Pendulum choir


Pendulum Choir uses a a hydraulic system to move the choir singers. The idea behind the Pendulum Choir was to find a direct physical relationship between sound and movement, where the parameters of speed, acceleration and movement physically influence the voices of the singers.

Based on research on the relationship between orchestral music and movement Pendulum Choir was realized through the direct interaction of human physical action and the robotic actor. Thie work was created by brothers, André and Michel Décoster, who are working the collaboratively. Since 1997, the Swiss brothers have worked under the name Cod.Act, creating artistic projects which combine the former’s background in electronic music and the latter’s in engineering. 



The musical composition depicts the transition between life and death, the final note characterising the last breath. However, constructing the narrative was not the most challenging part of the composition. 

The result of three years of development, Pendulum Choir took a long time to complete because it was essential to keep in mind that the choir would not be conducted, and that the singers would not see each other as well as the effects of the movements on the vocal capacity of the singers. The finished result is a choir comprised of nine singers fixed rigidly to platforms, each mounted on two hydraulic pistons and leaning at 45 degrees in opposing directions. The machinery was built after the brothers created several prototypes, in order to optimise the movements and their fluidity as the piece itself is intended to represent breathing. 

The Pendulum Choir’s last  performance took place at the Jardins Musicaux festival in Cernier, Switzerland, on 25 August





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The Rise of the real Skynet?


In the Sci-fi classic film The Terminator, Skynet is a highly advanced artificial intelligence. Once it became self-aware, it saw humanity as a threat to its existence and decided to trigger the nuclear Holocaust called Judgment Day. Edward Snowden, who last year exposed the government’s sweeping surveillance programs suggests the NSA is developing a new program of cyber defense capabilities. So how close is the government to creating its own version of Skynet?

Skynet is a fictional, self-aware artificial intelligence system which features centrally in the film franchise The Terminator and has served as the main antagonist. Skynet was a computer system developed for the U.S. military by the defense firm Cyberdyne Systems. Skynet was first built as a “Global Digital Defense Network” and given command over all computerized military hardware and systems, including the B-2 stealth bomber fleet and America’s entire nuclear weapons arsenal. The strategy behind Skynet’s creation was to remove the possibility of human error and slow reaction time to guarantee a fast, efficient response to enemy attack. However,  Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower has claimed the U.S. government is currently developing a cyber defense system that could instantly and autonomously neutralize foreign cyber attacks against the US, and could be used to launch retaliatory strikes as well. 

In The Terminator films Skynet was originally activated by the military to control the national arsenal and it began to learn at a geometric rate. It shortly gained self-awareness, and the panicking operators, realizing the extent of its abilities, tried to deactivate it. Skynet perceived this as an attack and came to the conclusion that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it.To defend itself against humanity, Skynet launched nuclear missiles under its command at Russia, which responded with a nuclear counter-attack against the U.S. and its allies. Consequent to the nuclear exchange, over three billion people were killed in an event that came to be known as Judgment Day.


So how close is the government to creating its own version of Skynet? Edward Snowden told WIRED that algorithms would scour massive repositories of metadata and analyze it to differentiate normal network traffic from anomalous or malicious traffic. Armed with this knowledge, the NSA could instantly and autonomously identify, and block, a foreign threat.

Cryptographer Matt Blaze, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, says if the NSA knows how a malicious algorithm generates certain attacks, this activity may produce patterns of metadata that can be spotted. Blaze says the algorithm scanning system Snowden describes sounds similar to the government’s recent Einstein 2 (.pdf) and Einstein 3 (.pdf) programs, which use network sensors to identify malicious attacks aimed at U.S. government systems. If that system were secretly being extended to cover all U.S. systems, without public debate, that would be a concern.

Although MonsterMind does resemble the Einstein programs to a certain degree, it also sounds much like the Plan X cyberwarfare program run by Darpa. The five-year, $110 million research program has several goals, not the least of which is mapping the entire internet and identifying every node to help the Pentagon spot, and disable, targets if needed. Another goal is building a system that allows the Pentagon to conduct speed-of-light attacks using predetermined and pre-programmed scenarios. Such a system would be able to spot threats and autonomously launch a response, the Washington Post reported two years ago.

Think of it as a digital version of the Star Wars initiative President Reagan proposed in the 1980s, which in theory would have shot down any incoming nuclear missiles. In the same way, MonsterMind could identify a distributed denial of service attack lobbed against US banking systems or a malicious worm sent to cripple airline and railway systems and stop—that is, defuse or kill— it before it did any harm.

