on Thursday May 02, @10:11AM
Zenith Media Lounge/The New Museum
May 3 - June 30, 2002
Organized by Steve Dietz, Curator of New Media, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Jenny Marketou, artist, New York City, in collaboration with Anne Barlow, Curator of Education and Media Programs, New Museum
Artists: Critical Art Ensemble, Cue P. Doll, Harun Farocki, Knowbotic Research, LAN, Josh On/Futurefarmers, radioqualia, RSG, Superflex/Tenantspin, Surveillance Camera Players, Rena Tangens
"Hackers create the possibility of new things entering the world. Not always great things, or even good things, but new things. In art, in science, in philosophy and culture, in any process of knowledge where data can be gathered, where information can be extracted from it, and where in that information new possibilities for the world produced, there are hackers hacking the new out of the old."
In mainstream culture, hacking has many--mostly negative--connotations. Acts of hacking can range from relatively harmless pranks, to those that have economic consequences, to criminal actions. The activity itself elicits both fear and fascination, and its aura of anonymity and inscrutability makes it ripe for media exaggeration. Especially after September 11, 2001, the usual official response to any kind of hacking has been to indiscriminately codify it as "cyber-terrorism," diverting attention from its significant social implications.
McKenzie Wark, Hacker Manifesto 2.0
In an age of increased surveillance, rampant commercialization, and privatization of everything from language, to biological entities, to supposedly personal information, hacking--as an extreme art practice--can be a vital countermeasure. Particularly when combined with the ethics of the "open source" movement, hacking represents an important form of institutional critique. Originally devised as a process for the community creation and ownership of software code, open source offers abundant applications for artists--and the public--because of its transparency and communality. Open source allows artists to become providers of functional tools with which users can create new forms of information aesthetics, modes of activism, and content. Within this hybrid domain, they can intervene on- and off-line, operating in public and hacking the private, alternating or combining digital and analogue. And by using open source, artists extend the life of projects in a way that revises the relationship between artist, audience, and the social sphere (both virtual and real).
Open_Source_Art_Hack includes the work of artists from the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, and the United Kingdom who approach hacking as a creative electronic strategy for resistance, rather than as a merely destructive act. By using media and technology tactically, transparently, and collaboratively, the artists reveal and subvert the way in which society, institutions, governments, or corporations undermine individual identity, local control, and citizen agency. The work in Open_Source_Art_Hack is new, but not without history, since it shares an important legacy with artists who have always been interested in the politics of art as a mechanism of protest.
Swiss artists' collaborative Knowbotic Research installation Minds of Concern::Breaking News consists of a gallery installation, web interface, and free downloadable newstickers. Visitors trigger a set of network processes that investigate the security conditions of a particular group's server and evaluate whether it is secure or open to hacking attacks. The software processes used in Minds of Concern are dramatically transformed and externalized through light and sound signals in a kind of “Alert Zone” in the main gallery space, as well as through textual data flows in the installation.
LAN clones one's "data body" to counter invasions of data privacy. Tracenoizer works on the principle of disinformation, using automated tools to create a fake homepage based on searching the Internet according to a person's first and last names. This fake homepage is then propagated through various search engines, so that it becomes impossible for anyone to verify personal data, providing a measure of anonymity.
International computer collective RSG presents the packet-sniffing Carnivore, which eavesdrops on network traffic through a wire-tap device that plugs into a local area network. By making the resulting data stream available on the net, an unlimited number of "clients" can tap into, and visually interpret this data. For the title of the work, RSG appropriated the name carnivore, which, until recently, was the nickname for DCS1000, a piece of software used by the FBI to perform electronic wiretaps.
Australian-born, London-based on-line art group r a d i o q u a l i a transmit a low-power radio broadcast, Free Radio Linux--literally lines of Linux source code--in the museum lobby and through headphones suspended in the bookstore.
In Anti-wargame, Futurefarmers' Josh On challenges the ideology behind most computer games (that tend not to reward players with a social conscience) with his own, anti-imperialist version.
Cue P. Doll/rtmark jams the mediascape by turning an advertising tool--a mouse barcode reader--into a means of determining "alternative" values of particular items by matching them with a database of consumer products and corporate practices.
Berlin-based artist Harun Farocki's Eye/Machine investigates "intelligent" machines and weapons.
In her lecture "Pretty Good Privacy," Rena Tangens addresses issues of privacy, encryption and surveillance.
Artist collective Critical Art Ensemble and Beatriz da Costa present the participatory performance, GenTerra. This performance explores the environmental impact of the new organisms being produced by transgenics (the process of replacing the nucleus of one animal's cell with that of another) and the economic forces that drive scientific research, as well as the way that knowledge about such organisms is controlled.
By their very nature, Open_Source_Art_Hack projects extend beyond the museum itself, technologically and, in some cases physically. The Surveillance Camera Players perform in front of public and hidden surveillance cameras in Soho and mid-town, a new performance, Amnesia.
Danish collective Superflex with Tenantspin work with local communities to create a Superchannel streaming media broadcast that can also be viewed on the museum mezzanine.
PERFORMANCES, DISCUSSIONS, AND BROADCASTS
DIGITAL CULTURE EVENING
Curators Steve Dietz and Jenny Marketou discuss the Open_Source_Art_Hack show with participating artists including Christian Hübler (Knowbotic Research), Steve Kurtz (Critical Art Ensemble), Bill Brown (Surveillance Camera Players), and Alex Galloway (RSG).
OFF-SITE PERFORMANCE BY THE SURVEILLANCE CAMERA PLAYERS
In real space: Northeast corner of 46th Street and 7th Ave, 3.00pm
In virtual space: http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/cam6_nojava.html
A video recording of this performance will subsequently be on view in the Open_Source_Art_Hack exhibition
WALKING TOURS BY THE
SURVEILLANCE CAMERA PLAYERS
11.may.02 and 18.may.02
Hour-long walking tours of the "surveillance landscape" of the Soho district with New York-based artists, the Surveillance Camera Players.
Assemble in the museum lobby 2.00pm
"PRETTY GOOD PRIVACY" LECTURE BY RENA TANGENS
German hacker Rena Tangens presents a lecture on the idea of the Big Brother Awards, presented to organizations, institutions or individuals who invade people's privacy, or leak data to third parties. Tangens will also discuss the German manual of the encryption program "Pretty Good Privacy" and compare European concepts of privacy with those of the U.S.
Four-day community broadcasting project with resident-collaborators Tenantspin from Liverpool, United Kingdom, and Danish artists Superflex.
Mezzanine Various times between 12.00-6.00pm
CUE P. DOLL
THE SURVEILLANCE CAMERA PLAYERS