Egypt’s 2011 Internet Shutdown: Digital Dissent and the Future of Public Memory
On January 27, 2011, during the first days of Egypt’s uprising, the national government shut down the Internet to quash online dissent. To circumvent the blackout, programmers developed Speak2Tweet, a digital platform that allowed Egyptians to record voice messages by phone. Composed of thousands of audio recordings from those volatile days, these messages were automatically uploaded to Twitter, producing a unique archive of the collective Egyptian psyche during a time of unprecedented upheaval.
In light of escalating digital surveillance and censorship, all the more notable during the current pandemic, the panelists critically engage with the revolutionary promise once associated with social media platforms. What impact have advances in communication technologies had on the freedom of speech, dissent, and democracies worldwide? And what can be gleaned today from listening to these unrestrained voices recorded a decade ago this month?
The discussion is moderated by Anthony Downey.
Amin is currently working on an online platform to preserve this oral archive and maintain its vocal diversity. Project Speak2Tweet is part of Amin’s solo exhibition at The Mosaic Rooms When I see the future, I close my eyes.