CRITICAL ENGINEERING
SUMMER INTENSIVES, BERLIN 2018

This year we are pleased to offer a diverse selection of workshops. Workshop registration costs 50€ per day, payable by cash the day of the workshop. Some workshops have additional kits and hardware for an additional fee that can either be reserved in advanced by contacting the workshop leader, or payable by cash in class.

Seats are extremely limited. Cash must be paid on arrival or the seat will be freed up for someone else, from a waiting list for those in Berlin. After registering, if you find you cannot attend, please let us know at least 1 week in advance so we can make the seat available to someone else.

Wilderness Wireless

3-5 AUGUST, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
with Brett Ian Balogh

This 3-day workshop is an expansion of the popular Wilderness Wireless Workshop that appeared at the last two editions of the Radical Networks Conference in New York. The focus of the workshop is on the thinking around, creation of and use of off-the-grid, infrastructureless communications networks for creative use. The workshop gains its inspiration from the free-radio movements, exploring notions of decentralization, free-speech and activism and takes cues from nature about how to operate in a technologically-mediated world in a not-always-on, resource-conscious manner.

Subjects to be explored include the physical nature of radio and the electromagnetic spectrum, alternative energy, wireless networks, and transmission- and net-art. Participants will gain hands-on skills in electronics construction and soldering, embedded computing and web- and python programming.

Participants will construct two devices during the workshop: The first is a DIY, micro-power FM radio transmitter which will be used as an entry-point into the world of radio communications, and the use of radio as a creative medium. The second device is a solar-powered, WiFi access point and offline web server, which will be the focus of the workshop's creative output. Everyone will leave with their own micro-power FM transmitter. An additional materials fee of 75EUR will be charged if they would like to keep their wilderness wireless devices.

No prior experience is necessary.

Course Fee: 150€
Materials: 75€ (optional)

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Surveillance Override

13-15 AUGUST, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
WITH Joana Moll and Sarah Grant

Psychological Warfare, also called PSYOPS, is a strategy used in military and government intelligence networks aimed at influencing the emotional, cognitive and rational structures of governments, organizations, groups, and individuals, in order to change their behaviors and ultimately their purposes and goals. PSYOPS tactics are deeply rooted in the diverse techno-social arrangements that lie at the core of algorithmic governance, yet they are often ignored or overlooked by most global citizens, who nevertheless operate within such arrangements. With increasing distrust in 'The Cloud' comes a broad call for publicly owned network infrastructures that would give users greater control over their personal communication, data and identities.

In this 3-day hands-on workshop we will try to connect the dots between PSYOPS, psychology, propaganda, surveillance, the Internet, data and algorithms, and we will underline the need to build alternative networks to retain sovereignty over our communications technologies and natural resources.

The first day of the workshop will give participants a deep understanding about the many mechanisms used by corporations, agencies and governments to collect, sort and exploit personal data, along with the main social, political and environmental impacts of such processes.

The final two days will introduce participants to the basic building blocks of computer networking, command line interface and WiFi communication. We will learn how to self-host our own web servers, file servers and personal wireless networks. These servers will allow their users to send messages, publish web sites and share files across an offline local area and mesh network.

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

Course Fee: 150€
Materials: 75€ (optional)

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Introduction to Software Defined Radio

17-19 August, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
WITH JULIAN OLIVER AND BENGT SJÖLEN

In this 3-day intensive participants will learn how to use a 12 Euro RTLSDR USB dongle* and free, open-source software to read, record and appropriate a vast world of signal around them. From weather satellites to the International Space Station, aircraft, military, pirate and amateur bands - software-defined radio allows for any Linux, OS X or Windows laptop to become a powerful ear into a world otherwise unheard by the devices we use.

Outdoor excursions with a variety of antennae will be made to ensure participants have real-world experience capturing, analysing and recording radio phenomena. A special module on uncloaking, spoofing and deploying cellular infrastructure will be taught, as will another on GNU Radio, a powerful toolkit for designing and packaging radio applications entirely in software.

Skills, terms and concepts learned are directly applicable to further learning in areas such as packet radio, radio-astronomy, wireless counter-surveillance, signal-jamming and pirate radio.

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

Course Fee: 150€
Materials: 12€ (optional)

*Required to participate in class. Feel free to bring your own.

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Command Line Bootstrap

1 September, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
WITH JULIAN OLIVER AND DANJA VASILIEV

This 1-day intensive workshop introduces participants to the UNIX command line, a rapidly growing and ubiquitous interface common to every computer from the UNIX family of operating systems - whether web-server, Internet appliance, wireless router, autonomous robot, Raspberry Pi, OS X or Linux laptop.

In doing so, participants vastly expand the scope of computers they can interact with, develop for and control - transcending restrictive 'consumer-oriented' interfaces and the desktop metaphor. Further, participants learn that a computer doesn't need to have a screen, keyboard or even be on the same continent to be interacted with - the case for a growing family of devices comprising the so-called Internet of Things.

Rather, by developing an ability to talk to computers - with them talking back - any UNIX or UNIX-like machine can be either directly controlled or made a drone, performing automated tasks on their owner's behalf.

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

Course Fee: 50€

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SelfHosted

3-4 September, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
WITH JULIAN OLIVER AND DANJA VASILIEV

Decentralise! This 2-day intensive walks participants through the process of setting up their very own server on the Internet, complete with webmail, cloud, VPN, gallery and website services, scalable to hundreds or thousands of users.

Those interested in serving from home can bring in a PC to wipe and re-purpose as a low-bandwidth server on the Internet. Others wanting a high-traffic, media-rich solution will be encouraged to choose and register a geographically-local server package in class such that they can be guided through a complete install (typical monthly fees are 5 to 15 EUR).

Good server-side security practices are covered, from disk-encryption to password-management and firewalling. The basics of the UNIX command line are also taught such that participants can securely log into their server and administer it regardless of their physical location. It takes just one in a community to give the gift of high-quality, low-carbon Internet infrastructure - to free yourself and others from centralised and privacy-eroding services (like GMail, DropBox and Flickr).

No prior experience is necessary, although attention to detail and note-taking skills are important.

Course Fee: 100€

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Introduction to Biocomputing with Slime Moulds

8-9 September, FROM 10:00 TO 18:00
Weise7 Studio, Berlin
with Sarah Grant and BENGT SJÖLEN

Slime mould Physarum polycephalum is an easy to cultivate, single-celled organism, which forms efficient, complex networks of protoplasmic tubes between spatially distributed food sources. Despite having no central nervous system, P. polycephalum is capable of solving computational tasks both on its own and when integrated into hybrid bio-electrical circuits. Some experimental working prototypes which have been developed with slime moulds include self-routing and self-repairing wires, electronic oscillators, chemical sensors, color sensors, low pass filters, logical gates, and transistors, among many others.

In this workshop we will be introduced to working with Physarum polycephalum, including life cycle, cultivation, and techniques for integrating with conventional electrical components for building hybrid circuits. We will also have a brief overview of notable earlier experiments with slime moulds, some of which we will attempt to reproduce in class ourselves. Building on top of that, we will go on to design our own hybrid bio-circuits.

No prior experience is required.

Course Fee: 100€
Materials: 20€

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