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Bit Interview

Frequently Asked Questions : Authoritative list of common enquiries
issued to the Bureau to date
05 12:00:17 CET Fri Jan 12 2006

To contribute please ask the bureau

are there any openings at BIT? like for special agents for natural and unnatural global development? am a specialist. jr 27

In Bitplane, you succeeded in using a remote-controlled spy plane (wingspan 20 inches, nose-mounted with a miniature video-camera) over the Silicon Valley territory. Apart from the intriguing 'no camera zone' (the Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. that induced momentary video breakup) the work rendered a superficial physical view of the most 'invisible' factories that deal so much with the industrial secret's paranoia (Apple, IBM, Intel, Xerox, ADM, Sega, HP, Yahoo, Oracle, Adobe, Sun, 3Com and so on...). Paraphrasing Negativland, could the breaking of 'protected information' dogma be our current best entertainment value? Alessandro Ludovico

You're part of the Bureau of Inverse Technology (Bit) and one of its most interesting projects is 'bitradio, autopirate radio service', "an automated radio Interruption service for local area news "with a unit that will break in clearly over selected popular FM radio in 1-3 mile radius". Did you ever thought at translating such a technology for a specific net protocol in a sort of pirate textual mode? Alessandro Ludovico

Even after almost ten years your 'Suicidebox' it's still a challenging project. A camera triggered by vertical motion directed to the Golden Gate Bridge (one of the top location for committing suicide) represents an obscure use of technology, and at the same time a formally exemplary one. Do you think that this interpretation of tech possibilities underlines the potential computer's automatic 'cynical' attitudes (against all the propaganda marketing that associate intrinsic evolution and improvement values to the machines)? Alessandro Ludovico

The meta-project 'Street Weapons' gathers some of your works related to public demonstrations, like the 'headcount', a system for analyzing the footage of a protester's crowd through a software that counts the heads and so the number of participants, and 'bit rocket' a hobby rocket that can take pictures from an altitude of 180 meters. Do you think that, after Seattle, Genoa and the global anti-war protests it's the time to state the technological rights of the protesters? Alessandro Ludovico

Among the 'street weapons' there's also the Uphone, a simple tool that enables "every phone [home/pocket/booth] to act as a networked microphone for collecting live audio data on civil liberty infringement and other anti-terror events". How much is important to avoid the panic game (constant terror menace and call to media arms for the citizens), focusing on media tools that'd focus, instead, on threatened civil liberties? Alessandro Ludovico

The 'Feral Robotic Dogs' and 'Ooz' projects are investigating a more pragmatic 'social robotics' repurposing used pet-toy robots for more useful social tasks like equipping them with environment toxin sensor in order to spot invisible but dangerous pollution in the landfill. Will independent social robotics play a strategic role in our future social landscape? Alessandro Ludovico

Has your work ever been legally challenged or conversely used as a sort of legal evidence? Anon

What type of public uses your tools? Alejandra Perez

I read an article this morning in The Hartford Courant regarding your robotic dogs.? If you have any interest in using our compact and robust FTIR spectrometers as sensors to detect VOC's, or various other materials including chemical agents, please let me know. Drew Stone

What is the history of the Bureau of Inverse Technologies: i.e. its organizational statement? Ernestine Daubner

Who initiated it? Who is the bitaministrator ( anonymous? )? Ernestine Daubner

Is there a network of bureaus:? in UK, Australia, USA, IT? ( for Italy??? ) Ernestine Daubner

Who are its members? -- a number of BIT engineers? BIT developers? others? perhaps fluctuating members, depending on the project ?? General answer only... Ernestine Daubner

How long have you been working with the Bureau of Inverse Technology? Aubrey Reeves

I know they use tactics of concealment about who actually comprises the collective. Why is this an important strategy? Are you able to tell me who the members are or is that a strictly kept secret? Aubrey Reeves

Where are you based? Can I call you? Would you be interested in participating in my show? Are you going to add these questions to the faq of your site? amaya de miguel

Dear bit, could you give me some information about your activity, and about how to
become an agent? and why do you do it? and who are you? LeLE

Are you only using new technologies in your works? Jovanovic

For you, is it the best way to develop your ideas and why?

Do you consider that the new technologies brought new involvments in the increase of
surveillance in society?

In Bit Plane, is there a refence to Echelon?

How do you think that new technologies can be used by artists?

Do you think they can develop an interesting critic concerning our relationships
toward surveillance and new technologies?

