Calendar of Events

Spring 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013
Building Local Autonomy Networks (Autonets)
A workshop with Micha Cárdenas
Dark Side of the Digital Conference
9:00 am - 1:00 pm Hefter Conference Center
3271 N Lake Dr
FREE | But please register by emailing

8:00 pm Best Place at Historic Pabst Brewery
901 W Juneau Ave
Workshop participants will perform

Workshop: The Autonets workshop will engage participants in a discussion—using Theater of the Oppressed, dance, and performance exercises—of how we can form local networks of autonomy and solidarity in order to create community-based responses to violences, which are personal, gendered, or state sponsored. Join us for a three-hour workshop that will culminate in a performance where we will use Theater of the Oppressed to embody community based responses to violence. The workshop will invite participants to consider these questions: what kinds of violence you face on a daily basis and how can we respond as a community to prevent these forms of violence, with or without digital technologies. No experience is necessary to participate in the workshop and performance, as both rely on what our bodies already know.

Autonet performance Thien V, Flickr | Find Each Other, from HTMlles 10, Feminist Festival of Media Arts + Digial Culture

More about Local Autonomy Networks: Local Autonomy Networks (Autonets) is an artivist project focused on creating networks of communication to increase community autonomy and reduce violence against women, LGBTQI people, people of color and other groups who continue to survive violence on a daily basis. The networks are both online and offline, including handmade wearable electronic fashion and face-to-face agreements between people. The networks are being established through a series of workshops, performances, presentations and discussions at art, activist and academic venues in the Americas and Europe. The project was started by Micha Cárdenas but is rapidly expanding into an ecology of networks involving many artists, hackers and activists. Autonets includes a line of mesh networked electronic clothing with the goal of building autonomous local networks that don’t rely on corporate infrastructure to function, inspired by community based, anti-racist, prison abolitionist responses to gendered violence. The Autonets garments, when activated, will alert everyone in range of the the local mesh network who is wearing another autonet garment that someone needs help and will indicate that person’s direction and distance.

These technologies are being developed through workshops and collective design processes, inspired by existing networks of horizontal knowledge production in queer, transgender, survivors of gender violence and diasporic communities. We are currently in collaboration with groups wanting to use Autonets to reduce violence against genderqueer and trans people of color in LA; prevent disappearances in Bogotá, Colombia; help provide safety for sex workers in Toronto; and facilitate queer youth of color to avoid violence in Detroit. Autonets is fashion-hacking for social reorganization, recoding the meaning of fashion symbols (such as hoodies that have associations ranging from Trayvon Martin to the Black Bloc) or femme fashion elements (such as dresses and bracelets) into symbols of connectivity and autonomy.

FREE | But please register by emailing

Dark Side of the Digital Plenary Talk
Local Autonomy Networks: Post Digital Networks, Post Corporate Communications
Saturday, May 4
1:00 pm Curtin 175

In addition to her Autonets workshop and performance, Micha Cárdenas will be delivering a plenary talk on "Local Autonomy Networks: Post Digital Networks, Post Corporate Communications":

From the temporary shutdown of and at the DNS level to the shutdown of cell phone communications to prevent protests in Egypt and San Francisco, corporate communications infrastructures are obsolete for resistant communities. In contrast, people in resistance are imagining new post-digital futures. My work on the Transborder Immigrant Tool led me to Local Autonomy Networks (Autonets), which is being developed in collaboration with community based organizations in Detroit, Los Angeles and Bogotá, Colombia. Digital technology is the basis for an epistemology often referred to as “the digital” which is imbricated with western logics. To work towards post-digital networks is to participate in a decolonization of technology and to imagine possibilities that both precede and follow the digital. My intervention is to make a trans of color critique, taking inspiration from the queer of color critique, that rejects the binary logic of the digital and looks to oppressed communities for alternative logics.

All Dark Side of the Digital events are free and open to the public

Complete Dark Side of the Digital Schedule

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