The Critical Engineering Working Group
Julian Oliver
Danja Vasiliev

Lightning in the Age of Cloud-Computing

Ask anyone how the postal system works and they would give a vaguely correct description. Few however would come close to describing how email, let alone a computer network itself, actually functions. With this lack of knowledge comes a risk; we lack the practical understanding to effectively read the infrastructural and political implications of our increased dependency on this technology.

In this intense 5 day workshop Oliver and Vasiliev teach low level networking using only command line tools and networking hardware. In doing so, students learn not only how to create and manipulate computer networks, but also how they can be used to manipulate us.

No prior knowledge of computer networking, programming or command line interaction is required.

Networkshop Amsterdam

A small scale model of the Internet is created in class for the purposes of study with which we interact over another self-built local network. By learning about routing, addressing, core protocols, network analysis, network packet capture and dissection, students become dexterous and empowered users of computer networks. At this point students are able to read and traverse wide (the Internet) and local area networks with agility, using methods and tools traditionally the domain of experienced network administrators, hackers and security experts.

In the second phase of the workshop students learn to read network topologies as political control structures, seeing how corporations and governments shape and control the way we use computer networks.

Students learn to study these power structures by tracing the flow of packets as they pass over land and sea.

Macro-economic and geostrategic speculations are made.

Netoworkshop node

Finally, encryption and anonymity strategies and theory are addressed, with a mind to defending and asserting the same basic civil rights we uphold in public space.

Oliver and Vasiliev provide all students with a customised virtualised Linux operating system, complete with tools familiar to both the hacker and network engineer alike. Complete documentation is provided.

"In order to have a good conversation about politics in our information society, we need to engage all these perceptions and experiences.
In this sense, I think Oliver and Vasiliev’s workshop gives us an extremely valuable way of beginning this conversation."
- Dorien Zandbergen

NETworkshop is a 5 x 10 hours intensive course.
It has been taught in:


Please contact us here if you would like to host this workshop in your area and/or request further information.