Superheroes Still Need Phoneboxes: Lecture at the 31st Chaos Communication Congress, Hamburg

23rd Jan 2015

Over the winter break RCA Creative Exchange doctoral researcher Ben Dalton presented work on pseudonymity and digital public space at the 31st annual Chaos Communication Congress (31C3) in Hamburg.

The Congress describes itself as "an annual four-day conference on technology, society and utopia … offering lectures and workshops and various events on a multitude of topics including information technology and a critical-creative attitude towards technology and the discussion about the effects of technological advances on society". The 31C3 was attended by over 10,000 people, offering four strands of talks throughout the four days. Ben's talk Superheroes Still Need Phoneboxes on the "art of making a free phonebox and the culture of anonymous communication" considered the role of public space in digital pseudonymity. The talk presented a 'free phonebox' project developed with FutureEverything, a partner organisation of the Creative Exchange, as part of their City Fictions exhibition last year.

Ben's research at the RCA has been investigating the role of design in the future of digital pseudonymity. The research forms part of a larger investigation in to digital public space by the AHRC funded Creative Exchange hub.

"My research asks the question: how can we support design for digital pseudonymity, and in particular the increasingly contested space of usable anonymous pseudonyms? My approach has been to explore the themes of identity performance and use in digital space through design experiments of varying scales. Here I present my work on a prototype free phonebox, outlining how it works as a public resource for free communication and the aspects of the design which aim to support and explore digital pseudonymity."