Ola is a researcher and storyteller working on topics exploring concepts such as digital monopolies,
platform labor, implications of AI used in policing, digital habits, various meme vernaculars, and more. She has an experience in the field of New Media Design and Digital Transformation, a combination of which she uses in her practice.
She presented her research, copywriting, and design projects and reached a wider audience at events like Dutch Design Week, Fiber Festival, The Next Web, IAM weekend, Ars Electronica, IMPAKT festival, The Hmm, and Zine Camp. In her recent work, she began exploring AI technologies and their applications in various layers of society, focusing on underrepresented groups and those typically left out of the conversation.
Collective tech therapy at Creative Coding Utrecht
It’s very rewarding to see independent
permacomputing meet-ups being organized.
Even more so when it’s within
a new community!
This time, I was invited to join the event organized by Creative Coding Utrecht and talk about the philosophy, principles discuss my own approach to the permacomputing practice. As I tend to do these days, I used this time to drag the audience through a small collective tech therapy playing the new version of Crappy Tech Bingo.
This was also a great opportunity to introduce and invite the audience to join our upcoming series of workshops organized in collaboration with Fiber and Willem de Kooning Academy. More on that soon!
"Led by fieke jansen, niels ten oever, and maxigas, the lab will bring together activists, advocates, scholars, policymakers, and industry actors. Three analytical lenses of standards, geopolitics, and environment will be applied to build an evidence base, investigate and develop infrastructural imaginaries, and create actionable research for infrastructures that serve the public interest...."
During our workshop, we introduced permacomputing principles and why each of us got interested in this community. Lukas started with interactive visualization, Are You Working in the Dark,his previous work with Paul Bille.
We roped our audience into playing Crappy Everyday Tech bingo, aka the permcomputing bingo again. Miseries were shared, frustrations flew, and support was offered.
TheFirst Permacomputing event
Over the last few months, I have been working with a great team of researchers, designers, and media practitioners on building the permacomputing community and the related wiki.
We are currently working on making the permacomputing wiki more accessible and organized. The goal is to create a solid base for the series of workshops we plan to host in spring 2023, for which we are all very excited.
Meanwhile, this October I and Aymeric Mansoux hosted the very first intro to the general principles behind permacomputing. During the event we played an interactive session of permacomputing bingo (crappy tech bingo) at Zine Camp in Rotterdam.
Thanks to the audience participation, we gathered insights on some of the shared annoyances with 'crappy tech' we all deal with every day. And since winning this bingo doesn't really mean you win, I baked some cookies for participants to sweeten the day and minimize frustrations.
More about permacomupting very soon!
The most annoying plugin ever created
Curious how it would be to browse the internet without any trace of Google?
Googless team created the most annoying plugin.
The ad campaign promises that the Googless plugin will work by blocking Google services on the websites visited by the user.In reality, that means blocking the website altogether, which is the only way one could actually have a Googless experience visiting a site with implemented Google services. This experience is meant to illustrate the impossible task of escapingGoogle in today's web surfing experience. Businesses, entrepreneurs and regular internet users at the mercy of one unstoppable tech giant.
We anticipate users will quicklyget annoyed not being able to browse the web freely. Once the users are done using our plug-in, they are offered to learn more about the world of online monopolies.The plug-in works to spark frustration and offer to channel it to message (via our site) representatives in EU to further complain about the lack of alternatives.
How can we protect freedom and agency in monopolized online spaces?
Googless is a multidisciplinary project under the wing ofIMPAKT and The School of Machines focusing on the issue of big tech monopolies and specifically on Google as one of the most prominent examples. By revealing the omnipresence of tracking tools, Googless hopes to influence how we approach our digital rights and inspire those in charge of protecting them to take a stand against data hoarding and unfair market practices.
return to the temporary
ongoing project by Ola Bonati (research&concept) and Deniz Kurt (design)
In the early days of the personal computer era, digital space felt exciting, full of possibilities, and somewhat comforting in how manageable (?) it was.
