This work was created as part of the SIGNALS program by School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe, and exhibited at Oyoun, Berlin, June 2022.

The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (abbreviated as Roskomnadzor, RKN) is the Russian executive agency tasked with controlling and censoring Russian mass media. With a law passed in 2012, the State Duma required the creation of an Internet blocklist to be administered by the Roskomnadzor.

As part of the SIGNALS exhibition, I produced a book called “The Whole Censored Internet”, remixing an original book from 90s, called The Whole Internet.

This book includes a copy of the full blocklist of domain names inaccesible from Russian Internet providers as of May 24th, 2022. This list includes nearly 400’000 websites, ranging from a wide variety of categories of content.

Along with the book, the exhibition corner was provided with a dedicated Wi-Fi network, implementing the same Internet censor list and Russian block-pages, attempting to recreate the navigation experience from a Russian ISP.

Among the numerous websites blocked, it is commonplace to find those of critics of the Russian government, such as Kasparov’s (kasprov.ru), Navalny’s (navalny.com), as well as websites of LGBT rights groups (e.g. lgbtnet.org), human rights groups (e.g. amnesty.org.ru and hrw.org), and independent media (e.g. meduza.io and svoboda.io).

In 2018, in an attempt to block the popular messaging platform Telegram, the Roskomnadzor enforced an unprecedented mass blocking of IP addresses which in large part included global cloud services companies such as Amazon AWS, consequently censoring hundreds of Russian sites as well.

As of May 2022, months into the invasion of Ukraine, censorship of Russian Internet intensified. Foreig nnews media such as BBC (bbc.com) and Deutsche Welle (dw.com) are now blocked. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin are unreachable. Any content critical of the war often becomes reason to quickly censor, as it happened for example to the popular platform chess.com. In March 2022, Wikipedia was fined 4 million rubles and threatened to be blocked for “failing” to remove the page titled “2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

Censorship is a by-product of surveillance, and a critical gear in the machinery of control and state propaganda. In times of war, political unrest, and social strugles, Internet blocking has become an invaluable weapon in the hands of authoritarian leaders in order to curb dissent, shutdown independent voices, and propel state-sponsored misinformation.

This book is a provocative statement: a critic as well as a functional index, to one of the world’s largest censorship regimes.

Of all common social networking and media platforms, Spotify is one among the few which are currently not blocked in Russia. As an “easter-egg” to this installation, I created a system with which visitors of the exhibition could leave a message through their phones’ browsers. The system would then take the message and reconstruct it by automatically composing it as an arrangement of songs in an actual Spotify playlist.