CODE Programme 2023
Reclaiming Digital Agency
We want to make sure the general audience, politicians and policymakers are aware of the digital challenges of our time. We want big tech companies to be regulated, curb their power, and protect our digital rights. What role should governments play, and how can we make them understand the urgency to act? What can we as concerned citizens, researchers, and artists do to support this process?
CODE was initiated in 2021 as a response to growing concerns that we are losing agency over the digital tools and platforms we use on a daily basis. CODE seeks to bring together artists, non-artists, politicians, policy makers and researchers from Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands to engage in dialogue, critical discussion, and artistic intervention. We hope to be able to influence public policy on a national and international level, by creating awareness for issues at hand, and by defining ways in which we can improve laws and legislation that will protect us as digital citizens and consumers. We want to inspire and facilitate cross-disciplinary collaborations, which hopefully have the potential to catalyse system change.
Each edition starts with a call for applicants. Selected participants will have the opportunity to work closely together in a co-creation process of three months consisting of a series of events: three workshops, a hackathon, various presentations at inspiring festivals, and an online exhibition. The events are spread over several months: from March till June, with presentations of the project’s outcome expected in September.
During this period, together we develop interventions and awareness campaigns to expose the power of tech companies and to activate politicians, policymakers and citizens to take action.
CODE 2023 is the third edition of CODE, and is organised by IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] together with Werktank (Leuven), Privacy Salon/Privacytopia (Brussels) and transmediale (Berlin). CODE 2023 is made possible thanks to the kind support of the gemeente Utrecht Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, the Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie and the Fonds Soziokultur.
Explore our CODE Events:
Open Call for CODE participants (closed)
The Open call is closed. But if you want to read more:
CODE 2023 participants announced
Meet the 29 participants who are selected for the third edition of CODE: Reclaiming Digital Agency.
In Ocotober 2022 we launched the second CODE open call for participants, i.c.w. Werktank , Privacy Salon/Privacytopia and transmediale. The open call was open to anyone from Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands who shared our concern about digital rights and the power of big tech companies. Together we will engage in dialogue, critical discussion, and artistic intervention to raise awareness about our digital rights.
We received over 100 applications from artists, researchers and concerned citizens. The participants were selected on the basis of their motivation. The aim of the CODE 2023 programme is to influence public policy on a national and international level, by creating awareness and by defining ways in which we can improve laws and legislation that will protect us as digital citizens and consumers.
Kick-Off Meeting - 21 January
On 21 January the CODE 2023 participants got the chance to meet each other for the first time.
This first kick-off was mainly about getting to know each other. The participants all joined an online meeting, and got the chance to briefly introduce themselves. Everyone was able to share why they joined the programme, what issues they hoped to address in their potential project, and what skills and background they could offer to a potential project. It was a fun and informal chance for the participants to see each other, and have a chat.
Proof-of-Scale: CODE panel at transmediale festival in Berlin - 2 February
Can blockchain technologies like smart contracts and DAO’s (decentralised autonomous organisations) enhance the democracy process? On 2 February, we talk about the opportunities and limitations of these decentralised technologies in the panel Proof-of-Scale at the transmediale festival in Berlin. Speakers include: anthropologist Miriyam Aouragh, researcher Nick Houde, curator and researcher Paulien Dresscher, and political theorist at The New Institute and Humboldt-University of Berlin Rahel Süß.
Hackathon - 3, 4, 5 March
Read more about the CODE Hackathon
Workshop 1 - 1 April
This workshop was about concretizing. While at the hackathon participants were encouraged to engage in dialogue, and look at various project angles and concepts, at the workshop they were asked to work towards their concrete project proposal.
During the workshop, which was held in a hybrid format, with spaces being open in various participating countries, participants worked in groups on their project proposals. They worked on the proposals which they were handing in one week later, in which they would describe their project, their planning, what materials they would need, and more. During the workshop, the mentors discussed the progress since the hackathon with all the groups, and helped them to really formulate what exactly it is the participants plan to do. This exercise was very helpful, since it allowed the CODE participants to get a lot more focus, which makes it easier for them to move forward. We also addressed the political relevance of the projects, and discussed ways to make this clearly visible in the works.
