Meet to Delete
30.03.14 — 14.05.14
Meet to Delete events continue as the Kicksat deployer orbits. A list of events and deletions is maintained as documentation here:
0. Call for Participation
During the orbital period of ‘The Weight of Information’ satellite you are invited to join or create a Meet to Delete Event. A number of events have already been organised by galleries and other groups around the world so look to see if there is one nearby already here.
The project is open for anyone to join in so if you would like to take create an event, please email twoi at julianpriest.org with the following information and I will add your event to the list of events at http://julianpriest.org/project/the-weight-of-information-event/ .
This page contains resources for creating a Meet to Delete event, including Invitation, Technical setup, Documentation and Publicity materials.
Meet to Delete!
You are invited to #VENUE in #LOCATION to take part in ‘The Weight of Information’ by Julian Priest.
On March 16th a pico-satellite will being launched into Low Earth Orbit from Cape Canaveral on CRS-3 as part of the Kicksat programme. From there it will begin to descend in a slow spiral trajectory before burning up on re-entry about 3 weeks later.
As it orbits the earth the Satellite collects information from it’s on- board sensors filling its memory banks with data. When its memory is full, it resets its registers to zero and starts collecting again, repeating this process thousands of times a second. The satellite counts how much information it has deleted and transmits the measurement to Earth by radio where it is collected and displayed on the web.
The satellite believes that information has weight, and it is trying to escape its inevitable burn-up by deleting information, becoming lighter and ascending to a higher orbit by forgetting.
You are invited to Meet to Delete in solidarity with the satellite. Come together around a bonfire for a bucolic evening at #VENUE, to delete information. Bring food, drink, friends and some personal information to delete around the fire. Burn old bank statements, remove old contacts from your phone, clean out your spam folder, put out of focus photos in the trash, clear out your media libraries. Delete something, remove the cruft, take control of your information, and feel a little lighter.
Please remember to delete more information than you create!
2. The Event
During the event you can track the event on the web page http://julianpriest.org/project/twoi-status using a phone or laptop.
You will also be able to see the progress of the satellite using gpredict software on a laptop or from a satellite tracking website. Details of installation and links will be available from the website when the Ephemerides are published.
The data feed itself may be quite intermittent and I will run a log on the website that you can visit. The satellite is only active during it’s daytime, and transmissions are only received when it passes over an active ground station.
The Kicksat team, our group in Whanganui, and other radio hams around the world will be scanning for Kicksat transmissions and uploading received messages to the Kicksat website for demodulation. From there I will populate a page at http://julianpriest.org/twoi with the data.
We should get enough data from the ground stations around the world to make a decent feed, but the Kicksat program is experimental so anomales are to be expected.
The fire is the symbolic heart of the Event and is there to create a bucolic setting.
Please be responsible and use common sense when making bonfires. Use an enclosure such as a fireplace, ring of stones or brazier, keep water at hand, gain relevant permissions and observe local fire bans in dry areas.
If you are unable to make a fire and are working indoors, light a candle instead or come up with a battery powered fire such as a flickering LED.
You will need to provide power for laptops and phones and at least one device for viewing the feed with the orbital data.
There’s a bit of practical detail in managing the bonfire party and the needs of technology – make sure there are no power leads or devices in the bonfire. In practice at the event in Whanganui we are going to have 2 spaces – an outside bonfire in a fireplace, with opening doors onto an inside area with power and network etc. Fire in a brazier on a patio would work well.
If you are interested in creating a ground station please contact email@example.com for more information or see the Kicksat Groundstation page.
Please remember to delete more information than you create!
I would like to minimally document the work by collecting only high entropy bonfire ash and meta data.
Please collect a matchbox full of ash from the bonfire and send it to me. If you are using a candle, send me the stub, or dead battery if using an LED, or shredded paper if using a shredder.
In common with international best practice I collect meta data about the event – please estimate the total information deletion in MB and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then reply with delivery details for the physical documentation.
If you would like to make a photo or post a tweet or create any other media, please take care to delete more information than you create. We have already created many MB more than we have deleted in this project so far and are currently running an information surplus and need to get below zero..
6.Notes for Organisers
Please feel free to interpret and modify your Meet to Delete event for your location and community – do what works best for you.
In general I have imagined the events to be friendly bucolic evenings sat around a fire, with a beach party or festival type atmosphere. Ingredients could be food, drink, tea, biscuits, blankets, music etc. This setting will be complemented by laptops and phones, boxes of old paperwork, hard drives etc.
Sitting around a fire is emblematic of a kind of archetypal perfect sociality from the past – the kind of sociality that the net culture has always harked back to. The fire is a symbol of the romantic ideals of the counter culture and the back to the land movement that were embraced and extended by net culture – the idea was that the network would create a perfectly fluid social space where we could form communities. In the piece this is contrasted with the Weight of Information, the current reality of the information out our control in the network, our information used and abused by many other actors in society for commercial and political ends.
I am hoping that the process of deleting information in a bucolic setting will represent a re-taking control of information for individuals. I’m not aiming for anti-informatic luditeism – we shouldn’t turn back the clock, especially not such a useful one, but more of a thoughtful assertion of information sovereignty and a feeling that we might be part of a wider community with the same aims. The mood should not be apocalyptic like the bonfire at the end of a dance party, and there is no burning books connotation or idea of re-writing history or refusing or destroying the infosphere. Instead it is about asserting control over our information rather than being controlled by it.