Before “Netwars/Out of CTRL”, Cyberwarfare Never Looked So Stylish

Crossmedia interactive documentary

If the recent Heartbleed bug got you worried that someone could take advantage of your online assets, you might now want to know some more about “info threats”. Luckily, you don’t need to hang out with international wanted criminals to have a glimpse of what a cyber attack looks like: projects like Netwars are here to remind us that we live in a time where computers are the new weapons of mass destruction.

“There is nothing virtual about this reality” is the tagline for the first fact-based crossmedia project dedicated to information warfare. It sets the tone for this rollercoaster ride into the mind of a ruthless guy, a “salesman” for the worst digital scenarios.

Just like the “virtual but real” reality it depicts, Netwars spreads into the infosphere, infiltrating various media. The concept has been split into a 5 part interactive documentary conceived by Lena Thiele from MIIQO Studios, a TV Documentary directed by Marcel Kolvenbach and aired by ARTE, an interactive Graphic Novel App, an E-Book/Audio Book, as well as a TV series.

Netwars graphic novelDriven by a “make it concrete” attitude, the storytelling mixes real specialists and scientific advisors, simulated attacks, and a fictional canvas dominated by a mastermind that will suck the viewer into his cyber-nightmare.

Netwars is produced by Filmtank GmbH and is still growing. While the interactive graphic novel has just been presented at the FMX Conference, new content will be added and interactions with users will provide feedback and personal experiences to feed the social media profiles.

To get a taste of Netwars’ look and feel, you can find all the episodes of the web doc and tons of extras on the project’s website. And don’t worry if something takes control of your computer: it is only a simulation. Or is it?

(images and video © 2014 Filmtank GmbH).

I Heard the Sound of Space, Once. Then a DJ Played on it.

The Space Project, super/collider, London

I wasn’t a fan of “hard sciences” when I was younger. Actually, I had a fatal attraction for social sciences (if the difference still makes any sense). Maybe I never fell in love with physics and chemistry because of the lack of passion – not to mention the poor will of engagement with students – of the teachers I came across. It was instead those teaching humanities who were my favourite because of the vibrant emotions they showed during classes.

So I’m always positively surprised when people passionate about, literally, rocket science and the size of planets find cool ways to talk about them. Because, in the end, it’s all about storytelling: how hard is it to find an engaging way to talk about the electromagnetic spectrum and astronomical observations?

I got my answer at the Ace Hotel on 15 April during The Space Project listening party presented by super/collider in collaboration with Fat Possum and Lefse Records. On paper, it sounded like the nerdiest thing to do in London: a bunch of astronomers and space scientists getting together to talk about the Voyager missions and their famous Golden Records. But then I realised that it was all about music – one of the few chances to listen to pure intergalactic sounds.

While the round table delved into cosmic radiations, the mass of astronomical objects, the types of gases in their atmospheres and how sounds propagating into the void were captured by radio telescopes, we listened to the real “voices” of planets and satellites. And right after to the tracks on The Space Project released by Lefse Records, where those same frequencies were manipulated by artists such as Beach House and Zomes (you can stream the boxset here).

By the end of the evening I knew the diameter of Io and the rotational period of Mars. So, mission accomplished. Then the proper DJ set began, but that is another story.

The Space Project, DJ set, super/collider, London