2014 / The Darknet. From Memes to Onionland

exhibitions and events

The Darknet. From Memes to Onionland, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen (Switzerland)
18th October 2014 – 11th January 2015


The Deep Web is an encrypted, invisible, deep network that cannot be accessed by Chrome, Firefox, or Safari but is nevertheless used by millions of hackers. This Deep Web is the impulse for cooperation between the artist collective!Mediengruppe Bitnik (Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo), the Deep Web project :digital brainstorming from Migros-Kulturprozent and Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. Hacker communications systems which penetrate everyday life but which are largely unknown to the public will be examined with the help of artists, theoreticians and Deep Web hackers. The exhibition «The Deep Web – From Memes to Onionland. An Exploration» will open Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen for interdisciplinary Deep Web interpretations of copyright, hacking, privacy, illegality and resistance.

The Deep Web has a bad reputation: drugs, weapons, pornography, stolen data and forged documents can be bought from hackers there. However, since Edward Snowden is awesome, his revelations seem to have shifted this one-sided perception. The Deep Web is an apparently power-free space. The participants want to take this factor seriously as critical individuals and articulate its non-transparent mechanisms and systems. For example, !Mediengruppe Bitniktransports the Deep Web into the art space while Emily’s Video by Eva and Franco Mattes compiles the reactions of people watching a mysterious video, which had been sourced from the Darknet, that was later destroyed. Cory Arcangel optimizes this very webpage so search engines like Google can easily locate it. Other artists deal with Deep Web phenomena that also exist between anonymity and commerce: Robert Sakrowski is curating YouTube videos on the history of hacktivist group Anonymous, Valentina Tanni is making available her collection of her best memes and Simon Denny will provoke questions about big data interchange. Heath Bunting examines data storage devices in relation to identity networks by means of gift cards, American Express credit cards or iPhones. An online identity can also be deleted – as Seth Price demonstrates withhow to disappear in america.


The Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen links the Surface web and the Deep Web which are interlocked – From Memes to Onionland. Aware of the dangers of the Deep Web, an approach from multiple perspectives is intended. It is an attempt to grasp this extremely controversial phenomenon of hacking the Deep Web with artistic contributions, archive material, workshops and discussions. The format of the exhibition gives visitors access to the Deep Web and questions familiar notions –Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen can now also be found on the Deep Web at http://vtw7g7wcdsgxq4ru.onion/ (only with a tor-browser)


!Mediengruppe BitnikCarmen Weisskopf: *1976 in Basel (CH), lives and works in Zurich; Domagoj Smoljo: *1979 in St. Gallen (CH), lives and works in Zurich

Cory Arcangel: *1978 in Buffalo (USA), lives and works in New York

Aram Bartholl*1972 in Bremen (D), lives and works in Berlin

Heath Bunting*1966 in London (UK), lives and works i.a. in Bristol

Simon Denny: *1982 in Auckland (NZ), lives and works in Berlin

Eva und Franco Mattes*1976 in Brescia (I), live and work in New York

Seth Price*1973 in Jerusalem (IL), lives and works in New York

Robert Sakrowski*1966 in Berlin (D), lives and works in Berlin

Hito Steyerl*1966 in Munich (D), lives and works in Berlin

Valentina Tanni*1976 in Rome (I), lives and works in Rome


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