Notes on Autonomy

Generated on 2023-08-06 00:00:02 GMT

Table of Contents

About Pivilion


Pivilion is a decentralizing open source darknet web server project and gallery management software for the creation of autonomous & uncensored digital media art online galleries. It runs on low cost Raspberry Pi hardware and is built on top of Raspbian GNU/Linux with a server and Tor networking built in, utilizing the Tor network to host exhibitions out of the box.

Each Pivilion device receives a Tor onion domain automatically the first time it’s activated. The system provides the user with a CMS for publishing multimedia or websites within a gallery. It’s designed so that the author-curator can use any network (even public networks behind firewalls) to host an online exhibition.

Pivilion is primarily a long-term, open-ended new media art project propagating autonomous modes of art in the darknet, and is continuously including a large number of artists and cultural workers in its creation.

The documentation and the announcement of global #pivilion_dot events are available via the central website, hosted both on clearnet and as a hidden service on the Tor network, while the entire open source system is available via git.

The aim of the project is to create a nomadic networked alternative that can connect artists with their (both local and online) communities while providing an active cultural framework; utilizing all the upsides of net tech and the darknet in promoting connectability, privacy and maximum freedom of creating, curating and distributing art.

Pivilion was initiated in 2015, as a collaboration by D. Karadžić and V. Gligo (as part of the G-MKOpen Studio” residency, curated by net.cube), leading to a fellowship at the first Schlosspost Web Residency – “Decentralization of Internet Art” (’16); “The Artist is Online” exhibition participation (’16); a contribution to the project exhibition (’17); an open repo darknet exhibition shown at the “25th Slavonian Biennale – Borders of visibility” (’17), a nomination for the first “Hash Award 2018 | Virtual Goes Real” (’18) and an Akademie Schloss Solitude Web-based Media Digital Solitude Fellowship (2018–19) involving both authors and numerous collaborators.

Pivilion’s current goal is to distribute and articulate recent notions of media art autonomy, and to interleave with other similar projects.

# Hidden service pivilionumi6b3kg.onion (accessible via Tor browser)

# Presentation

# Workshop demo pivilionumi6b3kg.onion/w (accessible via Tor browser)

# Contact

# Tag #pivilion_dot_net

# Code

# Previous Events & Project Outlines

DK & VG, Jan 2021


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Solar Sinter

2011 Markus Kayser, Royal College of Art, London | Egypt | Morocco

In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance.

In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology.

Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and triggers dreams of the full utilisation of the production potential of the world’s most efficient energy resource - the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers, this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.

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Crash Recovery Device

Crash Recovery Device 2020 emp-resistant recovery device raspberry pi based linux system laptop / server / resource Despite what action movies tell us, the apocalypse is probably going to have less to do with zombies, and much more to do with climate disaster, water security, and infrastructure interruption. Although this is the day-to-day reality for many people on Earth—if you’re reading this, and have a $1000 cell phone in your hands, ask yourself: what would you without cell service, internet, and electricity for, say, 18 months? How would you contribute to your community? How could you grow food? How could you treat injuries? What if you went to art school for almost a decade, have bad eyesight, and have never actually been camping? In the event of an electromagnetic surge or solar flare; where almost all consumer electronics have been bricked, what do you do? Who are you then? I think about this a lot. Then, in late 2019, I saw this post from Jay Doscher. Jay’s work on his Raspberry Pi Recovery Kit was truly inspiring, and put the idea in my head to modify his work to fit my needs/fears. Jay has very generously put his project into the public sphere under a Creative Commons license, seeking remixes and adaptations—please check out his work here, it’s amazing. So, I took a month and built my own version. It’s constructed around a Raspberry Pi with an onboard 7-inch touch screen. It can be powered via external 5V USB, external solar power (from an 26800mAh solar charger), an onboard 12000mAh battery (which can be recharged by a 12v barrel jack input), and/or from just about any 5V-16V power source through a step down converter I built, which plugs into the front power USB connection. It has an onboard network switch and can function as a DHCP server, and has six exposed GPIO pins via a modified PS/2 connection. The casing is water resistant and the entire device is kept in a copper-lined and grounded box which acts as a faraday cage in the event of an electromagnetic event, preserving the hardware. All bracketing was custom 3D printed and designed, though much of it was designed after Jay’s original work (obviously). I’m particular proud of some of the modifications I made to increase stability. I added an inline 3 amp fuse (which was made out of a windshield wiper fuse bracket, so it should be easy to scavenge replacements), an onboard capacitor to smooth things out (especially when switching between external and battery power), and a 3.3v onboard fan to keep everything as cool as possible. Once booted, the Crash Recovery Device has the entirety of Wikipedia and Wikivoyage available offline as both a client-reader and a server (via the Kiwix project), detailed maps for just about everywhere in the world, and a library of PDF guides and instructions on every manner of survival and sustainability knowledge from medical care to beekeeping to orienteering to agriculture to water safety to animal husbandry to improvised shelter to nuclear decontamination procedures. The list goes on. In the end, I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out. And, it’s a neat thing to have on hand should the need arise. You can see more about this project with the links below and be sure to check out Jay’s projects at

