After being stuck in Chicago last week from a storm without my laptop and the internet, all I had to entertain myself with was the TV in my hotel. So I basically did nothing else but watch news reports on the Boston bombings for three days. What stood out the most to me were the sympathetic interviews of shocked classmates of the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. One interviewee, who was Dzhokhar's engineering lab partner, recalled that they were learning how to hook up simple led lights to circuit boards. After recently taking a digital media class on electronics myself, I felt a sort of connection that was unsettling. I began thinking about how I rely on the internet to figure out how to build some of my art projects. If you type in a search engine "how to" there would be a never ending history of searches.
Rates of terrorism and homegrown bombs have risen substantially as the internet being a major factor. Censoring instructions on how to make bombs over the internet has been a widespread controversy. The First Amendment protects these instructional websites because of free speech. Many of these bomb instructions are simple science experiments with videos of kids playing around with baking soda in their backyard. However, I did easily come across more detailed, dangerous instructions and even archives of "The Anarchist Cookbook."
For my project, I began researching on bomb making instructions over the web. Usually before each instruction I came across, there was a warning by the author on liability and not putting yourself or others in danger. I was surprised to see how many of the instructions seemed so informal and taken so lightly. Many had strange side comments like how you could potentially kill a neighbor you didn't like. I didn't know how to respond to these weird moments and took it more in a joking manner by the way it was written. Some were obviously fake how to make a bomb videos with cheesy explosion effects. On forums, it was difficult to distinguish a person just generally interested in learning about bombs from a person who might potentially make a bomb with intentions of harming others.
As a final piece, I decided on three "recipes" that required mostly simple household ingredients that I would present. Each recipe would be arranged on a plate like a meal for one. The recipe would be attached on the side. I see this piece as a sculpture, installation, and performance that addresses the moral issues that come with the free speech and knowledge. This freedom of endless knowledge is at the touch of our fingertips. But it is up to us on how we use and/or abuse it.