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#Egypt

Posted March 6, 2012 by nicolas_lampert in Art & Politics

TF2.jpgThis past weekend, Paul Kjelland and I did an installation for the True/False film festival in Columbia, Missouri. Our installation - installed on the glass windows of the Ragtag Theater/cafe - depicted the three-day Internet blockade inside Egypt that began on January 27, 2011 and the creative resistance that followed. The black numbers and the red circle represent the major connection points within the network. The blue lines represent severed lines of communication. The yellow line represents the Noor Group – the only provider that remained active. And the gray lines represent the various methods (dial up, ham radio, satellite, and satellite phone) that Egyptians and those outside Egypt employed to circumvent the blockade.

Interview with Paul Kjelland:
http://soundcloud.com/kstorres/paul-kjelland-true-false-film

Full statement:

#Egypt

The installation on the glass window depicts the three-day Internet blockade inside Egypt that began on January 27, 2011 and the creative resistance that followed. The black numbers and the red circle represent the major connection points within the network. The blue lines represent severed lines of communication. The yellow line represents the Noor Group – the only provider that remained active. And the gray lines represent the various methods (dial up, ham radio, satellite, and satellite phone) that Egyptians and those outside Egypt employed to circumvent the blockade.

On January 27th, 80 million people in Egypt found themselves disconnected from Internet and mobile services when President Hosni Mubarak ordered the five major Internet providers in Egypt (Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Link Egypt, Internet Egypt, and Etisalat Misr) to shut down. Mubarak’s kill switch impacted the entire country. Individuals, businesses, banks, schools, embassies, and government offices could no longer access the web, and the rest of the world could no longer send messages to web addresses within Egypt. The only network left untouched was Noor Group (AS20928) - the network that the Egyptian Stock Exchange ran upon.

This unprecedented action was predicated by the success that Egyptian citizens had in using social networking sites - Facebook and Twitter – to organize hundreds of thousands of people to resist Mubarak. And when the Internet went dark, Egyptians and the world community responded with ingenious methods to circumvent the blockade. Activists outside of Egypt – groups like Telecomix and Anonymous - began immediately sending messages to random Egyptian fax numbers in the hopes of establishing a line of communication. Messages included the crowd-sourced document from AnonymousRx 20 Ways to Circumvent the Egyptians Governments Internet Block that provided information on the few remaining Internet lines and instructions on how people could access DSL dial up lines and send messages through ham radios. Inside Egypt some users on the Noor Group network took down their password protection, while others built mesh networks that were hidden in backpacks, cars, and rooftops and powered by satellites that could not be blocked. Twitter, Google, and SayNow also became active in the cause. They set up a “Speak-to-Tweet” service that allowed people inside Egypt to call an international phone number and leave a voice message that would then be instantly tweeted under the hashtag #egypt. All of these actions aided the pro-democracy movement where international solidarity, technology, pressure from world leaders, and most significantly, mass social protest by the Egyptian people were all harnessed to force the resignation of Egyptian President Mubarak.

Nicolas Lampert and Paul Kjelland
March 2012

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