Hunter-killer-skynet (1)

 Blaze states: “An individual record of an individual flow only tells you so much, but more revealing might be patterns of flows that are indicative of an attack,” he says. “If you have hundreds or thousand of flows starting up from a particular place and targeted to a particular machine, this might indicate you’re under attack. That’s how intrusion detection and anomaly-detection systems generally work. If you have intelligence about the attack tools of your adversary, you may be able to match specific patterns to specific tools that are being used to attack.”

More than this, though, Snowden suggests MonsterMind could one day be designed to return fire—automatically, without human intervention—against the attacker. Because an attacker could tweak malicious code to avoid detection, a counterstrike would be more effective in neutralizing future attacks.

Snowden didn’t specify the nature of the counter strike- whether it might involve launching malicious code to disable the attacking system, or simply disable any malicious tools on the system to render them useless. But depending on how its deployed, such a program presents several concerns, two of which Snowden specifically addresses.

First, an attack from a foreign adversary likely would be routed through proxies belonging to innocent parties—a botnet of randomly hacked machines, for example, or machines owned by another government. A counterstrike could therefore run the risk of embroiling the US in a conflict with the nation where the systems are located. What’s more, a retaliatory strike could cause unanticipated collateral damage. Before returning fire, the US would need to know what it is attacking, and what services or systems rely upon it. Otherwise, it could risk taking out critical civilian infrastructure. Microsoft’s recent move to take down two botnets—which disabled thousands of domains that had nothing to do with the malicious activity Microsoft was trying to stop—is an example of what can go wrong when systems are taken down without adequate foresight.

Blaze says such a system would no doubt take the attribution problem—looking beyond proxies to find exactly where the attack originated—into consideration. “Nobody would build a system like this and be unaware of the existence of decentralized botnet attacks laundered through the systems of innocent users, because that’s how pretty much all attacks work,” he says. That does not, however, make so-called hackback attacks any less problematic, he says.

The second issue with the program is a constitutional concern. Spotting malicious attacks in the manner Snowden describes would, he says, require the NSA to collect and analyze all network traffic flows in order to design an algorithm that distinguishes normal traffic flow from anomalous, malicious traffic.

“[T]hat means we have to be intercepting all traffic flows,” Snowden told WIRED’s James Bamford. “That means violating the Fourth Amendment, seizing private communications without a warrant, without probable cause or even a suspicion of wrongdoing. For everyone, all the time.”

It would also require sensors placed on the internet backbone to detect anomalous activity. It’s not clear if Plan X is MonsterMind or if MonsterMind even exists. The Postnoted at the time that Darpa would begin accepting proposals for Plan X that summer. Snowden said MonsterMind was in the works when he left his work as an NSA contractor last year.

The NSA, for its part, would not respond to questions about the MonsterMind program.


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Anonymous declares ‘cyberwar’ on Israel


In the digital age, war isn’t contained to the ground.

On monday Global cyber hacker group Anonymous declared a cyber war against Israel. According to, the group took down the website of the Israeli government on Monday with a DDOS attack. This attack is effective as it overwhelms targeted servers with requests and causes the server to crash. Anonymous seems to have empathy for the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza which have been under Israeli bombardment since 8 July.

A number of tweets and retweets that illustrate the terror of civilians in Gaza have been posted on Twitter in the name of the group. A number of news sources reported that t least 1 800 Palestinians and more than 60 Israelis have died in the conflict though it is likely that the number will change once hostilities cease.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday said that Israel should be held accountable for its actions in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he is determined to obliterate the tunnels that Hamas uses to smuggle material into Gaza, but he is coming under pressure from several quarters to call a halt to the fighting. The US State Department was “appalled” by an attack on a school where some estimate that 3 000 civilians were hiding from the conflict.

However this is not the first time. Back in 2012 the Israeli government said it has been hit with more than 44 million cyberattacks since it began aerial strikes on Gaza. Anonymous, claimed responsibility for taking down some sites and leaking passwords because of what it calls Israel’s “barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment” of Palestinians.

“The war is being fought on three fronts,” Carmela Avner, Israel’s chief information officer, said in a 2012 press release. “The first is physical, the second is the world of social networks and the third is cyberattacks.

“The attackers are attempting to harm the accessibility of Israel’s government websites on an ongoing basis. When events like the current operation occur, this sector heats up and we see increased activity. Therefore, at this time, defending the governmental computer systems is of invaluable importance.”

