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Fighting Digital Colonisation

An experiment in future technology governance

Digital colonialism threatens the freedom, security and democracy of humanity. Technology corporations have amassed ruling control over citizens’ access to key infrastructures, whilst extracting and commodifying the personal data of billions. Fighting Digital Colonialism speculates an alternate system of governance in which public bodies intervene to liberate citizens from colonisation by technology.

An Exploration of Eroding Form

Sanded Wood

To begin my exploration of form over time, I gradually sanded down a single length of wood. I wanted to capture not just the material in its final form, but also the journey along the way; its story. This temporal recording, a time-lapse of the wood’s gradual erosion, expresses the character of the material’s complex physical form and of the erratic method of sanding. Like a wave, the wood’s natural rings roll across its shifting surface. A knot appears, breaking through the rings and surfing over the waves. Loose sawdust is peppered over the metal surface, offering a glimpse at the true passage of time.

In editing, I discovered that the material’s erosion is more expressive when viewed in reverse. Perhaps because we are viewing creation rather than destruction, the wood growing out of the metal surface provides a sense of intrigue.

 

Melting Styrofoam

For my second experiment I selected a new material: styrofoam. Using a hot air gun, a squared pillar of foam was melted down until little remained. The result was surprising: in contrast to the previous experiment, the material properties were significantly changed by the process. Jagged points made up a brittle structure unlike the styrofoam it came from.

Again time-lapsed, the form in the reversed video seems more alive this time; different strands lurching and swelling as they grow towards the sky. Framed against a static background, the form appears to grow in real-time. 

 

Dissolving Styrofoam

For my final experiment I returned to styrofoam, a material light enough to be dissolved in acetone. With the addition of a new element, the liquid, the apparent ‘birth’ of new matter is enhanced by the bubbling foam that it emerges from. Whilst the beginning state (a block of styrofoam) and the end state (frothy foam left in the acetate) are not particularly expressive individually, the transition between the two carries much complexity.