In the past few weeks, a number of developments have occurred in relation to the art/research practices of b.a.n.g. lab and Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), which we wish to share with the public in accordance with our long history of radical transparency.
– Since November of 2009 the Transborder Immigrant Tool has become a media event with many groups and individuals, such as Congressman Duncan Hunter in his Op-ed in the San Diego Union Tribune, calling for the defunding of the Transborder Immigrant Tool. The University of California system began a financial audit of the project on January 11, 2010, in which they requested that every member involved be interviewed by Audit & Management Advisory Services (UCSD). The exact investigations (they claim that there are multiple) under way have yet to be clarified by UCOP or other UC entities, but in the interviews thus far, TBT members have been questioned about the usage of the funds and the originality of the project. The investigation has ‘arrested’ TBT’s developmental process and core research matrix.
– To add injury to injury, due to widespread media coverage of the Transborder Immigrant Tool, members of bang.lab and EDT also have been receiving copious hateful email and paper letters, some including threats of physical violence and murder. The racist, xenophobic, classist, misogynist, homophobic and transphobic “excitable speech” of the threats has been as clear as that of the correspondence received in recent weeks by national representatives who voted for health care legislation. Hardly a tea party!
– On March 2nd, Markyudof.com publicly declared the resignation of UCOP Mark Yudof in a gesture of minor simulation to encourage the imagining of other possible futures. On March 21st, bang.lab received notice that a faculty member at UC Riverside was being investigated in relation to this action.
– On March 4th, bang.calit2.net hosted a virtual sit-in against the UCOP website, providing a space for many people concerned with public education to embody their dissent online. As a result, UCSD IT Security shut down our server’s access to the Internet for eight days. Shortly thereafter, we were informed that an investigation of Ricardo Dominguez by the Senior Vice Chancellor (SVC) was initiated by the UCOP to determine if criminal charges were in order for the virtual sit-in, despite the legal precedent that a virtual sit-in is political speech, not a DDOS attack. This investigation–itself in the service of a denial of distributed free speech–has been framed by SVC as potential reason to end Professor Dominguez’s tenure.