[-empyre-] What the heck? - hacking HEK

Garrett Lynch garrett at asquare.org
Mon May 28 03:33:45 AEST 2018

In response to the open May theme and since the list has been relatively
quiet I'd like to share with the list the hack of HEK's
(http://www.hek.ch/) audience
award poll I undertook this week.  In addition, I wish to ask if list
members were aware of this award, its poor organisation and if they had any
comments to contribute about it all?  Below are details that explain what
occurred and at the bottom the short post and video of the hack that was
posted through social media.


Since 2016 HEK the Haus der elektronischen Kunste (House of electronic Art) in
Basel have organised a net-based award for art that employs the "Internet
as a platform for artistic activities".  In addition to a jury prize, an
audience award is voted for by internet users on HEK's website.  Votes are
cast through Pinpoli, a web-based poll system, that can and has been easily
hacked in the past.  The poll was hacked in 2017, presumably by one of the
artists nominated for the award, with first and second places surpassing
other nominations by over 1400 votes.  Yet for the 2018 award HEK continue
to use the same flawed polling system.

As a consequence, the award is reduced to little more than a fixed popularity
contest.  It is discussed on social media with derision, users and artists
wonder not which artwork will win but instead which hacker or bot will
dominate the voting.  This is unjust to nominated works and does not raise
the credibility or profile of net-based art.

In the last week of voting I deployed a clicking application through TorBrowser
to cast over a thousand votes.  It raised several of the poorly performing
nominations above the winning nominations and arbitrarily selected one to
win by an exaggerated number of votes.  The intention was to undermine
HEK's confidence in their poll, confound the process of selection of the
audience award and hopefully sufficiently embarrass HEK to abolish it in
coming years.


Dear HEK - Haus der elektronischen Kunste, Basel

What the heck?

Your net-based audience award is a joke and discussed on social media
with derision.
Users and artists wonder not which artwork will win but instead which
hacker or bot will dominate the voting.  Your absolute trust in net-based
technologies belies your ignorance about the very form and platform you
aspire to promote.  The award's poll has been hacked for the second year
running - this time by me.  I have no vested interest in the nominees or
who wins, simply that you cease to use such a ridiculous selection process
and abolish the audience award in coming years as its selection is unjust
to nominated works and does not raise the credibility or profile of
net-based art.



On Fri, May 11, 2018 at 11:44 PM Renate Terese Ferro <rferro at cornell.edu>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear –empyre- Subscribers,
> With the end of the semesters and May ticking away this open month of
> –empyre- is waiting for anyone to post a new project they are working on or
> something they would like to share?
> Anyone beginning a new research project?  Feel free to post.  Best,
> Renate
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Associate Professor
> Director of Undergraduate Studies
> Department of Art
> Tjaden Hall 306
> rferro at cornell.edu

Garrett at asquare.org

Current events and soon:

Real Virtuality The Networked Art of Garrett Lynch:
http://realvirtuality.peripheralforms.com/ <http://www.filmwinter.de/en>

A network of people who attended an exhibition and contributed to the
creation of this work

Pick up a postcard and participate at any of the following
galleries: Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art (Ljubljana, Slovenia),
Bannister Gallery (Rhode Island, USA), Centro ADM (Mexico City, Mexico),
Centro de Cultura Digital (Mexico City, Mexico), Gallery XY (Olomouc, Czech
Republic), Gedok (Stuttgart, Germany), Guest Room (North Carolina, USA),
Human Ecosystems (Rome, Italy), Kunst Museum (Stuttgart, Germany),
Laboratorio Arte Alameda (Mexico City, Mexico), Le Wonder (Bagnolet,
France), MUTE (Lisbon, Portugal), NYU Art Gallery (Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates), Open Signal (Portland, USA), Plymouth Arts Centre (Plymouth,
England), The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art (Plymouth, England),
Transfer Gallery (New York, USA), Upfor Gallery (Portland, USA), Watermans
(London, England), Wilhelmspalais (Stuttgart, Germany), WOWA (Riccione,
Italy), ZKM | Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany)
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