The world of devices that screen flows - of light or sound, of water or information - their attraction, their impact, their strengths & vulnerabilities

NETS Project Coordinators

Valerie Kirk
Annie Trevillian
Sharon Peoples


Up to 100 participating artists/students can dialogue here about Nets - with their posts and comments - by joining Netwurks.

A post doesn't need to be too polished in the first instance. It is a simple matter to return to radically edit it later if desired.

It is a simple process to add images and videos, however, to avoid clogging the blog, an accessible image gallery can also be maintained on a personal website, the link to which can be included in a relevant post.

Ongoing help
with using Netwurks can be provided. Difficulties encountered and general queries can be posted to the blog.


The function of any net is to separate defined items of interest from a specific flow. They are intrinsically mysterious.

Is the function of a facial veil to screen out or to invite the external gaze?

Blinds and net curtains are covert street surveillance systems, sometimes revealing pretty images, other times odd behaviour. If insiders leave the light on, they are exposed and the outsider hidden from view.

When do those nets that are being strung across the flows of cyberspace - the 'firewalls' - change over from being defensive (stopping 'incoming') to being aggressive? How can the misdeeds of their creators be detected by the outsider?

Nets of lies and half-truths are woven
over events, winding up as 'history'. Before becoming spoken words, means of expression are continually modified by a host of personal and institutional restraints.

Micro-nets block contagions. Fishing nets haul in 'by-catch'
(marine 'collateral damage') with their targeted prey. Good nets, bad nets?

June 24, 2009


'Google has suffered intensive disruption in China, just days after it was warned to scale back its search operations.
Chinese bloggers, who believe the move is intended to distract attention away from the domestic controversy over the Green Dam software, have called for a boycott of the internet on 1 July, the start date for its installation on all new computers.

June 23, 2009


According to the report on the implementation of 'Green Dam' by the Open Net Initiative at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies:

"If implemented as proposed, the effect would be to increase the reach of Internet censorship to the edges of the network, adding a new and powerful control mechanism to the existing filtering system."

Language tricks can get around censors and mock them at the same time. Chinese activists have become masters of satire and symbolism. This drawing by a Chinese blogger uses the visual language of Japanese anime.

Green Dam Girl is an internet avatar figure. She’s holding a rabbit, which is the software’s logo, and carrying a bucket of paint. On her cap is an image of the river crab, a homonym for the word “harmony” in Chinese (the Chinese government calls censorship 'harmonization').

June 14, 2009

first of the reading material

Here is some of the reading material. The anthropology-archeology papers are a little old, but nonetheless intersting. The first can be found on this hyperlink: chromomanual craft this one takes a little time to download. If you can't access this please email me I can email it as an attachment.

June 13, 2009

Notes from Nets Workshop (13th June 2009)

At the brainstorming session three headings were put up on the board:


Kinds of nets: fishing nets, hair nets, fly nets, shark nets, mosquito nets, submarine nets, cargo nets, net petticoats, speed cameras, safety nets, internet, butterfly nets, colander/sieve, firewall, vegetable steamer, tripe, arteries, spider webs, shopping bags, string bas, dilly bags, billums, lace curtains, lace veils (bridal, scarves, decorative), hat veils, scrim, bandages, bird nets, silk screens, weed mats, inhibitions, retaining nets, camouflage, gabian nets, cages, turf nets, fences (chicken, wire, rabbit proof fence, plastic), reinforcing, arc mesh, cyclone fencing, locust nests, radiator nets, louvers, architectural fretwork screen, screen doors, security doors, stockings, fish-net stockings, besser brick walls, woven fabrics, croc sandals, ghost nets, hammocks, bee-keeper nets, string vests, seaweed- kelp, sporting nets (tennis nets, tennis racquet, brillo pads, collecting nets, textile techniques (netting, knitting, knotting, crochet), lavender bags (smell), chain mail, chain wire structures

What are nets used for: filtering, catching, hunting, hiding, separating, protecting, collecting, supporting, containing, decorating, stiffening, attracting, alluring, controlling, excluding, including, provoking (see through), intriguing, allusion, building, communicating, distributing, linking, conducting, gathering, structuring, interlocking

What do they make you think of (associations): dirt, camouflaging/ obscuring, hiding behind net curtains, fire walls, censoring filter, theatre lighting, slipping through the net (homelessness, mainstream, social), by catch- collateral damage, keepers, entrapped, cocooning (cultural readings), insecurities, inhibitions, health (mosquito nets), display/fa├žade, religious divisions, milk jug (great aunts, historic, nostalgic, making-do (wagga quilts, being creative, decorative, other traditions), safety nets, comfort, string art (cats cradle), dream catcher (eye of the gods), ambiguity (hiding and attracting the gaze)

June 11, 2009

Walking at Threadbo on the weekend I noticed a network used to control erosion. It was made of heavy duty plastic. Soem of the readings I have been looking at can be found in Google Scholar. In the last couple of years I have used this database to find many articles and books on various subjects. However, the problem is with books you cannot print entire slabs; but at least it is a starting point to then go to libraries.
If you have acces to ANU's JSTOR database there is a font of reading there. Later today I will post some readings.
There are many fascinating anthropological and archeological papers on net making. Some of the search words I have used are knotting, knitting, netmaking. Actually many patents come up and these are quite interesting on the application on netting in industrial and commercial situations.

June 9, 2009


China's authorities currently block overseas-based sites they disapprove of, such as those relating to Tibetan independence, or the Falun Gong spiritual movement, with a mesh of filters and keyword restrictions, widely known as the 'Great Firewall'. Control over domestic servers is applied through instructions to content providers and search engines, which must self-censor to stay in business.

Computer makers in China have now been instructed to pre-install blocking software on every PC hard drive from next month, under a government push to control access to the internet. A new software – called 'Green Dam Youth Escort' – potentially adds a powerful new tool at the level of the individual computer. It updates a list of forbidden sites from an online database, much as network security programs automatically download the latest defences against new worms, trojans and viruses.

The related software developing companies have long-term working relationships with the Public Security Bureau and the People's Liberation Army.

For more, see:

My 'Nets' project work includes control and prevention of the flow of information by various surveillance systems - including the above. More generally, I'm intrigued with
metaphors and analogies that derive from connections between all types of working nets.

'Nets' web-site:

June 7, 2009


8th of June is World Oceans Day. In the UK, it is also the day of the premiere of The End of the Line, the first major documentary about the devastation of the world’s overfishing.

The world's oceans were very different 200 years ago.

Imagine 27,000 southern right whales teeming in the waters off New Zealand, 30 times what we find there now. Or blue and thresher sharks darkening the waters off Cornwall, England. Or even herds of harbour porpoises pursuing fish up British rivers. These are just some of the revelations that will come out of the 'Census of Marine Life - Oceans Past', a conference bringing together the results of a 10 year project by environmental marine biologists around the globe (80 nations, 3,000 scientists), currently underway in Vancouver, Canada.

A discussion of the project's findings with Ian Poiner, Director of the Australian Institute Of Marine Science, was broadcast on ABC Radio National's 'Breakfast' program on 26th of May, and is available for download:

Nets Archive