co_LAB at the Web We Want Festival, Southbank 29-31 May 2015

Between the 21-31 May 2015, the co_LAB team ran an intensive interdisciplinary workshop designed to bring together students from across the all three colleges within the University. The call for participants was aimed at Level 2 students and resulted in 10 students from from the School of Film and Media (College of Arts), School of Computer Science (College of Science) and School of Psychology (College of Social Science) collaborating together on a core brief. 

The workshop explored how the Magna Carta might be repurposed for the digital age (in the context of civic participation and safeguarding civil rights and liberties). That brief was centred around surveillance culture, privacy and big data. The workshop explored these issues through practice-based research methods,  and from different disciplinary contexts, with the aim of engaging the public in critical debate. Student participants were set the challenge to design (and then deliver) a ‘workshop’ and some form of technical installation (featuring the Oculus Rift and other interactive devices) which would be exhibited at the Web We Want Festival at Southbank Arts Centre, London. 

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After an intensive week of lively debates, conceptual development, designing and coding, the project moved to the Southbank where the students got the chance to exhibit their work alongside our www25 installation. These are the two projects which were exhibited:

Blind_Data – This interactive workshop challenges the public to take on the role of data analyst. Can you decide who represents a potential ‘national security’ risk based on their digital footprint alone? When our data is tracked by governments and corporations alike, what does our personal data and online identity reveal about us in different contexts?

Caught in the Web – Plunge into an immersive 3D history of the World Wide Web. See the developments that have changed the face of the digital world and learn about the restrictions that increasingly limit online experiences. This Oculus Rift ‘Virtual Reality’ game challenges public apathy towards mass surveillance of our digital lives. Using a virtual reality web browser Caught in the Web takes you on a journey through the central developments to issues of commerce, surveillance, censorship and participation over the past 25 years of the web, exploring those which have either restricted or opened up new avenues for accessibility.