Studio Animaspace & Arina Kapitanova, unorthodox applications & ‘misusages’ of technology, Christopher Michael, δημοσίευση CLOT Magazine [21/10/2022]Marilena Pateraki
When Angelina Kozhevnikova (who works as Animaspace) and Arina Kapitanova met at Berlin’s School of the Machines, there were too many coincidences for them not to connect. Both come from Moscow, both had emigrated out of their home country, and both had studied and worked in architecture. As a strong bond emerged between the two, their eventual collaboration became inevitable.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Kozhevnikova and Kapitanova knew they wanted to utilize their skills in design and architecture to serve the resistance that was forming in their home country. Especially considering that the Russian regime was (and still is) arresting anti-war protestors en masse, the two collaborators wanted to figure out a way to circumvent police interference with these demonstrations. As artists committed to another direction for humans and our relationship with technology they also wanted to utilize new technologies, like augmented reality and drones, to show how these tools could be used in resistance to authoritarian regimes.
Coordinated°, the project born out of this collaboration, seeks to do just that. Coordinated° is a framework of a moving protest, where the coordinates of the next locations are communicated with drones and decoded by people with AR. The drones move in a way that suggests nothing more than a fun performance but are secretly giving out coordinates to the location of protests and demonstrations. The drone performance is coded using Python but done so autonomously using an alphabet that translates numbers to the movements of the drone. People can decode these coordinates by using a special AR Instagram filter, following the drone movements to reveal the coordinates they are spelling out. By working in this bottom-up way, Kozhevnikova and Kapitanova hope demonstrators may be able to use these technologies to thwart state interference.
Coordinated° is premiering at this year’s Edgima Semibreve Festival in Braga, Portugal. The pair hope the work will be the catalyst of a certain attitude towards the human-machine relationship that could inspire very unorthodox applications and “misusages” of technology. Especially at a time when authoritarianism is on the rise, not just in Russia but throughout Europe and the US, Coordinated° speaks to modern technologies’ ability to outmanoeuvre authorities and to organize in an accessible but covert, fashion. While the project was inspired by Russian protestors, there are many ways such technology could be utilized in other situations. Especially as drones are often seen as a tool of war, the duo are hoping this work challenges these preconceptions and allows audiences to reimagine these technologies as tools that could help similar resistance movements.
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