Branger_Briz is a full service digital agency and lab made up of artists, strategists, educators and programmers bent on articulating contemporary culture. Based in Miami FL, Chicago IL, and Cali, Colombia, they create work that provides context and perspective on the misunderstood aspects of the digital landscape. is a full service digital agency and lab made up of artists, strategists, educators and programmers bent on articulating contemporary culture. Based in Miami FL, Chicago IL, and Cali, Colombia, they create work that provides context and perspective on the misunderstood aspects of the digital landscape.
Notes about the work
Smartphones and other electronic devices with WiFi capabilities send out probe requests in attempts to connect to nearby WiFi networks. These requests can basically be seen by anyone who knows how to find them (via public databases and running various software). Each butterfly icon represents one person’s probe request that has been “captured” by Probe Kit. Each butterfly icon is thus an extension of the self, through their smartphone’s WiFi probe request.
How does the medium (the butterflies) affect the viewer?
Because of their bright colors, the butterflies give the feeling of being innocent, harmless, and even cute. They fly around the screen like a flock of butterflies traveling to a new location (i.e., your location).
Does this make the fact that your location is being tracked seem less frightening or easier to ignore?
What is the message? By using things such as WiFi to be more connected to the world, we are actually giving up some of our privacy. We are unconsciously allowing ourselves to be tracked.
About the artists
Brannon Dorsey is an artist, programmer, and researcher who uses technology and reproducible electronic media to navigate difficult terrain. He employs open software tools to create experiences that excite and empower individuals and collaborative communities rather than create passive users/consumers. Brannon’s work encourages a digital literacy that celebrates the truly profound technological era that we now live while remaining skeptical of the ways that this technology is being used on and against us.
Nick Briz is a new media artist, educator, and organizer living and working in Chicago, IL. He is critically obsessed with the Internet and focuses his work on digital culture— digital literacy and ecology, netizen rights, glitch art, net art, and remix. He organizes events on these topics (GLI.TC/H, NO-MEDIA), teaches (SAIC, Marwen, www), and produces work independently and commercially with Branger_Briz. Nick’s work has been shown internationally at FILE Media Arts Festival, the Images Festival, the Museum of Moving Image, the Tate, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. He has been featured in on/off-line publications around the world (VICE, Rhizome.org, Fast Company, and El Mundo. His work is distributed through Video Out Distribution as well as openly and freely on the web.
Read Banger_Briz’s post about the data safari held at CMATO: Exploring our surrounding WiFi landscape