As digital arts collective Rage points out, 1989 was a big year. The Berlin Wall fell; the Tiananmen Square protests happened; and – yup – the World Wide Web was born.
Both a lot and little seems to have changed in the three decades since, and the impact of this trio of events is still palpable.
As such, they're used as a starting point by Rage for a new show at Manchester's Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CCCA), which "looks at the ways in which civilians attempt to take back power from restrictive government in light of growing censorship and surveillance online," according to the gallery, with a focus on "how digital platforms have been adopted as the primary means of organising and protesting."
The free show, entitled '404: Resistance in the Digital Age', explores memes and "revolutions organised through social media" alongside things like online power relationships and the ways resistance movements now use the internet to counter restrictions such as hacktivist movements.
When it opens in May, it'll comprise an immersive film and sound installation inspired by "the censorship method of oversaturation of information online", presenting archival footage from 1989 alongside contemporary pieces that encourage visitors to reflect on the parallels between today, and life as it was 30 years ago.
Five members of the Rage Collective—Po Yi Bonnie Wong, Amale Freiha Khla, Camila Mora Scheihing, Tamara Kametani and Yoshi Kametani—worked on this show. It was founded in 2016 by a group of international students who met while studying at the Royal College of Art, under the guidance of artist and RCA senior photography tutor Peter Kennard. Rage describes itself as having a "fluid approach to membership".
'404: Resistance in the Digital Age' runs from 24 May until 21 July 2019 at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1EU.