecht, she knew about my work on technology and the supernatural at Digital Witchcraft and together we could establish a connection between my interest in the otherworldly and sex.

Why do you think sleep-specific technology is often overlooked in the sex tech industry?


Because as far as I know the sex tech industry is centered around intercourse, to be honest I’m very ignorant about the sex tech industry so maybe there’s more sophisticated developments, but when we were speculating about this sleep together app with my friend we immediately separated our aim from approaches that felt very literal such as having a doll with human forms, we saw it very clearly that the intimate act of sleeping differed a lot from mainstream approaches to sex you see in porn, music and movies

What are some of the trends that you noticed while researching different sleep tech products? Do you have any predictions for the future?


Most of the stuff I found was oriented to paranoid couples, like the mattress that sends a notification if someone who is not you is having sex, and several testimonies of people who used video calls to ensure that the partner was sleeping in the hotel, also found some apps that registered heartbeats and sleeping patterns and they were also designed with this tracking mindset that to me feels very controlling.







The New Turing Test


Rotterdam
The Turing Test, created by pioneer Alan Turing attempts to determine if a machine can think. In a global context of stupidization, what about creating a test that determine if a human can think?
Against romcom logics of what a man should be - A test that determines if a person will be able to talk of at least one interesting thing - A system that values your inner life rather than how much money you have - Having love for languages gives you more points - Against stereotypes of what a person should be, against toxic masculinity - Feminist as iconic female British writers - It doesn't matter if only a few of us will pass the test - Now you have to prove you're human but through the most dull mechanisms, is that really being a human? - Pro artistic obsessions

SPELL








Sentinela del Norte is a Chilean rapper and literature scholar. He's known for being part of the cult hip hop band Colectivo Etéreo and for his career in the local rap and electronic scene.


For his most recent album, Parte del Paisaje (Part of the Landscape), he created the song Mr Darcy se Somete al Test de Turing (Mr Darcy Takes the Turing Test), a critique on aspirational and vacuous social behaviors. We had a conversation about this song, its inspiration from British figures such as computer science pioneer Alan Turing and John Darcy, character by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice. We also discussed the possibility of a new version of the Turing test that could determine degrees of humanity in individuals.

The frustration for not being a player, a ladies man. A party in which everyone is in the game but you're at a corner with other nerds talking about a film. That situation happened and I thought that there could be a version of the Turing Test to know if a person is interesting or not, is a vindication of being a weirdo.

I just like to make intertextualities, films, music, that's my brillo, i might not be jacked but i have this childish irony.

A society in which your talents are worthless. The information you manage is worthless, I might not be a Mr Darcy but i have good things in me and I love to be able to talk about films, literature or music.

There's a rhyme in which I say that i'm a latin lover because i love dead tongues, and that's because i like the Latin language, i made that irony to contrast with the latin lover expectarion.

It is very interesting that women wrote about this type of masculine characters, like Mr Darcy of Heathcliff in the case of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, there's a stereotype there.

I like the stories of Greek women from the classic era in which they wrote for a group of women and not for the public.

I've always been critical of rap lyrics in which people is constantly engaging in logics of toxic masculinity, there's lots of social pressure to constantly show that you have money, this narrative too of women who start paying attention to you after you're famous.

I like finding intimacy in my lyrics, i'm inspired by referential literature and eventually reach mass media through intimacy.

Turing Test - prove you're human through a captcha


For this song i thought of Blade Runner, and yes, originally the machine was meant to prove that it was not a machine to the human and now it seems to be the opposite.

One of the aspects from science fiction that interests me the most is the difficulty to distinguish fantasy from reality, or the difficulty to determine if you're a human or not, that's actually a central topic in Blade Runner, a film that portrays androids or Ghost in the Shell which is about cyborgs with implanted memories.

And there's the connection to these people that give the impression of not being authentic, people who do not question reality, they seem to have really defined identities but they're just repeating stuff and do not have interests of their own. They're listening to the songs of the reggeaton musician who is on fashion or watching the Avengers.

People as robots, robots made out of flesh and bone, subject to the pressures of marrying, having a house, and all the things that social standards require from you.

I'm glad I decided to prioritize my artistic career and didn't met social standards.







Fiction as a Design Strategy
Elvia Vasconcelos, Köln International School of Design
Köln
When design thinking currently serves the satisfaction of capitalistic subjectivities, can fiction emerge as a radical design method that creates better tech? We explored this question at a speculative design workshop in which participants were given a brief based in the short story The Book of Martha by Octavia Butler
Exceed linguistic possibilities, this is possible because of visual representations and poetry - Transcendental art - The designer as a figure that is less of an engineer and more of a poet






22 Mirrors
Climate-KIC, Javier Bertossi
Glasgow
Can holistic divinatory methods help us solve the climate crisis?

SPELL









Tiny Clouds, Socialist Futures
Cristina Cochior
Glasgow
Micro-ISP networks are services offered at the neighborhood level through which communities can connect to the internet and to services that are relevant for the locals. Is this infrastructural arrangement an enabler of socialist futures?
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SPELL







Tiny clouds, socialist futures: a comparative examination of micro-ISPs in Romania and Cuba


This text is a comparative analysis between Romanian and Cuban micro-ISP networks. These are services offered at the neighborhood level through which communities can connect to the internet and to services that are relevant for the locals.

Romanian community networks were the norm until the early 2000 and they are slowly being replaced by commercial ISPs, in the Cuban case, community networks co-exist with state providers but have to deal with the limited hardware resources available at the island given the US embargo. Our aim is to depict the current uses of micro-ISPs in the selected countries, to critically establish their strengths and risks, and to discern the future role of such technical arrangements in a world of failing capitalism.

We will use a feminist lens to examine the gendered aspect of this practice and study to which extent women are users and implementers of micro ISP networks. Moreover, our comparative approach will allow us to determine productive juxtapositions between socialist logics and autonomous digital infrastructures.

The report will be informed by past fieldwork performed by the authors in Romania and in Cuba.

About the authors:

Cristina Cochior (RO) and Danae Tapia (CL) are lecturers of Hacking at the Willem de Kooning Academy, university of applied arts in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Together they have developed educational programmes on issues such as commoning, bot culture, radical hosting instances, federated social networks, and technological autonomy in general.