FatLab is a group of hackers and artists finding ways to make people be aware of what they're doing online.
FatLab is meant to be a place where you can hit Publish buttons without having to worry too much.
The internet's a new audience that could be an art audience.
And this idea of the internet being a way that art can be a little bit more inclusive.
FatLab is about the digital space and what happens to the relations to other people, communication.
We're trying to make things that people want to come to naturally.
It's pop art in this era of the web.
[music playing] Everybody wants to be in a crew, but no one grows up thinking, oh, I'm going to be in a research and development lab.
We've got colors.
We've got cool logos.
You know, it's fun.
The whole thing's supposed to be fun or else it fails.
Really, what FatLab is is really seeing virally on the web, paying attention to contagious media, and figuring out how those systems work, and how we can infiltrate ideas into those systems.
Sometimes I think about it like we're this viral marketing wing of the open source movement that was never requested.
We tend to make ourselves stronger by sharing.
And I think we've seen that work with everything from Wikipedia to Firefox.
So a lot of my work is looking at open source development models and applying that towards the arts.
The Intellectual Property Donor sticker was just this idea that like, on the back of your ID card, you can sign away your organs.
So it seems like you should be able to sign away your intellectual property.
It was meant to point out how ridiculous copyright law has gotten.
Public domain countdown is just a clock that counts down to the moment when their work enters the public domain.
I have one for Michael Jackson.
I have one for Biggie.
The source code's online so people can set up whoever they want.
It's just pointing out how long this timeframe is, especially when it relates to like hip hop music that grew up around sampling and remixing.
The idea that legally we can't remix any Biggie tracks.
We can't put a Biggie vocal over another beat for like 60 years or something.
It just seems like it's not benefiting any of the people that are actually making stuff.
The arts traditionally rewards mystery.
And I think people that are making things on the web feel more natural to just be like hitting that Publish button as often as you can.
So release early, release often.
It was like a tenet of the Linux community.
So the tagline for Fat was release early, often, and with rap music.
It was this idea of getting used to hitting Publish buttons more and more often, and tagging on rap music or some popular element that's going to make people want to click on it.
Speed is important, especially with culture.
You want to get projects out there as quick as possible.
At first there was the speed project idea, about doing fast projects in one day.
People were working that way anyway.
I just put out that label of Speed Project, right?
It's just a stamp and it says like, a speed project is a project you did in one day.
And you could check mark like 1 hour, or 2 hours, or 8 hours.
And if it was longer than 8 hours, then it's not a speed project any more.
I thought was a good idea to rent an internet cafe for one night and show internet art on the computers.
I always have a real program of the pieces listed, and on which machine is which piece.
I really love the format.
From the creative side, I think what it does is it cuts through and just focuses on the artist making work and the curator picking work.
Take this art experience and make it something that feels more like hanging out with your friends.
It's a much more accessible medium towards like putting an audience right next to the art maker.
FatLab is about culture.
When something is making news, and especially if it's going to be related to anything that is pop culture, you've got to seize the moment.
Kanyefy was basically a bookmarklet that allowed you to uppercase everything in the same style as Kanye's blog.
Because anytime Kanye would post on his blog, it was always all caps.
Another project I did was called the Lowercase Kanye, which basically pulled in his blog, cleaned up all the text, and made it just simple to read for everyone.
Part of what we did was pay homage to him, but also pointing out a lot of his flaws.
So about a year later, Justin Bieber took over Kanye's spot.
He was just blowing up an internet, just like Kanye was.
And that was kind of the impetus for creating Shaved Bieber.
So when you install Shaved Bieber, any page that you visit that has the word Justin Bieber in it, or an image of him that we know is him, it will cover it up.
And so when it launched, it got a lot of publicity.
And unfortunately, one of the newspaper articles mentioned that I was deleting him from the internet.
People thought I was finding ways to remove him permanently.
Which was not the case, because it's just a filter in your browser.
So that started a whole movement from the Belieber's side where I was getting death threats from 12-year-old girls, from Brazil, Switzerland, China, all over.
You had his fans on one end, and then people that didn't want to hear about him and talk about him.
There's just two strong polar opposites there.
The filtration process allows you to kind of say, no, I don't want to see something, or I don't want to hear about it.
Shaved Bieber is kind of akin to parental controls.
Instead of your kids, it's for yourself.
We still have these concepts, real and virtual, but the digital space folds back onto physical space.
I'm most interested in this idea of how can I make this digital space tangible.
Dead Drop is an offline file sharing peer-to-peer network.
And you can't be tracked.
You just walk out with your laptop and connect to the wall, or to a pole, or the curb.
You just need a flash drive and some glue, or like quick cement.
You don't know what's on there.
Like you need to go to that place.
Like maybe it's wet and dirty.
You connect there, and maybe there's even a virus on there.
So it's dangerous on top.
Right now, there are 520 or 30 or 40 dead drops worldwide.
It is symbolic in a way.
It's literally connecting digital space and physical space in a very simple way.
The main topic in all these different projects I do is about that relation.
We are like very skilled in making these separations.
But the moment they blur, it's like, oh yeah.
I live in all these different worlds at the same time.
Fat got invited to [inaudible].
There's a lot of privacy concerns that were happening with Google Street Maps.
People don't want their homes photographed, or they are afraid of being photographed on the street.
So while we're there, Aram had the awesome idea of actually building the Google Street View car.
It looked like they're Google Street View car, but when you looked a bit closer, it was like just plastic and cardboard.
But socially, it allowed us to sort of hack into people's relationships with Google.
You could just drive super slow and you have all these taxis behind you.
And nobody would complain because you're the Google car, right?
We had the idea of saying, we hacked the Google Street View car.
We planted a GPS device on it.
We're tracking it right now.
Here's a map of it.
In fact, I was driving the Google car because I rented it.
Gismodo broke it, MSNBC.
All these sites are actually thinking we legitimately did this.
But the whole idea was using this car as a way to infiltrate into media.
It all kind of came to an end when Google released a simple press release saying, we are not running any Street View cars in Germany at this time.
We got people talking about why are these kids running around pretending like they're Google?
I thought Google was great.
What's the issue here?
We're trying to get people questioning Google's monopoly over a huge slice of the web.
It's a real and virtual and on and offline.
And it's like black and white.
But it's not like that anymore.
Everything you do on your day is real.
Reactions are what art's about.
We should have some gut feeling saying, I like this, I don't like this, or this speaks to me, this doesn't speak to me.
Instead of just becoming consumers, we to stay creators.
People should know that the internet is not just something they receive on a computer.
But it's something that they can react with, and respond with, and repurpose, and remix.
As long as you just know that you can do it.