Psychedelic Chips

Sofia Burchardi & Plamen Bontchev

3.5.2014 - 24.5.2014

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Opening: Friday, May 2, 17-20

“Ready or not, computers are coming to the people. That’s good news, maybe the best since psychedelics.”

Stewart Brand, 1972

 

In the outskirts of the Global Village, in rural Nepal where connectivity is unstable and the digital divide is at its broadest, groups of self-organized activists work to extend the networks and provide the communities with Internet access.

By hacking together available equipment and installing access points, dish antennas and solar powered generators in trees and radio towers, these cyberpunks direct wireless signals from village to village through the Himalayas. With a pragmatic approach and working with second-hand hardware and modified off-the-shelf products they bring essential services like telemedicine, news bulletins and education closer to the locals.

They share a spiritual connection with earlier movements in the 1960s counter culture, phreakers and cyberpunks, as they work to bring information technology into everyday life while embracing self-sustainability and DIY-culture. Similarly to the early computer pioneers, they strive for personal and societal development through the virtues of computing.

Hiding behind motorcycle helmets, not online pseudonyms or avatars, their field of work is in hardware and infrastructure. They are the engineers and technicians of the real world, erecting the scaffolding for the virtual.

 

 

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Ishwor-Cyber

Ishwor Cyber
The owner of a cyber cafe in Kathmandu.

Thamel-Kathmandu

Thamel, Kathmandu.
Thamel area broadcasting mast.

Pritha-Pun

Pritha Pun
Pritha Pun is a volunteer responsible for monitoring and maintaining the network, which stretches over the vast and hard to access Annapurna Conservation Area. To reach some stations he walks up to six days. Pritha plans to become a network engineer one day.

Mohare-Control-Room

Mohare Control Room
Located 3300 meter above sea level, the control room is one of the earliest facilities built for distribution of wireless Internet in the region. It is essential for the connection of Nangi with the main hub in Pokhara. One man alone guards and monitors the tower, making sure that everything functions throughout the year.

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Marc-Shrestha

Marc Shrestha
A cyberpunk from Kathmandu.

Dr-Sarujs-Dhetal

Dr. Sarujs Dhetal – Head of the Tele-medicine Centre at the Kathmandu Model Hospital
When in a society where the ratio of doctors to citizens is 1:6000, proper medical health care becomes an impossible task. Tele-medicine is a small step towards more accurate and time efficient treatment. The technology enables diagnostics via live video feed and benefits patients in remote rural areas.

Khopra-Relay-Station

Khopra Relay Station
Combined weather station and yak farm. Local temperatures, wind speeds and directions, visibility and humidity are recorded on a server and can be viewed online. Additionally the station distributes wireless Internet to the Mustang region, where thirteen villages are included in the network.

Mero-Raja

Mero Raja
A Kathmandu hacker, who commercialised his skills and runs his own software development company “Net Route Solutions“.

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Replica of the first Nangi Computer in the Himalayas, Nepal 2001.
Handbuilt in wooden box. Monitor connected to the replica screening micro image of a silicon semiconductor.

geminoid-portrait

Geminoid DK
A replica of Professor Henrik Schärfe

 
 

nanghicomputer

Replica of the first Nangi Computer in the Himalayas, Nepal 2001.

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Silicon Monocrystal Silicon monocrystal top, leftover from the production of wafers from the micro-processor production.

Silicon Monocrystal
Silicon monocrystal top. Leftover from the production of wafers for micro-processor fabrication.