Tactical Tech Workshop: Pandemic Technologies

A pandemic changes everything. The time it shapes becomes exceptional, and in exceptional times things tend to happen that might not have happened otherwise. Technology is always about trade-offs and desires. Technologies of Hope & Fear is a project documenting a selection of the hundreds of supposed technological solutions to the pandemic and its consequences. In this talk, we will reveal 10 inspiring ways to think about techno-solutionism, because we need to be inventive and creative about how we look at and decipher what is often presented as the thing that will solve something else... Are pandemic technologies about controlling the virus, or are they about controlling the host?

This workshop explores how technologies promoted to mitigate and respond to the pandemic across a wide range of sectors and circumstances also serve to observe, sense, control and attempt to modify human behaviour and the spaces in which we move. Recognizing technologies as both problem-solving and problem-making, the project explores these trade-offs: safety versus surveillance, care versus control, fear versus freedom.

Workshop Logistics

Workshop Date: Tuesday, November 30
Time: 11am – 12:30pm PST
Cost: Free
Experience Level: Open to all skill levels; No previous knowledge needed
Requirements: Computer/device with an internet connection

Workshop Outline

The workshop will consists of two parts:
● A theoretical part, overview of Pandemic Technologies in 10 steps
● A practical part, hands on group work on unpacking some of these technologies

Workshop Goals

We will explore these questions:
● What can we learn about our collective state of mind and values from looking at the technologies we are accepting into our lives?
● Which technologies will we have to rely on and which ones are a proxy?
● How much are we as societies willing to accept, and when have we gone too far?

This workshop accompanies the film series IMAGE+BIAS. FILMIC EXPLORATIONS and is part of the project IMAGE + BIAS that critically engages with the cultural realities being increasingly determined by imperceptible technologies.


Marek Tuszynski

Marek, Creative Director and co-founder of Tactical Tech, produces creative and social interventions that span various media, from film and radio to television, books, exhibitions and, of course, the web. For the past 30 years, he has been working at the nexus of technology and politics, information and activism and the consequences of living in a quantified society. Marek’s most recent documentary series for Tactical Tech, Exposing the Invisible explores the digital tools and tactics that now enable evidence based activism to thrive on an unprecedented scale. Marek is also co-founder of the creative agency Tactical Studios, co-curator of the exhibition Nervous Systems: Quantified Life and the Social Question and The Glass Room and co-author of the book Visualising Information for Advocacy and the latest Efficiency And Madness (Using Data and Technology to Solve Social, Environmental and Political Problems).

Tactical Tech Workshop Series


Goethe-Institut San Francisco

The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. We promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in our nation. Our cultural and educational programmes encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement. They strengthen the development of structures in civil society and foster worldwide mobility.

Tactical Tech

Tactical Tech is an international NGO that engages with citizens and civil-society organisations to explore and mitigate the impacts of technology on society.

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