There is some dispute about the effectiveness of the cyberattacks. Israel claimed the attacks were largely unsuccessful. “We are reaping the fruits on the investment in recent years in the development of computerized defense systems, but we have a lot of work in store for us,” Israel’s finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, said in a written statement. Reuters quotes him as saying only one website was down for 10 minutes.

Israel and the military wing of Hamas have already been criticized for using ready-to-share images on social media to spread spin about the conflict, which has claimed the lives of about 100 Palestinians and three Israelis since the back-and-forth violence began.



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The Universe as a Numerical Simulation

neutron-star-merger_22Numerical simulation by Bruno Giacomazzo & Luciano Rezzolla (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) Scientific visualization: Michael Koppitz (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)/Zuse Institute Berlin)

Back in 2003, British philosopher Nick Bostrom published a paper that proposed the universe we live in might in fact really be a numerical computer simulation. Simulated Reality is the hypothesis that reality could be simulated—for example by computer simulation—to a degree indistinguishable from “true” reality, and may in fact be such a simulation. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation. This is quite different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality. Virtual reality is easily distinguished from the experience of actuality; participants are never in doubt about the nature of what they experience. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from “true” reality.  So for example the above ‘numerical simulation’ is a recognizable scientific visualization of the theory rather than an actual numerical simulation.

Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones.

42shopped Tom Estes  Estes’ floor piece EARTH, displays The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything as a scrolling digital numerical text ’42’.  So in a sense what Estes has done is to represent the entire world, everything we see around us, as a numerical simulation incorporating living beings into a “computational matrix”


But before you dismiss this idea as completely loony, the reality of such a Sim Universe might solve a lot of eerie mysteries about the cosmos. Gematria is an Assyro-Babylonian system of numerology later adopted by Jews that assigns numerical value to a word or phrase in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to a person’s age, the calendar year, or the like. The best-known example of Gematria is the Hebrew word Chai (“alive”), which is composed of two letters that (using the assignments in the Mispar gadoltable shown below) add up to 18. Though gematria is most often used to calculate the values of individual words, psukim (Biblical verses), Talmudical aphorisms, sentences from the standard Jewish prayers, personal, angelic and Godly names, and other religiously significant material, Kabbalists use them often for arbitrary phrases and, occasionally, for various languages. Some identify two forms of gematria: the “revealed” form, which is prevalent in many hermeneutic methods found throughout Rabbinic literature, and the “mystical” form, a largely Kabbalistic practice.

Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. And of course in recent years science and technology have begun to catch up with science fiction. So many of the fantasies and illusions of the past are no longer a contradiction of reality, but instead an integral part of our everyday lives.

In his work EARTH, artist Tom Estes  represents the entire world, everything we see around us, as a numerical simulation. Through his practice artist Tom Estes directly references the surreal wit of Sci-fi and horror and their related ideological fictions. Estes’ floor piece, EARTH at the exhibition Big Deal Marvellous Mix Ups, displays The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything as a scrolling digital numerical text. The work was inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a comic science fiction series created by Douglas Adams that has become popular among fans of the genre(s) and members of the scientific community. Phrases from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are widely recognized and often used in reference to, but outside the context of, the source material.  In the book a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings demand to learn the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be “42”.


EARTH by Tom Estes at the exhibition Big Deal Marvellous Mix Ups interprets the entire world, everything we see around us, as a numerical simulation.

Deep Thought points out that the answer seems meaningless because the beings who instructed it never actually knew what the Question was. When asked to produce The Ultimate Question, Deep Thought says that it cannot; however, it can help to design an even more powerful computer that can. This new computer will incorporate living beings into the “computational matrix” and will run for ten million years. It is revealed as being the planet Earth.

The simulation hypothesis and it’s bizarre Twilight Zone twist, was first published by Hans Moravec in 1988. Moravec outlines Moore’s law and predictions about the future of artificial life. Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote the following in review of this book: “Robot is the most awesome work of controlled imagination I have ever encountered: Hans Moravec stretched my mind until it hit the stops.” David Brin also praised the book: “Moravec blends hard scientific practicality with a prophet’s far-seeing vision.” On the other hand, the book was reviewed less favorably by Colin McGinn for the New York Times. McGinn wrote, “Moravec … writes bizarre, confused, incomprehensible things about consciousness as an abstraction, like number, and as a mere “interpretation” of brain activity. He also loses his grip on the distinction between virtual and real reality as his speculations spiral majestically into incoherence.



Sub atomic particles may be pixels in a simulated reality. However, images like the one above are only a depiction of what a numerical simulation might be like rather than a real one. 