BITradio, in the WEF case, uses the Environmental Protection Agency's standards of acceptable levels of certain pollutants in order to trigger its transmissions. I'm interested in why you choose this particular set of standards over others. For instance I can see that once something becomes a code it becomes somehow more usable as a focus of contestation - the law can be a mechanism for unexpected feedback when it is 'misapplied' - and is therefore only used contingently, alternately it can be fought for as something which 'must be' upheld. So firstly, do you see adherence to current EPA levels as an ideal end state or a locus of conflict, and secondly does this reflect a wider 'ontology' for BIT in the way it mixes technical and natural objects and processes, with cultural and social dynamics? matthew fuller

what is the bureau?anon

The way in which Art presents itself is moving increasingly to resemble Engineering. How do you negotiate the difference between art and Engineering? For instance, BIT is relatively capable of using art institutions -in a broad sense - to spread information about, conduct and fund its operations. Engineering on the other hand does not seem to be structured in away which allows or encourages trouble-making activity. At the same time, it's set of skills and knowledges is relatively 'open' in that it operates in terms of relatively well defined objects, materials and processes, and the correct manner of using them can be learnt or looked up. Are there any currents or organisations in engineering that you are usefully connected to? matthew fuller

The use of sensors, the detect pollutant levels, in this instance of BITradio - also in bangbang network - is a real advance over the motion or pressure sensor art, lame but 'deep' versions of amusement park rides, that you get in electronic art shows. It immediately registers another set of relations that are political, chemical, legal, etc, economic, rather than the simple 'presence' of someone pressing or moving. At the same time, given that the work is thrown into a context of direct physical and political conflict, how do you assess its social and political 'presence' - how well it 'performs' in terms of accentuating this conflict. That is to say, in one form of sensor art the user gets dosed with a clip of video, a bit of sound file, a moving robot or something. In this context however, the technology addresses a more chaotic, dispersed set of relations and information channels. How do you therefore assess 'success'?

Do you think it's possible to reappropriate new technologies in order to organize a
real electronic resistance?

I guess a material counterpart to the ways of dealing with information you outline above is the process of kitifying projects that BIT adopts. Firstly how are you proceding with putting them in place?

Secondly, given the earlier emphasis on the generation of techniques for producing simple information that can reliably be recombined in ways which do not negate the complex 'truth' / performativity of its derivation, how do you understand-in-advance the users of the kits?

Thirdly, if you use the model that tacit knowledge, the day to day skills acquired by actually doing something rather than simply knowing it in theory, is essential to reproducing a scientific procedure or an operation in engineering, does the process of kitification also demand an infrastructure of personal contact to go with it?

The name of the application is: AccessRamp? . Do you have any knowledge of, or
information on, this application that you wouldn't mind sharing?

The 'bit agent' link also intrigues me, and though I don't know what is involved, I think I might like to be one.

May you please inform me how and if I may register. I would like to visit you projects very much duba sambolec

Is the Bureau active in Southern California?

How might I get more information about BIT with an eye towards becoming involved in the Bureau in some capacity?

Are you in Australia at present? Louise Boon-Kuo

Is there an address to which we can send a copy of the program?

BIT, Are you ever in the UK? Emma Posey

I am currentley writting a thesis on CCTV, and would like to know where your group stands on CCTV

How do you feel about CCTV? and why?

What are your beliefs about CCTV? and why?

What has lead to these beliefs?

How does your organization portray your feelings/Beliefs?

What does your company do to fight for your belifes?

What does your company expect to get from your efforts?

What does your company hope to attchieve?

I'm a programmer, I'm interested in your activities, how would I become a BIT agent?
Is there a candidature policy, a review board or else? How would i know if I can help?

Hello... I'm very interresting by your work i discover on arte, the german/french TV.....
Do you have a "unit" in france?? xavier moulin maito:aspree_at_club-internet.frm

Is it possible to rent the video work "Suicide Box" for an upcoming film event related
to bridges and structural art? Nicola Knipe nknipe_at_Princeton.EDU

Does BIT have plans for either the AUTOPIRATE transmitter or the video-capture things
used for the suicide-counter? Mike Warren

How big is the auto-pirate radio-station?

You describe the work here in terms relating to its performance in relation to various social formations. I wonder though whether you have developed any particularly developed sense of a set of ways to discuss, even amongst dispersed BIT agents the aesthetic, sensual and perceptual dimensions of the work. The work clearly observes a uniform protocol of in terms of the way BIT documents its work, but are there any words circulating amongst the Bureau which describe the particular aesthetic itch that it needs to scratch?

what services does BIT provide?anon

who is behind the bureau?anon

where is the bureau based?anon

why? anon