Its aim was to strengthen social self-determination in the process of digitization by involving various perspectives in the reflection on and development of data-driven solutions and technical products.
During the WirVsVirus Hackathon, Germany has presented a first impressive example of how to involve the general population. A culture of cooperation such as the Data Collectives in Taiwan, for example, could also offer an alternative for the EU to current surveillance capitalism and our future handling of data.
Values are abstract. You can’t touch them, smell them, taste them or hear them. As a matter of fact, the same principle applies for digitization which eventually left us with two highly intangible concepts. Now, in order to get our discussion started, we looked up a list of EU values and discovered a plain website that states the following:
“The EU values are common to the EU countries in a society in which inclusion, tolerance, justice, solidarity and non-discrimination prevail. These values are an integral part of our European way of life:
● Human dignity
● Rule of law
● Human rights
Values as prisms
The primary manifestation of every value is a word. But what is behind that word? Is my idea of freedom the same as yours? From a semiotic perspective it’s likely that it isn’t. Every word carries a meaning and every meaning is a matter of interpretation. While a word always remains the same, the actual concept that we individually associate with it is highly contextual. If someone says tree, the image of an oak might come to your mind - while someone else thinks of a pine or a bonsai. Some might say that this is a problem. If you have a different understanding of freedom than I have, where does that leave us? But we can also look at this from another perspective where values serve as a powerful prism to explore different geographies, cultural idiosyncrasies, histories, and personal experiences. Especially in a world that is constantly being fragmented by automatically customized streams in our digital everyday lives. Thus, in order to diffract the white light of values into its colourful waves, we chose to refresh our EU values. From now on, everytime they reappear on the website they potentially do so in a different context, with a slightly different meaning.
Meta refresh as a meta value
We understood that the keypoint at the core of EU Values and digitization is a matter of identity: the urgency is not to find new values or to update the ones that we already have (in other words, new names for old things), but to make the values that we already accept efficient. We need to refresh EU Values.
In this consideration, a performance called Refresh (http://www.kristinlucas.com/refresh.html) by the American artist Kristin Lucas served us as a core inspiration. To refresh is a transitive verb that has both a physical, a spiritual and a digital meaning. It can mean ‘to restore strength and animation’, ‘to revive’, and ‘to update or renew’ (something, such as an image, the contents of a computer memory, or the displayed version of a Web page) especially by sending a new signal’.
After starting to play with this concept, we decided to clone the official page for European Values (https://ec.europa.eu/component-library/eu/about/eu-values/). At first glance, we haven’t changed any of the words, the semiotic sign element. The site still appears to be the same. However, by tinkering with the websites’ digital language, i.e. HTML, we were able to shift the semiotic context. A Meta Refresh command was added to the original HTML code so that the webpage automatically refreshes itself every 7 seconds. Now the site visually communicates our feeling of urgency for refreshed EU values.
Following the tradition of net.art and starting as a joke, euvalues.com (https://euvalues.com/) serves as the domain for the online installation of the updated cloned code. Meta Refresh EU Values can be considered a proposal for the introduction of a seventh European value, namely Meta Refresh. It won’t add content to the existing values, but invisibly alter them every time they reappear. A silent installation, reminding Europe to contemplate the meaning of values, their duration and their transformation as social constructs.
Meta refresh yourself
The installation is accompanied by a guide that invites the public to approach this topic from an individual introspective point of view. It can be found in the About (https://euvalues.com/about.html) section of euvalues.com. Feel free to use for your personal introspection, a workshop or whatever setting you see fit.
Marco Antelmi is a visual artist with a background in civil engineering with a research-based practice that merges fields of investigation in surveillance capitalism, cloud infrastructure, migration flows, human and labour rights.
Bennet Etsiwah is a doctoral researcher at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. As a member of the research group "Data-Driven Business Model Innovations" his main research topics are data cultures and data literacy.
All your uploads, tags, conversations, all the statements that perhaps are not true to you anymore, or all the times you acted out of character in social media. Data shared privately, publicly. Data that others shared. Of all your internet lifetime, how much could potentially reveal personal or sensitive information? How much could data reveal your location, recurrent places, employment details? What about the information that is not implicitly there? Do you have something to hide?