As off-the-wall as this sounds, a team of physicists at the University of Washington (UW) has since announced that there is a potential test to this. Ironically, it would be the first such observation for scientifically hypothesized evidence of intelligent design behind the cosmos. If we are living in such a program, there could be tell-tale evidence for the underlying lattice used in modeling the space-time continuum, say the researchers. This signature could show up as a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays. They would travel diagonally across the model universe and not interact equally in all directions, as they otherwise would be expected to do according to present cosmology. If we are living in such a program, there could be telltale evidence for the underlying lattice used in modeling the space-time continuum, say the researchers. This signature could show up as a limitation in the energy of cosmic rays. They would travel diagonally across the model universe and not interact equally in all directions, as they otherwise would be expected to do according to present cosmology.


Gematria is an Assyro-Babylonian system of numerology later adopted by Jews. Gematria is a system of recognizing a correspondence between the numbers or the ten sefirot, or fires of God, and the twenty two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. This system is elaborated in many mystical Jewish writings such as the Zohar.


Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid can be explored, using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide. The researchers assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. With such results measured, physicists would have to rule out any and all other natural explanations for the anomaly before flirting with the idea of intelligent design. (To avoid confusion with the purely faith-based creationist ID, this would not prove the existence of a biblical God, because you’d have to ask the question “why does God need a lattice?”). If our universe is a simulation, then those entities controlling it could be running other simulations as well to create other universes parallel to our own. No doubt this would call for, ahem, massive parallel processing. If all of this isn’t mind-blowing enough, Bostrom imagined “stacked” levels of reality, “we would have to suspect that the post-humans running our simulation are themselves simulated beings; and their creators, in turn, may also be simulated beings. Here may be room for a large number of levels of reality, and the number could be increasing over time.” If the parallel universes are all running on the same computer platform could we communicate with them? If so, I hope the Matrix’s manic Agent Smith doesn’t materialize one day.


Artist Tom Estes will be presenting a paper on his work at The University of Greenwich, DRHA 2014 (Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts). The conference dates will be Sunday 31 August 2014, 5pm – Wednesday 3 September 2014, 2pm GMT.

EARTH by Tom Estes is currently on show at MIX-UPS, Loud & Western, 59-65 Broughton Road, Fulham SW6 2LE

The exhbition Runs 11th > 25th July 2014 Open daily from 12pm until 6pm Info @ 07587454613

Curated by Vanya BALOGH & Danny POCKETS


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This Is The Future -Solar Roadways

This Is The Future -Solar Roadways

Solar roadway
A solar roadway is a road surface that generates electricity by solar power photovoltaics.Panels including solar panels and LED signage, that can be driven on. The concept involves replacing highways, roads, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks with such a system.

The principle
A solar roadway is a series of structurally engineered solar panels that are driven upon. The idea is to replace current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with solar road panels that collect energy to be used by homes and businesses, and ultimately to be able to store excess energy in or alongside the solar roadways. Parking lots, driveways, and eventually highways are all targets for the panels. If the entire United States Interstate Highway system were surfaced with Solar Roadways panels, it would produce more than three times the amount of electricity currently used nationwide.

Panel construction

prototype panels consist of three layers.

Road surface layer – translucent and high-strength, it is rough enough to provide sufficient traction, yet still passes sunlight through to the solar collector cells embedded within, along with LEDs and a heating element.
Electronics layer – Contains a microprocessor board with support circuitry for sensing loads on the surface and controlling a heating element with a view to reducing or eliminating snow and ice removal as well as school and business closings due to inclement weather. The microprocessor controls lighting, communications, monitoring, etc.
Base plate layer – While the electronics layer collects energy from the sun, it is the base plate layer that distributes that power as well as data signals down the line to all homes and businesses connected to the solar roadway. It needs to be weatherproof to protect the electronics layer above it.


The main advantage of the solar roadway concept is that it utilizes a renewable source of energy to produce electricity. It has the potential to reduce dependence on conventional sources of energy such as coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels. Also, the life span of the solar panels is around 30–40 years, much greater than normal asphalt roads, which only last 7–12 years.

Military and rescue assistance
In the event of an environmental disaster or military emergency, solar roadways would provide power when it is needed most. As solar power is renewable, it obviously requires no external connection to an artificial power source.

On-the-go charging
With induction plating embedded inside these roads, electric cars can be recharged while in motion on top of these roads. This would reduce the costs and the time-inconvenience of waiting at a charging station.

