<Off-Grid-Traces> @ Late at Tate

Late at Tate Britain: Solstice
Drop-in Workshop
6-9.30pm Fri 6th December 2019

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A night responding to this year’s Winter Commission from Anne Hardy.

If the internet ended, what would happen next for communication? Compiler brings The Wrong Biennale to Tate Britain, presenting Off-Grid <On Tour> WiFi router exhibition and a drop-in workshop to help reimagine digital interaction after an ecological disaster. The lights are out, internet is down, and for a brief moment the power is in your hands. Equipped with ‘the wrong’ tools, create collaborative internet of the future and leave a digital trace in a decentralised world.

Taking inspiration from the offline WiFi router pavilions of The Wrong Biennale – in which they curated the exhibition Off-Grid <On-Tour> – Compiler co-developed a drop-in workshop with the Digital Learning team at Tate to enable practical engagement with the core themes and instigate change. Participants enter a post-ecological disaster scenario, learn about the role of digital development in the climate emergency and have the opportunity to reimagine digital communication, the internet and alternatives.

Is there power? If there is no power, would you take the opportunity to create your own? Go to the crank and start turning in order to power the lights, battery packs and WiFi routers. Access the offline website via smartphones (or WiFi-enabled devices) to see traces left by others and upload further contributions. The routers are running a modified version of PirateBox software that creates a WiFi network where you can anonymously share content relating to the workshop in the form of images, videos and sound files.

Throughout this activity, participants are encouraged to discuss the physicality of the digital networks and consider the potential usefulness of localised fragments of the internet. The workshop creates a unique open space for generating ideas, asking questions and, above all, shared learning and play. Participants can dip in at any part of the dystopian timeline, they may want to suggest a solution for the first week of the new world or think more long-term. As practical or impractical as new ideas and models come, the act of their creation transforms participants into proactive citizens and designers taking agency, actively finding solutions for their future on Planet Earth.

We are hoping to continue developing iterations of this workshop to be presented in other social environments and searching for allies to create meaningful change in this environmental emergency.

Photo Credit: Dan Weill © Tate