Beta Festival’s theme for 2023 will be xyz.
The Potato Internet is an experimental small-scale social network, created by Caroline Sinders and Trammell Hudson to envision the internet in times of climate emergency and the global energy crisis. When imagining alternatives for today’s toxic and extractivist online world, the common criticism often comes down to: "but they don’t scale up". But what if the future of the internet is all about scaling down? In Potato Internet, the small scale allows the artists to build a functioning social network from scratch, rethinking all layers of the system, from hardware to protocols and governance. An 'anti-scale' network can be framed in a local context and endorse slow communication. For the physical framework, the artists experiment with potatoes as a source of energy, and with e-waste and other recycled materials for the interface. The governance of the network, its safety, equity and codes of conduct draw on Sinders' work on the Feminist Data Set.
Caroline Sinders is a critical designer and artist. For the past few years, she has been examining the intersections of artificial intelligence, abuse, and politics in digital conversational spaces. She has worked with the United Nations, Amnesty International, IBM Watson, the Wikimedia Foundation and others. Sinders has held fellowships with the Harvard Kennedy School, Google's PAIR (People and Artificial Intelligence Research group), the Mozilla Foundation, the Weizenbaum Institute Pioneer Works, Eyebeam, Ars Electronica, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Sci Art Resonances program with the European Commission, and the International Center of Photography. Some of her research fellowships and funded research work has focused on dark patterns, community health, online harassment, AI inequity, and the labor and systems in AI and platforms.Currently, she is a fellow with Ars Electronica AI Lab with the Edinburgh Futures Institute. Her work has been featured in the Tate Exchange in Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, MoMA PS1, LABoral, Wired, Slate, Quartz, the Channels Festival and others. Sinders holds a Masters from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.