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Collapse OS

image credit: CC BY 2.0 Burnt & Abandoned Computer by darkday

Winter is coming and Collapse OS aims to soften the blow. It is a Forth (why Forth?) operating system and a collection of tools and documentation with a single purpose: preserve the ability to program microcontrollers through civilizational collapse. It is designed to:

  1. Run on minimal and improvised machines.
  2. Interface through improvised means (serial, keyboard, display).
  3. Edit text and binary contents.
  4. Compile assembler source for a wide range of MCUs and CPUs.
  5. Read and write from a wide range of storage devices.
  6. Assemble itself and deploy to another machine.
Additionally, the goal of this project is to be as self-contained as possible. With a copy of this project, a capable and creative person should be able to manage to build and install Collapse OS without external resources (i.e. internet) on a machine of her design, built from scavenged parts with low-tech tools.

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Dead Drops

Dead Drops

2010–ongoingpublic intervention

Dead Drops started in 2010 as an ongoing participatory project at five different public spaces in New York. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings, and curbs and are accessible to anybody. Each dead drop is installed empty except for a readme.txt file explaining the project. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. To date, over 1.400 of these ‘dead letterboxes’ have been set up in dozens of countries all over the world. To install a dead drop in your city/neighborhood, follow the ‘how to’ instructions and submit the location and pictures to the online databank of the project.

Full documentation / project page :


Read statement

Hide statement

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Toward Europe

Solarni magarac je projekt gdje magarac nosi set solarnih panela na sebi, opremu za audio video montažu i 'broadcast', te uključuje nekoliko pozvanih umjetnika. Dio projekta je i kriptovaluta Toward Euro, kriptovalutni algoritam koji ima svoje fizičko pokriće u pozlaćenom magarećem izmetu koji sadrži RF čip, u kojem je pohranjena vrijednost valute u trenutku kupovine, datum proizvodnje, ime proizvođača, te kriptovalutni algoritam.

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The Library of Nonhuman Books

These books were not designed by humans. They were autonomously generated by our custom-coded reading-machine using Artificial Intelligence.

Our reading-machine begins by using Computer Vision and Optical Character Recognition to identify the text on any open book placed under it’s dual-cameras, before leveraging Machine Learning and

Natural Language Processing to select a short poetic combination of words on the page which it saves, while digitally erasing all other words. The reading-machine then searches for an illustration from the Google Image Archive to ‘illuminate’ the page based on the meanings of the remaining words.

Once every page in the book has been read, interpreted, and illuminated, the system automatically publishes the results using an Internet printing service, and the resulting volume is finally added to the Library of Nonhuman Books. From the moment our machine begins ‘reading’, until the delivery of the book from the print-on-demand service, our automated-art-system proceeds without the intervention of humans.

The machine can produce a multitude of unique ‘illuminated scripts’ from any physical book, each one revealing new meanings that were always there in the original, but have remained hidden until that moment.

In a time where books are being transformed into clouds of words, this project helps them find new bodies that lie somewhere between the human and machine worlds. A publishing experiment for our post-literate society, which increasingly defers its reading to nonhuman counterparts.

We are honoured to receive the Tokyo Type Directors Club Award for the Library of Nonhuman Books. It is a unique opportunity to share our work with our peers in an international context, with the hope we can continue re-imaging the futures of the book together.