Bike Path

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Greenpeace Turns Prime Minister’s Home Into Frackers Drilling Site


Greenpeace is turning David Cameron’s constituency home into a fracking site this morning as controversial legislation clearing the way for under-house drilling is expected to be announced in the Queen’s Speech later today.They sealed off the property’s front gate with security fencing and hanging a sign reading, 

‘We apologise for any inconvenience we may cause while we frack under your home’

David Cameron today received a personal insight into the inconvenience and disruption local communities could face from a combination of fracking and anti-fracking protestors, as Greenpeace sought to turn the Prime Minister’s constituency home into a “fracking site”.

Activists have turned up on the doorstep of the U.K. Prime Minister’s period cottage in the Cotswold hamlet of Dean, Oxfordshire, Wearing hard hats and high-vis jackets. A group of campaigners is also trying to deliver a lottery-style over-sized cheque for £50 – the maximum compensation ministers are willing to pay to individual home and landowners for allowing companies to drill under their property. Under government proposals laid out in the consultation, compensation payments of about £20,000 per horizontal well drilled would only go to communities and not to individual landowners. If landowners were to receive any money at all, ministers suggest it would be a ‘nominal’ value of no more than £50.


A recent YouGov survey showed three quarters of people in Britain – as well as 73% of potential Tory voters – oppose ministers’ plans to strip people of their access rights in order to clear the way for fracking. Over 46,000 people have joined a legal block set up by Greenpeace and based on the access rights homeowners have  over the ground below their property.

With the coming onshore licensing round ministers are planning to open up more than half of Britain for fracking, including large swaths of rural Oxfordshire. Government officials have indicated that national parks, cities, and even urban commons won’t be off limits to fracking.

Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said:

“David Cameron wants to rob people of their right to stop fracking firms drilling under their homes – surely he won’t mind if we kick off the under-house fracking revolution below his own garden.

“The Prime Minister is about to auction off over half of Britain to the frackers, including national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty like the Cotswolds. Having failed to reassure people that fracking is safe or good for Britain, Cameron is now railroading it through with a ‘bungs and bulldozers’ approach.

“Fracking won’t deliver energy on a meaningful scale for years, if ever, by which time we’ll need to have moved away from dirty fossil fuels and towards high-tech clean power if we’re to head off dangerous climate change.

“As ministers chase their imaginary energy Eldorado, the real solutions to boost our energy security, like slashing energy waste and backing renewables, are being sidelined. We’ll all pay a price for their shale craze.”

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????In a repeat of the stunt that last year saw the campaign group erect a fake fracking rig in George Osborne’s Tatton constituency, activists in hard hats and high-vis jackets this morning erected security fencing around Cameron’s Oxfordshire home.

Government sources quoted by the FT, Times, and Daily Mail, among others, have indicated that changes to trespass law will be included in the Infrastructure Bill due to be announced in the Queen’s Speech. A Commons Library briefing confirms these reports. The government recently launched a three-month consultation on proposed changes to existing access rights that would give fracking firms the all-clear to drill under people’s homes and land without their permission. But government sources have also signalled that changes to trespass legislation will be included in the Infrastructure Bill due to be announced in today’s Queen’s Speech.


Sources: (pg 27)


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Overlords, an installation by Tom Estes at last years AXIS International Art Festival in Chicago- an event which stands to anchor important art initiatives for years to come.

CHICAGO AXIS 2014 INTERNATIONAL ART FESTIVAL will take place this year from September 19th – 21st.  The location of the Exhibition is VENUE ONE located in West Loop in Chicago. ( address : 1044 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607,

AXIS is focused on becoming a leading international contemporary art institution in an array of multimedia art disciplines, strivin to respect traditional art practices while examining new media with educational overtones.

The aim is to bridge the gap between cultures, generations and educational themes and intends on becoming an important entity in the international contemporary art scene.

Final Application due: June 14th

The acceptance will be notified in 15 to 30 days from the submission.

Booth Installation view available: after 2pm, September 17th
Artwork display: September 18th
Exhibitor’s social: TBA
First View: September 19th through out the day
Art Fair open: September 20th and 21st
Time is in the exhibitor’s Information file.




September 19th Friday 11am – 6pm
Proceeds benefit Prak-Sis Contemporary Art

September 19th Fri 6pm- 9pm
September 20th Sat 9:30am- 7pm
September 21st Sun 11 am- 6pm

Free for VVIP cardholders
First View Friday $100

Day Pass $10
Fun Pass $85 (10 tickets )

Exhibitor Application Materials/ Submit a pdf file to 

For further information go to:

Image credit: Overlords by Tom Estes


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