Workshop 2 - 29 April
The main focus of this workshop was to discuss the proposals with the participants. The mentors met with each group to go through their project proposals.
During the workshop, which was held in a hybrid format, with spaces being open in various participating countries, participants worked in groups in a similar way to the first workshop. They all had a timeslot in which they met with the mentors, to get extensive feedback on the proposals they handed in after the first workshop. The feedback was focused on both the feasibility of the project, and on the way in which the issues groups worked on were addressed. The goal was to make sure that the point the groups were making was as clear as possible.
It was also important to discuss the timeline of the project, since the groups had very ambitious ideas, most of which were possible, as long as the groups had a good planning and division of tasks. Through this discussion, participants got a realistic outlook on the next few months, in which they would develop the projects.
Presentation at the CPDP Conference in Brussels
CPDP is an annual three-day conference devoted to privacy and data protection. The 16th edition took place from 24-26 May 2023 in Brussels.
CODE organised From Science Fiction to Reality: The Ethics of Body Technology Interactions. This panel, consisting of Ahnjili ZhuParris, Sander Veenhof, John Mulgrew and Hans Graux and moderated by Eduard Fosch-Villaronga, discussed the challenges brought to us by recent advancements in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Brain-Computer Interfaces, and the health industry and the impact of these advancements on our bodies.
Workshop 3 - 10 June
The main focus of this workshop was for the participants to present how far they had gotten with their projects to the rest of the groups and the mentors, after which they received feedback and tips on how to finish the projects in the last few weeks of the production period.
The workshop was again held in a hybrid format, with participants joining in some of the offices of organising parties, and some participants joining from home. Some of the mentors were also present physically to help out the participants. It was a great moment for everyone to be able to present their progress:it was quite close to the end of the production period, so groups were already quite far along with their projects. Other participants and mentors were able to give great feedback which helped elevate the projects to a more fleshed out finished stage in the last few weeks after the workshop.
CODE at MozFest House 2023
On 20 & 21 June CODE was presented at the MozFest House in Amsterdam, in an installation format with works from different years of CODE. This was a great opportunity for a few of the 2023 groups to show their projects in near-final stages, and get feedback from MozFest visitors.
MozFest House was held from 19 – 21 June 2023 in Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam. The following projects were presented:
From CODE 2023: On The Exactitude of Maps, VOICES, and clickedy.click.
From previous years: Turning Tables, Googless.
CODE at Public Spaces Conference 2023
On 27 & 28 June CODE was presented at the Public Spaces Conference in Amsterdam in an installation format with various works and a performance from different years of CODE.
This presentation at the Public Spaces Conference was made up of an installation of a few of the works from CODE 2023, and featured an invasive performance by Making the Invisible Visible, a project from CODE 2021.
The projects were exhibited in the arts programme of Public Spaces, which was hosting the conference. Public Spaces was held from 27 – 28 june 2023 at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam.
At Public Spaces Conference, the following projects were presented:
From CODE 2023: On The Exactitude of Maps.
From previous years: Turning Tables, Making the Invisible Visible.
CODE at Ars Electronica 2023
From 6 to 10 September, Ars Electronica 2023 will take place in Linz, Austria. At the CODE booth, visitors can explore a selection of works that were developed during CODE 2023.
IMPAKT Festival 2023: Our Terms, Our Conditions
Taking place from 1–5 November, the IMPAKT Festival 2023: Our Terms, Our Conditions will address our digital rights, the control we have over our data and our lack of agency over the online platforms and devices we use.
To give the discussions we have been fostering in CODE an even bigger platform, the IMPAKT Festival 2023 will put our digital agency centre stage.
More digital agency? Check out the CODE webproject!
To read more about CODE and discover the results of the CODE project so far, click here: CODE webproject