micha cardenas / azdel slade on Tue, 30 Mar 2010 09:32:28 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Bang.Lab / EDT Update, Call for Accountability and the Criminalization of Research

In the past few weeks, a number of developments have happened in
relation to the art/research practices of the bang.lab and Electronic
Disturbance Theater (EDT) which we wish to share with the public in
accordance with our long history of radical transparency.

- Since the November of 2009 the Transborder Immigrant Tool
[http://bang.calit2.net/xborder] has become a media event with many
groups and individuals, such as Congressman Duncan Hunter in his Op-ed
in the San Diego Union Tribune, calling for the defunding of the
Transborder Immigrant Tool, the University of California system began
a financial audit of the project on January 11, 2010, in which they
requested that every member involved be interviewed by Audit &
Management Advisory Services (UCSD). The exact investigations (they
claim that they are multiple) under way have yet to be clarified by
UCOP or other UC entities, but in the interviews thus far, TBT members
have been questioned about the usage of the funds and the originality
of the project. The investigation has ‘arrested’ TBT’s developmental
process and core research matrix.

- Indeed, due to widespread media coverage of the Transborder
Immigrant Tool members of bang.lab and EDT also have been receiving
copious hateful email and paper letters, some including threats of
physical violence and murder
[http://bang.calit2.net/xborderblog/?page_id=193]. Beyond the racist,
xenophobic, classist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic
“excitable speech” of the threats, the gendered nature of these
hyperbolic responses has been as clear as the correspondence received
in recent weeks by national representatives who voted for health care
legislation or federal justices charged with representing those
accused of terrorist acts.

- On March 2nd, http://Markyudof.com publicly declared the resignation
of UCOP Mark Yudof in a gesture of minor simulation to encourage the
imagining of other possible futures. On March 21st, bang.lab received
notice that a faculty member at UC Riverside was being investigated in
relation to this action.

- On March 4th, http://bang.calit2.net hosted a virtual sit-in against
the UCOP website, providing a space for many people concerned with
public education to embody their dissent online. As a result, UCSD IT
Security shut down our server's access to the Internet for eight days.
After that, we were informed that an investigation by the Senior Vice
Chancellor (SVC) was begun by the UCOP of Ricardo Dominguez seeking
criminal charges for the virtual sit-in, despite the legal precedent
that a virtual sit-in is political speech, not a DDOS attack. This
investigation has been framed by SVC as potential reason to end
Professor Dominguez's tenure.

We feel that these events indicate a number of troubling trends within
the current transnational struggle for education (and more equal
distribution of resources, more generally speaking!):

- A complete disregard for our academic freedom as researchers
engaging in trajectories of art, literature and technology research
that the Visuals Arts Department and CALIT2 consider to be extremely
valuable, and for which Professor Dominguez earned tenure for.

-The use of bureaucracy as a weapon, to prevent our research from
continuing by bogging us down in endless meetings with accountants and

- The criminalization of dissent: across the UC system and the world
on March 4th people engaged in actions, including civil disobedience,
to try to restore public education, stop the budget cuts and work
towards a better future for education. We are among hundreds of people
facing charges for engaging in dissent from the very institutions that
claim to foster independent thinking.

While we feel that poetry, walking art and queer technology cannot be
quantified, “spread-sheet Excel-ed,” we in the bang lab harbor our own
concerns for the lack of accountability that enables the UC system to
continue transforming a public university for the state of California
into a private corporation, accessible to a select few. That same
selective lack of accountability fails to count the number of deaths
tragically occurring because of international borders. To perform our
own due diligence in the spirit of accounting for the here and now, we
seek to “queer the census”: if you feel that you are a part of the
bang.lab or have participated in any of our activities in mind, body,
spirit (in real or virtual timespace), get up, stand up, sign your
name in a comment at:


micha cárdenas / azdel slade

Lecturer, Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego
Artist/Researcher, Experimental Game Lab, http://experimentalgamelab.net
Calit2 Researcher, http://bang.calit2.net

blog: http://transreal.org

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