The technological development of recent years and its countless poisoned chalices – the surveillance society, centralised communications and the datafication of our everyday lives – have laid bare the dark heart of our interconnected society. The realm of freedom and autonomy that the Web seemed to promise has become a profoundly toxic territory. The vast virtual community that united us around shared ideas and interests has degenerated into a pitched battle between perpetually irate factions. We have had enough of attention-grabbing touch-sensitive screens, while omnipresent corporations track our every move to exploit them for financial gain.
Rather than an opportunity for distributing power and knowledge, the Web is today the locus of the Great Centralisation. Now that we know that innovation and its rhetoric are not going to save us and that our technologies are advancing beyond our ability to grasp their implications, the time is ripe for Tentacular: a space for unsettling reflections, unpredictable creative projects and non-academic research to help us understand the new crises; a journey to the darkest corners of the technopolitical infrastructure of today, but also a celebration of the work and ideas of artists, researchers and activists around the world who are fashioning alternatives and responses to shape a new technological imaginary.