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Big Brother's Shadow Looms Over The Exhibition "Network Hack" In Paris

Free Culture and hacktivism come to the Gaîte Lyrique in Paris for the “Network Hack” exhibition, part of the Mal Au Pixel # 7 Festival.

by Shahneze Tsouria
Oct 30 2012, 5:40pm

If Facebook's controversial facial recognition system fuels your raging internet paranoia, the exhibition “Network Hack”, part of the Mal Au Pixel # 7 festival taking place at the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, won't make you feel any better.

Under the banner of the free culture and hacktivism movements, this exhibition brings together the work of artists and scientists who explore and exploit the flaws of surveillance techniques, imagining utopian uses for these technologies.

Memopol II by Estonian artist Timo Toots scans identification document such as a national ID-card or passport and collects all the personal data that’s available on the internet, adding some made-up data of its own for good measure. Recently awarded the Golden Nica in Interactive Arts at Ars Electronica 2012, this social machine maps your information field, enabling you to learn more about your virtual representation.

During the Olympic Games in London, Zurich collective !Mediengruppe Bitnik took up the challenge of hacking and assuming control of surveillance cameras in the most heavily monitored public spaces in the world, turning the surveillance systems into game consoles. In Surveillance Chess, real-time surveillance images of a London tube station are temporarily replaced by a chess game, inviting security officers to play in their control rooms. The six minute video shows the intervention from the point of view of the CCTV operator.

Berlin-based collective Telekommunisten is particularly interested in alternative and collective economic models that would create a free society. The interactive installation R15N is an experimental telephone service that works with any device, doesn't require any credit, and can share your message with the entire community. A variation on the "Random Phone Call" broadcast model, R15N works with the cooperation of arbitrarily selected users, generating temporary and local community engagement.

Critical Engineers Julian Oliver and Danja Vasiliev have created Newstweek, a device for manipulating news read by other people in locations with wireless hotspots. Placed discreetly in the room as a small and innocuous wall plug, Newstweek allows you to remotely edit news items read on wireless devices, unbeknownst to the users. You can build your own Newstweek and manipulate media, make propaganda, or restore facts, when in the hotspot environment.

The 2.4GHz project by French artist Benjamin Gaulon uses 2.4GHz receptors to reveal the presence of surveillance cameras. These receptors—everyday consumer products mainly used as baby video monitors—can pick up on wireless camera signals. This still on-going project is in its third stage, currently progressing with a series of workshops where participants are invited to explore the CCTV wireless network of their own city by searching for 2.4GHz surveillance video signals.The locations of the cameras are then collected into a Google Map.

«Network Hack» is on view at the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris from October 27th to December 30th 2012.

The exhibition will be accompanied with a series of workshops and debates. All the Mal Au Pixel # 7 Festival programing on: Gaîté