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May 8, 2021

Hacker to face court of popular appeal

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paolo_cirio_high-wpA special guest at Byron’s inaugural Tekstar digital arts festival, opening this Friday, is Italian ‘hacktivist’ Paolo Cirio.

Cirio has literally taken cyber art to another level with his Hacking Monopolism Trilogy, in which he used internet bots to ‘creatively hack’ Google, Amazon and Facebook.

His 2005 project Google Will Eat itself involved using bots to click on Google AdSense links to generate money to buy shares in the company.

In Amazon Noir (2006) he used that company’s ‘search inside’ service to scrape entire books and republished them on the internet for free.

And with Face to Facebook (2011) he scraped millions of Facebook profiles, filtered the images with facial recognition software and sorted them by facial expression, which he then uploaded to a fake dating website that he built himself called Lovely-faces.com.

The project was picked up around the world including by The Age in Australia.

Another of Cirio’s projects was a reaction against the 2008 global financial crisis in which he issued thousands of counterfeit Visa credit cards in order to design a visionary monetary policy called Gift Finance, which he intended to be ‘a participative and interest-free basic income guarantee system,’ according to Wikipedia.

Cirio says of his work, ‘I create works of art as attractive devices to engage broad audiences in reflections on the power of information and media. I do this by seeing art as a means to grab attention and to inform critically, invent utopias and provoke subversive acts through visual and emotional sensational impact.

‘I like to work with modern devices for the fabrication of realities like advertising strategies, political spin, entertainment, economic and legal languages, which, I believe, purposely structure information to build specific societal organisations, belief systems and social trends. In my works I create, orchestrate and illustrate the processes by which the structuring flows of information create those social realties.’

Friday also kicks off a 48-hour art ‘hackathon’, which will be networked live with parallel events in Sydney and Darwin.

Over the weekend Kulchajam’s Byron Bay studio will house a group of creatives and programmers for a gathering of geeks, tech freaks and artists and to see what can evolve from the creative combination present.

The opening night also offers a smorgasbord of events and ideas, from music to video remixing including interactive media by UK artist Kate Siccio, the first public viewing of audio visual experiments of Aussie percussion legend and instrument builder Ben Walsh for his upcoming Indian solo tour in June, musical collaboration with acclaimed keyboardist and producer Jake Savona, a video re-mix session with a preview of NYC legends Soda_Jerk film Hollywood Burn and local audio visual producers DJ Swampratt and Buckworth Creations.

Tekstar opening night, this Friday June 14 at Kulchajam, 1 Acacia Street, Byron Bay, 6pm to midnight, $20, all ages. Tickets are available online at Moshtix.

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