miércoles, abril 07, 2010

Cartas de apoyo para Ricardo Domínguez, Electronic Disturbance Theater, y b.a.n.g. lab

Reproduzco dos de las varias cartas de apoyo a Ricardo Domínguez, artista y activista, profesor de la Universidad de San Diego, California, quien actualmente está siendo investigado y sufriendo amenazas por su participación en distintos proyectos que cruzan el arte y la tecnología para repensar cuestiones sobre la legalidad, la inmigración, la educación y las políticas sociales. En particular han sido dos los acontecimientos por los cuales se le quiere acusar injustamente con cargos criminales a Dominguez: su participación en el proyecto inter-institucional "Transborder Inmigrant Tool", y su participación en la publicación de una web falsa que anunciaba la renuncia del Presidente de la Universidad de California, Mark Yudof (el documento es muy bueno, verlo aquí), como parte de las acciones colectivas de protesta el 4 de Marzo pasado, en torno a la crisis de la educación pública en el Estado de California. El trabajo de producción artística y activista de Dominguez es ampliamente reconocido --con una producción muy relevante en hacktivismo y en electronic civil disobedience (ECD). Resulta evidente que las amenazas son un intento de criminalización de la protesta, la imaginación y la investigación crítica. Para más información y otras maneras de ayudar ver la web de b.a.n.g. lab.

Reproduzco dos cartas de apoyo (circuladas en inglés), la primera del colectivo norteamericano Temporary Services, y otra iniciada por la Duke University y firmada masivamente desde entonces.

Letter in support of Ricardo Dominguez, Electronic Disturbance Theater, and b.a.n.g. lab

To whom it may concern:

We write this letter to place our support squarely and firmly behind the brave, inspiring, ambitious, and challenging cultural, political, and aesthetic work of Ricardo Dominguez, the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), and the b.a.n.g. Lab at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). We are concerned about reports of recent harassment and questioning of Professor Dominguez, and write in support of him, his research, and affiliated projects. We call for an end to the investigation of Professor Dominguez and b.a.n.g. lab, and we wish to see both the lab and Dominguez continue their work, unhindered, long into the future.

The EDT and Dominguez had a formative impact on our group's work. We appreciate the EDT's unwavering, decades-long, visionary approach to blurring the boundaries between art and everyday life by engaging in creative political discourse. We remember the early days of the internet, when it first came to millions of peoples' homes, and the pioneering work Dominguez and EDT engaged in then. The EDT's work has continuity with the civil disobedience engaged in during the Civil Rights Movement era. Electronic Disturbance Theater brought these tactics into an online format. New ideas like electronic sit-ins were attempted and found to be effective. We thank them for their insight then and commend them for their challenging work today!

Dominguez, EDT, and b.a.n.g. Lab ask questions with their work that make people uncomfortable. The vicious attacks they have received by right wing media makes this painfully clear. Racism, bigotry, and class privilege drive the attacks. This toxic environment leaves little choice but to find solutions to helping people survive as they enter the U.S. through some of the deadliest terrain to humans. Many efforts similar to Dominguez's, like putting fresh water in the middle of the desert, have been criminalized in preference for human suffering and death. This is unacceptable.

We write this letter to call others to stand up and refuse the political theater the U.S. government has engaged in by attempting to cast a shadow of criminality over the expression of real dissent. Dominguez, EDT, and b.a.n.g. Lab refuse to tolerate the profound, delusional hypocrisy in our country in regards to the plight of people who are crossing borders seeking the same dream that we have let slip out of our hands into an oblivion of rust belts, high unemployment, home foreclosures, the privatization of public universities, bank bailouts, and more. They take aim at the brutalization of undocumented workers and economic refugees. They make it hard to look away from the trials of people whose very labor and suffering enable us to buy cheap food, to have a house built with labor that costs less than minimum wage, to get a lawn or child taken care of for very little money.

When dissent threatens the status quo in this country, it is dealt with through swift ideological force and calculated intimidation. We have seen this routine play out many times before. We witnessed the trumped up charges that the Bush administration's Department of Justice leveled against Steven Kurtz (member of the artist collective Critical Art Ensemble). He was erroneously charged for bioterrorism. The charge was later reduced to wire fraud. Eventually, Kurtz was exonerated. However, our justice system was besmirched and tarnished just a little bit more.

