Tech company swag, vinyl, embroidery
ESC Swag is an ongoing artwork to subvert the tech industry by transforming corporate swag with the Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing’s logo. The Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing (ESC – pronounced “escape”) is named for the computer’s ESC key. The ESC key was added to the computer keyboard to interrupt a program when it produced unwanted results, allowing the system to be critically examined. In the same way, ESC is dedicated to intervening when digital media and computing technologies reproduce inequality, exclusion, corruption, deception, racism, or sexism. By adding our ESC key logo as a prefix to corporate logos, we invite people to pause, consider the ethical implications of technologies, and potentially intervene. ESC Swag simultaneously functions both as the Center’s actual swag and as a critique of the tech industry’s harms as well as the ethics of corporate swag itself, which is made as cheaply as possible often using unethical labor practices and frequently ends up in the trash. All ESC swag is made with items that are donated or thrifted. The transformed swag is returned to the donor to be photographed worn or is given out as the Center’s swag.