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Graphic Design Can Deliver Us From Evil: A Look At Metahaven's Net-Inspired Art

Metahaven’s current exhibition at MoMA PS1 shows how graphic design can be used as a guerrilla tool to help internet anarchists and activists.
March 5, 2013, 8:47pm

With so many artists appropriating internet culture nowadays as their aesthetic, Amsterdam-based graphic design and research studio Metahaven go beyond the semiotics, and turn design into a power tool to push forward political and social change. Founded in 2007 by Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden, the duo ingeniously creates odd assemblages into a variety of art forms ranging from installation work to apparel. MoMA PS1 is currently hosting an exhibition focusing on the pioneering work of these graphic artists, turning their space into an internet vortex.

"Metahaven: Islands in the Cloud" showcases the works they crafted for entities that some consider notorious symbols of internet anarchism. Previously, they gave the self-proclaimed nation-state Sealand an identity back in the dot-com bubble, worked for WikiLeaks, and are currently designing for the Icelandic Modern Media Institute, and the country’s legal reforms surrounding internet freedom.

Their work is pure, graphic power that meditates on today's issues surrounding internet privacy, transparency, and freedom through an activist, artistic lens. It’s a riotous mixture of satirical, conceptualist expressions and neo-pop, wide-wed imagery. Culture jamming their way into the art world, check out some of Metahaven’s unconventional pieces!

Search Heraldry – Sealand Diamonds, 2004. Photo courtesy of Metahaven.

WIKILEAKS, WikiLeaks scarfs. Photos courtesy of Metahaven.

For WikiLeaks Dark Store, 2012. Photo courtesy of Metahaven.

Data / Saga, in collaboration with IMMI, 2012. Photos courtesy of Metahaven.

Installation views of "Metahaven: Islands in the Cloud" at MoMA PS1. Photos by Matthew Septimus via HYPERALLERGIC.