I don’t have a whole lot of meaningful chatter to add to the actual experts sharing useful information rn, but one thing I am very happy to go off about is that y’all should be thinking about what digital tools you use, how you use them, and who you look to for guidance!
I have been getting like a few lil pings every day from people in my contacts list making Signal accounts. great! digital security is bigger than downloading a new messaging app, however. it’s maybe 10% what tools you are using, and 90% how you are using them. it’s not a black and white issue, and tbh the “optimal” recommendations are a bit much for the average person who is just trying to send emojis to their grandma. but everyone should still make some space for finding a level that works for them. you don’t have to go full privacy & security vegan to make a meaningful lifestyle change that can help you and others in your community stay safe, especially if you are feeling newly motivated to participate in direct action.
Babycastles hosted a security chat on Twitch over the weekend that is now archived here and worth a watch. it begins with something critical- a framing of their intent. friends-of-the-newsletter Tech Learning Collective are great about this too. all tech is political, and it’s important for a conversation about safety to begin with a clear understanding of the politics of the organizers. if a resource doesn’t begin by making it clear that Black lives matter, they are probably not on the level you need to be prepared for going to a BLM protest.
as TLC notes, there are a lot of listicles and tweets about security floating around, probably why so many of you are hopping on to Signal! but that stuff rarely does a good job of addressing the bigger context for how systems are designed and funded, and why we should all be a lil more paranoid (tho it’s not paranoia if ur right!). there are organizers, experts, and communities who have been doing the work for years (decades even!), and I’d err on the side of looking to them over a Forbes listicle or whatever (follow the money!!!!!!!). I highly recommend subscribing to the TLC calendar of events here and checking out some of their workshops.
but also just talk to your friends and family! I have a friend group on Facebook that I have been trying to move off of Facebook for YEARS and with all that is happening right now everyone is finally down to try some alternatives. maybe we will run our own BBS, idk! we are figuring it out! this is a great moment to capitalize on how fed up everyone is with these shitty tools and how eager everyone is to learn to introduce some better alternatives. your chill friends are super tired of seeing the racist people from their middle school on their timelines, so let’s get them off the timelines entirely.
this guide by Fannie Sosa with visual elements by Tabita Rezaire and Fannie Sosa is a good primer for how white institutions can better support artists of color & their audiences. you can (and should) also buy a PDF copy of the complete version here. I particularly like the clarifications on the sliding scale pricing. if you have the financial stability to pay for shit you should!
this project by creative technologist Helen Leigh uses a Touch Board to create a comfort object pillow that responds to touch via conductive material. her use of the Touch Board is pretty out-of-the-box, proving that you can combine a tiny bit of new tech with traditional object-making skills to make something truly compelling.
have u been inspired by the BTS army’s epic mobilization, but also u have a job and can’t be spamming Twitter 24/7? maybe a bot is the answer! here’s a lil tutorial to get you started that uses Glitch to make things a lil easier than setting up Node locally.
open calls & residencies!
note: a lot of open calls are still optimistically planning for events and residencies to be held normally starting Fall 2020. be sure to stay up to date as circumstances may change.
New Images Festival has an open call for completed XR projects as well as immersive works that are in development. submissions close June 19. you can learn more and apply here.
the Internet Yami-Ichi is back with a virtual tianguis hosted by Centro de Cultura Digital. proposals for projects that can be presented and sold via web are due TODAY. learn more and apply here (text in Spanish).
and, if you’d like to be featured in an upcoming issue of the newsletter as part of your job hunt or to make up lost income due to COVID-19, please fill out this form.
📅 upcoming events!
tomorrow, June 9! 3PM GMT -4: Tech Learning Collective is hosting a free, guided tour of their foundations curriculum of self-paced courses and practice labs. you can learn more here.
Weds June 10! 7PM GMT -5: Eventloop is back for another virtual event for June. this month’s will feature a talk on the Sanity CMS and one on infrastructure as code with Pulumi. learn more and RSVP here.
June 12! 8PM GMT -7: as part of the Patch Pulse series of audiovisual collaborations, Gray Area will be live streaming a special performance by Xyla and Somni. the event will be streamed for free, and the donation-based ticket sales will go towards directly supporting the artists as well as Gray Area. learn more here.
also June 12! 1PM GMT -4: CLIC artist-in-residence Sarah Newman & special guest Mutale Nkonde will host an interactive creative workshop exploring questions in law, ethics, justice, and public health. learn more and register here. only a few spots are left!
June 23! 6PM GMT -4: Pioneer Works technology resident Johann Diedrick will lead a collaborative workshop on creating soundscapes. participants will be invited to make their own recordings in their home and then learn how to compose with the open-source audio editing software Audacity. learn more here.
itch.io has released a bundle of over 740 games that can be yours for a minimum donation of $5. all proceeds will go to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund with a 50/50 split. once you buy, I recommend checking out this thread by game maker Paolo Pedercini of his highlights from the bundle:
I’ve been seeing a lot of gaming streamers be a bit offline rn (lol me included) because it feels inappropriate to be promoting ur dumb stream when real shit is going down. but why not take a break from ur usual roster to stream some games from this bundle, or even some games that can spark some deeper conversation? Pedercini’s own Democratic Socialism Simulator uses a mechanic similar to Reigns to force you to balance tough political choices.
it’s also important to nourish ur wholesome side and not just fall victim to doom-scrolling. the Wholesome Direct highlighted a bunch of soothing games that would make for a nice healing break or stream. check them out here.
just for lulz!
ur UI inspiration for the day:
if you have anything in the works that you are excited about (an event, a workshop, a new project), please send me all the details. the next newsletter will cover the week of June 15 - 21, but I’m happy to promote events further in the future as well and keep them on the calendar.