AlgoMantra, b. 2005

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Monday, April 25, 2005
Participants etc...
If you wish to join the following list of participants, please proceed to the Wiki and simply edit the page to update it. Player's kits will be given out at the venue, the Ghetto pub (near Mahalaxmi Temple) at 6PM, 29th April.

AlgoMantra Administrators:

1. Matti Pohjonen, researcher, Bombay
2. Rohit Gupta, writer, Bombay
3. Tatu-Ilari Laukkanen, film-maker, Helsinki

AlgoMantra Participants:

1. Angad Choudhary, researcher, Bombay
2. Soumyadeep Paul, film-maker, Bombay
3. Siddhartha Sharma, musician-engineer, Pune
4. Mehul Dhorda, biologist
5. Sandy Henderson,
6. Aishwarya, literature student
7. Mike Atherton, writer
AlgoMantra 2005: The Crowd as a Computer
PRESS RELEASE April 24, 2005

Urban research, social gaming and visual arts meet in a 3-day collective experiment

On Friday, 29th of April, 20 artists and researchers will launch a collective experiment to map out the urban space of Bombay. They will also attempt to remodel their movement and thought in the form of a computer. To filter away the noise of every day life, the festival will take place during a 58-hour vow of silence. The festival will also take place simultaneously in the UK, the US and Finland.

DAY 1: "ORGANIC POETRY" The festival will begin by transforming the wall of a popular Bombay night spot into a large collective experimental artwork. Every participant and audience member will have the chance to contribute words to a two-dimensional organic poem, growing like a virus.

Day 2: "ALGOYATRA" The participants will then be given a computer program with basic instructions on how to move through an area in the city. As this programme mechanically guides the participants in random patters, the familiar areas of the city will become uncanny and surprising. At certain specific locations, sets of actions will be provided. Through this new subjective maps will be be drawn, illuminating the streets of Bombay in unfamiliar ways. The data from this experiment will be used for an interactive art installation about the city that will also be available online.

DAY 3: "ALGOKREEDA" On the last and final day, and perhaps in the most challenging of all the games, participants will engage in an experiment to test the formation and spread of rumor. In a city like Bombay, this experiment will take on interesting dimensions as there is always a tension between rumor and truth. This game will take place on a large area on which a grid is going to be drawn. Participants will be given fragments of a message as they move on the grid according to pre-generated patterns. As the rumor spreads by participants meeting randomly on the grid, a complete message will gradually evolve. This message, once decoded by the participants, signals the end of a round. The data gathered here will be available for future researchers and media houses in order to test how information spreads in a crowd.

Once the game is over on day three, a free-form discussion and celebration will follow into the late evening. This festival will be documented by an international group of film makers, urban researchers, artists and bloggers.

For further information please contact: + 91 Matti Pohjonen (9819878597) , Angad Chowdhry (9819051983), Rohit Gupta (9819107418) Tatu-Ilari Laukkanen (9833202314)

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Monday, April 11, 2005
The Truth About 29th April, 2005
On Thursday - April 28, 2005, a fleet of Vogon spaceships will surround the Earth and subsequently destroy it. Legend has it that only a tramp named Arthur Dent survives this catastrophe with a book that keeps telling him "Don't Panic!".

This is not true. We have a replacement Earth stashed away, and all we need to do is switch it on!

At 7PM on April 29, 2005, after the Vogon ships have returned, assuming foolishly that earthlings have perished in the boom-booms - the participants of the AlgoMantra festival, everywhere on the globe, will take a vow of silence for 58 hours, that is till Sunday night 9PM. During these 58 hours, they play three games as a yagna to invoke the hidden earth, to reclaim it from nothingness, to flick the switch on Earth II.

The festival will celebrate the death of planet Earth-I. As you can see on the top-left corner of this image in front of you, it will be a planetary conference of shanti-chanting skeletons, the undead who will survive the Vogon attack. Why will we survive? Because we have an antidote to the Vogons' hypersonic weapons of mass destruction - "mass algorithmic silent serendipity" (MASS).

Rules to the silent games themselves are described in this holy scripture, and as divine games tend to be - they are open source. If you find yourself conscious after 6:59:59 PM on Friday, April 29, 2005, you have survived the Vogon attack.

However, it would be foolish to assume that everyone you meet thence has also survived. Of course, those who survive will never realise that the attack ever happened. The hypersonic weapons will destroy the memory of the attack with your non-spiritual life, and only M.A.S.S. can restore your sense of belonging to the hidden new earth, by bringing into being the silent planet that we have been safe-keeping for thousands of years.

We don't care if you join our religion, or call it a religion, we don't care if you hyperlink us, hoodwink us, we don't care if you leave a comment saying you're sorry to hear this. It doesn't matter anymore. They're coming.

We just want someone to be home for Arthur when he finds his way back home, you know.