“Media is the nervous system of a democracy. If it’s not functioning well the democracy can’t function” (Jeff Cohen, Director of the Park Center for Independent Media)
Newstweek is a device for manipulating the news read by other people on wireless hotspots. Built into a small and innocuous wall plug, the Newstweek device appears as part of the local infrastructure. This allows agents to remotely edit news read on laptops, phones and tablets without their users knowing. Newstweek emerges as a symptom of our increasingly corporatized and mediated democratic reality. While news is increasingly read digitally, it still follows a traditional, top-down distribution model and thus often falls victim to the same political and corporate interests that have always sought to manipulate public opinion. Newstweek intervenes in this model, providing an opportunity for citizens to have their turn at manipulating the media, “fixing facts” as they pass across a wireless network. In this way Newstweek can be seen as a tactical device for altering public reality on a per-network basis.
Newstweek also signals a word of caution, that a strictly media-defined reality is always a vulnerable reality. Today, as devices and their networks become ubiquitous, ignorance as to how they function increases, offering an opportunity for the manipulation of facts on their journey from source to destination (from server to screen).
Hotspots manipulable by Newstweek include cafes, libraries, hotels, universities and city-wide wireless networks.