The Fax (Facts) Bomb event at SF Arts Commission gallery was great. I researched and presented 19 Fax Facts beginning with the rise in popularity of the fax machine in the 1980s and traveling through the invention and subsequent use of cell phones, personal camcorders, and social media websites to protest the government and attempt to hold law enforcement accountable while the government and law enforcement uses these same technologies for surveillance of citizens. Audience members kick-started each segment by reading out loud the fact card they were given and contributed with their own questions, experiences and opinions along the way.
The event also included a presentation by Christian L. Frock who spoke about the use of secondary protest strategies via social media and internet platforms during the detainment of Chinese artist and activst Ai Wei Wei in April 2011. Diana Block gave the closing comments on technology and surveillance by telling her story of discovering an FBI bug in her car and the subsequent years she and other activists spent living underground to evade arrests for their solidarity work with the Black Power and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement.
There was a lively conversation after the slideshow about using the rhetoric of the law when discussing government infringement on privacy, younger generations and the relationship to technology, strategies for defending oneself against surveillance. Audience members were also invited to respond in writing to the following questions: what is your first memory of technology and protest/civic engagement? How do you use or abstain from using technology?
Thank you to SF Arts Commission Gallery, everyone who shared their knowledge and experience and came to the event.