Local Autonomy Networks / Autonets / Micha Cárdenas

Commissioned by ZERO1 with support from the James Irvine Foundation

Local Autonomy Networks (Autonets) is an artivist project started by Micha Cárdenas focused on creating networks of communication to increase community autonomy and reduce violence against women, LGBTQI people, people of color and other groups who continue to survive violence on a daily basis. The networks will be both online and offline, including handmade wearable electronic fashion and face to face agreements between people. The networks are being established through a series of workshops, performances, presentations and discussions at art, activist and academic venues across the Americas.

Autonets includes a line of mesh networked electronic clothing with the goal of building autonomous local networks that don’t rely on corporate infrastructure to function, inspired by community based, anti-racist, prison abolitionist responses to gendered violence. The Autonets garments, when activated, will alert everyone in range of the local mesh network who is wearing another autonet garment that someone needs help and will indicate that person’s direction and distance.

These technologies are being developed through workshops and collective design processes, inspired by existing networks of horizontal knowledge production in queer, transgender, survivors of gender violence and diasporic communities. We are currently in collaboration with groups wanting to use Autonets to prevent disappearances in Bogotá, Colombia, help provide safety for sex workers in Toronto and facilitate queer youth of color to avoid violence in Detroit. Autonets is fashion hacking for social reorganization, recoding the meaning of fashion symbols such as hoodies that have associations ranging from Trayvon Martin to the Black Bloc, or femme fashion elements like dresses and bracelets, into symbols of connectivity and autonomy.

The performance will include will include Allison Wyper, Karen Anzoategui, and Bianca Molina.


September 14, 2012, 6:00pm - 12:00am
S. 1st Street (from San Carlos to Reed)
SoFA District, San Jose

Free workshop at MACLA
September 14th from 3:00pm-6:00pm
Performance at 7:30pm

Micha Cárdenas

lives and works in Los Angeles, CA

Artist website


Micha Cárdenas is an artist/theorist who works in performance, wearable electronics, hacktivism and critical gender studies. She is a PhD student in Media Arts and Practice (iMAP) at University of Southern California and a member of Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0. Her book The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realitieswas published by Atropos Press in 2012. Micha holds an MFA from University of California, San Diego, an MA in Communication from the European Graduate School.