Captive Portal: Sebil 21
A new “Captive Portal” Wi-Fi project by Ronnie Karfiol
Sebil 21 by Ronnie Karfiol is part of the CCA’s “Captive Portal” site-specific Wi-Fi series. Visitors to the CCA log on to the wireless network and are alerted to a refugee boat in close proximity to the Tel Aviv-Jaffa shore. They are invited to donate part of their phone’s bandwidth to the nearby refugees aboard the vessel. Refugees traveling by boat need internet in order to communicate a warning or an SOS, keep track of their whereabouts, or download information that can help them survive the journey.
Sebil 21, whose title comes from “sebil,” public water fountains found throughout the Ottoman Empire to provide drinking water for travelers, brings to the fore how internet access is a fundamental human right that can impact life-or-death situations. By asking gallery visitors to sacrifice some of their internet speed and transfer it to a stranger in need, Karfiol confronts users with a directly political and ethical decision.
About the Artist
Ronnie Karfiol is an artist whose practice centers on the impact of new technologies on socio-political issues. Her latest project, Internet of Refugees (Relief & Monitoring), of which Sebil 21 is a part, has been shown at the DocAviv Film Festival 2016, SPEKTRUM Berlin, and Galeria R+ Szczecin, Poland, as well as in various media festivals in Israel, Germany, and the USA.
About Captive Portal
“Captive Portal” is a digital “fifth wall,” a gallery wall accessed by visitors on their mobile wireless devices during their visit to the CCA, where the Wi-Fi platform is available throughout the building. We constantly navigate Wi-Fi spaces in our daily lives, and connect with them through “captive portals” that are usually used for commercial advertising by large corporations, but it can also serve as an invisible “canvas.”
The CCA takes advantage of the constant obsessive search for WiFi, by both humans and cellular machines, to “captivate” or trap audiences into viewing a temporary, site-specific work of art before continuing to surf the net or use their mobile device. The project manipulates the very moment when visitors disconnect from the gallery space and enter an immaterial “space” rife with possibility.
“Captive Portal” is curated by Yoav Lifshitz, Tal Messing, and CCA Curator Chen Tamir.