Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
What does silence have to do with today’s noisy communication channels? How aware are we of ‘voices’ that are not heard on our ‘stream’ of information? What is the possible connection between the war in Syria, the privacy debates in Europe and Chinese Internet Cafés? Artists Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud had addressed these questions while presenting their work and practice in a conversation with the curator Daphne Dragona.
The talk took place in the large hall of Filodrammatica (Korzo 28, first floor), on 29 May 2017.
Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud were both born in Zurich and live and work in Berlin. They have participated in numerous international exhibitions and have been awarded many international prizes. In particular, the projects picidae (since 2007), New Nations (since 2009) and qaul.net (since 2012) have gained worldwide interest. As open-source projects these works uncover forms of censorship of the Internet, undermine the concentration of political power and even resolve the dependency on infrastructure. The tools provided by the artists are used by communities in the USA, Europe, Australia and in countries such as Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, India, China and Thailand. Even activists from North Korea participate. In 2012 their project Hotel Gelem was awarded a prize by the Council of Europe. But not everyone is fond of these projects. China has denied Wachter and Jud entry to the country since 2013.
Mathias Jud giving a TED talk in London, 2015
The social and cultural mechanisms of exclusion have been the starting point for different projects of theirs. Developing open source tools, they have collaborated with communities and activists from different countries, offering new possibilities for connectivity beyond surveillance and control. Building different platforms, they have exposed the limitations and exclusions of what we consider a connected world. Developing independent zones of communication for users in need, they have challenged the sovereignty of today’s dominant infrastructures.
The talk was a tour d’ horizon to networks’ isolated and hidden depths; it emphasized the need to study our current communication conditions in order to overcome the present gaps and reach out for one another, going beyond our algorithmically filtered world-view.