UNESCO Arts, Science & Technology

The Electronic Disturbance Theater

The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) is a small group of cyber activists and artists engaged in developing the theory and practice of Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD). Until now the group has focused its electronic actions against the Mexican and U.S. governments to draw attention to the war being waged against the Zapatistas and others in Mexico. But ECD tactics have potential application by a range of political and artistic movements. The Electronic Disturbance Theater, working at the intersections of radical politics, recombinant and performance art, and computer software design, has produced an ECD device called Flood Net, URL based software used to flood and block an opponent's web site. While at present a catalyst for moving forward with ECD tactics, the Electronic Disturbance Theater hopes to eventually blend into the background to become one of many small autonomous groups heightening and enhancing the ways and means of computerized resistance.

Acting in the tradition of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience, proponents of Electronic Civil Disobedience are borrowing the tactics of trespass and blockade from these earlier social movements and are applying them to the Internet. A typical civil disobedience tactic has been for a group of people to physically blockade, with their bodies, the entranceways of an opponent's office or building or to physically occupy an opponent's office -- to have a sit-in. Electronic Civil Disobedience, as a form of mass decentered electronic direct action, utilizes virtual blockades and virtual sit-ins. Unlike the participant in a traditional civil disobedience action, an ECD actor can participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, from work, from the university, or from other points of access to the Net. Further, the ECD actor can act against an pponent that is hundreds if not thousands of miles away. The Electronic Disturbance Theater, primarily through its Flood Net device, is promoting ways to engage in global, mass, collective and simultaneous Electronic Civil Disobedience and direct action.