We demand that these politically driven investigations be stopped. We insist that Dominguez and the b.a.n.g. Lab continue their important work at UCSD. We ask others to write letters of support and to spread the word so these investigations are seen fully as what they are: the criminalization of dissent and unpopular opinions.


Temporary Services
(Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin, Marc Fischer)
P.O. Box 121012
Chicago, IL 60612


Letter of Support for Ricardo Dominguez, bang.lab, and Electronic Disturbance Theater

To the President, Chancellors, and Regents of the University of California:

We are writing as an international group of concerned students and faculty in regard to the series of investigations currently directed against Professor Ricardo Dominguez and his collaborators in the CALIT2 bang.lab. More specifically, we wish to address the following events:

1) On March 21, 2010, a bang.lab colleague at the University of California, Riverside, received notice that he is under investigation in relation to the establishment of the website http://MarkYudof.com, an art protest piece in which the artist expressed an alternate version of the future in which University of California President Mark Yudof publicly resigned his position by acknowledging that his “service as president is detrimental to the future of public education in the state of California.” Despite its obviously unrealistic message on behalf of President Yudof and the multiple links on the site indicating its connection to various student protest groups, both of which clearly identify the site’s political intent and its desire not to defraud its visitors, this artist action has directly resulted in the ensuing investigation.

2) On March 4th, the bang.lab website hosted a virtual sit-in against the website of the University of California Office of the President as part of the system-wide student and faculty protests against the policies of the University of California administration. The virtual sit-in action provided a means for anyone sympathetic to the cause to remotely join the protesters in solidarity. As a direct result of the sit-in action, the University of California, San Diego’s Office of Information Technology Security shut down the bang.lab server’s access to the Internet for eight consecutive days.

3) Following the virtual sit-in, the bang.lab was informed that they were under investigation by the University of California at San Diego Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Paul Drake, who was also attempting to determine the legal grounds necessary to file criminal charges against Professor Dominguez. If successful, these university and criminal charges would directly threaten the revocation of Professor Dominguez’s tenure at UCSD. Despite already established international legal precedents that virtual sit-ins are considered electronic civil disobedience (ECD) and are therefore not denial-of-service (DoS) or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks (most recently in the First Penal Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt ruling 1 Ss 319/05 in 2005), these publicly unjustified investigations and charges continue.

As academic colleagues of both Professor Dominguez and his collaborators at the bang.lab, we ask that you cease these seemingly politically motivated investigations. Since initiating his digital protests over ten years ago, Professor Dominguez’s activities with the Electronic Disturbance Theater and the bang.lab have served as unflinchingly courageous examples of intellectual integrity and academic engagement within their wider sociopolitical communities. Professor Dominguez’s tireless efforts to bring awareness to underserved and underrepresented causes through the artful mastery of technologies that so often seek to marginalize such groups has inspired multiple generations of artists, activists, and critical thinkers. His recent bang.lab projects have received numerous international humanitarian awards and funding support in both the U.S. and Mexico. We believe these recent actions against him and the bang.lab threaten the academic freedoms and rights to free speech of all artists and academics everywhere. We recommend that rather than criminalizing legitimate protest activity by members of its own community the University of California would be better served by opening up substantive public dialogues with protesters regarding their concerns. For these reasons, we firmly but respectfully call for increased accountability of this process and an end to the bureaucratic and legal harassment of Professor Dominguez and his colleagues.


Zach Blas, PhD Student, Literature, Duke University, Graduate of DesignMedia Arts, UCLA ‘08

Casey Alt, Visiting Professor of the Practice, Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University, Graduate of DesignMedia Arts, UCLA ‘08

Sean Dockray, Artist, graduate of DesignMedia Arts, UCLA ‘05

Patrick LeMieux, MFA Candidate, Digital Media Art, School of Art and Art History, University of Florida

Stephanie Boluk, PhD Candidate, Department of English, University of Florida

Jussi Parikka, Director of CoDE: The Cultures of the Digital Economy-institute, Reader in Media Theory & History, Co-Director of Anglia Research Centre in Digital Culture (ArcDigital), Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (UK)

Whitney Anne Trettien, PhD student, English, Duke University, Researcher, HyperStudio Digital Humanities Lab, MIT (...y siguen firmas)

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