Arts / Events / Hardware

4 tech-art mashups at Eyebeam’s 2015 Annual Showcase

Eyebeam artists take technology seriously. “I view it as a micro-insubordination to algorithmic surveillance,” one artist said of her work.

At Eyebeam's 2015 Annual Showcase. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Startup culture’s fundamental profit motive drives some really interesting innovations, but it’s not the only way to squeeze intriguing developments out of bits, wires and electrical pulses.
Don’t sleep on the artistic impulse.
Eyebeam is a local nonprofit that continually encourages art and technology to look in and at each other, with interesting outcomes.
For example, we recently wrote about one of the nonprofit’s alums, who created an internet without the world wide web. On Thursday night, Eyebeam opened its 2015 Annual Showcase at Dumbo’s Gallery 216. (The exhibit runs through Feb. 21.) It features works by artists that have been selected to take part in residencies or fellowships at Eyebeam. Eyebeam moved from Chelsea to Sunset Park last year, and this is its first showcase since the move.
Patricia Jones, Eyebeam’s executive director, said that you’ll see work about privacy and net neutrality at the show, but you’ll also see work about ecology and social justice. “One of the things about Eyebeam,” she told Technical.ly Brooklyn, “is we cover the whole wealth of technology, so it’s hard to theme.”
Here are some of the works we saw that directly addressed technology in intriguing ways:

Untitled, by Allison Burtch

Untitled, by Allison Burtch. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Fort Greene’s Allison Burtch told us that her device allows you to do the equivalent of placing a bit of tape over your computer’s camera — but with the microphone on your smartphone.
Assuming that some agencies in the government and/or companies are able to turn on the microphone on your smartphone without your knowledge, her creation makes it impossible for them to hear anything. It emits a signal that completely cancels out the ability of the mic to pick up sound, without the human ear hearing anything.
“I view it as a micro-insubordination to algorithmic surveillance,” Burtch told Technical.ly Brooklyn. “Wanting privacy is resisting the gentrification of your soul.”


Minicade by Atul Varma and Chloe Varelidi

Minicade, by Atul Varma and Chloe Varelidi. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Atul Varma and Chloe Varelidi made a very simple, non-coder way to make very simple, very short games, or mini games. Using the Minicade, you can attach games to each other, making a larger game from lots of little games.


A Quiet Disposition,” a website by James Bridle.
An automated database that’s collecting information about people, places or organizations associated with unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. As of this writing, the database had collected “28916 known people, 36303 documents, and 85454 terms,” as reported by the site.


Untitled Attitudes, by Nancy Nowacek

Untitled Attitudes, by Nancy Nowacek. (Photo by Brady Dale)

Nancy Nowacek’s “Untitled Attitudes” is an ongoing project where she’s collecting a greater diversity of people, shapes and activities, in order to better express the kinds of uses people might make of spaces in SketchUp, the 3D modeling software.

Companies: Eyebeam
Series: Brooklyn

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