“Cyborg in Wi-Fi London” Performance and Exhibition by Jung-Hua Liu – 21-25 December 2009

My name is Jung-Hua Liu and fine art PhD student in University of Leeds, UK. My project aims to visualise urban Wi-Fi networks and study the link between technology and society.

There are some artworks to explore the similar issues. Yury Gitman and Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena created a Wi-Fi project “Node Runner” on 2002. They took cities as playground and play Wi-Fi hunting game. The competitor who can find more open Wi-Fi hotspots and upload photos by the hotspots was the winner (noderunner.omnistep.com/index.php).

Gordan Savicic’s Wi-Fi jacket in his “Constraint City” project will be tightening if it detects closed/encrypt Wi-Fi signals, and the tight jacket will leave the scars on his body to feel the real pain from the close city (www.yugo.at/equilibre/).

“Node runner” emphasizes that the convenience of Wi-Fi bring us to enjoy Internet anywhere if they are open. Savicic’s jacket presents that Wi-Fi is not equal to connectability and Wi-Fi maybe the communication barrier in cities. Their works draw our attention to notice the pervasive Wi-Fi in cities. Their projects reflect modern cities are full of Wi-Fi access points and they may locate in home houses, company buildings, cafés, schools, parks, transport stations.

In my project, I assume Wi-Fi users ascyborg, the combination of human beings and machine (Wi-Fi access points and mobile devices), and my hypothesis is that Wi-Fi users will have construct cyborg identity by particular behaviour in Wi-Fi networks.

I will have an online performance and exhibition on fireant.itaiwan.net/cyborg_exhibition.php from 21 Dec to 25 Dec. I will walk around London and search Wi-Fi hotspots then upload the data to this webpage to create real-time colourful Wi-Fi landscapes. This performance will act in real world (streets in London) and cyberspace (colourful paintings). We will see how Wi-Fi networks are so popular in the city and become one important part of daily life and urban landscape. If Impressionists created their paintings by depicting natural lights on their world, this performance makes landscape paintings with technology lights from Wi-Fi machines and web programming on our contemporary cities.

If you are interested in this performance and exhibition, you can go to fireant.itaiwan.net/cyborg_exhibition.php to obtain more information.