Freedom at the Origin of the Axes of Evil

Support material:
  1. Book cover
  2. Inside the cover
  3. Shower Room
  4. Plan View
  5. DECONference
  6. (de)control room
  7. Body scanner
  8. Shower control console
"THE ENEMY WITHIN: Freedom at the Origin of the Axes of Evil" is an offline electronic book for non-cyborgs. It is also the world's first fully automated, self-service de-cyborging facility, and is capable of rapid deployment. Employing a reader-friendly, ATM-style info-kiosk interface design, it is accessible to anyone possessing a standard size plastic identity card with magnetic strip. This book, of which there is only one copy in existence, is free (as in "gratuis") to read. Additionally, the process you must undergo in order to be allowed to read the book will also make you free (as in "libre").

The "cover" of this book has a powerful de-cyborging effect on the reader, who by passing within its margins, has agreed to co-authorship.

The book's "cover" takes the structural form of a 48foot (14 to 15 meters in length), 18-wheel van trailer (See Slide 1), the interior of which is divided into four main areas, three of which are accessible via security doors (fitted with magnetic exit control security locks) at Access Control stages 1, 2, and 3. (See Slides 1, 2, 3, and Plan View: Slide 4.)

In order to enter Access Control 1, the reader must swipe an identity card (such as a bank/debit or credit card) through a card reader on the outside of the facility. The bank/debit, or credit card is to be used for identification purposes only, as is done in many airports for identifying passengers. (There is no monetary charge for enjoying the benefits of FREEDOM).

This action unlocks the first security door, allowing entry to Access Control 1. This area functions like an airlock; when the first door closes it immediately locks, unlocking the second door which opens to the Kiosk Room. (See Slide 2.)

Here the reader finds a bilingual touchscreen GUI interface that requires three valid pieces of magnetically-encoded identification to use. Once these have been verified, the End User License Agreement (EULA) is displayed. This legally-binding document details the Terms and Conditions of the use of "THE ENEMY WITHIN: Freedom at the Origin of the Axes of Evil". The reader may examine this text for an indefinite period of time before choosing to "AGREE", or "DISAGREE". If "DISAGREE" is selected, the reader is prompted to exit the facility via the Access Control 1 "airlock". If "AGREE" is selected, the reader must continue through the Access Control 2 "airlock" to the Shower Room.

At this stage, the reader receives instructions to disrobe and manually separate clothing (garments, shoes) from valuables (wallets, keys, etc). These items are deposited in their respective receptacles, anterior to the Mech. Room, for processing. Upon full compliance (this is confirmed via comparametric body scanning), the reader is instructed to proceed to the end of the hallway, and place both hands within the yellow circles. (See Slide 3.) A decontamination shower and blow-dry cycle finalizes the de-cyborging process, and the reader is released to the Cyborg-free Reading Room.

The reader may now explore "THE ENEMY WITHIN: Freedom at the Origins of the Axes of Evil" by using the fingerprint authentication security system-actuated reading assistant. The non-cyborg reader is free to stay in the non-cyborg reading room, and read the text for as long as he/she wishes.

When the non-cyborg reader wishes to leave, he/she exits via Access Control 3, and is free... to go.


The Mech. Room houses (conceals) the inner workings of the project, including septic and water holding tanks, pump equipment, breaker panel, 8-camera video matrix and ethernet radio NAT box, clothing and personal effects repository chamber, and computing devices.

The book has 8 computer vision "eyes", which provide a constant, evidenciary video archive for maximum intellectual property protection, to guard the book against infiltration by cyborgs, which could otherwise result in theft of intellectual property from the book.

Booking suspects to READ the text

When a suspect is booked, we read him his rights.

The "book" is also a "booking station", to capture fingerprints, together with images of scars, marks, and tattoos, or evidence of the absence thereof, upon the reader's non-cyborg (free) body.

As readers are booked, they disrobe, are scanned, analyzed, and authored into the booking station.

The product we plan to use is the Livescan station. "It captures fingerprints electronically as well as demographices on the person being booked, plus it comes with an optional mugshot camera which can capture photos of the person including scars, marks and tattoos". It would be input to existing mugshot and AFIS databases in Canada.

Fingerprint scanners allow readers to share culpability as well as authorship of the text that they read when they are booked.


Construction of "THE ENEMY WITHIN: Freedom at the Origin of the Axes of Evil" will begin May 1st and continue through July 31st, 2003 in Toronto, ON; Set-up of the project would take place between Toronto and Montreal, QC during the month of August, 2003. Tentatively, the exhibition would "book launch" September 4th, 2003, in Montreal, QC, and continue until October 31st, 2003 -- the last day of "Freedom" in Montreal. Subsequently, Freedom would become a touring exhibit.


