In the wake of the Snowden revelations about the surveillance capabilities of intelligence agencies, this interdisciplinary symposium gathers experts to discuss the place and implications of secrecy in contemporary culture and politics
With his public intervention Overexposed, artist Paolo Cirio disseminates unauthorized pictures of high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials throughout major cities. Cirio obtained snapshots of NSA, CIA, and FBI officers through social media hacks. Then, using his HD Stencils graffiti technique, he spray-paints high-resolution reproductions of the misappropriated photos onto public walls
The practice of targeted killing by drones raises many questions: “How many civilians have been killed as collateral damage during these strikes?” “And even if we’re talking about militants, how can the killings be justified when there has been judicial supervision? “If these drones can reach their targets anywhere, then how is the battlefield defined?” “Right now, only 3 countries use drones for targeted killings: the U.S., Israel and the UK. Where will this stop?” “And if these targeted killings are illegal, why does Europe keep silent?”
Christoph Wachter & Mathias Jud have installed WLAN / WiFi mesh network with can antennas on the roofs of the Academy of Arts and the Swiss Embassy, both located in the heart of “NSA’s Secret Spy Hub in Berlin.” The particularity of the network is that it is open and at the disposal of passersby to communicate anonymously and even send messages to operatives of the NSA and GCHQ intelligence who might lurk inside the nearby British Embassy and Embassy of the United States
The exhibition zooms in on the shock and awe of drone warfare, and addresses the ethical and legal ambiguity of drones, mass surveillance and war at a distance. It presents the work of contemporary artists who are critiquing the way in which military technology and networks can obscure, conceal and distance us from the political and social reality of warfare today
The work of Mishka Henner might evoke the one of Edward Burtynsky, Trevor Paglen, Omer Fast, Michael Wolf and Jon Rafman. Yet, comparing his work to the one of some of the artists i admire the most is pointless. Henner is his own man slash artist. He uses contemporary technology to give a new twist on artistic appropriation and redefines the role of the photographer, the meaning of the photography medium and the representation of the landscape. Without ever using a photo camera
Inspired by the work of J.G. Ballard, our story looks to the bleak, man-made landscapes of the future and asks: What happens when virtual environments become indistinguishable from reality? Will our global culture allow us to choose where to live, and who will stop us? What will we do with knowledge that becomes freely available to all?