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Autonomous Trap 001

Ground markings to trap autonomous vehicles using "no entry" and other glyphs.

Performance of a salt circle trap, Mount Parnassus, 14/3/17.

Video / Interview with Creators Project

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Rapid Response for A Better Digital Future

Artists reclaim virtual space from surveillance capitalism.

Launched in response to the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, Rapid Response became Eyebeam’s inaugural fully-digital artist fellowship. Marking the beginning of a new kind of artist support at Eyebeam, the 9-month program supported 30 artists and collectives from across the globe with robust financial and professional support to first imagine and then take tangible steps toward building a better digital future.

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Critical Kits

This book investigates DIY tech culture and how it meets participatory, inclusive and community-based forms of creative practice. Critical kits are toolboxes, resources, instructions for how to make fun, experimental, or simply interesting things happen with technology. But they’re also a means to question the uses and abuses of technology, and to explore the network of affects technologies participate in.

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Autonomous Systems

From self-guided cars to AI-controlled weaponery systems, “autonomous systems” has become an omnipresent buzzword in today’s media. While the current use of the term is focused often on political and ethical aspects of self-steering and self-learning algorithms and digital technologies, the historical idea of autonomy includes discourses about sovereignity of nations as well as Kant’s reflections on the autonomy of art. Yet the multitude of concepts and ideas related to the term “autonomous systems” makes it often hard to define what exactly is behind it.

The project “autonomous systems”, carried out by the Graz-based platform in 2020-21, aims to question this buzzword from a creative-critical approach. A team of five young artists is developing a collective working process that itself is modeled after a generative, “autonomous” system. In this process, different approaches, thoughts, tools and techniques of work related or drawn from aspects of autonomy and system theory are explored to collectively create works of art. The focus of the project is not to define or fully explain what autonomous systems are, but to highlight pecularities, contradictions and fascinations through the lens of artistic practice(s).

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The 3D Additivist Manifesto & Cookbook

#Additivism is a movement concerned with critiquing ‘radical’ new technologies in fablabs, workshops, and classrooms; at social, ecological, and global scales. The term is a portmanteau of additive and activism: a gesture to the complex scales at which new forms of action and intervention must take place in an era increasingly saturated by PostHuman affects. By considering the 3D printer as a technology for remodeling thought into profound, and often nightmarish, new shapes #Additivism aims to expose in-betweens, empower the powerless, and question the presupposed.

The 3D Additivist Manifesto (2015) and Cookbook (2016) are the result of a collaboration between Morehshin Allahyari, Daniel Rourke and a growing array of critical creators. We refigured the 3D Printer in a similar vein to Donna Haraway’s Cyborg (from her influential 1984 text, A Cyborg Manifesto). Our aim being to disrupt material, social, computational, and metaphysical realities through provocation, collaboration, and ‘weird’ / science fictional thinking.

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Solar Display

Artists who create interactive systems and artistic interface designs have begun to look for new display possibilities. For this reason façade’s of contemporary buildings have been largely investigated as a sort of membrane for the display of interactive digital content. These facades often make use of intrusive systems such as LED displays, monitor walls, or light bulb systems that fully cover the buildings to achieve large scale image displays. While LEDs are very expensive, monitor walls hardly work at daylight situations, and light bulb systems have only limited display capabilities. Equally we may understand that the mode of apprehension of media facades has changed tremendously compared to traditional types of building surfaces.

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Networks Of One’s Own

Networks Of One’s Own is a para-nodal periodic publication that is itself collectively written in a network. Each of the episodes is thought of as the ‘release’ of a specific software stack, contextualised in its specific practice. The series aims to document a set of tools, experiences, ways of working that are diverse in terms of their temporality, granularity and persistence.

The idea of a publication series arose from conversations with Aymeric Mansoux during the development of the Experimental Publishing Master at the Willem De Kooning academy in Rotterdam in the fall of 2016. With the advent of inexpensive so-called “single board computers” such as the popular Raspberry Pi project, it has become commonplace to distribute “disk images” that can be loaded onto an SD card which then contain a fully working software stack. The idea of a dual-form publication (both textual and executable) suggested the possibility where unique software platforms could themselves be published in tandem with content (collectively) written using the platform itself.

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Solar Protocol

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