General Plan for Promotion

"THE ENEMY WITHIN: Freedom at the Origin of the Axes of Evil" will be widely promoted by both electronic and print media. Interviews for magazine and newspaper articles will compliment internationally distributed posters, postcards, and printed invitations to its "book launch" and vernissage, as well as blogs, world wide web sites, and non-cyborgs.

The slogan "If you embrace the book, you will be free" will be widely publicized to the point of becoming a commonly referenced aphorism.

Biographical details of the (de)contributors

Professor Steve Mann graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a PhD in a self-defined area where he is considered to have founded the MIT wearable cyborgs project (as described in He also proposed, to the IEEE, and initiated the first conference on wearable computing, and was Guest Editor, and Chair on numerous publications and journal special issues on the subject of cyborgs. He is considered, by many, to be the world's first true cyborg.

Mann has lived his life as a computerized cyborg for over thirty years, creating live street performances that became quite popular in Toronto in the 1980s, culminating in his solo exhibit in Night Gallery (185 Richmond Street) in the summer of 1985, and eventually led to exhibits of his work at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Stedelijk Museum of Art in Amsterdam, Science Museum in the U.K., Austin Museum of Art, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and various other museums and galleries around the world.

Recently Dr. Mann organized an inverse conference on what comes after the deconstruction of cyborgism, where approximately 100 world-leading artists, philosophers, and scholars were decontaminated (stripped naked and washed down in a decontamination facility) before receiving white paper jumpsuits having no pockets in which to conceal contraband. This inverse Brechtian Theatre of sorts led to "deconism" as a basis for understanding what will rise from the postpostmodern ashes of postmodernism. See the Aftermath in

Dr. Mann has written 140 research publications (39 journal articles, 37 conference articles, 3 books, 11 book chapters, and 51 patents), and has been the keynote speaker at 24 scientific and industry symposia and conferences and has also been an invited speaker at 53 university Distinguished Lecture Series and colloquia.

A 35mm motion picture film, that was considered by Toronto Life to have been the best film at the International Film Festival, and by P.O.V. to have been "Canada's most important film of the year", based on the material in his recent book Cyborg (published by Randomhouse Doubleday, and Anchor Books) describes his life as a cyborg.

French philosopher Paul Virilio, undoubtably the most important thinker on technology, and one of the leading Postmodernist thinkers of our time, describes Dr. Mann's work as follows:

Three revolutions... divide three centuries, from nineteenth to twenty-first. The first, from the nineteenth century... is the revolution in transportation. Its heroes could be Jules Verne and Howard Hughes.... The second is the revolution in transmissions, whose hero could be Steve Mann.... And the revolution in transplants, of course, is the third... Steve Mann, the hero of the revolution in transmissions,... A professor of engineering from Toronto, for the last thirty years he's been wearing a headset ("eyetap glasses") as if it were a part of his own body.... While Howard Hughes was undone by his own technological achievements, Mann managed to move everywhere protected by his own electronic bubble. ... The revolution in transmissions... is the cybernetic revolution. It is the ability to reach the light barrier, in other words, the speed of electromagnetic waves in every field, not only television and tele-audition, but also tele-operation.
--Crepuscular Dawn -- Paul Virilio Sylvère Lotringer

Dylan Crichton, a recent graduate with distinction of Concordia University's School of Fine Arts (Major in Interdisciplinary Studies) is an artist pursuing a Master's Degree. Building on the success of his core involvement as a Program Co-chair in "Deconference 2002", Dylan will provide art direction, concept research and development, as well as promotional and logistical consultancy for this project. Crichton will be the incident commander, and Local Arrangements Chair, assuming responsibility for the disposition of cyborg-elements removed from the cyborgs entering the margins of the book.

Chris Aimone received his Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering Science, Electrical Engineering) from the University of Toronto. He has won numerous engineering and design awards and contests, including having been a world finalist at the IEEE Computer Society International Design Competition (CSIDC 2001). He has co-authored scholarly publications recognized by the International Symposium for Wearable Computing (ISWC 2002), and the International Symposium for Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2002). Aimone' skills as a project leader, engineer, designer, builder and computer programmer will be of critical importance to the project, as they were during "Deconference 2002".

Corey Manders received his Bachelor of Computer Science, from the University of Toronto, and his Master of Applied Science (Electrical Engineering) from University of Toronto. He has contributed extensively to the GNU Freesource project and published widely in such computer publications as IEEE Proceedings on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Linux Journal, and the like. He is currently a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Steve Mann. He will assist in the design of device drivers for the project.

James Fung received his Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering Science, Electrical Engineering) from the University of Toronto, and his Master of Applied Science (Electrical Engineering) from University of Toronto. He is currently a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Steve Mann. James has contributed extensively to the GNU Freesource project and published widely in such computer publications as Linux Journal. He will assist in the design of overall computer programs for the control systems within the project.