Critical Tracing Project – Notes from 13/04

Question: how to balance the production of something useful for the Paquete and keep in line with our research objective (the tracing)?

*What are we tracing?
– the users (example the work of Nestor with Julia)
– the networked image (i.e. the pdf and its various elements, deconstruction of a page). The composition of the networked image.
– the Paquete as a complex object with its own curatorial intelligence See Nestor’s idea #1.

Tracing the networked image, first test. All the images contained in the PDF files of a subfolder of the Seccion Arte. Ads, artefacts from the pdf generator and navigation icons are given the same importance. Images are not only content but navigation aids, trackers and design components that may or may not be registered by the human eye while browsing.

Trace through time and not only through space
Unpack Groys quote, as this implies an assumption about a specific infrastructure: ‘every act of seeing and image or reading a text on the Paquete is not registered and becomes untraceable.’ Or at least not with the same methods. Example of work with Julia, use “pre/non social media” methods to do surveys.

When a page moves offline, it is transformed into another format. This transformation excludes certain objects like scripts and cuts the page off from the third parties that serve the objects to the page. By cutting off the document from the third parties, the transformation cuts the page from its economy.

De-linking, a web page is cut off from its networked attachment to become a pdf or a page that can be read offline. Every active link to other pages become “image”. Notion of caching. But there is also a re-linking when the cached pages enter the paquete and circulates through offline networks in Cuba.
What is the kind of network that enters in the Paquete? Is it useful to talk about a process of re-mediation?

A web page from the Seccion Arte, rendered through the Chrome browser. The second screen shows all the external resources used by the pages. In red the resources blocked by the plugin U-Block Origin because they leak information about the visitor to third parties.

Question of re-surfacing the Paquete in digital networks. Nestor insists he deleted the Facebook page. Question of ethics. How to keep its “offline ethos”? Suggestion of the Deep web or the remote desktop.

*Notion of ‘points of access’
Cuba- our side of the world: unstable connection vs content which is not legally accessible How to create a point of access to the Paquete rather than an archived copy?

Can thinking about error help us?
Error: build something from this problem (this image is not available in your country)

Projects reviewed:
Ben Grosser Project: Trace you > (interesting but mono-dimensional, you = your ip)
0xDB / Padma:

2 approaches as ways forward:
1- solutionist approach
3- meta commentary of the project / meta-level / translation of the project *remediation*

#layers structure of the project – potential map: file / Paquete / network

*importance of meta-data. When the file is cut-off from its networked attachments, it becomes hard to “preview” it, to have a sense of what it contains. In the Paquete, folder names and file structure are used to compensate this lack. This is a problem common to file sharing in general, and 0xdb is an example of trying to generate metadata for files that are travelling through pirate networks without metadata.
Thinking about the resurfacing of the Paquete in online networks. What matters is not so much the files themselves, they are already online. It is much more the selection, the relational structure of the Paquete that may be interesting for online users.


Where are we and what have we been doing until now?

Tracing and understanding better how files that are living on the Internet are integrated in the Paquete. What it entails, how the move from online to offline transforms the documents. This is what we have called the de-linking: to cut off the internet document from its attachment and give it a portable form, the pdf.

This is not just a technical operation. It is the move from a network economy to another. User’s behaviour cannot be traced the same way. The juridical status of the documents change as they enter the Paquete. The commercial structure that supports the sharing of these documents is not the commercial structure of the web economy but the matrices and paqueteros.

Now the question is how can the Seccion Arte resurface online? What is the relevant form for this?