cybersurgeons, a group that defends the right to repair computers, telephones and laptops, participated in a meeting at the Kirchner Cultural Center. Between PCs from the 90s, dot matrix printers, national arcades and retro video games, thousands of people passed through the dome of the former Central Post Office this Saturday. This Sunday they will be from 14 to 20.
Raised with a playful axis, between pinballs, retro videogames such as Prince of Persia and a series of performances by artists, the objective of Cybercirujas is to discuss the so-called “planned obsolescence” of current technology: the idea of permanently discarding electronic devices because they are considered “old”.
“Cybercirujas combats the idea of planned obsolescence, which can be well understood with what is currently happening with cell phones: every year a new one comes out because the one you have already works slowly and is obsolete. The reality shows that all this is programmed: many computers can continue to be used, perhaps with a different type of software to Windows -like Linux-, things can continue to work”, he explained to Clarion at CCK Emanuel Berdichevsky, computer architect and part of the group.
An example of this in the CCK could be seen with the area of ”cyber”, a series of 9 Conectar Igualdad machines -among other laptops-, those delivered by various national government programs, with quake 3 installed (A historical video game from 1996 that was all the rage among what was called “lan parties”, that is, playing online). People were able to play like it was an early 2000s internet cafe.
The group, which has a presence in different parts of the country, defines itself as a self-convened, voluntary organization and they clarify that it is not an NGO. Among the tasks they perform, connect users who have equipment or components to donate with others who need computers, phones or laptops and do not have the possibility to buy them.
“We have a central mail, [email protected], to which requests for equipment or donations arrive. Then each group of Cybersurgeons organizes repair meetings and deliveries. everything is work community and self-managed that we do in our free time”, says Sergio Andrés Rondán, one of the founders of the movement in the City of Buenos Aires, who now lives in Posadas, Misiones, where he opened a division of the collective.
The meetings have been held periodically since 2019 and began to become popular in the environment during the pandemic, through posts on social networks, virtual chats, and exchanges. It is the first time that it has been held at the CCK, which allowed it to attract a more massive audience.
While the meetings in squares and cultural centers always brought together more niche participants, the context of the winter holidays, added to the fact that it was held over a weekend and with free admission, saw a large number of participants parade.
“The truth is that the CCK came to us. After the last event we held in Tacheles, which was a much larger, complete show, with more machines, games, a chiptune show and tremendous visuals, two producers approached us who liked what we did and told us about the possibility to bring Cybersurgeons to the top of the CCK”, explains Rondán, who works as a teacher and is editor-in-chief of Replay magazine.
Cybersurgeons: the educational and artistic leg
The exhibition has different tables: a workshop with different components of computers to arm and disarm equipment, a zone of arcadeanother one of games developed in Argentina and one of the ones that attracted the most attention, of 90’s computers
“In the retrocomputing part we have a 286, a PC from the year 90, with a monochrome monitor. There are loaded games, classics like the Prince of Persia either The Blue Brothers. There is also a 486, a bit ‘newer’, connected to a dot matrix printer with a program called bannermaniawhich was used to print mostly birthday banners,” said Berdichevsky, also an expert on retro computers.
“The idea is to show with technology from 40 years ago that obsolescence is programmed: people are surprised because they take something home with old equipment,” he concluded.
There were also various art exhibitions. “We incorporate art into events because it is a bit of a way of attract people to what we do and that they get hooked, that often leads to them later donating materials to us to be able to work”, says Uctumi, an artist specialized in music called chiptune“digital art outside of traditional elements with outdated computers considered obsolete, old computers.”
“Chiptune music is made from old and recycled electronic devices. It is closely related to the sound that video games had in the 80s and 90s, the 8 bit video gamesAs the Super Mario. The interesting challenge is, with that limited palette of creative resources that limited technology gives you, to see how far you can go: it is a very stimulating challenge”, adds Uctumi, who has versions of national classics such as “Costumbres Argentinas” by Los Abuelos out of nowhere, on a Commodore 64.
“In the event I will participate by making live cartoons. We assemble the controllers according to the needs of each person and reusing materials, such as toy suitcases, that is why we call them the Julianas Cybersurgeons”, anticipated Marcela Rapallo, artist and developer of educational projects.
“This connects our work to the proposals and ideologies of the Cybersurgery Club, as well as the fact that the technologies we develop are Free Software, and the artistic and educational projects in which I use them are based on collective drawing and power. explore artistic languages through technologies”, he added.
Between retro equipment, artistic exhibitions and classic video games, Cybercirujas now manages to bring its proposal to a much broader audience: combat planned obsolescence, exchange equipment, share knowledge and enjoy the fun that the usual classics like Mortal Kombat and the arcades keep delivering.
The exhibition It will also be this Sunday, from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Kirchner Cultural Center (Sarmiento 151, CABA).