Manuel Beltrán

Cartographies of Propaganda
and
Data Workers Union

October 2019
 


Manuel Beltrán is an artist, Internet-Activist and founder of the „Institute of Human Obsolescence“ in the Hague. His critical habit is dedicated to the artistic reflection of oftentimes intransparent infrastructures in the digital age. His works are claiming the recuperation of personal data control, are calling for public spaces, develop collective actions or generate online information platforms.

One of the central topics of the artistic program HAMBURG MASCHINE is the impact of digitality, meaning the culture of the digital, on everyday life and its forms of communication. Existential questions concerning the solidarity or cohesion of society are decreasingly lead in public political debates, but develop phenomenons of separation, isolation, polarisation and radicalisation instead. The online distribution of political content by parties and candidates is a very good example of the manner how individuals or distinctive groups are micro-targeted. The common public, and discursive space for social and political debates shrinks, in spite of and because of the so-called social media. Lies, fake news and unverifiable manipulations are omnipresent. Its demarcation to propaganda is blurred.

Those correlations are presented with ad.watch. The interactive website was newly developped by Beltrán in cooperation with Nayantara Ranganathan, supported by HAMBURG MASCHINE. The art activists were creating a selection of publicly accessible data sets on the basis of political online advertisements, and facilitate a comparative view on international level. To date this has not yet been possible. The material comprises quantitative statistical information, explains and illuminates, and opens the opportunity for investigative analyses on the new global coverage of online propaganda. The website is accessible from July 25th 2019.

In October Beltrán presents with Cartographies of Propaganda (Propaganda-Kartographien) the data sets of ad.watch in a spatial art installation in Hamburg.

Parallel to this work an international conference is being held introducing in the contemporary regime of digitality. Framed by the context a Data Workers Union shall be inaugurated in order to recapture the control of personal data from the major online media corporations.

Date, time and site for both events will be published here.
 

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