Jung Hsu - Natalia RIVERA
By late 2019 and early 2020, border closures and confinement measures abruptly interrupted the protests that were emerging around the world. This paralysis of widespread demonstrations during the pandemic generated the need to rethink and create alternative forms of civil resistance, while radically transforming our narratives, metaphors and understandings on the living systems and their ways to break through, especially in microorganisms.
Bacteria, which have been here long before us, have developed amazing technologies of distributed communication and self-organized collaboration. Large numbers of microorganisms can act in unison without any leader and their ability to communicate with other species also allows them to easily relate, skillfully responding to any situation in their environment.
However, these bacterial resistance technologies have been colonized by militarist narratives that have taken over all our spaces. Microorganisms are regarded as enemies, the entire world undertook a “war against the invisible enemy” – the SARS-CoV-2, the body is seen as a battlefield, a battle that today “we are losing against the bacterial resistance”, and the immune system is a supposed military intelligence, an idea that insults the real intelligence of the living.
Bi0film.net, our open project, praises bacterial resistance in contrast to the reductionist discourse of war. We took one of the Hong Kong movement’s icons, the yellow umbrella, and adapted it based on an open resource created by Andrew McNeil, to be used as a parabolic WiFi antenna. Other than covering, hiding, and protecting the user, Bi0film.net helps them communicate. The umbrella can act as an antenna for a mini server, a repeater or a router, increasing the range, while building a nomadic network that accompanies the demonstration in the streets. In the move, the network connects and disconnects organically. Demonstrators can join the virtual Bi0film to chat, share files and store them.
We aim at facilitating the connection to alternative networks, and at the same time acknowledge the importance of seeking autonomy in our communication technologies, now when internet censorship is used as a tool of repression on the part of authoritarian regimes.
This project opens a non-disciplinary conversation between activists, biologists, hacker communities, artists and everyone interested in co-creating other possible future communication systems. Besides the umbrella-antenna as a tool, the question and the processes around autonomous communication networks are still open for us. Together with those joining the conversation, the Bi0film.net community continues developing the possibilities for p2p, encrypted, decentralized and federated communication technologies, creating a biofilm itself that amplifies and enhances the connection of diverse communities worldwide.
Through artistic processes, we wonder about other politics of the living, other possibilities besides authoritarian and hierarchical political organizations, which by a long experience, we already know that don't work for us. These collaborative practices, and not only biotechnologies created in laboratories or digital technologies, are the technologies of the living through which we resist more and more as communities of organisms and less as individuals isolated by capitalism. Biotechnologies as other living, evolutionary and mutant forms of resistance.
Self-organizing, collaborating, and communicating in a decentralized and distributed way are some of the wonderful actions of the living to break through, and that is what “resist like bacteria” means.
BI0FILM.NET IS A CONCEPT PROJECT FOR THE CREATION OF BIO-INSPIRED COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES. WE DEVELOP prototypes THROUGH CO-CREATION WORKSHOPS WITH THE COMMUNITIES INTERESTED, BUT they are NOT MEANT TO BE DIRECTLY IMPLEMENTED, SPECIALLY WHERE HIGH SECURITY RISKs EXIST.
PROTOTYPES IN TAIPEI - BERLIN - BOGOTÁ
The Bi0film.net project development is based in co-creation workshops with the communities interested in exploring, prototyping and adapting this kind of communication media, while sharing ideas on the importance of creating other ways of organization, that could be, as our project propose, inspired by other living organisms.
In that sense, the project is open because every resource we and the communities use are open and will continue to be, but also because the project does not intend to offer a final product-service. It is open because we are aware that the process of re-inventing our organization and communication media is of course mutant and evolutive, plus situated.
This platform intends to share with all the interested communities, the resources we explore and create collaboratively, and the upcomming workshops for anyone interested.
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
As an ongoing open project, Bi0film.net has had diverse versions generated in different co-creation workshops. The initial prototype that we created at the New Media Class was based in the WIFI umbrella-antenna created by Andrew McNeil. Later on, at the beginning of 2022 in collaboration with Mutante, an art and science community from Bogotá, we developed a version of the network using a Piratebox, an open project of hacked routers, as an autonomous server that was also tested and adapted in the second co-creation workshop in an anarchist bookfair in Bogotá called La Furia. More recently, in collaboration with the Medienhaus/ project, we have built a prototype with Raspberry Pi’s as servers and repeaters, with a chat platform based on Matrix and the user interface based in Cinny.
Here you can find those resources.