For our collaboration (https://www.tizcreel.com/data), we decided to do an experiment inspired by the personality quiz popular in the 2000s that we titled: Random questions. The experiment's intention is to infer personal biometric data based on seemingly random questions. Four questions were formulated and designed to enable us to mine information without the participants knowing. For the pilot experiment, we chose to guess the participant’s age.
Tiz Creel (1991) is an artist from Mexico City currently based in London. Her practice is influenced by play, spontaneity and games, as forms contingent on relations between people. Her work often comes to prominence when the individual’s imagination transforms the artwork. The audience role is not to discover but to create the meaning -whatever form it might take. People might challenge the work; that encounter is essential for the work sense of itself.
Martin Skrodzki (Japan/The Netherlands) is a Walter-Benjamin postdoctoral fellow of the German Research Foundation at TU Delft. Martin's research interests are set between Computer Science and Mathematics. He is mainly concerned about all issues related to point sets, which includes both low- and high-dimensional data as well as their processing and visualizations.
Can AI be trusted? (https://www.kialo.com/can-ai-be-trusted-50848?path=50848.0~50848.3&active=~50848.3)
Pro: "In my opinion, the question whether we can trust an AI system more than the people who perform..."
Con: "Many scientists believe that consciousness is just a result of advanced thinking. If this is true..."
Tom O’Dea is an artist who works with mixed-media sculpture and social practice to interrogate the political implications of practices of computation and social organisation in contemporary society. His work explores ways to understand how computation impacts upon our ways of acting and being the world. Visit his website at iamtomodea.com.
Mathias Riechert works as data product owner, data science coordinator, and data science lecturer with mixed methods to guide technology development by qualitative and quantitative evaluation at the intersection of Computer Science, Interfaces, Data Science, and Impact Evaluation. Get in contact via https://www.linkedin.com/in/mathiasriechert/.
Together they are working on Fightforthe.net (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1EtiZG2TKSCc31Y9D5bCwkolqLctSJtC_RPNramPvNTk/edit#slide=id.ge03d460016_0_0), an online card game featuring disinformation actors and enemies of the stability and resilience of the internet and the rights of its users.
Elena Falomo is a designer researcher whose practice is rooted in participatory and social design with a focus on digital interfaces. She is passionate about democratising technologies and open culture.
Matthias C. Kettemann works on the rules of power and the power of rules in online spaces. He's consulted with various governments and internet platforms on how to make online spaces safer and the internet more resilient.
The space (https://gather.town/invite?token=f106qwzB) is a virtual exhibition/storage-room on AI and ¿nclusion (across refusal towards justice) Our team includes a moral & political philosopher, a human-robot interaction researcher and a research-based visual artist.
Tereza Hendl: I hope that this space will stimulate critical reflections about broader unequal social structures that AI and digital platforms are embedded within and arising from as well as concerns about the impact of AI on different populations. These inquiries are crucial for disrupting and dismantling dominant power asymmetries and navigating the path towards AI justice.
Yifan He: welcome! I hope this space is accessible for many humanoids, cyborgs and hybrids toforage. The process of compiling the materials included is to pay tributes to their creators. Don’t be stressed abt visiting all the materials at one go.Make it home and come back often. Let us know what you think in the guest book ;)
Hannah Pelikan: Welcome to this virtual exhibition about AI and inclusion. I see this as a space for engaging with the notion of“intelligent” machines and how they interact with individuals, communities and society in a creative way. I hope this space inspires you to learn more about (artificial) intelligence and toquestion who is designing AI for whom.
Hannah Pelikan is a PhD candidate at Linköping University in Sweden, studying how humans and robots interact in the wild, in homes, workplaces and public spaces.
Tereza Hendl is a philosopher and bioethicist. Her research spans across moral and political philosophy, philosophy of technology, feminist
philosophy, normative and public health ethics.
Shanghai-born, London-based artist Yifan He produces multi-media works that remediate the borders/edges of bod(ies) thro technology, translation, and participation.