Traces of your actions in the digital world did not leave outside of the immediate space you took up, you were not traced. You could simply just restart your computer and start anew.
Or was that ever true?
How much of your own personal narrative online have you built up since then and why do continue to produce and keep all that information? Are you able to let go of some of that nostalgic documentation that happened via online channels throughout the years?
The installation aims to trigger the nostalgic feeling for what the first digital experience used to be and help the audience make a decision between keeping (storing) memories and moving on. The installation is twofold.
We aim to build a space that, upon entry initially conveys the safety and familiarity of the early digital era. When moving to the center of the room, the visitors will be invited to play a seemingly simple game on a stationary computer.
The game will be designed in the 8-bit style and with simple rules. The user will have to go
through several levels, and after each level, more data describing users' actions in the game will be generated and projected on the walls, gradually filling up the room.
In this way, we will destroy the innocence and coziness of the room. By showing the amassing data that each move makes, we will take the user away from the nostalgia and obsessive holding onto memories and false comfort. The installation will confront its visitors on how much their digital habits and their environment have changed since the times of glory of the artifacts present in the room.
by Ola Bonati (research) and Fred Wordie (concept &design)
Public opinion is still divided between tech enthusiasts praising the capabilities of AI technology and those deeming it to be the doom of our society. Because of these dual and often conflicting approaches to AI technology, the debate is usually reduced to human vs. machine discourse. And while it is a valid concern to explore, we would like to see how we can add more depth to this discussion by finding ways AI technology can be used/abused in propaganda and quasi-journalistic pursuits.
Often digital tools that we are so quick to adapt affect systems and institutions that traditionally were made to work at human speed and not according to the pace and capacity of mass-scale digital technologies.
In our artistic practice, we aim to explore this duality by researching theory, methods, and ways of experimentation and eventually creating a prototype that engages the public in this debate. We want to go as far as to shape whole narratives convincing enough to remain undetected by both human and non-human validators. By focusing our efforts on maximizing the potential behind these publicly accessible tools, we want to explore the ways in which we regain agency over generative content.
Clashing imaginaries in the perception of AI
During my time at the Digital Society School, I had a chance to work with a multidisciplinary team of researchers, designers, and programmers.
Our project in collaboration with the Dutch Police aimed to find out about people's perception of AI systems used in policing.
Our goal was to explore the imaginaries around AI technologies and conflicts that arise between stakeholders.
Though some of the AI used in policing today must be viewed and critically assessed a lot of it is still far from what people imagine. There is a growing gap in knowledge of AI and implementation of this technology is only accelerating. Public institutions like the police should work towards increasing transparency of their current and future use of these technologies.
Our prototype, The Time Machine experience, was presented during The Next Web conference, where many attendees had a chance to try it out. The prototype aimed to discover the most significant gaps in knowledge about AI technologies.
Later on, the outcome of our research and design process was welcomed at the Dutch Design Week during the DRIVE festival. I was happy to present it as a part of The Future of Policing panel.
Community building via IoT devices
Research & Concept
With its luring screens and attention-grabbing notiﬁcations, modern technology seems to provide a great excuse to avoid connecting with others. I thought it is important to create a medium that would do the opposite.
The Blok is an IoT device collecting data on the use of resources in your household: water, waste, electricity, air, etc. To ﬁnd out about the data collected by the Blok you can bring it to the lobby, corridor, or entrance space and combine it with your neighbor’s bloks, thus creating a puzzle of sorts. Once other people bring in their bloks, the front sides would activate with color or pattern showing the state of the entire community's sustainability progress.
Interactive art and perfomance
Before the pandemic and hopefully soon again I co-design, build and perform in interactive theatrical pieces as a part of the At Worlds End collective. It was and still is a passion for me more than a source of income. Our community is rebuilding and planning to create new projects in the next months.
Tree Museum - installation placed in the Dutch forest where visitors were invited to reimagine trees as extinct species
Strammerdam - theatrical installation inviting visitors to experience an oppressive world centered around a cult of one person.
Floating Molecules- Dance piece exploring the issues with regaining connection in the post-pandemic relaity.