Captive Portal: SWEAT NET Liat Berdugo
Part of the “Captive Portal” commissioned series, Liat Berdugo’s SWEAT NET enables visitors to the CCA to access the Wi-Fi by shaking their smartphones vigorously. Seemingly simple, this action highlights an era of embodied digitality in which our bodies shape digital interactions and the boundaries between the fleshly and the technology start to blur. Berdugo seems to ask: What if we are to labor and physically exert the body with a device in order to achieve the simple desired outcome of connecting to the Internet? In today’s online habitus, our technological devices become adaptive appendages to the physical body. Our smartphones enable embodied interactions while also seeming to recede, physically into the distance. Yet SWEAT NET provokes us to bring the technological device to the fore and to examine the sometimes humorous bodily movements we are choreographed into in the name of connectivity. An act to trigger our consciousness through shortly changing our daily routine with the router.
Visitors are invited to join the Captive Portal Wi-Fi network for free by selecting “Captive Portal” on their smartphones and shaking them vigorously.
About Captive Portal “Captive Portal” is a digital “fifth wall,” like a gallery wall, that is accessed by visitors on their mobile wireless devices during their visit to the CCA, where the Wi-Fi platform is available throughout the building. We constantly navigate Wi-Fi spaces in our daily lives, and connect with them through “captive portals” that are usually used for commercial advertising by large corporations, but it can also serve as an invisible “canvas.” The CCA takes advantage of the constant obsessive search for WiFi, by both humans and cellular machines, to “captivate” or trap audiences into viewing a temporary, site-specific work of art before continuing to surf the net or use their mobile device. The project manipulates the very moment when visitors disconnect from the gallery space and enter an immaterial “space” rife with possibility. “Captive Portal” is curated by Yoav Lifshitz, Tal Messing, and CCA Curator Chen Tamir.
Liat Berdugo is an artist, writer, and curator based in Oakland, CA. Her work — which focuses on embodiment and digitality, archive theory, and new economies — interweaves video, writing, performance, and programming to form a considerate and critical lens on digital culture. Berdugo has been exhibited in galleries and festivals internationally, and she collaborates widely with individuals and archives. She is the Net Art and Special Programs Curator curator for Print Screen, Israel’s international festival of digital art; co-founder and curator of the Bay Area’s Living Room Light Exchange, a monthly new media art salon; co-founder and curator of World Wide West, an annual summit, exhibit, and performative new media event, among others. Her writing appears in Rhizome, Temporary Art Review, HZ Journal, and others. Berdugo is currently an assistant professor of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco.
Tal Messing and Yoav Lifshitz are theoreticians, lectors, creators, and curators, and are also the founders of the Pirate Party Israel. Among their projects to date are a fake mayoral campaign for Daphni Leef (March 2013); “The Unobject” exhibition at HaShuk Street Gallery, Tel Aviv (2014); “The Unobject: The Re-Materialization of the Concept,” and essay published in Bezalel’s Journal of Visual & Material Culture (August 2014); and “Occupy WiFi,” a conceptual and digital activist project (August 2014, ongoing).